To continue the interest in the Black Berets following the reposting of my article about them on the recent anniversary of the deaths of Canales and Cordova, here is the reprint of The Black Berets Twelve-Point Program. It was adopted by Las Gorras Blancas, the Black Beret organization in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1970. Another item I am reprinting from The Chicanos by Gilberto Lopez y Rivas. The book is long out of print by Monthly Review press, but the anthology has many important primary documents that are invaluable to the research of the Chicano movement.
The Black Berets Twelve-Point Program:
We, the members of the Black Berets of Albuquerque, Aztlán, being aware of the injustices, discriminatory, and oppressive actions against La Raza, hereby pledge to commit our lives to the Service, Education, and Defense of La Santa Raza.
In order to combat injustices, racial discrimination, and oppression we have set up a defense against the repressive agencies which carry out these established practices against the Chicano and all Third World peoples. To have an effective defense against these practices we must observe at all times the federal, state, local, and other agencies which are the main contributors to the repressive conditions which exist among La Raza and all other Third World peoples.
To serve the people means not only to correct the injustices, but to provide, wherever necessary, the necessities for a complete humane society. Whatever these necessities might be, a Black Beret will do everything within his power to provide them. We realize that to save our people we must be motivated, not only by the hatred for the marranoracista, but by the great emotions and feelings of love that we have for our Raza and the Third World peoples.
We have come to the conclusion that we cannot solve the total problems by ourselves so one of our most important tasks is to make our people aware. This is education. In order to completely educate people we must not only concentrate on the problems and the causes, but we must instill in our people pride in our culture and heritage and love for that which is ours.
Therefore the Black Berets’ Duty is to Serve, Educate, and Defend.
- We Want Self-Determination and Liberation for All The Chicanos in the U.S.A.
Before the Amerikkkans came into being we were here in the Southwest. When they came we taught them how to survive in the Southwest. Yet they have cheated, killed, and exploited us. Now the time has come to stoop all this. We demand control over our own destinies and the power be placed in the hands of the Chicano people in order to make Aztlán a reality and to insure our future existence. !Que Viva Aztlán Libre!
- We Want Self-Determination For All Latinos and Third World Peoples.
We will not be free until our Puerto Rican, Black, Indian, and Asian brothers in the U.S.A. are also Free from the oppressive and colonial rule of this system. We are not free until our brothers in Latin America, Africa, and Asia are liberated. Our struggles are basically the same. We must unite to end discrimination, injustices and to rise out of poverty. No Chicano Is Free Until All Oppressed People Are Free!
- We Want Community Control Of Our Institutions and Land.
We want control of our communities by our people and programs to guarantee that all institutions serve the needs of our people. People’s control of police, health Services, Churches, Schools, Housing, Transportation and Welfare are needed. We want an end to attacks on our land by urban renewal, highway destruction, universities, and corporations. La Tierra Es De La Gente!
- We Want A True Education Of Our Mestizo Culture And Spanish Language.
We want an end to the cultural genocide perpetuated by the Amerikkkan educational system against Chicanos. We must be taught about our ancestors truthfully. Pancho Villa and Zapata were revolutionaries, not bandits. Spanish is our language and must be taught as so. Our culture, a revolutionary culture, is the only true teaching. Viva Nuestra Cultura Mestiza!
- We Want Freedom For All Political Prisoners.
All Chicanos must be freed since they have been tried by racist courts and not by their own people. We want all freedom fighters released from jail. Free Tijerina Ahora!
- We Oppose the Amerikkkan Military And its Unjust Wars of Oppression.
We want the U.S.A. out of Vietnam and Latin America and the oppressed communities of the U.S.A. Chicanos should not serve in the Amerikkkan armed services, since they are denied the right to live with dignity and pride here in the U.S.A. U.S.A. Out Of Vietnam, Latin America, and Aztlán!
- We Want Equality For Women. Machismo Must Be Revolutionary…Not Oppressive.
Under this system our women have been oppressed both by the system and our men. The doctrine of Machismo has been used by our men to take out their frustrations on their wives, sisters, mothers, and children. We must support our women in their struggle for economic and social equality and recognize that our women are equals within our struggle for Liberation. Forward Hermanas In The Struggle!
- We Want An Immediate End To Police Harassment, Brutality, and Murder of La Raza.
For years the colonizing army in our barrios, the police, have been beating, killing, and imprisoning our Raza. The police must stop now and not tomorrow. They must realize that they can jail us, beat us, and kill us, but they will never stop our determination to be free. We demand community control of the Police. End Police Brutality Now!!!
- We Want For Our People To Have The Basic Necessities To Exist.
We want for our people to be given the things necessary for existence, such as decent housing, clothing, food, transportation and medical services. Luxuries are privileges that must be paid for, but a man has the basic rights to have a roof over his head, to have food and clothes for him and his family, to good health, and transportation wherever he has to go. We Demand that the people receive all this from the Amerikkkan government as is their Right. !Hasta La Victoria Siempre!
- We Want Full Employment For Our People.
We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment and a guaranteed income. We believe that if the white Amerikkkan businessman will not give full employment, then the means of production should be taken from the businessman and placed in the community so that the people in the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living. No More Unemployment!
- We Oppose Capitalism and Alliances Made By Our Treacherous Politicos.
We oppose the politicos which oppress our people and give us empty promises before elections. We oppose the poverty pimps which keep our people down through useless and stagnated programs, social workers which keep our barrios divided and brothers fighting each other for crumbs. These people keep us from achieving our freedom. We demand that the people be given control of their barrios through political and economic power. !Venceremos!
- We Believe Armed Self-Defense and Armed Struggle Are The Only Means To Liberation.
We are against violence, the violence of illiteracy, the violence of hungry children, the violence of diseased old people, and the violence of poverty and profit. We have gone to the courts to protest racism and discrimination, we have voted for the politicos who have given us empty promises, we have demonstrated peacefully for what we believe in only to be met with more violence, injustices, and discrimination. We have to arm ourselves now to protect ourselves and the people from the oppression perpetuated by the businessmen, government, and police. When a government oppresses our people, we have the right to abolish it and create a new one. El Chicano Ha Despertado! Cuidate Chota!
(Reprinted from Venceremos, the newspaper of the Black Beret organization, Albuquerque 1971.