Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Student Brigade Tour Through the Southwest

Issued: As an unpublished document sent to RSB contacts in the Southwest, n.d. [December 1974]
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

A while ago 3 members of the Revolutionary Student Brigade went to five campuses in the S.W. to get a better sense of the political situation, tell people about the Brigade, and see about the possibility of starting chapters. We visited the U. of Arizona at Tucson, New Mexico State U. in Las Cruces, U. of Texas at El Paso, U. of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and briefly, Arizona State U. in Tempe. One idea which people we talked to thought would be useful was a sum up of our tour.

Overall, we think the tour was a real success. Everywhere we went we found a real interest in the RSB, the growing student and ether movements, and what could be done. This was true for students of all nationalities – white, Chicano, Black, Indian, and foreign students. One thing which reflects this is that we sold 537 Fight Backs plus other literature and over 80 people signed a mailing list for the Brigade. One day at Albuquerque we sold 147 papers. A response we got from a number of students seeing us selling the paper was “A revolutionary newspaper? I’ll buy it!” Many students are starting to realize that it is the imperialist system which is the cause of our problems, that it can’t be patched up and that revolution is needed to overthrow it; and a much larger number know something has got to be changed.

It is also true that in the S.W. (as in the rest of the country) there is a let of cynicism among students. A particular form this takes in the S.W. even among some radical people we talked to is that somehow people in the S.W. are supposedly more reactionary or backwards than people elsewhere and thus almost impossible to organize. (And we must admit that the people going on this tour had a little of this thinking). After talking to literally hundreds of students over the course of the tour we felt that this is untrue and in fact is an idea pushed by the ruling class to keep people divided and prevent them from struggling. It is true that the S.W. has a different historical development than the rest of the country which must be taken into account when organizing, and that we did encounter reactionary and racist ideas, but the overwhelming response we got was positive – except from the administration & the cops. If we look down on the people we are trying to organizes or only look at the backward ideas people have and don’t see that there is a real basis for overcoming these ideas (which are found among minority as well as white students), we will never be able to build a revolutionary movement.


In Tucson a small group of people a few months ago had decided to start an RSB chapter but because of almost no contact with the rest of the RSB and because they did not meet with success immediately, they dropped it after one meeting. There has been some activity directed against the fascist government in Chile. Fightbacks will be available at the Zapata Books table set up on the campus.

At Las Cruces we met someone who was starting a boycott committee for the farmworkers and also talked to a meeting of Los Chicanos who were planning a conference on minority education in the schools.

In El Paso the MECHA was very helpful in getting through the regulations about tables, etc. There has been a lot of struggle there, particularly during the Farah strike which had a great effect on the town. 500 people (mainly not students) heard leaders of the farmworkers speak there recently.

(In these three schools we sold about 300 Fight Backs and about 50 people signed the mailing list).

Albuquerque was the one place which we had a contact with and it made a big difference. There is more of a radical movement there than anywhere else we visited – bookstores, Chicano organisations, boycott committee, police repression committee, and some reform-oriented groups on campus. We held a meeting after selling papers and having a literature table on campus all day. About 25 people came. After a movie and presentations about the history, politics and examples of the practice of the RSB, the meeting was disrupted by a number of people from the Young Socialist Alliance and the Marxist Workers Collective. Both of these groups of course knew before they came that they do not agree with, the RSB and were not coming as honestly interested in the Brigade, but instead to tell people why they think the RSB is no good. These groups, especially the Marxist Workers Collective, said that the RSB could not be effective because it does not have a complete ideology - does not have positions on everything to which people must agree before joining. We pointed out that there are two principles of unity which people must agree to before joining the RSB, which are: (1) Support for national liberation struggles abroad as exemplified by the NLF/PRG in South Vietnam, and (2) support for the struggles of oppressed people at home. So RSB does have people with different ideas on many things, and particularly, many people who were not sure that socialism will replace this imperialist system. We also pointed out that the RSB is a democratic organisation, so sometimes positions take a while to develop because of the amount of discussion and struggle that must go on first and because the RSB is a new organization (as well as because issues keep arising or changing). There are a number of things which are currently being discussed before positions will be taken. Every individual and the communists who work in the Brigade have a world outlook which goes beyond the two principles of unity, and communists definitely will struggle to win people to their world outlook. But to tell someone who wants to fight back against the system – “Wait until you have a position on everything from how a revolution will come down here to a detailed analysis of the situation in Ireland,” is absurd. Such a position would effectively prevent the RSB from becoming a mass organization. It is only through struggle and discussion that people will develop positions different from those they have.

We were in Tempe for a short time. We sold about 30 papers and made a couple of contacts.

We found that there is much less of a consciously revolutionary movement in the S.W. than in some other parts of the country (at least on campuses) and there is a certain degree of isolation of revolutionary minded people from the experience in other parts of the country. But this is changing and the RSB can play a role here. For example when people from California, many of whom were working in anti-imperialist organizations on individual campuses, went to the Brigade convention in Iowa City last June, discussing and struggling with people from all over the country had a tremendous effect on our work.

The Southwest has a rich history of struggle which is continuing especially among workers and minority peoples – just look at the Farah and farmworker struggles, the demonstrations led by Indians against racist murders, the movement of Chicano people, the mining of Haiphong Harbor and the bombing of Hanoi which prompted huge demonstrations by students not long ago. There is great potential for building a strong multinational revolutionary movement in the Southwest. And across the country there are struggles breaking out more and more being influenced by revolutionaries, 5000 students marched against the cut back of progressive departments last spring at Berkeley; hundreds of workers and students of all nationalities wore black armbands and came to rallies on Nov. 1 in memory of Tyrone Guyton, a 14-year-old Black youth who was murdered by the police in Emeryville one year before; 3000 veterans and supporters marched in Washington July 4; Black and white coal miners stopped work to protest the importation of South African coal; Nixon was forced out of office. As the system decays, movements among all sections of the people are growing.

From RSB experience throughout the country, we know it is not easy to build a revolutionary movement: there are no gimmicks or short-cuts that will do it. But where people have a political understanding of what to do (of course we are always learning more) with hard work things keep moving ahead. The RSB has been-growing steadily and is playing a more and more important role in building a new student movement. Especially with U.S. imperialism going more and more into crisis there is a demand for it.


We would like to keep contact with you, find out what is happening on your campus and area, or get comments or criticisms. WRITE US.

– There will be a regional RSB conference the weekend of Feb. 15-16 in Los Angeles. It will have discussions on political questions and practical work as well as speeches and cultural presentations. It will be a great opportunity to meet with politically active students from all over California, the Northwest, and the Southwest. Places will be provided for people to stay free. Both RSB And non-RSB members are encouraged to come. An agenda will be put together soon (if you have suggestions for it, let us know).

– We will be glad to answer questions on the structure, political line, or any other aspect of RSB.

– If you want to distribute, write for or subscribe to the Fight Back newspaper we can make arrangements.

– There will be a follow-up tour probably in the spring for which help on reserving rooms and lit tables or doing publicity can make a big difference. Also, if you want to try to get something going we could tell you the contacts we made on the tour.

– There will be a national RSB meeting Jan. 1l-12 in Madison. Each chapter will send two members, but observers are also welcome.

– Call us if you visit a part of the country, where there is a Brigade chapter. Phone #’s can be found in Fight Back.

– Let us know if you change your address.