Statement of the Revolutionary Caucus (Chicano Youth Liberation Conference, 1969)

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The National Chicano Youth Conference held in Denver in 1969, organized by the Crusade for Justice, is a historic event in the history of the Chicano people. Out of it came El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan, which sought to organize the Chicano people around a nationalist program. Also what came out of this conference was this statement by the Revolutionary Caucus, which sought a politics beyond narrow nationalism, toward more class analysis and internationalism. This was a beginning point of a more internationalist outlook for certain sections of the Chicano Movement.

-Antonio Moreno

In March 1969 some 3,000 young Chicanos gathered at the Crusade for Justice in Denver, Colorado, to hold the first national Chicano Youth Conference, at which El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán was adopted. The statement of the “revolutionary caucus” also came out of that conference. –from Monthly Review book intro.


We, a nonconquered people living in a conquered land, come together hoping that a plan of liberation, a concrete revolutionary program acceptable to the entire Southwest, will come from this conference. Subjected to a system that has denied our human dignity, our rights are also being denied under a constitution which we had no part in formulating and, more fundamentally, the rights protected under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which grants the right to cultural autonomy have been violated.

For 144 years we have been trying to peacefully coexist but no peace has come to our communities. Revolution is the only means available to us. We owe no allegiance, no respect, to any of the laws of this racist country. Our liberation struggle is a war of survival.

To us, nationalism is an awareness that we are not Caucasian, not Mexican-American or any other label the system puts upon us, but that we are a people with an ancient heritage and an ancient scar on our souls. Because we know who we are, our nationalism becomes an internationalism that does not deny the human dignity of any other people, but accepts them as brothers.

Our culture has been castrated through the various institutions of this system. We have known the profound pain of becoming strangers in our own land, of seeing beautiful lands turned into parking lots, of seeing birds disappear and fish die and waters become undrinkable, and the sign “private property” hung on a fence around land that once was held in common, of mountains becoming but vague shadows to our lives behind a veil of smog. We are being killed in Vietnam yet our lands are in the hands of strangers.

Can we attain control of our lives and liberate our people under the present system? Before we can answer this we must be aware of how this racist system oppresses us. We are oppressed first because we are Chicanos, because our skin is dark. But we are also exploited as workers by a system which feeds like a vulture off the work of our people only to enrich a few who own and control this entire country. We suffer a double oppression. We catch double hell.

But its oppression is not limited to us. It is a world system of oppression responsible for the misery of the mass of humanity. We will not attain what is rightfully ours, or our democratic right of self-determination, without having to overturn the entire system. We will have to do away with our oppressor’s entire system of exploitation. In order to do this we must build a revolutionary organization which will fight on all levels to improve our conditions here and now, while at the same time seeing the longer range struggle which will definitively end racist society, exploitation, and guarantee our rights.

We make a call to all Mexicanos to put aside our so-called regional differences and realize our similarities: the greatest ones being that we do have a basic common experience of exploitation, and a common enemy that must be destroyed before we can be a free people, masters of our lives.

Source: (The Chicanos: Life and Struggles of the Mexican Minority in the United States. By Gilberto Lopez Y Rivas. Monthly Review Press. 1973.)

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Film Showing in Denver –  Ayotzinapa: Cronica De Un Crimen De Estado

Official trailer:

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Chilili Land Grant Struggle, 1976 (pamphlet)

The following is a pamphlet about the land struggle in Chilili, New Mexico in 1976.

(Thanks to the one in the Chicano Movement group in Facebook for scanning this in the first place. )

Chilili Land Struggle

Chilili Land Struggle 2

The pamphlet was put out by La Federación Land Committee, affiliated with La Alianza group in New Mexico, known for Reies Lopez Tijerina. By that time La Alianza Federal de las Mercedes and Tijerina were involved in a change in politics that had much internal struggle. With that, I do not have any more information about the group behind the pamphlet.

Some research online about this turns up this following polemic from the August 29th Movement. They were a Marxist-Leninist group that came out of the Chicano Movement, and upheld a line on the Chicano Nation in their book Fan The Flames: A Revolutionary Position on the Chicano National Question. They were around during the New Communist Movement, a series of party building efforts in the United States in the aftermath of the New Left in the 1970s. These groups were known mostly for sectarian excesses, and ATM was no different, as shown here from this passage of the writing, titled: “Editorial: Practice Marxism Not Revisionism -ATM Cadre Reject Splitters.

What did the revisionist line of the splitters lead to in practice? Their narrow nationalist line led them to glorify the role of the peasantry, ignoring the leading role of the proletariat and Marxist-Leninists. In the Chilili land struggle, for example, they never distributed the REVOLUTIONARY CAUSE or any other Marxist-Leninist literature; the role of the proletariat was reduced to support resolutions by a few unions. They never once even mentioned the worldwide danger of Soviet Social Imperialism. Flowing naturally from their line, the splitters completely failed to bring class consciousness to the people of Chilili. After many months of supposed “Communist” work by ATM, the villagers of Chilili told us they were only fighting for their land grand and did not understand the question of a Chicano Nation and Communism.

Yep, the “worldwide danger of Soviet Social Imperialism” was of utmost importance to organize around the land grant struggle. It goes further in finding fault with the cadre attempting to organize in this area for further deviations, calling them “splitters.”  The editorial writers even bemoan the splitters for making them falsely report a mass turnout for a court solidarity when there were few who showed up, blaming the splitters for not organizing the masses. Go ahead and read the rest if you are a fan of archaic polemical style of the New Communist Movement. It didn’t help for me that I just watched again “Monty Python Life of Brian.” Overall, this led to a split in ATM in June 1977.

The ATM later merged with other groups, most of them non-white led,  to form the League of Revolutionary Struggle in 1978. The title of the second issue of their journal “Forward” with a date of August 1979 was devoted to the struggle for Chicano liberation, at least their view of it. Here is a picture from this issue that day. Note the banner in the background says “Self-Determination for the Chicano Nation.”

Chilili-Forward-lrs

I am currently doing research on the August 29th Movement, and its impact on the Chicano liberation struggle. I will post more as I get it.

The Chilili land grant was known because it maintained most of its land from before it was under Mexican sovereignty. It is still governed by a board of trustees. As seen in the pamphlet above, the struggle for the land grants is ongoing.

Here is a report about a legal struggle that started in the 1980’s.

In Chilili, another incident that brought up the sovereignty of the land grant was when the trustee president of the land grant rented out land to a movie production company but claimed by another person who is Anglo.

What this shows is that the militant component of the Chicano Movement was at its peak in the 1970’s, when many tendencies embraced armed struggle. For Chicanos, this time period saw many land grant battles. One of these was at the Tierra Amarilla grant in the 1980’s. Many more. They show that the struggle for Chicano liberation was recognized as one about land.

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Other video from 45th Chicano Moratorium

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Video from 45th Anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium

This is a video I did from the August 29th march in Los Angeles this year:

 

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An Account from the 45th Anniversary of August 29th Chicano Moratorium, Los Angeles, 2015

This is my chronicle from the August 29th Chicano Moratorium Commemoration in Los Angeles this year in 2015.

The history of the Chicano Moratorium held on August 29th, 1970 in Los Angeles is important in Chicano/Mexicano history. The attacks by the Los Angeles police resulted in three dead, the first martyrs of the movement. Two of them were members of the Brown Berets, Lyn Ward and Angel Diaz. The third was more well known, Ruben Salazar. He was a journalist for the Los Angeles Times and later a reporter for a local television station. He was a Chicano who was a mainstream journalist, and although he was one who not directly involved in the Chicano Movement, at the time he was one who articulated their views to a wide mainstream audience. His death ended a promising life. It also was a turning point in the Movement,  and showed the stakes ahead for those involved.

Nearly every year since then the Moratorium has been commemorated, and August 29th has become known as Chicano Memorial Day, to remember those who lost their life on this day.

In Los Angeles this year, for the 45th anniversary, there were two marches for August 29th. One was held in East Los Angeles and recreated the original route from 1970, ending at the park which has been renamed Salazar Park in honor of Ruben Salazar. The other was held in Pacoima, a suburb of Los Angeles. This was related to politics around the National Chicano Moratorium Committee that started a few years back from now. From this, that is all I will say on it, as I am not that familiar with the politics on the ground here in Los Angeles to take a side of either. Some information is available online, and I will allow those who have experience on it to comment on it if they deem necessary. With that, as I was attending out of town, I could only attend one event, so this account is from the march in East Los Angeles.

The march participants gathered in the early morning on Saturday August 29th on the outskirts of East Los Angeles, on a route that would lead it to Whittier Blvd, down to where the original march ended. Some of the Organizers included members of Union Del Barrio, Brown Beret National Organization, and other autonomous Brown Beret organizations.

There was a minor occurance at the beginning when some supporters of Bernie Sanders attempted to coopt the march by waving their candidate signs to vote for him in the election. The organizers stood forth that the message of the march would be that of self-determination, and while supporters would be welcome to participate in the march, the march itself would not be seen as advocating for any candidate. It was the right move, as this should not be seen as endorsing any candidate in the electoral system. Also there are many problems with Bernie Sanders from an anti-imperialist perspective, and many speakers later called him out for his politics. This was the right move by the organizers.

About 100 participants started the march. Others joined in as the march progressed. It was emphasized at the beginning that the march was not just a commemoration but to rally around issues still relevant today. Chants included remembrances of Salazar, Diaz and Ward. Further chants included “Zapata Vive, La Lucha Sigue;” “Somos Un Pueblo Sin Fronteras;” “Esta Es Mi Tierra, Esta Es Mi Lucha;” “Chicano Power;”  Signs included ones advocating for the 43 missing students in Ayotzinapa. Many people waved Mexican flags, along with other progressive and revolutionary signs and flags. The march was received well by many people along the route.

The march ended at Salazar Park. Different groups were tabling. Speakers gave speeches on the history of the three martyrs from this day, and on the need to continue the struggle the Chicano people are facing. Other groups gave solidarity statements. There was a wide variety of music entertainment, including a performance by Aztlan Underground.

Above all, the August 29th Commemoration here went well, was inspiring, and was an honor to be part of this event. As many of the speakers stated this day, it was not only to remember this day but to continue the struggle. This is a reminder that to honor those before us we must put forward the struggle for national liberation.

Beginning of march

Beginning of march

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Chicano Moratorium, 45th Anniversary

I am currently in Los Angeles to observe the anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium against the Vietnam War, which happened August 29th, 1970. It is observed as a Chicano Memorial Day because of the three martyrs that happened on this day.

Here are some videos about this day:

Some raw footage of the August 29th protest and subsequent events afterward:

BBC interview with Chicano Moratorium Committee chair Rosalio Munoz: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34006603

Older interview with Rosalio Munoz. Has good insight on the history, but do not endorse the reformist message at the end:

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Donald Trump and Fascism 

 I have predicted here that the rhetoric spewed by the campaign of Donald Trump, like other quasi-fascist movements before it, would lead to more violence against Mexican people. Here is one documented case that is linked to it.(http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-denounces-violence-supporters-beat-mexican-man-article-1.2333353)

Two brothers, Scott and Steve Leader, of Boston, were arrested Wednesday after a 58-year-old Hispanic man was beaten with a metal pole in the Dorchester neighborhood. Police said the attackers urinated in the victim’s face.

“Donald Trump was right — all these illegals need to be deported,” Steve Leader said after his arrest, police told the Boston Globe.

The consul of Mexico has spoken out about the man being a citizen of Mexico who they would protect, along with taking “the necessary measures to defend the rights and interests of Mexicans.” The Mexican consulate has before in the early 20th century played a role in protecting the rights and interests of Mexican people residing in the borders of the United States. This does not take into ignoring the dirty war waged by the government of Mexico against its own citizens. Absent any independent power by the Chicano and Mexicano people, the role of the consulates will be a contradiction we face in the protracted struggle for national liberation.

Donald Trump’s popularity is built around scapegoating of Mexicans. Because of him, policies like eliminating birthright citizenship guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, mass deportations of undocumented peoples, and calls to build a massive border wall, have entered into the political discourse once again. It continues with his mysogyny and China bashing among his other reactionary agendas. The racism, xenophobia, and nativism, the great country chauvinism of the “Make America Great Again” slogan. Shouts of “White Power” are heard at some of his nearly all-white rallies, and open white supremacists have endorsed him. All give a sense of fascism around the Trump campaign. He is a buffoon, as were Hitler and Mussolino, who came to power on demogoguery. With thuggish supporters beating up the targets of his hate, the Brownshirt component of that checklist is one more.

Many have been talking about this column in Newsweek, coming from a libertarian perspective, that asks outright “Is Donald Trump a Fascist.” It’s too early to use the F word about Trump and his campaign, but it is clear we need to organize to stop it from getting any clearer. A declining empire will have a class that will resort to fascism, especially among the white settler elements of the labor aristocracy. It also is likely that because of the outrageousness of Trump, other candidates, both Republican and Democrat, will advocate those same policies without the theatrics of Trump and be seen as mainstream.

The Chicano/Mexicano people have been on the receiving end of settler hate tendencies of the United States before, many showing the signs of fascism. Most recently this nativist sentiment came up last year in 2014, with the crisis of refugee children. Nearly 60,000 children fleeing violence in Central America to the United States were attached by white racist settler mobs mobilized against them. Before that a decade before, there was the Minutemen vigilantes, before they got subsumed into the Tea Party. Many other attacks have come before that. And many more will come.

Trump is likely to create a new opening for this sentiment that is at the heart of a settler empire.
The violence by police and non-state whites waged against the New Afrikan people shows the wave against another internal colony in the U.S. The state and extra-legal settler-based armed militias are used against both of our populations.

It is clear that we need to study up on the nature of fascism, and start organizing against it, especially with an alternative to the liberal/NGO model prevalent in our communities. It is also clear that being an internal colony in a settler state, this violence is nothing new to our people, and does not need a fascist impulse to be a danger. These moments are opportune for education and consciousness raising, for if they are attacking us for who we are, we need a solid understanding of who we are to  defeat these enemies.

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Clippings, 08/23/2015

clipping

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Donald Trump’s Anti-Migrant Agenda Continues: The Case of Jamiel Shaw

TrumpandshawProfessional douchebag Donald Trump kicked off his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination recently, making anti-immigrant demagoguery a base of it. Tapping into the inner  racism of Mexicans of much of the right wing of the Republican base, he called Mexican people who came to the United States rapists,criminals, drug dealers, and spreaders of infectious disease, while admitting that there are some good ones. There has been a backlash against his offensive comments, with a number of celebrities speaking out and businesses boycotting his money making enterprises. Yet despite this, Trump has gained dramatically in the polls in the crowded field of Republican presidential nominees. With this it is clear that he has made the issue of so-called illegal immigration the main niche of his campaign. Along with bashing Mexico and China around trade, Trump is tapping into the xenophobia of the white settler population he is appealing to. With one of his latest props in this campaign, the case of Jamiel Shaw Jr., he is also appealing to sentiments with Black/New Afrikan peoples against immigrants and migrants.

The latest of his many plays at bringing back anti-immigrant sentiment was at a press conference on July 10th, and a campaign rally in Arizona on July 11th, 2015. He brought with him as a speaker Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose son Jamiel Shaw Jr., was murdered in a case of gang violence in 2008.

The story repeated by Shaw Sr. and reported uncritically by the media is this. A gang member and undocumented immigrant, Pedro Espinoza, who was brought into the United States when he was 4 years old, murdered Jamiel Shaw Jr. on the false pretenses of being in a rival gang. Shaw Jr. was a star football player in high school and with a promising future, and his mother serving a tour of duty in the Iraq War during that time. Espinoza was released from county jail for a weapons charge the day before, and since Los Angeles is a sanctuary city he was not released to ICE for deportation despite being an undocumented immigrant. This case galvanized the right wing anti-migrant crowd. The facts of the case show more nuance.

The website Streetgangs.com had reported on and exposed many inconsistencies in the Shaw murder case, which other media outlets followed in their reporting. Here is what was revealed.

For one, Shaw Jr. had loose affilations with a gang that was active in his neighborhood. His neighborhood, Arlington Heights, was occupied by the Rolling 20’s Neighborhood Bloods gang. It had a long rivalry with the 18th Street gang, which Espinoza was a member of.

On the night of the murder, Shaw Jr. was reported to be wearing several red colored clothing items, reportedly flamed out in gang style. Media reports that he only had a red Spiderman backpack, but he also wore red sneakers, shirt, and belt, the latter initialed with a gang identifier. It was later revealed that he had postings on his Myspace social media page displaying gang affiliations, and threatening rival Crips and 18th Street members.

Experts emphasize that Shaw, who had no criminal record, was not likely a hardcore gang member but one who affiliated through neighborhood ties, and likely engaged in net-banging. Nevertheless, it was clear that the murder, tragic as it was, was gang related.

As stated at Streetgangs.com:

“Jamiel wasn’t a bad kid, but he did have relationships with gang members in his community that led to Espinoza’s fatal assault on him. Jamiel lived in a community occupied by Bloods that have been at war with 18th Street for 12 years. With witnesses pointing out that a Hispanic was responsible for the murder, the only logical assailant would be a member of 18th Street, a predominately Mexican-American gang with some illegal alien members. Reports that 18th Street gang has a membership that is 80% illegal is false. Of the County’s total gang population approximately five to 10 percent are illegal.”

Despite this, his father Jamiel Shaw Sr used his son’s death to campaign against illegal immigration, and has been embraced by the far right.

During the trial of Espinoza, Shaw Sr. successfully campaigned to have the first prosecutor dismissed from the case. Shaw Sr. went on right wing talk radio falsely saying that the prosecutor would emphasize the case as gang related and did not care about the immigration status of the accused. Shaw and others wanted the case prosecuted as a racially based murder, which even the police said was not a motive. Due to the pressure another prosecutor was appointed. Also, all evidence of Shaw’s own gang affiliations were suppressed by the court. This made the jurors think that the killing was random and racially motivated. In the trial Espinoza was found guilty and given the death penalty, which would have been unlikely if the jurors knew more of the gang related motives of the case, and despite evidence that Espinoza did not act alone.

Afterwards Shaw Sr. has campaigned for Jamiel’s Law, the purpose of which was to deny sanctuary city protection to those in gangs. The basis of the argument they put for this resolution was on the erroneous assertion that 80 percent of gang members are illegal aliens, which has been shown to be false.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Shaw family against the city of Los Angeles, claiming the murder was racially motivated, was dismissed in 2010.

Today Shaw Sr. is being used by the Trump campaign, along with other crime victims of alleged illegal immigrants, to forward his narrative about Mexico intentionally sending criminals into the United States. This ignores that immigrants and migrants are less likely to be involved in crime than citizens. Yet this does not matter to the right wing settler crowd who want to say that crime would not happen to good white people if “those people” were deported. Anti-immigrant sentiment also exists among other non-white peoples, and tensions between Blacks and Latinos are real, and right wing forces like Trump will opportunistically exploit this.

One factor coming in is that recently California became the second state in the U.S. where the Latino population surpassed whites. With the changing demographics of the population as a whole in the country, the contradictions of the colonialism of the United States will come into play. It is up to progressive and revolutionary forces to be ready for these.

The issue here is which narrative will be put forward. With the Trump campaign, it is likely that national oppression against Mexicanos and other migrants will increase, and it needs to be countered. As this is on contested land stolen by Amerikan imperialism, this is also a contested narrative. The narrative put forward by the racist settlers needs to be countered by one not liberal in nature, but an anti-colonial one. One that sees the borders as illegitimate, put around stolen land. One that sees the human dignity of migrants who do the dirty work for the settler population without any of the benefits, and continuously used as scapegoats for a fearful settler population. One that organizes our power to defend ourselves as humans, and exert our right to our land.

-Antonio Moreno

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