Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

A position paper by the National Chicano Moratorium Committee: Build for the 1980 National Chicano Moratorium Based on Genuine Unity

Published: Workers’ Herald, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Revolutionary Political Organization (ML) Introduction: The following public document by the National Chicano Moratorium Committee has recently come to the attention of the RPO(ML). The RPO(ML) is in unity with a number of the main points expressed in this document and feels that it is valuable, not only to the revolutionary Chicano national movement, but also to Marxist-Leninists, other revolutionary national movements and the U.S. proletariat as a whole. Of particular importance is the exposure of the degenerate and reactionary nature of the “Theory of the Three Worlds” and the social-chauvinist stands taken by its supporters. The paper documents the wrecking activities of the League of Revolutionary Struggle (LRS) and its efforts to undermine and mislead the struggle of the Chicano people. The RPO(ML) supports the correct demands for self-determination for the Chicano people, the right of armed self-defense against fascist attacks and the correct stand taken by the NCMC on multinational unity. We support the struggle of the NCMC against the LRS and its cohorts.

Lack of space has forced us to delete a section of the paper but the remaining text has been reproduced intact.

* * *

We are publishing this position paper in order to clarify our views on commemorating the Tenth Anniversary of the historic National Chicano Moratorium. In trying to organize and build for the 1980 Moratorium March to be held on August 30th, in Los Angeles, we as well as others have encountered continuous problems with the League of Revolutionary Struggle/August 29th Coalition.

Even though we have tried to avoid debates, writing this paper, or in-fighting with them, our patience has worn thin due to their unprincipled activities. These activities consist of not only trying to undermine, split and dominate our committee – but the Chicano movement itself. In addition, they have refused to answer any of our criticisms regarding their unprincipled actions, either through letters or at meetings.

Many people are confused as to why we left their coalition, why there are two coalitions organizing for the event in Los Angeles, and what the differences are. We believe that there are fundamental and principled differences that exist between the 1980 National Moratorium Committee and the League/August 29th Coalition; as well as between the Chicano Movement and the League/August 29th Coalition.

We want to emphasize that these differences we are pointing out are not mere trifles, semantics, or something that can be covered over. Quite the contrary, they can mean either a higher level of unity and victory, or divisions and defeat. The unprincipled activities and politics of the League/ August 29th Coalition have hindered our efforts, as well as those of others, to build a United Front based on equality and respect. We feel that the only way to stop these divisive actions is to bring our differences and criticisms out into the open and let it be resolved among the people.

We do not intend to continuously put out position paper or engage in any fights, etc. However, hiding our difference does not educate anyone or build solid unity. We hope that these criticisms will unfold some struggle against the unprincipled activities of the League/August 29th Coalition so as to put a stop to them and move us forward.


The National Chicano Student Conference held in Denver Colorado in 1979, passed a resolution supporting efforts to organize for the Commemoration of the Tenth Anniversary of the National Chicano Moratorium in August of 1980.

In the spring of 1979, before the U.M.A.S.’s and the M.E.Ch.A.’s could begin organizing, the League of Revolutionary Struggle (LRS) made its move to try to take over leadership of these organizing efforts. They used the members and front groups to begin organizing the August 29th Coalition along with a couple of left groups who had general unity with their political line. The purpose of these organizing efforts and front groups by the League was not to build the Moratorium or the movement, but to build itself and impose its opportunist line on the Chicano Movement as a whole.

Many honest people joined the August 29th Coalition in 1979, not because of any unity with the League’s politics, but out of genuine sentiments of wanting to struggle and build a higher level of unity based on equality and respect for each other’s political views. While many of us endorsed and organized for the successful march (1500 people) of 1979 in Los Angeles, that did not necessarily mean endorsement of the League’s line and conduct.

Many honest people were turned off by the manipulation of the August 29th Coalition meetings by the League, which was in “leadership.” This manipulation was due to undemocratic motives, phoney front groups, stacked meetings and not allowing groups which disagreed with the League’s “theory of three worlds line” to participate and distribute literature. While many people wanted to boycott the 1979 demonstration because of these actions, we encouraged them to participate. The basis was that the National Chicano Moratorium as an anti-imperialist demonstration belongs to all of us and not to just one group. Because of this, we felt obligated to organize and unite with the people for the march held in 1979.

At the 1979 march itself, the manipulation of the League became very obvious to those attending. The content of the speeches was from the LRS line, most of the main speakers were either League members or close to them. The League used the event to push their newspaper and other literature while other rival left groups which they did not agree with politically were physically kept out. Many honest people now thoroughly disgusted, saw it necessary to give people a more democratic and non-sectarian alternative to the August 29th Coalition, especially since the League announced that it would continue with their Coalition for 1980.

This alternative was the development of The National Chicano Moratorium Committee (NCMC), which is the name of the original 1970 march and the Committee which organized it. Out of this urgent need for a real United Front made up of different organizations and individuals, and based upon the respect for differing political views, came the founding of the First National Chicano Moratorium Committee in Orange County, California, by the Brown Berets. In late September of 1979, a chapter was also formed in Los Angeles made up of people who left the August 29th Coalition. League members representing the August 29th Coalition showed up to the meetings, knowing they were not wanted, pressuring the people to merge with the August 29th Coalition under the hypocritical cover of wanting unity. The Orange County chapter asked them to leave as they were disrupting its meetings, causing arguments and divisions, which held back its work. This line of conduct was also carried out by the League and the August 29th Coalition members at meetings of the New California chapter of the National Chicano Moratorium Committee, using their phony call for unity (which means unity with the League’s line) and merger. They also applied pressure about getting back together – causing arguments and divisions and disrupting the meetings. A motion was then passed by the membership telling the August 29th Coalition members to leave, to quit interfering in our internal affairs and to respect our new and developing committee; also, that when we had developed our principles of unity and demands we would open communications with them, which was later done by us through meetings and phone conversations. The point we were trying to make was that their pressure tactics were preventing the democratic exchange of ideas and opinions in our committees and stifling our development and efforts to organize ourselves. By this time, League/August 29th Coalition members were travelling through different parts of the state and the Southwest trying to set up coalition chapters. Tied to those efforts were the use of unprincipled tactics of telling people (supposedly to expose us as sectarian!) we weren’t for unity, didn’t want to merge and were calling for two separate demonstrations on August 30th. These lies and slanders by word of mouth and letters sent out had as their objective pressuring our members back into the August 29th Coalition. This is something which the groups and individuals making up The NCMC Chapters would not do, not after having endured the unprincipled line and practice of the League within the August 29th Coalition and last year’s march. While we are for the unity of all groups and individuals in one march on August 30, 1980, we are not for merging with the political line and practice of the League or its front groups. In addition, there are fundamental differences of political principle that separate the National Chicano Moratorium Committee and the August 29th Coalition and League.


The August 29th Coalition is not a real United Front nor was it intended to be. It is primarily the League who is in leadership of the Coalition and is merely an instrument to impose its line on the Chicano Movement. A true United Front is based upon a program of broad and stable principles and allows for political independence and respect for different groups’ and individuals’ views. A higher level of unity, which we all want, can only be built through common work, struggle and equality where existing differences can be ironed out.

We have tried to learn from the League as far as what not to do. Within the Moratorium Committee, we will work with whoever accepts our broad principles of unity and demands, regardless of their political line internationally or nationally. While there are many of us with deep political differences on many issues, what binds us together is the need to educate, organize and mobilize people for the commemoration of the 1980 National Chicano Moratorium.

The League, on the other hand, does not allow for political independence or respect for opposing views. It will not allow anyone opposing its general line to pass out literature or verbally criticize it in coalition meetings. Yet, “Unity,” the LRS newspaper, is freely distributed as well as its line. This sectarianism, domination and lack of respect for opposing views has even gone as far as printing lists of banned groups, and attacking and starting fights with rival groups passing out literature outside of August 29th Coalition Conferences and Fundraisers.

The League, in its leadership of the August 29th Coalition, does not abide by the concept of a United Front of groups of individuals based upon equality and respect for different political views. Instead, its line and practice is that of trying to dominate and manipulate the National Chicano Moratorium and movement so as to build themselves.

We are not opposed to a correct political line, but in order to be correct it must be proven through one’s principled actions, leadership and hard work, which win people over consciously through example. Hopefully, one day we will all be united politically and organizationally. However, this takes much joint work, discussion, patience and time.

Our concept of the United Front, which is one of our principles of unity, is a broad alliance of the multi-national working class and the movements of oppressed minorities. This United Front alliance is a question of fundamental principle, which can mean victory or defeat, which the August 29th Coalition and League doesn’t uphold.


One of the principles of unity of the National Chicano Moratorium Committee is “Self-Determination for the Chicano people in the Southwest.” This principle and democratic demand is aimed at the system of imperialism and can only be achieved with the elimination of such a system.

The August 29th Coalition and League has opposed the principle of Self-Determination toward which most of the movement is uniting. What they put forward in opposition to Self-Determination is the vague and totally reformist demand and slogan of “Economic and Political Power for Chicanos.” This “pretty” slogan does not deal with the system of imperialism, nor the unjust imperialist borders imposed on our people, nor our right to change them if we so wish.

This opportunist slogan and demand that the August 29th Coalition has “invented” is rationalized by explanations that it comes from a “deeper analysis” they have done. In reality, this “new demand” was created by the League and the other left group within the Coalition. The basis for this “creation” was the inability of the League and the other left group to unite on Self-Determination. Therefore, they threw it out and unprincipledly united on “Economic and Political Power for Chicanos” as the August 29th Coalition’s main demand and slogan. Although the League’s “real” line is supposedly Self-Determination, it will adapt or switch to any principle, line or tactic, depending on whom it is talking to. This flows from a lack of any stable principles with the purpose of trying to win people over with “whatever works” so as to try and dominate the movement with their line.


The politics of the League/August 29th Coalition almost completely ignores the role of the multi-national working class and its growing unity with the movements of oppressed minorities. This country has over 80 million workers plus their families which include the majority of Chicanos and other minority peoples. Yet, the August 29th Coalition/League does not talk of working class unity or the need to unite different nationalities for the struggle against imperialism. Instead, all we hear from it is the struggles of the third world people as if we were engaging in a race war between whites and minorities, which our rulers would love.

The Chicano movement has come a long way in the last 10 years, in its political development, and will not go backward in accepting the anti-working class and racist politics of the League/August 29th Coalition. Rather, our work is to build an alliance between the two against the system of imperialism.


At our First Organizing Conference held in January, 1980, we clearly stated whom we want to unite with and organize into a United Front – “The Masses of People.” This is one of our principles of unity.

At our conference, League/August 29th Coalition members were in attendance and were not bothered by us as long as they abided by the rules. At the conference they passed out leaflets trying to get people to go to their conference (the following month). They also tried to influence the conference participants in their voting on the National Chicano Moratorium’s principles of unity and demands.

Leaders of the League, representing the August 29th Coalition sometimes and the League, others, raised opposition to the conference, uniting on the need to “organize the masses of people.” They proposed that instead of the masses of people, their opportunist line of “unite all that can be united” be adopted. They were asked why they were opposed to concretely stating that we want to unite and organize the masses of people? Their weak response was that their position was. “much broader.” It was stated to them that there are only two camps, that of the people and that of our enemies. And that we do not unite with capitalists, vendidos and reactionaries.

When the voting ended, they were totally isolated as the only two voting for dropping the masses of people were League people. Even their own people abandoned them and didn’t vote, rather than vote for such a rightist position. This principled struggle and difference was not just a matter of wording or semantics. We shall see how their “broad line” of uniting all who can be united is so broad that it allows them to unite with some of the most vendido, fascist and reactionary elements nationally and internationally.


The National Chicano Student Conference is held every year. The purpose is to bring students and youth together to exchange ideas on vital issues, build unity and give direction to the struggles of the Student Movement.

Last year it was held in Denver, Colorado and this year it was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the month of April. The preparations for the Conference were done by the New Mexico Steering Committee. For weeks prior to the conference the League, through the August 29th Coalition, had been trying to manipulate the New Mexico Steering Committee, the speakers and content of the conference.

The objective of the League was not to help organize and give direction to the student movement. Rather, it was to use the August 29th Coalition to manipulate and impose their politics on the conference, and to split the conference in order to fight with a rival left group.

In the face of all this opportunist maneuvering and underhanded tactics, the honest people at the conference found it necessary to form a California, New Mexico, Colorado United Front caucus. The purpose of this caucus was to try to keep the conference democratic and principled. Also, it was important to struggle against the reactionary political positions and line the League/August 29th Coalition was trying to impose on the conference.

These are the major political positions the League/August 29th Coalition took at the conference. We of the National Chicano Moratorium and the caucus felt it necessary to struggle against these reactionary positions which harm the interests of the Chicano Movement and other people’s struggles:

1. Self-Determination

The League/August 29th Coalition people attacked and voted against self-determination for the Chicano people, stating it was wrong. They counterposed their opportunist vague position of economic and political power which they said was from a “deeper analysis” that they had done.

Even though the majority of organizations and conferences have united on self-determination, all of a sudden these “new theoreticians” have a “new deeper analysis” which we’re all supposed to accept. The imperialists attack and oppose self-determination for the Chicano people – so did the League/August 29th Coalition at the conference. We leave it to you to decide which side they’re on.

2. Armed Self Defense

The League/August 29th Coalition opposed and voted against this democratic right which is even a part of the Bill of Rights. Their lame reason was that it was too revolutionary and could get people in trouble! The only people that are going to get into trouble and hurt are those who follow the League/August 29th Coalition into struggle with these kind of pacifist views.

All the right to armed self-defense is saying is that people have the right to defend themselves, their homes and families from attacks and have the right to bear arms. None of this is against the so-called laws. While we try and defend these democratic rights from being attacked by the government and taken away, who was helping them at the conference – the League/August 29th Coalition.

3. The Anti-Fascist Struggle

A resolution was proposed at the conference to organize and coordinate the anti-fascist struggle against the growth of the Klan and Nazis. The League/August 29th Coalition attacked this proposal and helped vote it down with the flakey excuse that it “wasn’t necessary and didn’t relate to Chicanos!” The KKK and Nazis want to eventually put Chicanos and other minorities into the ovens, lynch us, and deport us, and this doesn’t have anything to do with Chicanos! And they have the nerve to want to lead us.

The majority of the movement holds that we must organize, defend ourselves, and build a United Front to struggle against fascist groups like the Klan and Nazis.

On the other hand, the right-wingers and government say that this isn’t necessary, that fascist groups aren’t really a danger. The reactionary position of the League/August 29th Coalition has found them some strange allies.

4. El Salvador

A brother attending the conference who works in a support committee for the struggle in El Salvador made a proposal of solidarity. It stated that the right-wing fascist government of El Salvador is massacring workers, campesinos, priests and students. That this government is supported and propped up by the U.S. in the form of money, arms and military advisers. The brother proposed a resolution of solidarity that the U.S. get out of El Salvador so that nation may achieve self-determination and a popular democratic government.

The League/August 29th Coalition, again being consistent with their politics, viciously attacked this proposal using the same disgusting argument that “what does El Salvador have to do with Chicanos!” Thus, their unprincipled political line was to use narrow and ultra-reactionary nationalism to attack the El Salvadorean people and to support the U.S. and the fascist murdering government.

There are only two sides here, the side of the El Salvadorean people for national liberation which all progressive Chicano nationalists should support; or that of the imperialists and murderers.

The League/August 29th Coalition and their politics is again consistent in siding with the reactionaries and fascist elements. It becomes quite clear who these supposed “Marxists and revolutionaries” include in their “broad” line of uniting “all” who can be united.

5. Chicano Upward Mobility Under the System

Speaking at the Albuquerque conference were Chicano vendidos like Lt. Governor Mondragon of New Mexico. He pushed the two capitalist party system and in particular the Democratic Party. Also, that Chicanos could achieve upward mobility under the present system and especially through the legislative process.

This spreading of idealist illusions and narrow electoral politics, as opposed to organizing at the base to make fundamental changes in society was not opposed by the League/August 29th Coalition. In fact, they defended and united with the backward views of this “Chicano” capitalist traitor who is sent into our ranks to divide and confuse us.

The League/August 29th Coalition’s position was that Chicano workers could move up within the system (to become capitalists) through certain reforms and the legislative process! They did not even oppose the two capitalist parties of Republicans and Democrats and support the concept of an independent party.

The ruling class of this country pushes its propaganda and illusions in its schools and media that “all can make it” and achieve upward mobility to get a piece of the pie. The view of the League/August 29th Coalition in supporting Mondragon’s politics helps our rulers well in spreading their lies. Even in the face of the increasing economic crisis, inflation and unemployment, these people push the myth of upward mobility without fundamental changes in the system. This disgusting right opportunism not only helps deceive people but concretely holds back the consciousness of our gente.

While we are for democratic reforms and utilizing the legislative process, we must make it clear to people that they are a means to educate and strengthen ourselves organizationally. This society is not structured for the upward mobility of all working people but rather just a few. Only fundamental changes made by grassroots organizations and struggles will bring us a more just and equal society.

The original Moratorium in 1970 was an anti-imperialist demonstration against the war and oppressive conditions here at home. It is a contradiction for the League/August 29th Coalition to want to “lead” an anti-imperialist demonstration when its politics side with those who are oppressing us.

The conference finally ended with the honest forces and New Mexico Steering Committee walking out in disgust. No longer could people put up with the League/August 29th Coalition’s wrecking tactics, manipulation and reactionary positions. The League came to either dominate the conference or wreck it. And they were successful in wrecking it.

Despite everyone leaving the conference, the League/August 29th Coalition refused to leave and stood by themselves (about 30 of them) passing phoney resolutions. The united caucus from New Mexico, Colorado and California does not recognize these false resolutions passed by this small clique of people.

The League has since published an article in its newspaper, “Unity,” which tries to throw the blame on the people walking out of the conference on another left group present at the conference. They are inferring that all the people who walked out on them were led by the nose and cannot distinguish right or wrong themselves. The National Chicano Moratorium Committee has not, and will not be used by any one group. The arrogant lies of the League, printed in its newspaper, are but a cover for its splitting, wrecking, red baiting, and opportunist politics being exposed at the conference.

The real ones who suffered at the hands of the League/August 29th Coalition’s actions were the students who went looking for direction and unity at the conference.

As we have stated before, we have tried to be patient with the League/August 29th Coalition by not engaging in polemics, fights, or sending out reams of letters as they do. We have done this for the sake of unity, for we believe that the movement is tired of these types of groups trying to split us in order to dominate.

While these two-faced hypocrites send out tons of letters and talk to people stating that they want “unity” (meaning, join the League/August 29th Coalition), their actions prove the opposite. At their “Unity Conference,” League/August 29th Coalition members have told other people and our members that we are “trotskyites.” That is, anyone who doesn’t unite with the League’s position of uniting with the U.S. internationally. They have used our name on their endorsement lists without our permission even after being told not to. They also continually send out slanderous letters tying our committee to the actions of individuals who aren’t even working with us. Their Southern California Coordinator has told our members and other people that we are all “renegades.” That is, anyone who left the August 29th Coalition due to the League’s actions, or disagrees with its pro-U.S. politics are renegades! This is the hypocritical unity they are working for.

We have watched them try and con people into the League/August 29th Coalition and get them to accept the League’s line while keeping out those who disagree with their politics. They have tried to manipulate and dominate the State-side M.E.CH.A.’s and front them off which is having the effect of splitting them. The League/August 29th Coalition will use any kind of politics and take any reactionary position, depending on whom they’re talking to, in order to win people over.

Because of these unprincipled actions, which only help our enemies, we believe that we must take a firm stand and expose this manipulative and splitting activity. To counter this, we are calling for the unity of all groups and individuals on August 30th, based upon equality and respect.

We see that there are honest people within the August 29th Coalition who are being conned into accepting the reactionary line of the League. With these people we feel that we must be patient and try to work with them. We are positive that in the end they will learn from their own hard experience that they -are being used not to build the movement, but rather the League and its politics of allying with reactionaries and vendidos.


Over two months ago, the different chapters of the National Chicano Moratorium Committee voted to unite all groups and individuals for one joint march on August 30th. Commemoration of the National Chicano Moratorium does not belong to just one group or two groups, but belongs to the Chicano movement as a whole. This call for one united action by all groups does not mean merging with the League/August 29th Coalition as it lacks any stable principles. Also, we do not wish to give credibility to its unprincipled activities.

We will meet with as many groups and coalitions (including August 29th Coalition) in order to mobilize people and organize the necessary logistics for one united action on August 30, 1980.

[RPO (ML) Note: The section entitled “Meeting with the League/August 29th Coalition,” has been left out because of lack of space. This section detailed the NCMC’s attempt to reach an agreement with LRS on a single united demonstration. It gives graphic examples of the LRS’s unprincipled and disruptive tactics during a meeting held June 17th.]


In concluding, we would like to state that we welcome the genuine unity and enthusiasm shown by La Gente from all parts of the country for commemorating the 1980 National Chicano Moratorium, originally held on August 29, 1970.

We have all come a long way in the last ten years in trying to build unity and struggling for self-determination! Let us all commit ourselves to organize, and to mobilize, for one united march and rally on August 30th in Los Angeles. Let us also continue to move forward until we win justice, self-determination and equality.