Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

October League (M-L)

Chicano Liberation

Resolution of OL’s Third Congress


The developing Marxist-Leninist trend within the Chicano people’s revolutionary struggle stands in sharp opposition to the various opportunist, revisionist and bourgeois nationalist trends. A revolutionary solution to the Chicano national question is opposed by the white chauvinist line of the modern revisionists who try to stifle the revolutionary initiative of the masses through their various reformist schemes. Their counter-revolutionary hopes are based upon driving divisions between the Chicano people and the general movement of the working class, which is its number one ally. Finally, the CPUSA revisionists hope to prettify imperialism by covering over its history of annexation, national oppression and plunder.

Such “leftist” groups as the Communist Labor Party and the Revolutionary Union, despite their militant rhetoric, wind up in the same chauvinist swamp as the revisionists. They are joined by the bourgeois cultural nationalists, who link their reformist schemes with anti-working class separatism and demands for “cultural autonomy.”


One can go over the literature put out by the CPUSA over the past two decades with a fine-tooth comb and find little, if anything, written on the Chicano national question. Their total abandonment of Marxism-Leninism for modern revisionism (in tune with their mentors, the Soviet social imperialists) was reflected most clearly in their abandonment of the national movements against imperialism.

Because these movements occupied a potential core force that could play a significant role in the overthrow of their imperialist and social-imperialist masters, the modern revisionists did all they could to blunt this potential. Their policy, by their own admission, “has been characterized by serious underestimation and neglect.”[1] They openly admit that, “In recent years the whole of the party has not been involved in the fight for Chicano liberation.”[2]

But neglect on the part of the CPUSA proved inadequate in stifling the revolutionary initiative and sentiments of the Chicano masses who burst forth during the past decade in a broad and militant struggle against imperialism and its # oppressive policies. This upsurge and the development of significant numbers of Marxist-Leninists was more than the revisionists could take sitting down. They immediately sprung into action, using their money and propaganda machinery to begin to undermine the influences of the revolutionary forces or the potentially revolutionary forces. Through forums like their so-called “Instituto del Pueblo” and their literature, the CPUSA tried to flood the movement with their attacks on revolution and began fouling the air with their reformist and chauvinist line.

Their recent publication, Towards Chicano Liberation, is a good example of their foul-smelling assault on the struggle of the Chicano people. But this only serves to expose their rotten character to all who care to take a whiff. This publication puts forth the revisionists’ policy adopted at the 20th National Convention. It puts forth no real program of struggle for the people and confines talk to bringing about “reforms” within the framework of capitalism.

This “program” includes a list of “Social and Cultural Demands” calling for “Chicano administrators” in the schools; “government finance” of Chicano colleges and universities; an “end to favoritism”, etc... They go so far as to call for “Civilian Review Boards” made up of Chicanos and Chicano judges and ”free access to mass media in all electoral campaigns on an equal basis with other candidates” for Chicano politicians. But nowhere do we find any revolutionary program for the overthrow of U.S. imperialism and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This “social and cultural” program flies in the face of the Marxist-Leninist line on the national and colonial question. Lenin said:

There can be no doubt that ’national culture,’ in the ordinary sense of the term, i.e., schools, etc, is at present under the predominant influence of the clergy and the bourgeois chauvinists in all countries in the world. . .It is primarily in the economic and political sphere that a serious class struggle is waged in any capitalist society. To separate the sphere of education from this is, firstly, absurdly Utopian, because schools (like ’national culture’ in general) cannot be separated from economics and politics.[3]


The “program” of the revisionists amounts to (on the Chicano national question) separating educational demands and other reforms from the sphere of the political struggle for power. In this sense, the policies of the CPUSA merge with the cultural nationalists and their reformist demands for “community control” under capitalism. Autonomy for the Chicano national minority can only exist on the basis of regional autonomy, not cultural autonomy. “Regional autonomy necessitates the revolutionary smashing of the state machinery of the bourgeoisie throughout the country and is a form of democratic self-rule based upon the nation-wide victory of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Therefore it is a revolutionary program and must be resolved in a revolutionary manner. It is not a call for separation. As Stalin said:

The advantage of regional autonomy consists, first of all, in the fact that it does not deal with a fiction bereft of territory, but with a definite population inhabiting a definite territory. Next, it does not divide people according to nations, it does not strengthen national barriers; on the contrary, it breaks down these barriers and unites the population in such a manner as to open the way for division of a different kind, division according to classes.[4]

The program of the revisionist CPUSA is the same as that of the cultural nationalists that Lenin and Stalin opposed. By covering over the fact that national oppression of the Chicano people exists, and that the root source is the imperialist system, the CPUSA objectively aids the imperialists and social-imperialists. It was Lenin who pointed out the real revolutionary character of the national movement in the era of imperialism.

Showing the inadequacies of simple “cultural demands”, he said, “... the main thing today is to stand against the united, aligned front of the imperialist powers, the imperialist bourgeoisie and the social-imperialists and for the utilization of all national movements against imperialism for the purpose of socialist revolution.”[5]

Another example is their attempt to drive a wedge between the Chicano people and the working class, and in particular, the white workers. Their program paints the white workers as the main oppressors of the Chicano people. They put forth a view of racism compatible with the government’s report of the Kerner Commission, which placed the blame for “civil disorders” squarely on the shoulders of the racism of the white workers. The revisionists do the same, covering up the real class source of national oppression. They say:

The terrible divisive character of racism in the U.S. must be overcome. The main burden for achieving this rests on the shoulders of white workers. It is they who must become responsive to the special needs of the oppressed peoples in this country.[6]


To place the main burden for racism on the “shoulders of the white workers” denies the material basis for chauvinism and national oppression, which lies in imperialism’s domination of the colonies and its bribing the labor aristocracy and its privileged position in relationship to the colonially oppressed peoples of the world. Lenin called these renegades who defend and prettify imperialism, “social-imperialists,” that is “socialist in words and imperialists in deeds.” These “social-imperialists” again place the blame for the oppression of the Chicano people on the workers when they say:

Chicanos are confronted by these inhuman practices from the day they are born until their death. They have to confront racist practices daily in their work, from white fellow workers and from bosses, from doctors, teachers, policemen, neighbors and all strata of the white population, even from among those who claim to be their friends.[7]

While they make a token slap at the “bosses,” they bury it in between their vicious attack on the working class and the masses, pointing to them as the source of oppression and thereby dividing Chicanos from the masses of working people. No matter how much the revisionists try to hide behind Marx’s picture, they are unmistakably anti-Marxist in their stand-on the side of the bourgeoisie and in opposition to the masses of working people. As Stalin said:

We can always cope with open nationalism, for it can easily be discerned. It is much more difficult to combat nationalism when it is masked and unrecognizable beneath its mask. Protected by the armour of socialism, it is less vulnerable and more tenacious. Implanted among the workers, it poisons the atmosphere and spreads harmful ideas of mutual distrust and segregation among the workers of different nationalities.[8]


While the CP revisionists disguise their reformism and cultural nationalism on the Chicano question with ”socialist” rhetoric, the petty-bourgeois “leftists” put forth great nation chauvinism with even “more” revolutionary talk. Unlike the CPUSA, the neo-Trotskyists of the CLP have recently published reams of position papers on the Chicano question, filled with invective for the CP. But when all the talk is over, the ultra-“leftists” can provide no program of struggle for the people. While CLP pays lip service to the demand for regional autonomy my, their calls become abstract and vague because they are not combined with a day-to-day plan of struggle which can bring the masses into struggle in a unified way, building up their fighting capacity through the course of struggle and winning concessions from the imperialists. To them, there can be no struggle other than their own narrow “party building” efforts.

These abstract calls for the dictatorship of the proletariat, regional autonomy and the party, are simply the other side of the CP’s reformist program. Now that the CLP has formed their “party,” their practice has exposed them as being in essence, the same as the CPUSA. In their calls for jobs in the midst of this present crisis, and in their long-winded speeches, all talk about the Chicano question and regional autonomy (let alone the dictatorship of the proletariat) is conveniently forgotten. Every demand put forth for special demands of the Chicano, Afro-American and other minority peoples is rejected as “too divisive.” It appears that the only difference between the CLP and the CP is that the CLP tacks on “dictatorship of the proletariat” behind their reformism.


But communists are judged in the face of the national movements by what they do, not only by what they say. Lenin, in his expose of the renegade Trotsky, paints a picture of the CLP’s bourgeois hypocrisy:

Outspoken social-imperialists, such as Lensch, still rail both against self-determination and renunciation of annexations. As for the Kautskyites, they hypocritically recognize self-determination–Trotsky and Martov are going the same way here in Russia. Both of them, like Kautsky, say they favor self-determination. What happens in practice? Take Trotsky’s article ’That Nation and the Economy’ in Nashe Slavo, and you will find his usual eclecticism; on the one hand, the economy unites the nations, and on the other, national oppression divides them. The conclusion? The conclusion is that the prevailing hypocrisy remains unexposed, agitation is dull and does not touch upon what is most important, basic, significant and closely connected with practice–one’s attitude to the nation that is oppressed by ’one’s own nation’.[9]

This same description of hypocritical abandonment, in practice, of the national struggle of the Chicano people easily applies to the CLP. They abandon the national question in practice. Their newspaper is filled with dull, drab propaganda about the “freedom” of the oppressed nations in general, but the concrete movements for Chicano freedom find CLP conspicuously absent.

Another example of their left in form, right in essence policies can be seen in their directing the main blow at the capitalists of the oppressed nations, rather than at their own bourgeoisie, thus sabotaging the united front. Their sectarian stand on the United Farmworkers struggle, which they openly attack as “fascist”, belies their lack of seriousness about the well-being of the masses. Their vicious anti-Third Worldism fails to distinguish between the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nations and their own imperialists. They attack with equal venom, the Mexican government and the imperialists in their propaganda.

All of the maximum programs in the world cannot cover up the basic opportunist nature of the “left,” neo-Trotskyists, CLP.

The “left” opportunist, chauvinist trend of the Revolutionary Union merges with the CPUSA on the Chicano question. The RU presents no concrete analysis of the concrete conditions facing the Chicano masses. They are also noticeably absent from any participation in the national struggle. This, however, has not prevented them from making a “new addition to Marxism” on the Chicano question–“the nation of a new type.”

Blurring over the distinction between an oppressed nation and a national minority, the RU prettifies U.S. imperialism by denying the fact that its 19th century aggression stifled the national development of the Mexican nation in its northwest region. Just as they do on the Afro-American question, the RU uses metaphysics to create nations “everywhere,” while at the same time liquidating the real national demands of the oppressed peoples from a national chauvinist standpoint. An example of this on the Afro-American national question was the racist position on the Boston busing question. In practice, they liquidated the just struggle for democratic rights of Black people and supported the racist, fascist-led, anti-busing movement.

On the Chicano question, they follow suit. Their “nation” rhetoric meant nothing in the Farah strike, as they liquidated all the national, democratic aspects of the workers’ struggle and painted the Farah Strike in their paper as simply a trade union struggle.

Like the CLP, the RU makes the main thrust of their attacks on the governments of the Third World countries who are increasingly standing up in unity to fight the hegemonism of the superpowers. Through such virulent attacks on Mexico, the RU attempts to drive a wedge between the Chicano people and the Third World struggle of the Mexican people. This is a common thread running through all the ultra-“left” mumblings.


Trotskyism is another ultra-“left” deviation that takes on a “nationalist” cover within the Chicano struggle. Like their twins in the CPUSA, the Socialist Workers Party and other Trots confine the Chicano struggle to one of primarily electoral reforms. Their call for a “Chicano party” is nothing but a hypocritical attempt to cash in on the mass struggle of the people while tailing the most backward aspects of cultural nationalism and reformism. It’s important to note the Trots blur over the national development of the Chicano people as an oppressed national minority in their theoretical work. They still talk about “self-determination” in every way but the Marxist-Leninist way, and use it to mean primarily that Chicanos should have cultural autonomy and separate organizations. Like the CPUSA, the SWP ignores the question of the revolutionary overthrow of imperialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat, as well as the question of regional autonomy. Like the CP’s “anti-monopoly” electoral coalition, the SWP places before the militant masses of Chicanos, the need for a “mass” reformist, “socialist” party.

Instead of taking up the people’s real struggle for democratic rights and liberation, the SWP uses their position in La Raza Unida Party to nestle up to the bourgeois politicians and cultural nationalists and to peddle such “important” demands as “freedom for homosexuals.” Trotskyism can never gain a significant base for its counter-revolutionary ideology among the masses of Chicanos, most of whom are proletarians who find the petty-bourgeois reformist line of the SWP repugnant.

Finally, we must say a word about the petty-bourgeois trend within the Chicano movement called “Guevarism” or “focismo.” This trend is associated with such groups as “The Chicano Liberation Front” and other “urban guerillas” who are strongly influenced by the so-called “Cuban model.” These focistas try to combine the worst aspects of bourgeois nationalism and reformism with the “militant” tactics of terrorism.

This represents a petty-bourgeois line even though it has a strong appeal among Latino young people who sincerely want to make revolution and who identify strongly with the success of the Cuban Revolution. It views the working class people in their millions as being hopelessly backward (both Chicano as well as white workers). They think a small band of bravados can “harass” the imperialists into making some reforms and concessions.

Guevarism and other petty-bourgeois terrorist trends have been born in response to the abandonment of the armed struggle by the modern revisionists. However, instead of building a new party which can lead the masses in revolutionary struggle, this trend takes on an anti-party character, rejecting altogether the need for the party and the united front. With no party to guide it, the gun becomes an ineffective weapon.

In general, we can sum up the main deviations on the Chicano national question as follows:

1. Reformism–separating the struggle for reforms from the struggle to overthrow the system of imperialism. This takes the specific form of liquidating the final aims of the movement and stressing electoral struggle over mass struggle.

2. Petty-bourgeois “leftism”–which tells the Chicano people to “go it alone” through the use of “urban guerilla” tactics of a handful, designed to harass the imperialists into making concessions.

3. White chauvinism -liquidates the national question and the revolutionary struggle for democratic rights under the sign-board of “socialism” or “trade unionism.” This is currently the main danger in the movement, rather than cultural nationalism.

4. Cultural nationalism–takes the form of “cultural demands” and cultural autonomy, dividing the workers of different nationalities and viewing the white workers as the enemy. This is secondary to white or great nation chauvinism.

The CPUSA is the chief promoter of all these deviations and is the main danger within the movement strategically.


[1] CPUSA, Toward Chicano Liberation

[2] ibid.

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

[4] J.V. Stalin, Marxism and the National Question

[5] V.I. Lenin, Discussion of Self-Determination Summed Up

[6] CPUSA, Toward Chicano Liberation

[7] Ibid.

[8] J.V. Stalin, Marxism and the National Question

[9] J.V. Stalin, The Discussion of Self-De termination Summed Up