Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

October League (M-L)

Chicano Liberation

Resolution of OL’s Third Congress


The following is a draft of the resolution on the Chicano national question which was amended and unanimously adopted at the Third Congress of the OL. We invite comments and criticisms. The final drafts of the resolutions from the Congress will be published in the coming months.–ed.

There exists a large vacuum in the body of Marxist-Leninist theory in the U.S. pertaining to the more than nine million people in this country of Mexican ancestry.

The Communist Party U.S.A. even in its best period, generally ignored the historical and theoretical questions regarding the Chicano people’s struggle. In the most recent publication on the Chicano Question, the revisionist CP admits, “In recent years the whole of the Party has not been involved in the fight for Chicano liberation. On this front, our work has been characterized by serious underestimation and neglect.”[1]

Of course no mention is made by the revisionists of the reasons for this “underestimation” and “neglect” which are based in the CP’s abandonment of the cause of proletarian revolution and the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed peoples. We will deal with this more fully later on.

For now, let us say that any attempt to forge a new Marxist-Leninist party, that is multi-national (reflecting the make-up of the U.S. multi-national proletariat) in its organizational make-up and internationalist in its world outlook, must be done in opposition to the revisionist line of “neglect” and “underestimation.”

For us, the Chicano people and their historic struggle for liberation are a component part of the U.S. people’s movement for revolution and socialism. Our strategy calls for a mighty alliance between the general multi-national working-class movement and the national movements of the Afro-American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Asian-American, Native-American Indian and other nationally oppressed peoples. This alliance makes up the core of the anti-imperialist united front in this country, which under the leadership of the working class and its Marxist-Leninist vanguard, will smash for all time the evil system of imperialism.

In developing an approach to the Chicano national question, there must be a starting point. Ours is the need to push forward the united struggle of the people to overthrow imperialism and to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. Only through this revolutionary overthrow, can the liberation of any and all of the various peoples in the U.S. occur. Within this framework, the unity of the working class represents the cornerstone of our work and this unity must be embodied in the revolutionary party of the proletariat.

This starting point distinguishes us from all of the various opportunists, reformists and bourgeois nationalists who pose a solution to the national question within the boundaries of capitalism. We are also distinguished by our view of the Chicano question being based upon dialectical and historical, materialist analysis, applying the principles of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions of the U.S. This requires an accurate summing up of the history of the Chicano people and playing the question of Chicano liberation firmly in the historical epoch in which we now find ourselves. This is the era of imperialism, capitalism grown to its highest stage and now headed for its final collapse. In this era, the national question has become a question of overthrowing imperialism and a part of the revolutionary struggle of the working class for socialism.

Chairman Mao Tsetung pointed out: “Imperialism has pushed the great masses of people throughout the world into the historical epoch of the great struggle to abolish imperialism.”[2]

The Chicano struggle is viewed in this resolution as a component part of this world-wide struggle against imperialism, presently headed by the two superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union. This also distinguishes us from the petty-bourgeois reformers and nationalists who separate the national struggle from the present epoch and treat it as a bourgeois question, calling for the bourgeoisie’s leadership of the Chicano movement. Lenin pointed out:

Developing capitalism knows two historical tendencies in the national question. The first is the awakening of national life and national movements, the struggle against all national oppression and the creation of national states. The second is the development and growing frequency of international intercourse in every form, the breakdown of national barriers, the creation of international unity of capital, of economic life in general, of politics, science, etc.

Both tendencies are a universal law of capitalism. The former predominates in the beginning of its development, the latter characterizes a mature capitalism that is moving towards its transformation into socialist society. The Marxists’ national programme takes both tendencies into account, and advocates, firstly, the equality of nations and languages and the impermissibility of all privileges in this respect (and also the right of nations to self-determination...); secondly, the principle of internationalism and uncompromising struggle against contamination of the proletariat with bourgeois nationalism, even the most refined kind... “...What is left is capitalism’s world historical tendency to break down national barriers, obliterate national distinctions, and to assimilate nations–a tendency which manifests itself more and more powerfully with every passing decade, and is one of the greatest driving forces transforming capitalism into socialism.[3]

Lenin’s teachings provide the path for our development of a communist program for the Chicano struggle. It is a program based upon the development of these two historical tendencies. The first brought forth the Mexican people as a nation with the rise of capitalism. They fought heroically against the Spanish and French colonial powers. These powers built their empires upon the enslavement of the Indians, the toiling masses in Mexico and what is now the Southwestern U.S. just as U.S. capitalism was being born on the enslavement of the Afro-American people in the plantation South.

As Marx wrote: “The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production.”[4]


This historical tendency was characterized by the westward movement of U.S. capitalism, the invasion of Mexico in the Mexican-American War and the annexation of that country’s northern territory in 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This demarcation, leaving less than 100,000 Spanish-speaking people in the Southwest U.S. (whose history went back some 300 years) laid the basis for the development of the Chicano national minority and for their present struggle against all forms of national oppression and discrimination. In the 130 years since then, the era of imperialism developed, characterized by the rapid proletarianization of masses of formerly small peasant farmers and the tendency towards internationalism and the merging of the world’s peoples.

This is the period of capitalism in transformation into socialism. While defending the national rights of the Chicano national minority (including in our program forms of regional autonomy, where culture, language and political power can be developed), we always put the unity of the working and oppressed peoples of the different nationalities in first place.

In recognizing the national character of the Chicano people and their struggle and in upholding the Leninist program of regional autonomy, we are by no means trying to reconcile our line with bourgeois nationalism. We limit ourselves to supporting that which is progressive in the national movement and always push forth the proletarian consciousness of the people (90 per cent of the Chicano people are workers). We are not simply trying to divide the U.S. into many smaller nations, but rather working towards a multi-national state where all of the many nations and nationalities can join together as equals.

Our program is based upon the recognition that a multi-national state cannot exist (even under socialism) without the complete democratization of the economic and political life of that country. Further, recognizing that under capitalism, a multi-national struggle against that system cannot be forged without a program and social practice which put forth and uphold the equality and liberation of all oppressed nations and minorities. Finally, it recognizes that the proletariat is the vanguard class, a class which cannot emancipate itself without at the same time emancipating all of mankind.

With the creation of a communist party that embodies these principles, the proletariat will be able to assume its rightful position at the head of the struggle for Chicano liberation as well as being in the forefront of the entire anti-imperialist struggle in the U.S.


[1] Communist Party (USA), Toward Chicano Liberation

[2] Mao Tsetung, Cast Away Illusions, Prepare for Struggle

[3] V.I. Lenin, Critical Remarks On the National Question

[4] K. Marx, Capital, Vol. 1