Book Review: Gringo Justice
by Alfredo Mirandé
University of Notre Dame Press, 1987, 261 pages
This book analyzes [email protected] under the U.S. criminal injustice system and exposes how the U.S. has used the kourts in order to solidify our national oppression.
This national oppression is traced from the 1800s and shows how the kourts have always been a major part of this oppression. Mirandé correctly notes how the difference between the "Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo" (which was supposed to codify [email protected]' rights to homes and lands which many held for hundreds of years) and treaties between tribal nations and Amerika is that [email protected] never acquired sovereignty as a nation.
Mirandé notes how in the 1800s when [email protected] resisted oppression they were called "bandits" whereas when the oppressor nation resisted they were called "heroes." I would add that today when [email protected] resist we are called "gang member", "prison gang member" or "street terrorist" rather than the correct word: "revolutionary."
I did learn some things, for example the [email protected] revolutionary Juan "Cheno" Cortina who rose up in Texas and occupied Brownsville actually proclaimed it the "Republic of the Rio Grande." The fact that even in the 1800s [email protected] saw the reality of a [email protected] nation is a beautiful thing.
Mirandé talks about the barrioization and how "through isolation Chicanos became almost invisible."(p. 29) Oddly even today some groups like RCP-USA continue this tradition where [email protected] are "invisible." Just take a look at their newspaper, where in the last ten years the word "Chicano" has graced their pages around two times!
Entire chapters discuss the mistreatment of [email protected] by law enforcement, and although [email protected] are targeted by the pigs, solidifying our oppression, this will not be educational nor enlightening to [email protected] who experience it first hand. Perhaps [email protected] will get more from reading about it, or maybe [email protected] who have not yet connected this oppression to our existence under a colonizing force will be helped to connect the dots.
There is mention of "Chicano gangs" out in the street and in U.S. prisons which I found interesting, but the best part of this book was on the [email protected] nation as an internal colony. Starting on page 219 Mirandé lists 8 tenets of internal colony theory. I thinktenet 6 is most felt by prisoners. It is as follows: "The subordination of internally colonized groups is not only economic and political but cultural as well. The dominant group seeks to render their culture dependent and to eradicate their language, thereby facilitating control of the colonized group."
The fact that in California prisons we can be validated as "prison gang members" for speaking certain Spanish words shows that prisons are a major tool in the internal colonization process.
Mirandé addresses Marxism, which relies on all the working class or "all workers against the capitalist class." Ey states that Marxists oppose the "internal-colony" thesis. While this is certainly true for pseudo-Marxists and revisionists, Maoists today in the belly of the beast see national liberation as a necessary component in liberating today's [email protected] nation. And even back in 1987, the most advanced Maoists already understood that the vast majority of workers within U.S. borders are not revolutionary. Perhaps Mirandé should check out contemporary Maoists within U.S. borders and see how it's not just possible to uphold national liberation struggles and be communist but it's necessary for today's internal semi-colonies.
Those just learning about [email protected] national oppression will learn from this book and it will be enjoyable to others in making that link of oppression between the kourts and our nation.