Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Chicano Liberation and Proletarian Revolution

First Published: Revolutionary Cause, Vol. 1, No. 2, January 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This is an updated version of a speech given in August of 1974 by the August Twenty-ninth Movement.

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The August Twenty-ninth Movement is a multinational Communist organization formed in May of 1974. We take our name from the great anti-imperialist march and demonstration, the Chicano Moratorium Against the Vietnam War. This multi-national demonstration of tens of thousands of working-class and oppressed peoples, and the struggle they waged against the attack by the bourgeois state stands as a shining symbol of the willingness of the people to struggle determinedly against their oppression and exploitation.

Our organization bases itself on the principles of proletarian revolution as summed up by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, and Enver Hoxha. We strive to achieve the dictatorship of the proletariat, socialism, and ultimately a classless society. This can only occur as a result of a long protracted struggle led by the proletariat under the banner of its vanguard Marxist-Leninist Party.

Today the building of such a party is the central task of all communists and advanced workers of the United States. This has been our task since the treacherous betrayal of the so-called “Communist” Party U.S.A. and their consolidated revisionist role, as social-traitors to the working class.

We stand together with all the world’s people in recognizing the leading role of the People’s Republic of China and the People’s Republic of Albania, the worldwide struggle for national liberation, peace, democracy and socialism. As part of this struggle we are duty-bound to uphold the right of nations to self-determination and to give direct support to the national liberation struggles of the peoples of the world against U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism.

We pledge ourselves to unite with all genuine Marxist-Leninists to carry out our tasks and to fulfill our proletarian internationalist duty.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the great anti-imperialist Chicano Moratorium demonstration of August 29th, 1970 held in opposition to the U.S. imperialist war of aggression being waged against the Vietnamese people, which ended in defeat for the U.S. aggressors.

The historical significance of this anti-imperialist demonstration, the vicious attack launched upon it by the bourgeois state, which resulted in over 400 people being arrested and injured and 3 being murdered, and the ensuing rebellion, was a significant turning point in the liberation struggle of the Chicano national movement in particular, and the working class in general.

This attack by the bourgeois mercenaries on those present at this national moratorium, which included other nationalities such as Puerto Ricans, Asians, Blacks, and whites, was but a historical continuance of the oppression and political attacks suffered by the Chicano people at the hands of the imperialists.

Within the Southwest region, the Chicano and Indian peoples have historically developed under the distinct material conditions of slavery under Spanish colonial rule, and then under feudal relations of production and oppression by Spanish feudal landlords under both the rule of Spain and Mexico.

This oppression, exploitation and historical development was continued and intensified with the seizure of Texas in 1836, and the rest of the Southwest and California in 1848 by the aggressive and expanding colonialism of U.S. capitalism. This seizure was made easier by the traitorous collaboration of the Spanish feudal landlords within the Southwest with whom the young U.S. bourgeoisie came to terms in an alliance against the native peoples.

The period from 1848 to 1883 was one of open terror against the peoples of the Southwest by U.S. colonialism through the use of the army, Texas Rangers, vigilantes and lynchings. The peasantry, peones, small artisans and miners were left to the plunder and murder unleashed by the U.S. bourgeoisie, who “justified” this slaughter and robbery through its class ideology of national chauvinism which took the particular form of white chauvinism and white supremacy against the native peoples. The source of this aspect of bourgeois ideology must be analyzed from a materialist standpoint as emanating from the objective conditions of colonialism, imperialism and the subjugation and plunder of the oppressed nations and peoples of the world by the imperialists and colonialists–particularly the U.S. imperialists (and now, of course, by the restored capitalists of the social-imperialist Soviet Union).

The year 1848 saw the degenerate hacendados–the feudal landlord class of Mexico, represented by General Santa Ana–give away to the U.S. bourgeoisie– California, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and part of Utah. Taken together with Texas, this constituted over half of Mexico’s best and richest territory, an area larger than France and Germany combined.

In the war of 1848, the Mexican bourgeoisie was as yet too small and weak to play a major role against U.S. colonialism, so the Mexican ruling class, comprised mainly of hacendados, capitulated rather than mobilize and arm the oppressed Mexican masses which would have had the effect of destroying their own privileged class position and perhaps furthering the bourgeois democratic revolution (which was carried through within the Southwest by the U.S. bourgeoisie).

Property relations within the Southwest began to undergo, at an increasing rate, radical changes under U.S. colonialism, with the massive influx of poor Anglo-American settlers encouraged by the lure of gold and land and carrying with them the white chauvinist ideology of the bourgeoisie.

The feudal economy of the Southwest, geared to barter and small-scale trade and production to satisfy local needs, represented an obstacle to the greedy designs of the encroaching capitalists who needed to liberate the productive forces.

The bourgeois colonialists invaded under the signboard of “freedom,” which of course meant the freedom of the bourgeoisie to subjugate and exploit on a higher level the propertyless and laboring masses, and to plunder the raw materials of the region.

The U.S. colonialists took possession of the means of production–the land, mines, forests, water and mineral resources, and began to lay the economic basis for a capitalist system of wage-slavery. The native peoples were driven off the land on a massive scale by force, with homes being burned down, herds of sheep slaughtered and terror used against those who resisted. Peasant plots and sheepland were converted into grazing land for the new capitalist cattle barons, while the native peoples were forced to sell their labor power to their new patrons.

The discovery of gold in California touched off an orgy of plunder and violence rarely equaled in human history. This, coupled with the discovery of copper and silver in New Mexico and Colorado unleashed a human tide from the East, fleeing the capitalist crises of 1847 and 1857 with its resultant unemployment and misery. Their desperation and the rabid white chauvinism pushed on them enabled the U.S. bourgeoisie to use these poor Anglos as shock troops to colonize and consolidate their economic hold over the Southwest region. The political consolidation was accomplished by the use of the bourgeois state through judicial fraud by the courts and_ implementation of anti-Mexican laws all of which violated the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo which stated that the economic, political and cultural rights of Mexicans within the Southwest region would be respected.

One particular example of this use of the state against the native peoples was a land act that was passed which required all guarantees to appear before the Board of Land Commissioners to “prove” their ownership, while colonizing squatters and speculating land thieves were given land outright and not even questioned as to legal title.

Laws, courts, police and taxes were used to try and wipe out resistance–pauperizing the peoples of the Southwest and enabling the new owners of the means of production to freely exploit the land and labor of the region. To increase their accumulation of capital and technology, the colonialists adopted the mining, grazing and farming techniques of the Mexican and Indian peoples.

Thus an extensive new state apparatus was being set up, and a new ideology, that of the bourgeoisie, was forcefully being disseminated–in line with the transformation of the economic base. All this came into direct conflict with the masses within the Southwest region, as the basis for national oppression was laid down and developed.

There is an objective law that where there is oppression there is resistance. The year 1848, when the Southwest was seized by advancing U.S. colonialism, witnessed the heroic struggles of the French and German proletariat in the revolutions occurring in Europe. At this same time, there began the resistance against colonialism and later imperialism by the Chicano and Indian and other laboring people (Chinese, Japanese and Filipino primarily) of the Southwest.

Courageous fighters came forth to wage an intense guerilla struggle against the colonialists; men such as Tiburcio Vasquez, who was eventually executed, and Joaquin Murietta, who when finally captured by the state, had his head cut off and paraded from town to town as an unsuccessful warning to those who would resist.

In Texas, there was Juan Cortina, who with his volunteer army re-conquered much of Southern Texas; and also the struggle in New Mexico led by Elfego Baca; while the secret organization in the same state–Las Gorras Blancas–waged armed struggle against the colonialists and imperialists up until the 1920’s.

With the advent of the Civil War and the confrontation between the developing bourgeoisie and the slave-owning landlords of the South, an important historical turning point was reached. Either the U.S. would progress into an industrialized and bourgeois-democratic society or it would face the domination of the Southern landlords as the ruling class which would have meant an extension of slavery and the restriction of the growth of the productive forces.

From a Marxist-Leninist standpoint, the Civil War had a profound historical significance, not only for the developing Afro-American nation within the Black Belt South, but also for the development of the Chicano people within the Southwest region. The victory of the bourgeoisie in the Civil War meant that the aim of the Southern landlord class, which wanted to expand slavery into the Southwest and Northern Mexico, was defeated. This was a historically progressive step in that the productive forces were allowed to develop during this pre-monopoly stage and a proletariat began to emerge.

The capital accumulated during the Civil War was part of the basis for building the foundation of imperialism and its beginning penetration of the Southwest through the export of capital to the sources of raw materials and cheap labor within the region. This was to have the effect of creating the material conditions for the Proletarian-Socialist Revolution of the future. The export of capital into the Southwest, especially after the 1880’s, began to change the feudal mode of production to a capitalist mode of production by breaking down the old relations of production and allowing the productive forces to develop by freeing the peones from their bondage to the land and the development of communications, railroads, capitalist mining and agriculture, and a money economy based on trade between town and country.

This imperialist penetration brought about a progressive change in the relations of production as new classes began to develop out of the spontaneous, but uneven development of capitalism, with pockets of semi-feudalism still co-existing to this day, such as in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.

The U.S. bourgeoisie, as in Latin America and most underdeveloped countries, made an alliance within the Southwest with the Spanish feudal landlord class who saw this as a necessary compromise by which to keep their privileged class position and carry on their traditional exploitation of the working masses. The old ruling-class families, such as the Sepulvedas, Picos, and Figueroas in California, whom the imperialists named our streets after; and the Oteros and Archuletas in New Mexico, found it expedient and profitable to form alliances with the imperialists. In return for selling out the region’s raw materials and human resources, these old Spanish families were allowed by the imperialists to control the peones tied to the land, the local peasantry and the Indians, and to share political power on a local basis through the use of economic and political pressure on the exploited masses.

In the period, after the 1880’s, the export of capital by developing U.S. imperialism began to penetrate the Southwest region much more heavily as the Southern Pacific Railroad in conjunction with the banking group of Wells Fargo and later Crocker Citizens, which based itself in San Francisco, began to seize control of much of the land in California, as did the Bank of America after the turn of the century. The mines in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado began to come under the control of the Rockefeller and Morgan groups. Much of the land in New Mexico was seized from the peasantry and the Indian peoples by the bourgeois state and turned over to the Arizona and New Mexico Land Company and the St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad, both of which came under the control of the Rockefeller group. The land and resources in Texas began to come under the control of the ruling-class group based in Houston. The result of this imperialist penetration was a swift change from semi-feudal relations of production to capitalist relations of production as an industrial proletariat began to develop in the railroads, mines, canneries, and textile mills, and a rural proletariat from the expropriated peasantry. In addition, the old feudal landlord class was being transformed into a comprador bourgeoisie which acted as a middleman for the imperialists in selling the region’s resources and people’s labor, such as the Otero family of New Mexico whose members developed into capitalist businessmen who traveled widely to the East coast in order to attend bourgeois schools to be groomed as puppets and to convince imperialist corporations to exploit the resources of New Mexico for a cut of the action. Today, we still have their successors in New Mexico, such as the Chavez’s and Mondragons.

With the objective spontaneous development of capitalism within the Southwest, the Chicano people laboured under the crushing weight of imperialist exploitation in the mines, fields, and factories; but at the same time they learned a new discipline that developed through their collective exploitation based on the new capitalist conditions of socialized labor. Chicano workers–both urban and rural–now began the historical task of organizing themselves against this new form of exploitation. These conditions of capitalist exploitation already existed in the Eastern portion of the U.S. multi-national state, and Anglo-American workers themselves were beginning to struggle back as in the Carnegie steel strike and the Haymarket struggle.

One of the first attempts by Chicano proletarians to take an organized stand was in 1883 by forming a union of agricultural workers in Texas and going out on strike which was brutally suppressed. In 1903, sugar beet workers made up of Japanese and Chicano workers’ formed a 2,000 member union in Ventura, California and won a bloody strike Other struggles were carried out with Filipino and Chinese workers whose exploited labor led them to wage bloody struggles against the imperialists.

One of the most far-reaching strikes occurred just South of the 58-year old imperialist border in 1906 and was provoked by the same U.S. imperialist exploitation. The Rockefeller-owned Consolidated Copper Company of Cananea, Sonora, closed down several mines after a drop in the price of copper. Thousands of Mexican miners, who were being paid only half of what Anglo miners were paid in the same mines, were thrown out of work. Ten thousand Mexican miners went out on strike. The reaction by the imperialists was swift and ruthless as a small army of Rangers from Bisbee, Arizona rode in and opened fire on the miners, killing 30. In retaliation, the miners burned down company stores and administration buildings. The participation by the semi-feudal Diaz government in the attack on the miners enraged the Mexican nation and was instrumental in bringing about the bourgeois-democratic and anti-imperialist revolution of Mexico in 1910, under the leadership of revolutionary nationalists like Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata (who were later assassinated by the Mexican bourgeoisie).

1910 also saw striking Chicano railroad workers dynamite the L.A. Times building for its anti-labor stance. 1915 saw the copper miners of Clifton, Morenci, and Metcalf, Arizona strike-only to have the National Guard called out to repress them and jail their leaders.

In 1915, the Plan de San Diego, an anti-imperialist program was formulated by Aniceto Pizano, Luis de la Rosa, and other members of the Chicano revolutionary petty-bourgeoisie, made up of lawyers and small businessmen in Texas. This plan called for an armed insurrection and the establishment of an autonomous republic.

This plan included clauses for the freedom, autonomy, and rights of Indians, Blacks and Asians; on the negative side, it also stated that every white male over the age of sixteen was to be executed. The armed insurrection did not take place, as 28 of the top leaders were arrested, tried for treason; and terror against Chicanos accelerated all along the border with lynchings and shootings carried out, particularly by the Texas Rangers.

In 1917, 1,000 Arizona copper miners were left to die in the desert by Rangers in order to break a strike; and miners at a Rockefeller-owned mine in Ludlow, Colorado were massacred by a private army and the state Rangers.

In analyzing the objective spontaneous mass movement and its ebb and flow, the period from 1900 to 1920 was one of intense proletarian class struggle against the imperialists by Chicanos. The predominant ideological force was anarchism–the ideology of the radical petty-bourgeoisie, disseminated by Ricardo and Enrique Magon in their newspaper “Regeneracion,” printed regularly in Los Angeles during this period, and by Chicanos who were members of the International Workers of the World–the anarchist Wobblies.

The Bolshevik Revolution, scientific communism, and the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin on the Marxist-Leninist theory of the State, the National Question, the necessity for the leadership of the Leninist Proletarian Party, and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, had not been brought as yet to the Chicano proletariat and peasantry, a task as yet only partially fulfilled.

World War I hastened the dominance of U.S. imperialism internationally. In 1923, the imperialists closed the political border with Mexico and created the immigration service to regulate the flow of labor. This had the effect of politically re-affirming the inclusion of the Southwest region into the U.S. multinational state and creating a set of distinct material conditions from that of Mexico.

1927 saw the creation of the Confederacion de Uniones Obreras Mexicanas, and the first strike called in 1928, resulting in an attack by the state and the killing, jailing and deportation of the leaders.

The collapse of the capitalist world market in 1929, the shifting of the burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the working class, and the advance of Fascism, brought on a new spontaneous upsurge from the Chicano sector of the labor movement– strikes, strike support committees, unemployed workers committees. However, what was not brought to them was the science of the proletariat Marxism-Leninism, nor a Bolshevized party such as that of Lenin and Stalin to guide them to proletarian revolution.

Tens of thousands of workers struck in the agriculture and canning industries, in berry, onion, celery, cotton fields, and in the railroads and mines. The vicious class nature of the bourgeois state, struggling to preserve monopoly capitalism was blatant as troops were used against strikers, imprisoning the most advanced and class-conscious elements, or murdering them. Over one million Chicanos, citizen and non-citizen alike, were deported by the imperialists in cattle trains and trucks during the depression with the feeble excuse that they were swelling the relief rolls.

What was needed at this point was not more agitation, unity of strikers, nor to build the mass movement, which is something that exists objectively and develops independently of our will. What was needed was to bring the spontaneous mass movement during the 1930’s under the direction of revolutionary strategy and tactics based on a Marxist-Leninist program, and guided by a Bolshevized and steeled party based in the proletariat and under proletarian leadership. This was not done; instead we had the right opportunism and white chauvinist leadership of the CPUSA, under the leadership of the petty-bourgeoisie and the class collaborator, Earl Browder.

The only way for U.S. imperialism to get out of the crisis they found themselves in was by another re-division of the world through another imperialist world war. The rising worldwide militancy of the working class was met by the most aggressive forces and tactics of finance capital during the 1930’s. Waves of fascist terror and the open dictatorship of reactionary and chauvinist finance capital swept Europe, made easier by what Georgi Dimitrov called the treacherous class collaboration of the revisionist and social-democratic parties who disarmed and split the ranks of the working class and facilitated the fascist takeover.

As the second Imperialist world war developed, Chicanos were sent off to fight overseas under the lure of the bourgeois propaganda that they were “Americans” and it was their duty to go. Well, as their reward they were given pieces of painted rag called the Medal of Honor; while in Los Angeles, the bourgeois, press, looking for a scapegoat after the internment of the Japanese began to stir up a vicious anti-Chicano campaign zeroing in on the issue of gangs, violence, crime, etc., and stating that Chicanos are biologically prone to violence and carrying knives. Backward sectors of the Anglo population were egged on to action and violence against Chicanos along with the police, sailors and soldiers, resulting in the so-called “zoot-suit riots” and martial law.

The demand for increased labor brought about an agreement between the U.S. and the neo-colonial government of Camacho. In 1944 Mexican braceros harvested over $432 million worth of crops.

With the end of the Second World War and the brilliant victory of the Anti-Fascist United Front led by the Soviet Union, the Bolshevik Party and Joseph Stalin, full employment in the U.S. began to fade and a “recession” set in along with an offensive against the working class ushered in by the McCarthyite period. The bourgeoisie was able to do this as the revisionist leadership of the CPUSA had liquidated the party in 1944, stating that there was no longer any class struggle and that the U.S. bourgeoisie was still a progressive bourgeoisie. Thus, the working class and the trade unions were left ideologically and politically disarmed, leaderless, and open for attack. Although the party was later reconstituted, its line remained basically the same–right opportunism, which later consolidated into outright revisionism.

The end of the Second World War also saw a new rise in the Chicano national movement and the struggle for democratic rights led by the petty-bourgeoisie. Petitions, voter registration drives, running candidates, etc. were initiated by such organizations as the League of Latin American Citizens, Community Service Organization, and the GI Forum.

In 1947 the farm workers struck in Arvin against the DiGiorgio Fruit Company only to have the strike broken by the bourgeois courts, while hundreds of workers were deported to Mexico.

With the war of aggression against the Korean people and the subsequent defeat of the U.S. imperialists and their lackeys by the People’s Army of Korea and volunteers from the People’s Liberation Army of the People’s Republic of China. Public Law 78 was enacted by Congress in order to again import workers from Mexico.

With the end of the Korean War, the imperialists launched “Operation Wetback” which deported another million citizens and non-citizens alike to Mexico; again, the working class being left politically disarmed and leaderless by the reformist CPUSA, who after the death of the great 30-year leader of the international Communist movement, Comrade Stalin, now took an outright revisionist stand, siding with the bourgeoisie and the Trotskyites in attacking Stalin which, as the Party of Labor of Albania states, “was but a cover for the revisionist attack on the need for a proletarian party, armed struggle, and the dictatorship of the proletariat.”


Contradiction is universal, and as the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations and people of the world began to intensify during the early 1960’s, with imperialist aggression against Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, Santo Domingo, the Mid-East, the Congo, etc., the national oppression within the U.S. multinational state also increased as did the struggle against it.

With the defeat of the French imperialists in Viet Nam in 1954 by the national liberation forces under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, the U.S. imperialists under Eisenhower stepped into the place of the French. They halted the free elections called for by the Geneva Accords, which were to be held in 1956 with the purpose of reunifying the country, and began to unleash a war of aggression which ended in their final defeat by the Vietnamese people in April of this year. The inherent contradictions of imperialism became accentuated during the 1960’s with its falling rate of profit, anarchy of production, and the struggle for the re-division of the spheres of influence such as in Indo-China. To finance the imperialist war of aggression in Viet Nam, the U.S. bourgeoisie was forced to print billions of dollars which eventually led to dollar devaluation, to rampant inflation and to an intensification of the exploitation of its colonies and neo-colonies and the multinational proletariat and oppressed peoples at home.

The Viet Nam war provoked a rising tide of protest which eventually assumed an anti-imperialist character opposed to the rising war costs, national oppression at home, and the slaughter of the Vietnamese people and the sons of the U.S. workers sent to fight there, especially the large percentages of Asian-Americans, Afro-Americans, Chicanos, Native Americans and Puerto Ricans who were the main cannon fodder for the imperialist army in relation to their proportion of the population.

In reaction to the increased national oppression at home, rebellions, and not “criminal riots,” as the bourgeoisie likes to call them, began to break out everywhere as ghetto and barrio residents began to attack bourgeois and petty-bourgeois owned rip-off businesses, and their immediate oppressors–the police– who were increasing in numbers as the repressive apparatus of the state became more centralized and strengthened to deal with the growing militancy of the movements of the oppressed nationalities.

On August 29th, 1970, 15,000 people marched through the east side, of Los Angeles, California, the largest Chicano barrio in the United States, in a militant demonstration against the imperialist war in Viet Nam. But this march had a distinctive feature to it which differentiated it from the many other anti-war protests of the ’60’s and early ’70’s it was a march initiated by an oppressed nationality, the Chicano oppressed nationality–to protest specifically against a particular manifestation of their national oppression. They were protesting against the imperialist war itself, the extremely high percentage of Chicanos drafted, wounded and killed in the war and against the overall oppression of Chicanos–the denial of their democratic rights. The central theme of the march was “Raza Si, Guerra No!”. The march itself was multinational and largely of working class composition. The large majority of the marchers were Chicanos.

The Chicano Moratorium was originally the idea of the Brown Berets–a Chicano nationalist organization with a working class and lumpen make-up. This organization had been in the forefront of many of the Chicano struggles in Los Angeles–particularly around the questions of white chauvinism in the schools, police brutality and armed self-defense of the Chicano people. The group later assumed an anti-communist, narrow nationalist stance and degenerated into such adventuristic posturing as the “seizure” of Catalina Island “for Mexico”.

During the planning stages of the moratorium, the leadership rested in the hands of revolutionary anti-imperialist Chicano nationalists from the petty-bourgeoisie. They immediately came under attack from the trotskyite Progressive Labor Party which condemned the leadership as “reactionary” because of the “stress” on the question of Chicano national oppression. After some fierce struggles, these trotskyites were defeated politically in the eyes of the Moratorium committee, and were physically ejected. The PLP, typical of all social-chauvinists, had attempted to counterpose the Chicano national question to the working class question. Our stand as communists must be to give firm support to all anti-imperialist national movements because they are, in essence, a component part of the class question in the United States and of the world revolution. The liberation of Chicanos from their oppression can only finally be achieved with the overthrow of U.S. imperialism–the same enemy of the U.S. working class. The working class itself cannot achieve victory without a firm alliance with the oppressed nationalities of this country.

The demonstration itself was met by the full fury of the state. Under the pretext of being “called in to make an arrest” the Los Angeles police department began to tear gas and club the assembled crowd as they sat in an east side park listening to the speakers. Many hundreds were arrested and injured, three Chicanos were brutally murdered by the state. But the assembled masses proved the historic law that “where there is oppression, there is resistance.” Taking on their attackers with whatever weapons they could find, the people quickly launched a counter-offensive–setting fire to police cars and forcing the police to retreat under a hail of bricks, rocks and bottles. What began as a police riot soon turned into a spontaneous rebellion against the state. Precisely because it was spontaneous, because it lacked communist leadership, the rebellion lacked a plan, specific tactics against a clearly defined enemy for a clearly defined objective. Instead the attacks focused on the most clearly perceived targets–the cops and rip-off businesses in the area. This does not in the least alter the significance of this rebellion or take away from the unquenchable courage of the Chicano people in their march towards freedom. Our task is to build the party of the proletariat which can lead such rebellions, make them most effective in their assault on capital.

In spite of the state repression, more Chicano moratoriums were organized–on January 5. 1971 and January 31, 1971. On January 31st, the state again unmuzzled its dogs–the police. They shot down twenty-two people and killed one marcher. They set up barricades and fired without warning on the marchers. Let the revisionists tell the Chicano people about “peaceful transition to socialism.”


All of these demonstrations were of a decidedly anti-imperialist character and were organized without communist leadership. The Revolutionary Union, which makes as one of its strategic goals the development of “anti-imperialist consciousness” regardless of the level of consciousness of the most advanced members of the mass movements should learn from this. The task of communists in this country in this period of party building (and we are still in it despite RU changing its name to Revolutionary Communist Party) is to raise the level of consciousness of the most advanced to the level of communist consciousness. We must lead the spontaneous struggles with a clear picture of our goals: to test the political line in order to develop it further and forge the unity of Marxist-Leninists; to do agitation and propaganda in the course of the struggle; to link up with the most politically conscious elements and to train them and win them over–theoretically through the study of Marxism-Leninism, politically through the application of Marxism-Leninism to the conditions of the struggle in order to give that struggle revolutionary direction: organizationally how to organize a struggle effectively–HOW to know whom we must unite, who to neutralize and who to oppose; HOW to use all available forces so that they feel a useful part of a common effort towards a clear objective. All of these taken together serve to win over the advanced ideologically to the proletarian stand and outlook. We cannot take the line of least resistance of seeing “training” as having a worker sit passively through a meeting, or paint a picket sign or walk a picket line. Our goal is to train a vanguard! To do so requires theoretical, political and organizational work. Bolshevik cadre do not “fall from the sky,” they are forged on the anvil of class struggle.

National Liberation Struggles–Component Part of World Revolution

National wars against the imperialist powers are not only possible and probable, they are inevitable, they are progressive and revolutionary. (V.I. Lenin)

The era of imperialism is marked by, among other things, intensified national oppression. From a progressive capitalism which in its lower stage once stood for the freedom of nations, and fought for this freedom from the feudal yoke, has developed into moribund capitalism– whose economic decay and parasitism is reflected in the subjugation of nations with the resultant plunder and exploitation. From a thriving pre-monopoly capitalism has come a dying monopoly capitalism. From free competition to monopoly, from democracy to reaction. Historically in the United States, various different peoples have been oppressed above and beyond class oppression. Afro-Americans in the black-belt south have been forged into an oppressed nation in the heat of their struggle against this oppression. Black people have not only had to face the robbery of the fruits of their labor–but also murder, lynching, rape and a denial of their basic democratic rights. Their nation is not free and independent, but is strangled and chained by U.S. imperialism. The bourgeoisie, attempting to maximize its super profits, superexploits this people beyond “normal” class exploitation. The Chicano people have faced this same enemy doing the same thing. (ATM is referring here to the national oppression of Chicanos–their oppression as a nationality. Because of this, three important things occurs (l) the superprofits strengthen the hand of the bourgeoisie– the wealth they amass is, as Marx called it “concentrated social power” which puts the entire political, military, cultural, etc. apparatus of society at their disposal. The only purpose of this apparatus is to maintain the capitalists in power, to expand and strengthen their domination over the proletariat) (2) The oppressed peoples have awakened to national struggles; (3) The oppressed masses, and the proletariat are divided along national lines–between oppressor nation and oppressed nationalities. With their superprofits, the ruling class extends temporary meager privileges to the proletariat of the oppressor nation, to the Anglo-American proletariat–and drills them with the ideology of racism and national white chauvinism. Thus, since the only strength of the oppressed lies in their numbers, which must be united and organized if they are to overthrow capitalism, the bourgeoisie must maintain the historical national divisions among the proletariat and oppressed peoples. So we can see that the unity of the working class and oppressed nationalities–the unity of the class and national struggles, is not a liberal unity based on guilt or Christianity, but on the solid foundation of definite material interests–to overthrow a common enemy. It is the task of communists to make the proletariat and the oppressed nationalities CONSCIOUS of this material basis and to help forge their ACTUAL fighting unity. It is in this context that we must examine the struggle of the Chicano people and determine what tasks lie before us.


The leadership of the Chicano national movement historically has been the petty-bourgeoisie such as landlords and landowners, intellectuals, small businessmen, who, oppressed by imperialism turned to either radical politics such as anarchism or anarcho-syndicalism which existed as strong tendencies in the early history of the movement or reformism geared to-receiving an equal share of the imperialist pie–the superprofits stolen from the exploitation of the colonies and neo-colonies.

During the 1960’s, various forms of struggle and forms of organization arose within the Chicano national movement representing various ideological trends, classes and strata.

The Chicano peasant based in New Mexico and Colorado, has historically fought a bloody struggle to keep hold of and regain communal and private lands stolen from them by rich capitalists or the state. This struggle of the peasantry for the land guaranteed to them by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (the treaty ending the Mexican-American War), developed the organization known as La Alianza Federal de Mercedes headed by Reis Lopez Tijerina. After a series of legal battles over a number of years, members of the Alianza armed themselves and. seized a portion of their historic homelands (settled as far back as the l600’s). This struggle had the mass support of the peasantry of the Southwest and Chicanos of all classes and strata. It was aimed at the imperialist state and expressed its open solidarity with the struggles of the Afro-Americans.

The bourgeois state reacted viciously against the Alianza– mobilizing the national guard against it, jailing many of its members, infiltrating its ranks to cause disruption (through the use of rumors and provocateurs), and buying off certain of its leadership.

The movement of the peasantry still exists in the U.S. in 1975 although the peasantry is on the decline as a sector of society. We cannot ignore this movement. A peasantry also exists in the oppressed Afro-American nation. What the peasant movement has lacked historically and what it lacks now is the leadership of a communist party which can link their struggles to the struggles of the proletariat and other oppressed peoples. A party which can give the movement consciousness and direction. One of the tasks of our new party will be to develop a precisely formulated agrarian program in order for it to be ABLE to lead the peasant movement.

It is not within the scope of this paper to do a complete class-political analysis of the Chicano people. However, our limited research and experience lends us to believe that the Chicano bourgeoisie is still represented politically by the Democratic Party–a party of the monopoly capitalists. This sector of Chicanos continues to push its programs of reforms and “brown capitalism.” Any work among the Chicano national movement cannot ignore the Chicano bourgeoisie as they still have considerable influence among many working class and petty-bourgeois Chicanos.


The political representative of the Chicano petty-bourgeoisie would seem to be the Partido La Raza Unida. This is a mass party with centers in Los Angeles, California, Denver, Colorado and Crystal City, Texas. La Raza Unida Party has played a significant role in the Chicano movement. It has reflected the continuous struggle between reformism and revolution, of the Chicano movement. The two-line struggles within the Partido chrystallized at the historic national convention of 1972 held in El Paso, Texas. At this convention, the line of reformism and accommodation with the Democratic party was championed by the leadership of the Texas delegation.

The banner of political independence from the two bourgeois parties and anti-imperialism was carried by the California delegation. After bitter struggle, the Partido adopted the path of political independence and of firm struggle against U.S. imperialism. The successful fight was led by the Marxist-Leninist forces within the California delegation who struck an alliance with the revolutionary nationalists from California and Colorado and New Mexico. The basis of this alliance was revolutionary politics versus reformist politics. It was not, as some have said, a struggle between narrow nationalism and internationalism. In fact, a close examination of the recent Chicano movement discloses that reformism and not narrow nationalism is the greater danger. This illustrates the danger of proceeding from formulas–i.e., within every national movement, the greatest danger must always be narrow nationalism.

Following this convention, the Partido adopted the program of the California delegation which called for self-determination for Chicano and other Latino peoples. It also pledged support to all oppressed peoples of the U.S. and the Third World. Thus, the most progressive political representatives of the Chicano people had chosen the path of steel to steel battle against imperialism in solidarity with all oppressed peoples of the world.

From the beginning the Raza Unida Party was weakened by its shallow roots within the working class. Its base mainly came from the intelligentsia and the petty-bourgeoisie. In the struggle between revolution and reformism, the Marxist-Leninists made certain “left” errors of failing to carry on their work patiently, of failing to make distinctions between advanced, intermediate and lower strata elements, etc. They also made right errors of failing to develop a scientific program of work for the Partido, thereby leading to spontaneity. Seeing the need to develop strong ties with the proletariat at the workplaces, and also to develop the highest form of proletarian organization–the Party– the Marxist-Leninists made the decision to discontinue their work in el Partido. However, this can only be a temporary absence. In the 1972 national elections, over 200,000 votes were cast for La Raza Unida Party in Texas. In Colorado, numerous Chicanos support the work of La Raza Unida Party. While its base is much weaker in California, many Chicanos still look to the Partido for leadership. Of course any communist work in La Raza Unida would be done to give it revolutionary direction and link it to the struggle for proletarian revolution.

Presently, there are three tendencies existing within La Raza Unida Party–in California, the leadership of the Partido is anti-imperialist but caught up in reformist electoral work and “community control” issues. Colorado has various trends within it–socialists, nationalists, revolutionary nationalists, and reformists–but the character of the party’s work centers around the struggles of students, prisoners and “community control,” Both California and Colorado reject affiliation with the two bourgeois parties. Texas represents the more conservative wing of the Partido. Jose Angel Gutierrez and his clique covertly compromise with the Democratic and Republican parties in order to get funds and “special projects.” This clique is anti-communist and strikes an anti-imperialist pose when “the situation calls for it.” However, within the Texas Partido, there are contradictions and struggles, as the more progressive, honest and politically conscious elements see through the program of the Gutierrez leadership and begin to assert their independence from it. Communists must be able to utilize these distinctions to develop the progressive elements, win over the middle and lower strata and isolate the die-hard reactionaries.

As for the proletarian elements who left the Partido–many of them participated in the founding of ATM or have become members of other communist organizations. As representatives of an oppressed nationality as well as of the working class, they have the duty to seek out and win over the advanced elements from the proletariat and from the Chicano national movement. They must also work to unite the Chicano sector of the proletariat with the entire multinational working class and to fight for the leadership of the proletariat in the Chicano national movement. The Chicano proletariat, urban and rural, has now moved into a position to take this leadership due to its role in relation to the most advanced form of production, especially basic industry within the Southwest and the West Coast.

Since the turn of the century, the Chicano proletariat has increased tremendously–Chicanos constitute large percentages, almost majorities, in railroads, steel, construction and the refinery industries in the Southwest. In the period from 1900-1950, Chicanos came to comprise over sixty percent of the proletariat in the mines, the canneries and the packing sheds of the Southwest. This sector of the proletariat shown its- capacity for unity, organization and militancy in the heroic struggles of the Farah strikers and the struggles of the Farmworkers of California and Texas.

Our task is to build the Communist Party which can develop a correct analysis of the classes in the United States; a party which can correctly apply Marxism-Leninism to the national question and determine correct program, strategy, tactical line and policies in regard to the various classes and strata of the different national movements. Such policies have as their aim, the uniting of all struggles into a mighty tidal wave of revolution which will shatter the crumbling bastion of imperialism and build in its place a just socialist society founded upon the firm alliance and unity of the working class and the oppressed nationalities. To do this we must isolate the reformist danger in the national movement and also the growing revisionist and conciliationist danger which wants to divert the revolutionary nationalists onto the path of reformism.

Let all communists and advanced workers redouble our efforts to master Marxism-Leninism, to apply it to the conditions of the U.S. and to develop the line and program which can unite us all to carry out our struggle.