Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Colorado Organization for Revolutionary Struggle (M-L-M)

The Reactionary Crusade for Justice...A Preliminary Study

How Their Politics Betrays the Chicano People & Sustains U.S. Capitalism


Published: n.d. [1978].
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Brothers & Sisters,

We are publishing this pamphlet a year after members of the Crusade for Justice physically disrupted a Denver commemoration of the Aug. 29th Moratorium rally held in Los Angeles in 1970.[1] This is a fitting moment to deepen the exposure of this reactionary politics.

We hope that this pamphlet will aid true revolutionaries and progressive people to better understand why the Crusade and their line is not in the interests of the Chicano people or any other U.S. working and oppressed peoples.

We recognize that more is needed in such an analysis. What is presented here is just a start. We welcome any criticisms, suggestions, information, etc., from readers. Such input will help us all to clarify further how the Crusade line impedes our common struggle for liberation. Just as the people will make revolution, so can they provide ideas and experiences to improve the analysis presented here.

We end this note with a quote from the flyer we distributed after the Crusade disruption, as a member of the Colo. Coalition in Support of the Chicano Liberation Struggle:

We know that because we will not stand for intimidation, the Crusade will react even more violently against those of us who dare to tell the truth. We fully expect to be the targets of lies and physical attacks by them. We must stand together in the face of these attacks and not be afraid to expose them!

It is the democratic right of the Coalition and all other people to protect themselves against the Crusade brutalities just as we have the right to defend ourselves against the police brutalities. We will not attack but we will defend ourselves. We call on the support of all people in this struggle. It is the masses of people who will end the oppression by imperialism. It is the people who can wipe out the last trace of credibility from the face of the Crusade!


* * *

August 29, 1970, the date of the L.A. Moratorium, was a historic day in the struggle of the Chicano people. Chicanos, united with other oppressed nationalities and White workers, marched side by side to protest the imperialist war being waged in Viet Nam. Multinational unity was forged in struggle against the common enemy of all those people – U.S. imperialism.

August 29, 1977, was also an important day in the local history of the Chicano movement. On that day the Crusade for Justice, an organization which had long had a refutation of being a leader in the struggle for Chicano liberation openly showed that it was not a friend of the people. On that day the Crusade for Justice acted no differently than the police. Like the CIA, the IBI, and other repressive elements they used violence against the people. The Crusade for Justice attacked a group of people who had gathered to commemorate the revolutionary holiday represented by August 29. To disrupt the event they used fascist tactics just as the police had used to disrupt the L.A. Moratorium; they entered the building with lead pipes, surrounded the crowd, turned over tables, ripped off banners, and forced everyone to leave the event, threatening to beat them. They disrupted for the same reasons the state disrupted the August 29 demonstration of 1970 – to prevent people from discussing how to win their liberation, to prevent people from uniting about how to struggle against their oppression.

How did this happen? How did the Crusade for Justice which was considered a leader in the struggle for Chicano liberation suddenly become an enemy of the Chicano people? It was no accident. A revolutionary group does not in one day, suddenly, magically, like Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, turn from an honest organization into a counterrevolutionary force. An analysis of the history and political positions of that organization shows us that the actions of the Crusade for Justice on August 27, 1977, were inevitable.

The Crusade for Justice did not turn into a counterrevolutionary group on August 27, 1977. It had been heading that way for quite some time. It had been heading that way since the beginning of that organization. But it had taken over 10 years for its anti-democratic, anti-liberation nature to reach its highest state – to develop t0 the stage where the Crusade for Justice was openly attacking the people. This is not to say that each and every thing which the Crusade has ever done is counterrevolutionary and against the people’s interests. This is to say that although there were good and bad aspects to the Crusade, it is primarily the bad aspects which characterize the Crusade for Justice, its political philosophy and its leadership. Within the Crusade there have always been honest revolutionaries, genuinely wanting to liberate their people. But as long as they continue to follow the political ideas of the Crusade they will never be able to achieve this goal because the Crusade’s ideas do not lead to liberation. The first step for most of those people and for those of us who at any time had any unity with the Crusade for Justice is to lock at ourselves, at our practice, at our ideas and tear out of these things any of the Crusade’s ideas.

In order to liberate the Chicano people we need to correctly identify the enemy, correctly identify who our friends are and correctly identify the methods of eliminating the enemy. We need to do all these things so as not to divert the struggle by attacking the wrong thing in the wrong way.

The economic system of capitalism/imperialism is the main enemy of the Chicano people and of all oppressed people of the world. Imperialism is a world-wide economic way of life which serves the interests of only a few people through the exploitation and oppression of workers, women and oppressed nationalities. It is no accident that today there are a very few people who are rich while the majority of the people are either poor or not very well off, snowed under with debts, high food prices, scaring utility bills and increased phone rates. And again, it is no accident that even though White workers are poorly paid too, women and oppressed nationalities have to suffer in the worst-paying, most menial jobs. It is no accident, but neither is it something mystical like god’s will. It is a natural way of life under imperialism. As long as we live under the economic system of capitalism/imperialism we will have rich and poor, we will have a few people living on billions of dollars while millions of people are trying to live on a few dollars a month.

In order to end the oppression of Chicanos we must end the economic system of imperialism which thrives on their exploitation. Any revolutionary group within the Chicano movement, in order to be a legitimate force in the struggle for liberation, must do things which will help to defeat imperialism, which will weaken it, and not strengthen it. A group which stands for the liberation of the Chicano people must be sure that its blows are directed against imperialism. We have got to understand that there is no other way to end the oppression of the Chicano people except through the total annihilation of capitalism. We cannot peacefully reform it. In making a few changes, we cannot alter its exploitative nature. Neither can we try to escape imperialism by returning to the land, trying to boycott the system and turning to the “old ways.” Our people are oppressed and exploited by imperialism. That system demands that the majority of the people of the world live in want and misery. It demands that people be exploited for profits. It demands that the profits of a few be made at the expense of the majority. We cannot end this oppression by peaceful means; we cannot ignore the oppression by trying to escape; we must end this oppression by armed struggle carried out by the majority, led by a genuine revolutionary party.

Most of the political positions and solutions to Chicano oppression put forward by the Crusade for Justice in its years of existence are things which were not directed against the enemy, which did not threaten imperialism. In fact, most of the things the Crusade has put forward have directly strengthened imperialism and not promoted revolution.

Some people say the Crusade for Justice created the Chicano movement, that it gave the Chicano people the inspiration and the will to struggle. On that basis alone, people say, the Crusade for Justice is an organization to be respected, an organization which struggles against imperialism.

But the Crusade for Justice did not create the Chicano movement. It was the Chicano movement which created the Crusade for Justice.

The Crusade for Justice was founded in 1967, a year filled with spontaneous mass struggles by the Chicano people who have a long history of struggle. Even though the Crusade was at the forefront of some of these struggles, giving leadership, being spokesperson, putting forward some good and some bad slogans, it is wrong to say that they created the Chicano movement.

Where there is oppression there is resistance. It was the years and years of massive oppression which gave rise to the struggle of the Chicano people, which was responsible for the Chicano movement.

In the 1960’s the country was in a war which was killing sons of the working class, sons of the oppressed nationalities by the thousands. By 1969 the wartime prosperity was ending and with it came a depression. War veterans were returning only to find unemployment and no veterans benefits. Families who had lost their sons were faced with cutbacks in welfare and social security benefits. After years of blatant racial discrimination, after years of Blacks sitting in the backs of buses, after years of Chicanos not being allowed in restaurants, national minorities were enraged, demanding to be treated like human beings. Chicanos were rising in anger after years, decades of being excluded from universities, from employment, from equal opportunity in all areas. These are the conditions which led to the Chicano movement, which in turn led to the successful founding of the Crusade for Justice and countless other Chicano organizations such as Mexican-American Committee for Equality, the United Mexican-American Students, MECHA, MAPA, Brown Berets, Zapatistas, etc.

The people’s struggle exists first and can continue to flare up even without an organization. It is the struggle of the people which creates mass organizations for organizations are reflections of the aspirations of the masses to carry cut the struggle in a united way. It is the role and responsibility of the leadership of organizations to make the people’s struggle more correctly focused, more efficient, to give it political guidance, to get the people in a better position to defeat its enemy.

But let’s look at what the Crusade for Justice did with the revolutionary fighting spirit of the people in the 1960’s. Let’s see what kind of leadership they gave. Let’s see how well they were able to organize the people into dealing blows to imperialism in order to truly liberate themselves, to truly end their oppression.


The Crusade for Justice took the legitimate pride of a people, the legitimate indignation of years of oppression, and instead of directing this fury at the destruction of imperialism, instead of using the rage and fighting spirit of the people to defeat the enemy, they channeled that struggle into two incorrect paths.

1) They channeled it into reformism. Although they talked about revolution, every solution, every activity, every goal and plan of the Crusade was nothing more than an attempt to bend and reshape imperialism so as to make a few Chicano’s lives more comfortable under this oppressive system. The Crusade struggled militantly but they only struggled for reforms.

Reforms which alleviate the suffering of the people, which make it easier for us to struggle for final liberation such as the right to unionize, the right to education, to better pay, should be fought for. In the struggle for reforms the people will get the training to carry out the struggle for political and economic power. But to think that all we need to do is to reform the system, to think that all we should do is struggle for reforms without putting it in the context of the larger struggle, is incorrect. Looking at reforms as the ultimate solution to Chicano’s oppression is betraying the people, betraying the cause of liberation. The Chicano people aspire to have more than just a few crumbs. They want liberation. Reformism is counterrevolutionary because it makes people satisfied with imperialism, with the few changes they can get out of the oppressor. It makes people think they can control their own lives through peaceful change and turns them away from armed struggle. Reformism disarms the people’s struggle, allowing the imperialists to smash the movement.

2) The Crusade also channeled the struggle of the people into narrow nationalism, they told Chicanos that as a race they were better than other races and that they were oppressed by the White race. They put forward a mystical philosophy of La Raza Cosmica, La Raza Bronce. They put forward slogans like “Pa mi raza todo; fuera de mi raza nada.” (For my race, everything; outside of my race, nothing.)

At a time when Chicanos were saying ya basta to oppression, the Crusade told the Chicano people to take pride in their culture, in their language, their color, their heritage. They told Chicanos to stand proud instead of bowing subserviently to their oppressors. This was correct. Oppressed nationalities have the democratic right to their revolutionary culture, to their own language and identity. They have the right to fight to preserve themselves as a people. But in struggling for cultural rights, we cannot make it the main focus of the struggle nor can we try to preserve our culture without shedding the bad things about it. The Crusade tried to make the struggle for culture a main focus of the Chicano movement and mystified the culture to the point where everything that was Chicano was good and never once criticised negative aspects of Chicano culture such as the concept of machismo.

Although the Crusade has said that imperialism/capitalism is the enemy of the Chicano people, they have consistently shown, in practice, that they consider gringo (Anglo) society and therefore, Anglos to be the main enemy of the Chicano people. In practice they still refuse to unite with White people and instead foster hatred among Chicanos for Anglos. In 1972 the Crusade was still promoting this hatred, teaching it even to children. In the January 1972 issue of El Gallo they printed letters to Warden Patterson, warden of the Colorado state penitentiary, written by children at the Escuela Tlatelolco, the Crusade school. The children write:

Dear Mr. Patterson,
I have to tell it like it is cause gringos are really pig-headed. Chicanos have to stick together all the way to get by in this gringo society.

Dear Mr. Patterson,
I am concerned on what you are doing to my Chicano brothers. Even though I am not a Chicano I still claim Chicano people as there my own brothers and sisters. But gringos I claim as my dog or like a pile of shit. The gringo school I went to last year, all they taught me was to turn against my own people. And at Tlatelolco they teach me way better things.

Chicanos took up this line of hating White people, of viewing them as their enemy after years and years of suffering from racism. The people did not realize that White workers are oppressed by imperialism also and are therefore the natural allies of the Chicano people. But this natural alliance is undermined by racism. Racism is a thing which is kept alive by the imperialists among the people to keep oppressed people disunited, divided along racial and national lines. It is correct to struggle against racism, to make White workers recognize our common oppression and the Chicanos’s right to exist as a distinct people. But to rid society of racism we cannot simply kill off White people, hate them or refuse to have anything to do with them. We must destroy imperialism and end class-divided society, the thing which is responsible for racism being spread among the people. To combat racism we must promote the unity of all oppressed peoples, based on equality, regardless of color. But the Crusade actively promoted the idea among Chicanos that White people, that racism was their main enemy. Narrow nationalism is also counterrevolutionary because it undermines the unity between oppressed peoples. It does not equip us to combat racism correctly. It keeps the revolutionary ranks divided which actively strengthens the imperialists.

Both of these lines, narrow nationalism and reformism, turn the people away from the path of liberation – one by keeping the revolutionary ranks divided and misidentifying the enemy; the other by making people believe that they can come to control their own lives under this system. Both of these lines strengthen imperialism’s grip on our people. And both of these lines can be found in almost every major political position of the Crusade for Justice since its beginnings.


The Crusade is quite proud of the fact that they were one of the first to take a position against the Vietnamese war. By opposing the war, by refusing to serve in the armed forces, they did take a position which could weaken imperialism. Without soldiers in the armed forces the imperialist armies would have been weakened and the Vietnamese struggle aided.

In the May 1968 El Gallo, Ernesto Vigil stated: “The Selective Service system is inadequate and discriminatory and should be opposed until it is changed, so that the Spanish-surnamed, the Black and the general poor do not have to bear the brunt of this undeclared war.” It was correct to stand against the special oppression of minorities, but instead of calling for an end to the war, the Crusade called for reforming the draft system so that the war could be born by all of society.

Later on they changed their position somewhat. They adopted the slogan of opposing the war as a war of genocide. They called it a racist war and demanded its end. By simply calling it a racist war they again whipped up the hysteria against all White people. It is not white people that go around conquering other nations, killing off its population. It is imperialists, regardless of color or race, who for economic reasons, for profit try to subjugate whole nations. It is the greed of imperialist oppressors and not their skin color which leads them to oppress the people of the world. So even in a basically correct position of opposing the Viet Nam war, the Crusade put forward their reformism and their narrow nationalism.

On the Police

The Crusade has always been concerned with the problem of police brutality and rightfully so. The police have consistently attacked, killed and harassed both the Chicano people and the Crusade for Justice. But with all these experiences the Crusade has not yet understood that the police are special instruments, special bodies of armed men created especially to protect the imperialist system from being overthrown by any mass insurrection. The police are the front line, the shock troops and when things get too heavy they are backed up by the national guard and the military. We need only look at the role the police have played in such things as the coal miners’ strike, the role they played in the CU Boulder campus during the Arts & Sciences Bldg. takeover, the role they played at the L.A. Moratorium, to be convinced that the police are the armed forces of the State consistently used to smash, sabotage and infiltrate the peoples’ struggles. We can see that the job of the police is to serve and protect their imperialist masters.

But the Crusade has always put forward that the only thing wrong with the police is that they are not doing their job of serving and protecting the people! They say that the police need only follow their job descriptions, display a more humane attitude towards the people and everything would be fine. The Crusade continues to call for the police department to shape up and reform itself so that we can all live happily, side by side with the men in blue. During the Haro-Quintana cases, the Crusade put out a call to the Denver police department to correct and cleanse themselves for having conspired with the FBI, CIA, etc. to frame Crusade members on serious felony charges. In his most recent Sept. 16th “Message to Aztlan”, Corky put forward:

Let all police in this city, this state, this country and around the world where the same mentality persists, understand that the real responsibility is to serve the people and not the profit corporations and their political puppets. Their role is not to defend the privileges of the power structure, but to protect the rights of the people...Serve, protect and love and it can be reciprocated. Destroy, kill and treat our people with injustice and you might only receive the same in return.

This incorrect view of the police can only spell disaster for revolutionaries. If we identify the police as someone who can be a friend of the people if they would only repent and act right, we will not struggle against them correctly. The police are not friends of the people and can never be. They are part of the enemy’s forces which are and will be used against the people.

As a direct result of their line on the police, the Crusade continues to attempt to reform them and along with that tries to combat their misconduct by going to court, by demanding special prosecutors and grand juries to look into the cases of police abuses as in the Curtis Park (1977) incident. It is correct to support the demands of the people in calling for an end to police abuse but as revolutionaries, we must show them that we cannot rely on the courts either. The reformism of the Crusade leads them to rely on the State, the very State which has systematically and consistently harassed, killed and beaten them.

The Crusade has a long history of relying on the courts to cure the ills of society and specifically the wrongs done their organization by the State apparatus. Beginning in 1959, Corky Gonzales began combatting police misconduct by suing for damages in the sum of $1-million. While involved in electoral politics he was consistently seeking court rulings that he was eligible to run for House of Representatives, suing other mayoral candidates in 1967. Up to the present the Crusade has always fought oppression by suing in courts, claiming millions of dollars in damages from police “misconduct”, FBI circulation of rumours that they intended to kill a cop a day, for damages suffered in the police attack on their building on March 17th. Apparently oppression can be made less painful through the dollars and cents awarded them in court.

On Electoral Politics

Because the Crusade believes that the imperialist system can be reformed, they have deep faith in the democratic electoral process. On this question their narrow nationalism and reformism comes out strongly. The Crusade for Justice has a long history of attempting to reform the electoral system to suit the needs of Chicanos by trying to get Chicanos into government positions.

A quote from their political program shows us how serious they are:

The Crusade has proven the effectiveness of political participation and the value of political independence, to bargain for our people on issues that are of grave concern and importance to the well-being and social elevation of our people.
Our members will be trained and educated to participate in Voter Registration, Political caucuses, county and state assemblies. The Crusade will work to influence candidates and legislation to open the door for complete political, economic and social freedom.

In order to achieve liberation Chicanos must have political power. But we must seize that power through armed struggle of the people. There is no way we can do it as the Crusade would have us do – peacefully through the ballot box. The experience of the Chilean people shows us how impossible it is for the people to seize and maintain power through peaceful means.

In 1958 Corky Gonzales was heavily involved with the Democratic party. His party affiliation, like that of most Chicanos, came from the belief that the democratic party was more sensitive to the needs of Chicanos, was more liberal than the Republican party. Gonzales participated in electoral politics either as a democrat or as an independent running for the House of Representatives in 1964 and in 1967 for mayor of Denver. Through those experiences he apparently came to recognize that the Democratic Party’s sensitivity was only a keen sensitivity for gathering votes. However, he never came to recognize the true nature of democratic electoral politics under imperialism. By giving people the right to vote, imperialism creates illusions among the people. The people come to believe that they have a voice in their government but in reality they merely get to choose which of the imperialists will take a turn heading the government which oppresses us.

The incorrect line of the Crusade on electoral politics was progressive in that it did recognize the nature of the Democratic and Republican parties but they never saw the need to break with parliamentary politics and adopt revolutionary politics. The Crusade breaking with established political parties came from their narrow nationalist line that the major problem with electoral politics was the lack of Chicano candidates and an inadequate representation in government of the Chicanos.

With the establishment of the La Raza Unida Party (LRUP), the Crusade put forward that the democratic and republican parties were part of a “two-headed monster”, neither of them able to uphold the interests of the Chicano people. Although they said they would not add a third head to the monster, they did just that. They said they would primarily use the LRUP as an educational tool – to politically educate people as to the true nature of the democratic process. The Crusade instead put heavy emphasis on the electoral process; they concentrated heavily on voter registration drives among Chicanos with the intentions of amassing political power at the polls; they sought and mobilized around referendums for recall elections.

The entire LRUP platform calls for the continuation of the capitalist system but with Chicanos getting a piece of the pie. The politics of the LRUP are not revolutionary politics but narrow nationalist and reformist politics.

ECONOMIC ISSUES – Recognizing that the lack of ownership of businesses by Chicanos in Chicano communities leads to a drain of scarce economic resources existing in Chicano communities and contributes to the disproportionate Chicano unemployment rate, we restate our position of pursuing economic community control. Additionally, we direct attention at: Parity in employment to include federal government, public service companies and agencies, unions, etc.

REDISTRIBUTION OF THE WEALTH – We believe that all citizens of this country should share in the wealth of this nation. To this end, we focus particular attention on: The necessary tax reforms to eliminate the favored positions of corporations and the wealthy.

The Crusade’s line on electoral politics is not only not revolutionary, it is counterrevolutionary. It turns people away from revolution by telling people they can share in the wealth of this country simply through voting and passing new laws.

On Community Control

What is the Crusade for Justice’s line on community control? Again, it is a line of narrow nationalism and reformism. They say that the main thing wrong with the institutions such as government agencies, the church, schools, etc. is that the white man dominates them. If Chicanos could control them there would not be anything wrong with the imperialist system. This line is also counterrevolutionary in that it turns the struggle of the people into a struggle, not to eliminate imperialism and its repressive institutions, but into a struggle to control them, to take them over. It makes people believe that it is possible, under imperialism, for the people to control their own lives simply by taking over these institutions. The Crusade puts forward:

The Church is the enemy of the people. Institutions are the enemy of the people. Foundations are the enemy of the people. These are all tools used by the foreign gabacho (Anglo) exploiter to keep the poor of Aztlan and the rest of the third world oppressed.

For this reason and for the reason that only if the community has full and absolute control over their community centers and the programs instituted there; over their local schools and school boards, over their community, police, people who will serve, observe and protect our people and not brutalize them, over all those things that effect the Chicano can he develop his fullest potential of self-determination and pride.

We strongly emphasize that the concept of community control become a reality towards which we will work.

How does the Crusade work for this community control? Well, for one thing they have “nationalized” the parks and swimming pools. In May 1971 they proudly announced that “Chicanos will have control of 3 community pools this summer. This is part of the community control we talk about.” The liberation of the Chicano people will not come about by controlling parks and it is a mockery to the cause of revolution to put forward to people that they are less oppressed because chicanos control swimming pools.

And even these so-called liberated areas are not free of narrow nationalism.

Even on the question of the parks the Crusade tries to fill people with hatred for Anglos. In a newspaper article about the parks they said,

And check out all the long hair honks (Anglos) that have been coming around lately because they say our park is together. They pass out dope and call everyone ’brother’. It was us who got the park together and they came along after we did the work and shed the blood. They run to us saying ’brother’ because our park is together, where they should stay in their own parks and get them together or go and try to cure their mommies and daddies racism.

The Crusade at this time also practices community control over community service programs by filling those positions with their people, drawing big salaries and fulfilling their own narrow interests. In spite of their declaration that institutions, churches and foundations are the enemy of the people, the Crusade turns to these very groups and asks and gets money from them. The Crusade and their programs were established and run on the money grated them by such sources as the Catholic church, municipal, state and federal agencies, public and private foundations. Imperialists are good businessmen. They only give money to those people who are on their side, who will help keep the people oppressed. That should tell us a lot about the role of the Crusade for Justice and their line on community control.

On Drugs and Alcohol

The Crusade for Justice has taken a correct stand on the question of hard drugs and the effect that they have on the people. Everyone can unite that heroin, cocaine, etc. are dangerous substances whose only purpose is to keep the people in a weak, subjugated position.

But on the question of grass and excessive use of alcohol they do not take definitive positions. At times they talk about how “All drugs are bad for our people”, and at other times say that their position is not meant to be a ”cold-blooded out down of all get-high or even all junkies, but we realize why our community is infected with hard drugs.”

A revolutionary organization must have a good understanding of the role which hard drugs, marijuana and excessive alcohol play in keeping the people oppressed. All of these things are introduced and actively promoted by the imperialists in order to keep the revolutionary upsurge of the people at a low level, to stunt it. When the masses become demoralized because of the oppressive conditions under which they live, they have turned to “getting high” in whatever form in order to escape the reality of their situation. If revolutionaries understand that the role of “getting high” is to keep the people pacified and we are trying to show leadership we cannot engage in those things ourselves. We must, at all times, as revolutionaries, be an example to the people. This is a difference that has to be settled through the method of persuasion and discussion when approaching the people. We must convince, not force, people to quit smoking and drinking heavily. We must try to turn the people away from “getting high” and turn them on to revolution.

On Education

Since its beginnings, the Crusade has taken up the issue of education particularly in the primary and secondary schools. They were present at the West High blowouts and were spokespersons for that struggle. However, in education as in every other area they put out their narrow nationalism and their reformism. In education they put forward that Chicanos should control their own schools which is a good idea but impossible under capitalism. But matching deeds to their words, they instituted their own school, housed at the Crusade for Justice building. Although this particular solution, an alternative school, is possible for them, it is not a practical solution for every Chicano in the country because there will not be special funding given by the imperialist for these types of schools all over the country.

Politically, alternative schools, exclusively for one national group are not a good thing from the aspect that they will segregate the children, will prevent the development of any kind of multinational unity by not allowing children of all nationalities to mix. The Crusade school is particularly bad in this aspect. We have seen by the letters from their students in the first part of this paper what kind of ideas the Crusade gives the children in their schools.

In their program for social change the Crusade put forward in 1970: “If the education is inadequate, then boycott the system; 4) if the books in our educational system are racist then, we must burn them.” Neither of the two things which the Crusade puts out will bring about any changes in the educational system much less make education serve the needs of the people.

The Crusade view of students in universities has changed often since 1969 but it has never been good. In the early 60ís during the Viet Nam anti-war movement they launched an attack of the student movement. In an article in El Gallo they wrote: “With an electric guitar and large amplifier, you can control the student peace movement; Yes student for peace, it seems the only peace and killing they are concerned for is their own...If you call yourself a radical, be one, don’t let the ’Hair’ control you.”

Although the student peace movement was filled with incorrect lines and tendencies, the Crusade tended to lump all students together and completely overlooked the fact that some strata of students are revolutionary. They liquidated the fact that revolutionary students had marched and been killed in protest of the imperialist war. They completely overlooked Kent State and Jackson State and their significance. The Crusade’s criticisms of the student movement were prompted by the fact that it was predominantly composed of Anglo students. Their narrow nationalism did not allow them to see the revolutionary students as allies of the Chicano movement.

Their narrow nationalism has again prompted them to criticize the student movement, this time the Chicano student movement that was involved in multi-national coalitions. On March 17, 1977 Corky Gonzales criticized students for being “adventurist”, for worrying about the international situation instead of taking care of ”their own backyard, their own communities first”. If Chicanos are to be liberated, are to defeat imperialism, they must unite with all allies against imperialism. Imperialism is an international enemy which must be fought on an international scale. It is correct revolutionary strategy to support other struggles nationally and internationally which are opposed to the common enemy. It is only narrow nationalists such as the Crusade who think that Chicanos can first liberate themselves and then think about linking up with other struggles if they have the time or desire.

The Crusade has put out that not only should Chicanos not support international struggles but that the role of students today is to be the people who will integrate into the capitalist system for the benefit of the Chicano people. “We must have those professionals and students who will dedicate themselves to the unglamorous tasks of research and work which will provide the fact of ownership (to the land). We must have our legal arm represented by those lawyers who have a common philosophy with the masses of the people and who will protect the legal interest at any cost. We are sure that the Chicano student population is less than VL of our total population, that our professionals in the areas of medicine, engineering, chemistry, physics have not even scratched the surface...From our professionals will be expected the offering of their resources, their contacts, their know-how to provide the necessities of survival for the people.”

The primary role of revolutionary students and intellectuals is not to use their knowledge to teach the people how to survive under capitalism. Revolutionary students and intellectuals must use their knowledge to help the people learn how to overthrow capitalism and end the suffering for all time. This task is being taken up concretely by the revolutionary students such as on the CU Boulder campus. In last year’s struggle against the discrediting of EOP classes, they showed us the correctness and need to forge multi-national unity and to carry out illegal actions by the masses, the need to carry political propaganda to the people. Theirs is the kind of line we must follow and not the line of the Crusade for Justice.

On the Woman Question

Searching through the newspapers of the Crusade since 1970 and through a book of their history put out by the Crusade, there was no significant mention of the special oppression of Chicanas or of the role which women must play in the Chicano movement. This failure to mention women and their special struggle shows that the Crusade does not recognize that women are oppressed both by the ideology of male chauvinism (a way of thinking that says that women are inferior to men) and does not recognize that women are especially oppressed by imperialism.

But the Crusade’s position on women goes beyond just not recognizing their special oppression. Because they hold that everything that is Chicano is good, they do not criticize any of the bad aspects of Chicano culture. Within the Chicano culture a non-revolutionary aspect which must be eliminated is the concept of mach-mo. Machismo is nothing more than the worst form of male chauvinism. It is an idea within Chicano culture which tries to keep women at home, says their main role is to bear children, keep a happy home and serve the needs of men. The Crusade does not actively struggle against this concept. The only major article found in El Gallo dealing with a woman put forward that “she did not hold a degree in anything academically but she possessed a doctorate in the realm of life and what it meant to live as a Chicana struggling to love and keep her family together.”

At the same time that women are expected to have full responsibility for household chores, because of bad economic conditions women are forced to work outside the home. At work they are paid less (again because they are considered inferior) and further oppressed as workers with the profits of their labour being ripped off by the imperialists who do not lift one finger. In order to end the oppression of women we must create the conditions for her to actively take up the struggle against her imperialist exploiters.

A starting point for revolutionaries is to struggle against keeping women at home, keeping them tied down with housework. We must put into practice the revolutionary slogan Equality for Women by dividing the responsibi1ites of home and child rearing in such a way that women are freed UP to do political work. We must train women, we must encourage their full, all-rounded participation in the revolution. The Crusade for Justice does not recognize the need to actively involve women in the struggle in such a way. In fact a poem they printed entitled “La Madre” shows the woman as a person who, after having given birth,, passively stands by during the struggle, crying when her sons are killed and laughing with joy when her sons seize power.

The correct line on the role of women in the revolution is put forward by the women combatants of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Army when they say “Hereafter, oppressed Ethiopian women will not only carry roasted grain in their belts, but also bullets, hereafter, we will not be dressed in mourning for our children, sisters and brothers who have been and are being massacred by the fascists. We will neither beat our breasts nor put black kerchiefs over our heads in grief, we are rather armed with revenge.... we will organize and line up in the field of struggle for a raging life and death struggle against the fascists and the social fascists.”


The only way to end the oppression of Chicanos is by a revolution – an armed uprising against imperialism carried out by the masses of the people. It. is the masses who are oppressed and it is only the masses who can liberate themselves.

Revolutionary armed struggle is directly opposed to terrorism, a philosophy which puts forward that the isolated acts of violence of a few individuals will achieve liberation for the masses or be the “spark” which will ignite the struggle of the masses. Terrorism completely liquidates the leading role of the masses in the war for liberation and liquidates the role of having a plan for revolution. The Crusade has always put out that people should stop talking and take up the gun now. In Alamosa in 1975 they told hundreds of representatives of the Chicano movement to quit talking about revolution, to quit trying to forge political unity. The Crusade told people that they should pick up guns, now, and go to the mountains. They politically unite with terrorist groups such as La Frente de Liberacion Chicana and the Continental Revolutionary Army. On the question of armed struggle the Crusade shows its other side, its adventurist side which is completely opposed to its reformist side in tactics. However, reformism and terrorism are just two faces of a counterrevolutionary line since both hold back the revolution. The relationship between these two aspects is that the Crusade’s reformism is stronger, the primary aspect. They have taken up reformism without putting into action their terrorist line which would have them up in the mountains instead of in an old church on 16th and Downing (Denver residential area).

Closely connected with this question of armed struggle and the role of the masses is the question of how a revolutionary group becomes leadership within the Chicano liberation struggle. We said before that it is the responsibility of revolutionary organizations to give political direction to the struggle of the people. Therefore, giving leadership to the struggle means getting people in that struggle to support the political theory and tactics which will lead to liberation, which can end oppression. It is essential for the people to be firmly in support of the theory and practice of the revolution. We must primarily arm people politically at this time. The task which faces revolutionaries is to eliminate imperialism. It is a task which can only be successful if the masses have unity of action because they are united on the plan for revolution.

In order to achieve that unity of theory and practice, revolutionaries put forward their ideas and try to get the people to support them through the method of discussion and persuasion. Revolutionaries are open to hearing disagreements and criticisms, in the interests of finding out what is the correct line. A revolutionary must understand that strength lies in the masses; that the masses are the makers of history. That the masses are capable of grasping revolutionary theory and carrying the struggle through to its conclusion.

A revolutionary never imposes his ideas on the masses through force or coercion. That is only the method of the imperialists. They have always had to resort to force, coercion, and trickery to try to get the masses to serve imperialism’s interests as they did during the Vietnamese war. To expect the masses to follow anyone blindly shows real disdain for the masses.

The Crusade for Justice’s disdain for the masses began to be apparent as early as 1969 and showed itself primarily in 2 ways: 1) in the way they have consistently refused to thoroughly explain their political strategy for revolution and 2) in the way they treat people who are opposed to them either on a political or personal level.

Although they always talk about the need to do political education to the masses, the Crusade has never done that. Although they do not say it outright their actions imply that the people are too stupid to be able to grasp political ideas and so the Crusade will do their thinking for them.

The most political program they have put out is some mystical, poetic phrases about the moral values of “our ancient ancestors.” In a message to El Congreso Corky put out:

Personally the direction I chose some years back is still the same direction I choose today... What then is the political philosophy that I speak of? It is the same political philosophy of our forefathers, El Indio, El Espanol, El Mestisaje. We work together, we share together, we offer our resources and expertise to our people for the benefit of our people.

That is all very beautiful but that is not a political philosophy which will help us to defeat and annihilate the profit-greedy system which has been bleeding our people for hundreds of years.

When the Crusade is not putting out flower phrases they are in fact directly attacking the need to do any political education to the people. “Intellectualizing, theorizing, and rhetoric will not do it; therefore we tried to avoid this stupid waste of time and concentrate on tactics.” By their own admission they do not see the need to have an overall plan for revolution but ere content to have the people go from demonstration to demonstration, not because they understand how that may end their oppression but simply because they are La Raza Cosmica, La Raza Bronce.

This disdain, this lack of respect for the masses logically results in the inability of the Crusade for Justice to accept criticisms or questioning from anybody. It is a known fact locally that they have a reputation for settling disagreements with their fists, that they beat, harass, and intimidate people who are critical of them or have differences with them regardless of whether those differences are personal or political. However, these strong arm tactics had never been open attacks but always took the form of a few individuals showing up at people’s houses, surrounding individuals caught alone in the bathroom at bars, alleys, etc.

Before August 29, 1977, their public strong arm tactics took the “legal” form of taking over community centers, committees, etc. by showing up with large numbers of members of the Crusade and then nominating themselves and voting themselves onto seats on the Boards of Directors. These maneuverings were nothing more than subtle attacks on the people since the takeovers were usually aimed at committees and organizations which were already run by Chicanos. Because they never tried to win people over politically they instead always resorted to just taking over things. This is what they did to the Colorado Committee of Chicanos and the Mass Media and tried to do to the student organization Fuerzas Revolucionarias de Aztlan.

Before August 29, 1977, they would deal with political criticisms by launching abusive, name-calling campaigns against their critics and using such phrases as “diarrhea of the mouth”. But because they are incapable of putting forward a sound political theory, they were never able to point out how the criticisms might be correct or why others’ ideas were not the road to revolution.

But the height of their disdain for the masses, the height of them showing that they are not interested in ending the oppression of Chicanos by seeking the correct road to revolution, came on August 29, 1977. On that day they showed that the way they intended to deal with opposing political ideas is to attack those people who think differently. They attacked the very people who they profess to want to liberate. And they attacked them simply because they did not agree with the ideas of the Crusade for Justice. They showed that the way they intend to assert their leadership of the Chicano people is to beat the people into submission, to stifle all opposition. They have taken up the tactics of the oppressor against the people and have become, like the oppressor, an enemy of the people.


Why did we need this analysis of the Crusade for Justice and what are our tasks? We did not just pick the Crusade because we were in search of someone to criticize. We picked the Crusade for Justice because they represent a danger to the revolution.

They are a danger because oftentimes simply on the basis of its reputation, revolutionaries are swayed into accepting the Crusade’s leadership in a struggle. As honest revolutionaries struggling for the liberation of the people we cannot be overwhelmed or fooled by myths, “track records,” or “we were there when...” programs as a sufficient basis for leadership. We must closely examine the political ideas put out by any particular group and see whether those principles can lead to liberation.

They are also a danger because of their emerging fascist tendencies which may lead them in the future to continue their attacks upon honest revolutionaries who express disunity with them. We have seen their actions in the past and we must not underestimate them in the future. Their fascist tendencies are a direct result of their disdain for the masses. Ernesto Vigil summed it up well in Boulder on February 10, 1978, at a grand jury forum when he said, “We depend on no one outside of our organization, for to do so would make us weak.” They have completely rejected the fundamental revolutionary principle that the strength of a revolution lies in the masses.

We must unite the Crusade is politically incorrect and unite on taking practical measures to guard against any future attacks.

It is essential at this time to decide who are the friends of the people and who are the enemies. It is essential to decide what are correct political principles which will lead the Chicano people to victory in their liberation struggle. Why? Because the conditions which created the upsurge among the Chicano people in the 1960’s are repeating themselves and will soon create another upsurge. We must be prepared to give correct political leadership to that upsurge. We can see it coming. We can see it in such factors as the Bakke decision which denies equal opportunity to oppressed nationalities and women. We can see it in Proposition 13 which pits the property owners against the propertyless in the guise of a tax reform but which in reality is an opportunity to cut health services, child care for working people, etc. The ranks of the unemployed are growing. Prices are going up faster than wages. We are slowly losing the gains made by the struggle of the people in the 60’s. The people will only take so much and then they will rise up angry again. We must be prepared to direct that anger against imperialism.

To do this we must shed all incorrect lines which we followed in the 60’s and which we can see did not lead to the liberation of the Chicano people. To meet the task of leadership we must forge a proletarian revolutionary party led by the correct political principles. Principles such as multi-national unity, such as alliance of the workers and oppressed nationalities with revolutionary students. We must seek the full participation of women in the ranks of the movement. And we must remember that the strength of revolutionaries comes from the masses and that it is the masses and the masses alone who are the makers of history.

We must stand against reformism, against narrow nationalism and we must reject the leadership of the Crusade for Justice and reject their political ideas.

This is no small matter on which we can afford to be liberal or weak. The Chicano people have continued to suffer under the yoke of oppression for hundreds of years. In their glorious history of struggle they have lost hundreds of thousands of lives simply because they followed incorrect political ideas such as those of the Crusade for Justice. It is our responsibility as revolutionaries to firmly reject incorrect political ideas in order to turn the hundreds of years of struggle of the Chicano people into a victory. We must make sure that the fallen sons and daughters of the Chicano people have not died in vain. We must grasp correct political ideas and win the liberation of the people.



[1] See Resistance, Vol.8, #8, “Expose the Crusade for Justice”, for more information on the disruption.