Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

MINP-El Comité

M.I.N.P.-El Comité Celebrates its Tenth Anniversary

First Published: Obreros En Marcha, Vol. 5, No. 6, August 1980.
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.

On July 19th we of the Movimiento de Izquierda National Puertoriqueno (MINP-El Comité) celebrated our 10th anniversary. We chose to commemorate this event by holding a political-cultural activity where we would address some of the lessons of our process of consolidation as a revolutionary organization. We wanted to share these and our many experiences with the people we have worked with in mass organizations, our friends, families and comrades in the revolutionary struggle.

The understanding of our organization’s history and process of development forms an essential part of our membership’s ideological and political formation. Our experiences and the lessons we have learned represent our strength. We recognized therefore that we had a responsibility to share these lessons not only to celebrate our ten years of struggle but also as a contribution to the revolutionary movement in this country.

The audience at the activity included a delegation from Puerto Rico made up of representatives from progressive and revolutionary organizations and trade unions: Pensamiento Critico (the monthly magazine which has been a vital forum for ideological and political debate of the left forces in the island), the Trade Union Law Collective (Bufete Sindical), the Popular Socialist Movement (MSP), the Revolutionary Socialist Party (PSR) and the Independent Airport Workers’ Union (UITA). Also in the delegation were several founding members of MINP, including our former First Secretary Federico Lora.

There were official representatives from the mass organizations and other organizations that MINP works with, among them: the Coalition in Defense of Puerto Rican and Hispanic Rights, the United Tenants Association, the U.S. branch of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP) and the Union Patriotica Puertorriquena (UPP). Finally many organizations of the U.S. solidarity movement were represented at the activity: the Puerto Rican Solidarity Committee (PRSC), the New Popular Panamanian Alternative (NAPP), Non-intervention in Chile (NICH) and the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC).

The hall where the activity was held was decorated with many of our organizational banners. In the front, on a stage, hung bright large banners with slogans authored by Che Guevara and Mario Roberto Santucho, slain leader of Argentina’s Revolutionary Workers Party (PRT). On the sides of the hall hung more banners depicting local, national and international struggles that we have been involved in during our ten year history.

The activity began with the presentation of a representative body of our Central Committee.

Next in the program was the reading of solidarity messages by MINP. July 19th, the day of our activity, was also the first anniversary of the Nicaraguan Revolution. A representative of MINP hailed this revolution, recognizing it as the second victory over imperialism in Latin America. The development of MINP was greatly influenced by many forces both domestically and internationally. Cuba and Vietnam –two pillars of the world revolution– weighed heavily in the transformation of El Comité, a community group, into MINP, a Marxist-Leninist organization. The contributions of both revolutions and their current situations were outlined in brief messages of solidarity.

After the reading of these messages came what proved to be one of the highlights of the program: a slide show–MINP-E1 Comité, Ten Years of Struggle–outlining the key moments in the history of the organization.

The slide show traced the birth of the organization during the period of protest and opposition to the U.S. war in Vietnam and the period of intense social ferment over the subhuman living conditions of the minorities in this country. From a community group formed in 1970 to defend the interests of Hispanics, predominantly Puerto Ricans, in Manhattan’s West Side, El Comité transformed into a Marxist-Leninist organization by 1975. Graphically the slide show explained the process behind this significant change. Then it proceeded to analyze the three years from 1975 to 1978. In 1975 the organization celebrated its Formative Assembly “affirming its transformation into a Marxist-Leninist organization. In 1978 the First Assembly was held. The concluding slides showed MINP-El Comité emerging from its First Assembly fully committed to the building of a revolution in this country by uniting with the masses, learning from them and teaching them. The slogan for the post-assembly period expresses this concept succinctly: FORGE THE CADRE AMONG THE MASSES.

The slide show was followed by speeches from several of our founding members. The comrades who spoke are people who have joined the struggle for independence and socialism in Puerto Rico. They shared with the audience their memories of the soft-ball team which was the forerunner of El Comité; of the days when all the members thought that the revolution would triumph in several months; of the resistance against studying and the subsequent recognition of the need for study in order to improve social practice; of the difficult and painful transformation of each individual; of the honesty which characterized the relationship among the members and with the masses. They also spoke of MINP’s contributions both to their own individual political development and to the struggle of Puerto Rico. Federico Lora, former First Secetary of MINP, closed his speech by saying: “We are sure that you will meet up to the tasks of this period because we know your experiences of the past ten years and because we know who and what makes up the present membership of this organization. We have a great deal of faith in you and your development ...”

Following these statements Victor Manuel Quintana, First Secretary of MINP-El Comité, made a presentation analyzing the key lessons of our first ten years. He pointed to one of our key lessons: ”Our experience has shown us the need to have a close relationship with the people and to be a part of their struggles, and learn from them. In fact it was their struggles that gave rise to MINP-El Comité . . .we have consistently tried to impress upon other Marxist-Leninists in this country the importance of rooting our movement among the working class and the oppressed–not as an end in itself–, but rather as the only concrete basis upon which to build a revolutionary process in this country.”

He traced the process which led us to take up the study of Marxism-Leninism: “... We became aware that we needed to struggle not only for the immediate issues of better housing, education and health services, but also for social changes that would touch the basic conflicts that created and perpetuated the injustices that we faced daily.”

And he spoke of what we have come to regard as our greatest strength: “. . .a morality and determination rooted in a commitment to revolutionary change and serving people. Ours is a willingness to set aside personal convenience and aspirations. Ours is a unity of will to implement decisions arrived at through collective analysis, debate and struggle. Ours is a confidence based on the belief that the final victory will be the victory of the people, of the working class...”

The activity concluded with a cultural act and a dinner. The cultural act was unique in that it was prepared and presented solely by members and friends of MINP, a first for our organization. The group sang two songs. One a plena (folkloric song from Puerto Rico), spoke of the struggle of the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico to oust the U.S. Navy from their island. The other song–Belly of the Monster, a protest song from the early 70’s–had its lyrics adapted to reflect the struggle we go through in order to become revolutionaries:

When you’re living in a monster,
the monster becomes a part of you . . .
Struggle, keep on struggling
every day . . .
We’ve got to choose life, now!
In the struggle, don’t try to run away
within us and without
we’ve got to fight the beast. . .
We share a vision,
Will you believe us when we speak
We’ve got to make revolutionaries
out of folks like you and me.