U.S. "Left" Denies Aztlán and Strengthens Imperialism
Many Chican@s understand the concept of Aztlán in a variety of ways, some for its indigenous historical roots and others for its contemporary symbolic meaning of unity and our national territory. Either way, Aztlán draws the line of demarcation between Chican@s and our oppressor and provides an anti-imperialist thrust. To abandon Aztlán ultimately declaws Chican@s and attempts to assimilate the nation into Amerikkka which results in weakening Chican@s and strengthening our oppressor.
When it comes to the U.S. left within U.S. borders, many within the non-Raza strain work hard to attempt to lump together all Brown people, just like Amerikkka did in the days of the old "Greaser Laws" only today it is in the name of "progress." The idea is to better control Brown people and get Raza to assimilate under a mostly white left-wing leadership. These "progressives" work hard to co-opt Raza struggles and are quick to downplay the Chican@ nation and its distinct leadership. Some of them even capture the minds of Raza who unwittingly push their agenda, but real anti-imperialism understands that nationalism of the oppressed is a positive thing.
The truth is Raza have lots in common and will always have that strong bond and close collaboration. Our common histories on this continent ensure this. However the fact remains that we come from distinct nations and for Chican@s our national territory of Aztlán defines the Chican@ nation. Many different Raza have come to identify as Chican@ and thus Aztlán has continued the tradition of being inclusive of many diverse peoples. Raza have arrived from various latin@ nations and moved into Chican@ barrios and made them their home. Acknowledging the concept of Aztlán does not turn anyone away. But what denying Aztlán's existence does do is it denies the existence of the Chican@ nation because without a land base, a national territory, there is no nation. This is what many "progressives" do not explain.
Working against an oppressed nation is done in many ways. One of the more obvious ways is of course implanting the idea that their nation does not exist or that they should attempt to assimilate with Amerikkka. But another more subtle way of doing this is how those pushing the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) political line do it. They attempt to explain mass imprisonment in the United $tates as being profit-driven so that corporations can profit off of free prison labor. On the surface this sounds like a possibility. Even many well-intentioned self-described revolutionaries have bit into this and are running around promoting the PIC concept. But Raza, what this means is if this prison boom is profit-driven it alludes to there being no national oppression and thus no need for national liberation struggles.
The prison boom is about social control and it is a form of national oppression first and foremost. Profit is a secondary result. Mass imprisonment proves that national liberation struggles within U.S. borders are still very much relevant.
As Chican@s our land is occupied as you read this, so why would we ever seek to negate our existence as an oppressed nation? Can one be any more oppressed than having one's land stolen? And should we react by refusing to call our national territory by its historical name? I say no.
We are anti-imperialists because we are against land grabs and exportation of oppression. We are not stuck on just our nation, we know that we are inter-connected to the world's people and we fight oppression everywhere. At the same time we know that we can't free the world's people until we lead our own people both physically and psychologically.
Imperialism is strengthened when people refuse to liberate themselves. It is also strengthened when large swaths of oppressed people are hoodwinked into not taking the right path to free themselves. Attempting to bury the concept of Aztlán not only sets back the Chican@ movement, but it also sets back the anti-imperialist movement. Rather than attempting to smother what may be the most essential social forces in U.S. borders, real progressives need to find ways to support and help unleash them. Such actions would be real anti-imperialism.