Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Letter to the Editor

Bad jacket for Communist Workers Party

First Published: Unity, Vol. 5, No. 8, May 7-20, 1982.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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I attended the recent statewide MEChA conference which was covered in the April 23 issue of UNITY. I think that your article accurately conveyed the positive spirit and accomplishments of the conference. I just wanted to let your readers know my thoughts on the destructive role which the Communist Workers Party tried to play at the statewide, which they tried to split.

As people may know, the CWP has a very bad jacket in the Chicano Movement. They were thrown out of the 1980 National Immigration conference held by the Committee on Chicano Rights; they were expelled from the National Chicano Moratorium Committee; and they were excluded, by unanimous consent of the principal organizers, from the tenth anniversary commemoration of the Chicano Moratorium, which was attended by 5,000 people. The CWP is also responsible for wrecking the 1980 National Chicano Student Conference. It’s no surprise then that they are now playing a negative role in the California MEChAs.

For weeks before the statewide conference, the CWP tried to get other MEChAs to boycott it. They called secret meetings of various MEChAs, harangued individual Mechistas, and tried to disrupt the organizing meetings of the conference. They were saying that the “statewide” had always been “too narrow,” that it was basically a “tool” of the League of Revolutionary Struggle, and that the upcoming conference was also “too narrow” in orientation. They proposed to “broaden” the conference by having themselves in a very prominent position at the conference and in the organizing of the conference – a position they have not earned through any effort to build the statewide. The fact that CWP tried to organize a boycott makes me wonder if they have had any constructive purpose in attending the conference.

At the conference, the CWP consistently made snide attacks against the MEChAs that hosted the conference. When that got nowhere, they tried to pass a resolution attacking the League, but that bombed out, too.

In the first place, the statewide is an independent organization which has been functioning for at least the last five years. It includes up to 55 Chicano and Latino student groups at the high school and college level. It includes Mechistas with a wide range of political views, League members among them. (By the way, the League members are open about their politics and political affiliation, which is more than I can say for the CWP folks who try to hide their affiliation, especially when they’re attacking other groups and trying to wreck.)

It is ridiculous to say that the statewide is anyone’s “tool” or front. For the CWP to make such an assertion is an insult to both the history and membership of MEChA. It is saying that all the important struggles that we have I been waging over the years are meaningless, because we are just “sheep” blindly following somebody’s whip. We waged those struggles, including against the Bakke Decision – which mobilized thousands of us – because we thought they were correct and in the interest of our gente. The CWP is ready to spit on this history with their foolish chismes (gossip).

As for “narrowness,” I think the CWP must consider the Chicano struggle itself as too narrow. The theme of the statewide conference was “Education and Unity to Serve the Communities of Aztlan – Self-Determination for the Chicano-Mexicano People.” The conference focused on our struggle to keep Chicanos in higher education, but also covered our support for the struggles in Central America, for the rights of undocumented Latinos, and other issues. Yet, at the conference, the CWP kept insisting the conference was “too narrow.” What is “narrow” about any of these things?

The CWP had said before the conference that we should focus on “Reaganomics” instead, to “broaden out” the conference. They said that for the conference to emphasize the Chicano student struggle against cutbacks and the recruitment and retention issue was “narrow.” This shows that they have no appreciation at all for our struggle. The Chicano student movement involves tens of thousands of us. It is part of a movement which exists throughout Aztlan. It is aimed against the capitalist system of oppression in educational institutions. Its impact has been and still is tremendous – on the general student movement, on the overall Chicano Movement, and for the whole revolution.

Our struggle to defend Chicano Studies, special admissions, financial aids, etc. is a blow against “Reaganomics” and against the capitalist system. It is the CWP’s failure to understand this which leads them to attack the statewide and try to wreck it when they cannot control it. They do not appreciate the great importance of our struggle and the tremendous thing that we have been able to achieve by being able to build a statewide Chicano student organization. In my opinion, this is the political basis for CWP’s attacks on MEChA and their attempt to split the statewide. And I think that many Mechistas recognized this and that is why the CWP’s movidas were given the patada (boot) at the statewide conference.

A Mechista from San Jose