Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Ed Kohn

Venceremos: Action, Not Theory. University Complicity Attacked

Published: The Stanford Daily, Volume 159, Issue 16, 23 February 1971. 
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This is the second in a series of news analyses describing political activism – both on the Right and on the Left.

* * *

“The vanguard of the revolution in this country will be the most oppressed peoples of this country – that’s the black, brown, and Native American peoples. In the revolution, societal roles are turned upside down; that is, the most oppressed take the roles of leadership,” a member of Venceremos said.

Members of the group say that they are not trying to build a movement around student power here but are trying to expose the “fascism of the Stanford Judicial Council and that kind of American justice” and how that relates to the cases of Angela Davis, Bobby Seale and the Panthers.

At least four of those recently tried for disrupting Henry Cabot Lodge’s speech Jan. 11 are members of Venceremos. “To be suspended from school is not that big a deal when you look at the struggles of Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, Ruchell McGhee, the Soledad Brothers,” one member said.

“In all things, we follow the leadership of the Black Panther Party. The Black Panther Party believes in armed self-defense: every member of that party and our party should be armed and own a gun for self-defense . . . Our revolutionary business is serving the people.”

Stanford’s Role

Venceremos believes that Stanford is one of the primary institutions supporting the continuing Indochinese War, and that the only way to end that “complicity” is to “shut it (the University) down.”

“Stanford plays a very important part in the capitalist-imperialist system right now in that the petit bourgeois people here are trained to go out to business as managers. It’s very important for capitalism that the colleges continue to exist. Stanford is a very important tool of the imperialists . . . ”

“For us to be here educating people on what’s happening and how they’re being used and how they’re perpetuating a racist system is very important work. It’s not as impossible as you would think off-hand that sons and daughters of the ruling class will become revolutionaries when they have everything they want.”


“You don’t have that much freedom, you just have money. But in this country, freedom is money as is happiness, justice, pleasure – everything.”

Venceremos considers itself a Marxist-Leninist group, and many of its most outspoken members, including Prof. Franklin, consider themselves Maoists. At rallies, one common theme stressed by members is that “one side’s right, one side’s wrong” and that “liberals” or “moderates” are dangerous because of their refusal to choose up sides:

“Sometimes I feel that liberals are more dangerous than conservatives because liberals don’t actually know what’s happening with the world. Conservatives know who’s in power, and they’ll do anything to keep themselves in power, and liberals feel that the country is very fair to everyone. That’s unobjective reality, totally unrealistic.”