The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. help out
[Aztlan/Chicano] [Theory]

Book Review: The Crusade for Justice

Book Review
The Crusade for Justice: Chicano Militancy and the Governments War on Dissent
By Ernesto B. Vigil
University of Wisconsin Press 1999
450 pages

This book is about the [email protected] organization the Crusade for Justice, which was founded by Rudolfo "Corky" Gonzalez, and the repression they endured. Corky was born on 18 June 1928 to parents who were farm workers. His father was a migrant from Mexico and fought in Pancho Villa's army during the Mexican Revolution, while his mother was a Chicana from Colorado. From Boxer, to bourgeois Democrat, to [email protected] militant, Corky developed in the urban setting of Denver.

The Crusade for Justice was formally founded in 1966, in response to murders of [email protected] by pigs. It was an organization which sought self-determination for [email protected] and hoped to serve as a model for the [email protected] nation.

The federal government began surveilling Corky soon after he officially broke with the bourgeois politics of the Democratic party. He broke with them because he saw that they were not really working in the interests of the Raza, rather they served Empire. He really got on the FBI radar in 1966 when the FBI files note an anti-war speech he made in Denver, Colorado. In this speech Corky said:

"Who reaps the profits? If in essence we are sharing in this prosperity by our own personal good life, then we are prospering at the expense of the blood and bones of fellow human beings. If our own economic gain must be earned by such a grisly trade, then we are truly a very sick society ... prolongment of the war means isolation of the most powerful military country in the world, frowned on and hated by millions of people on all the continents of this planet."(p. 28)

Here he clearly understands that the imperialist war on Vietnam was wrong and also saw that those in the First World who benefited via better living standards and privileges were benefitting off of the "blood and bones" of people around the world. So early on we see that Corky was much different than say a Cesar Chavez because he not only sought better treatment for [email protected] but for folks around the world.

I found the portions of the book concerning FBI surveillance very educational. The author obtained FBI reports on Corky via Freedom of Information Act requests, and learned that at one point the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) sent a report to J. Edgar Hoover stating that protesters were released after protesting the death of a New Afrikan who was killed for using a segregated facility, and after walking out of the courtroom the SAC notes of Corky and others: "They all joined hands and sang, 'we shall overcome'."

For the SAC to feel the need to report to Hoover something like this highlights just what kind of beast that we are up against. The unity between oppressed nations is an extreme threat to the safety and security of white supremacy. Calls for unity or a united front between the internal semi-colonies will always threaten our oppressor because this unity challenges the Settler state even before a single rifle is raised. Together we make the occupiers tremble!

Perhaps one of the significant actions that "Crusade for Justice" did was, besides mobilizing the [email protected] nation, it held the 1969 Chicano Youth Liberation conference, which brought [email protected] together for the first time like no other. It was here that the concept of "Aztlán" and [email protected] independence was brought to the Raza like never before. And although this was guiding the [email protected] movement onto the anti-imperialist road and was a revolutionary event, the leaders - Corky and the Crusaders - were not communists and this was their shortcoming. As good as their efforts were and as much as the [email protected] nation needed them at the time, they did suffer some erroneous political line.

At the conference a preamble and three-point plan was adopted. The preamble, also known as "El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán" was steeped in patriarchal tone with talk about "brotherhood" of Chicanos and our "Forefathers" in Aztlán. What's more, as Vigil notes, there is no talk of the First Nations who exist within many parts of the land base we call Aztlán. The preamble was written by the poet Alurista and thus the preamble was a little poetic.

The program was written by Corky and reflected some idealism. He speaks of nationalism, self-determination, independence and total liberation from the oppression and exploitation, but not of socialism or communism. From my studies I know that there were [email protected] communists involved in the [email protected] movement, but they were a minority. For most, the [email protected] struggle was simply about breaking from the "Gringo" i.e., national oppression, but liberation divorced from socialist relations of production leads back to capitalism and thus imperialism. We have learned from our foremothers and forefathers and understand that even within the [email protected] Nation there are class contradictions which will continue to be a problem post-liberation, and will not be resolved without dissecting capitalism completely. Without identifying this truth, one is left with the empty shell of bourgeois nationalism and continued oppression only under new management.

The fact that even organizations like Crusade, which did not even seek socialism, but simply to be free from oppression, faced state repression and intense FBI surveillance is shocking. Here was a group who we find out in this book was surveilled by FBI, military intelligence, police intelligence, CIA and others, and they were not even attempting to install socialism. This teaches us all the extent of the settler in protecting its Empire.

Vigil describes how in the late 1960s and early '70s many middle class people of all nationalities were protesting for integration of schools, but the [email protected] movement did not care for integrating schools nor did they struggle for this.

"School busing to achieve integration was of little interest to Denver's Chicano activists, who had other priorities; bilingual education, community empowerment, and curriculum reform. For them, integration was misguided 'Liberalism,' a mere cosmetic reform premised on the assumption that minorities could be well educated only when Whites were physically present."(p. 117)

Here Vigil is on point that [email protected] should not focus on integration, not in schools and not with Amerikkka. Our goals are to liberate our people, not to sleep in the oppressor's house. The only integration we want is Aztlán's future economy being integrated with socialist relations of production.

I really enjoyed reading about the Escuela Tlatelolco which was a "Freedom school." [email protected] youth learned "Spanish, history, music, folkloric dancing, geography, printing, sculpturing, and contemporary world and national affairs."(p. 161) Vigil explained: "Three professors were recruited from Monterey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, to teach advanced Spanish, Mexican history, economics, political science and mathematics."(p.162)

Independent institutions such as liberation schools are important for us to decolonize the minds of our youth, but this decolonization must come wrapped in communist ideology — which the Escuela Tlatelolco wasn't. Our contemporary liberation schools will clearly show our youth that only a socialist Aztlán will begin the process of real nation building and is the only way to truly liberate the [email protected] nation. We want schools today that are operating outside U.S. influence and which display what real people's power means.

There was an interesting section on a [email protected] prisoners self-help group which formed in 1969 at Colorado State Penitentiary. This political group was called the Latin American Development Society (LADS). The LADS made it possible for [email protected] community organizations to go into prison and helped to create a bridge of cooperation where [email protected] being released from prison would be funneled into the outside [email protected] activist community where they would find post-prison services such as employment, counseling, etc. Corky Gonzalez was able to go into the prison and speak at the first LADS meeting, so the [email protected] movement was injected into this prison political group.(p. 180-181)

Like prison groups today LADS focused on combatting oppression and providing education for the imprisoned [email protected], and LADS also left us with some good examples to learn from. They created several serve the people programs in the pinta, for one they created a committee that worked with new prisoners, what we may call "first termers" here in pintas in Califas. This was important because a new prisoner or "fish" may be easy prey for some predator in prison. In this way youngsters were given revolutionary clecha once they entered the pinta by LADS "O.G.'s". LADS was comprised of prison vets who were politicized. Within LADS were many sub-committees such as the Committee to Assist Young People (CAYP), as well as a security committee called the Zapatistas.(p. 182) The LADS were anti-dope and combatted drug use or sales in the pinta. They were not trying to poison the imprisoned Raza, rather they were trying to build the Raza.

Criminal acts and lumpen-on-lumpen crime declined once the LADS became active and they were able to establish a Concilio de Unidad (Unity Council) which contained LADS and outside activists who collaborated with one another. This I think is needed in today's pintas where prison revolutionaries via United Struggle from Within (USW) can link up with MIM(Prisons) and ensure released prisoners can be funneled into the revolutionary movement out in society. But prisoners need to step up and prepare ourselves and other prisoners to continue their political work on the outside.

The shortcomings of LADS was it was an above ground (prison approved) organization, so although the prison officials allowed them to have meetings etc., Vigil states that prison officials abolished the LADS once they gained influenced. My question is since when do we allow our oppressor to abolish our efforts to organize or serve the people? At the same time state repression is real and very deadly, this probably explains why many of today's imprisoned [email protected] revolutionary groups operate underground.

Something else I found interesting was something Corky Gonzalez came up with and that was the Congreso de Aztlán (Aztlán Congress). As Vigil explains, "The Congress de Aztlán was a conceptual congress of the 'Chicano nation,' of 'Aztlán.' It would be similar to a government-in-exile in as much as it claimed legitimacy in opposition to the colonizing power that claimed Mexicans as subjects. In this case, however, the congreso was not in exile but operating in occupied territory."(p. 189)

The Congreso de Aztlán was never able to be activated because of inner contradictions within the [email protected] movement. The main political vehicle was the la Raza Unida Party (RUP). RUP made an attempt at establishing dual power, where Raza sought community control of community politics and community services, but this "dual power" was in reality an attempt to use the oppressors' politics to liberate the people, which of course could never really be successful. This approach is a result of those Social Democrats who fall for ballot box "revolution."

Vigil states about the RUP, "The party was a national party in name only and never had a clear central ideology other than the anti-establishment nationalism prevalent in the movement."(p. 191) I would disagree, the RUP did have an ideology but for the most part it was bourgeois ideology. When the Congreso de Aztlán is finally activated in the future it will have a strong ideology. [email protected] have learned a lot since decades past, we know that like Mao said, without a revolutionary theory there is no revolutionary party. The ideology of our Congreso de Aztlán will be communist in nature.

RUP also failed to have a national platform, newspaper or command structure.(p. 192). Their strategy seemed to be to knock on doors and tell Raza to vote Brown. Had RUP enacted a clear revolutionary program and national officers, etc., I believe they would have been neutralized by the U.$. government's COINTELPRO tactics a lot faster than they were, because they attempted to organize above ground in opposition to Amerikka.

Some of the leaders in the [email protected] movement were more revolutionary than others. Reis Tijerina who fought the land grant struggle in New Mexico, for example, got out of prison and made a statement which Vigil quotes: "I don't dig the political philosophy of the Third World. We are here. We have what it takes. I don't go for outside ideologies."(p. 192) His First Worldism shines forth, and had the U.S. miraculously given back the land grants in New Mexico we may never had heard from Tijerina again. Tijerina went on to describe our youth of believing in "imported ideologies" that "serve the Anglo," yet it was his clinging to capitalism which served the imperialists. Here Tijerina displays dogmatism, where facts don't matter in relation to ones narrow-mindedness. Corky responded to Tijerina stating he wanted no "alignment with political prostitutes" in a letter that was published in the Crusade newspaper El Gallo. Corky saw that Tijerina's efforts were opportunistic, relying on familial ownership of land. Corky saw the struggle being to liberate the land for all of the [email protected] nation, not simply for land-owning families, and thus Corky was more correct.

The [email protected] movement during these times also produced some underground revolutionary groups. Some of these groups were the Chicano Liberation Front in El Paso, the Frente de Liberación Chicano of Northern California, and the Continental Revolutionary Army in Colorado. These groups were reportedly involved in bombings within U.S. borders and other operations aimed at U.S. imperialism. Vigil notes how the Continental Revolutionary Army bombed the Texas home of James M. Somerville, who newspapers described as the CIA chief of the Denver field office. As Vigil points out, it was the first physical attack on the CIA on U.S. soil and it was done by [email protected] It's important to note that in the 1970s Denver was the bombing capital of the U.S.(p. 295)

Prisoners were also forming revolutionary groups at this time, such as Chicanos Organizados Rebeldes de Aztlán (Organized Rebel Chicanos of Aztlán - CORA). CORA put out a newspaper called AZTLAN from prison which was distributed out in society. Another organization was the Movimiento Organizado Socalistas Chicano de Aztlán (MOSCA). Both of these organizations were created in the Federal prison system and some of their miembros left the pinta to remain politically active on the outside. Every generation of prisoners needs their own revolutionary [email protected] organizations. Our oppression continues and so should our resistance. CORA's example of creating a prisoner newspaper is something contemporary prisoners have not been able to pull off, but the example remains that the independent press can be created from within prisons. The imprisoned [email protected] struggle is nothing new, our people have been rising up in these colonial pintas for decades, and so we have a lot of history to learn from if we can access it.

The content of Crusade that dealt with the developments of [email protected] independent institutions was powerful and subjectively pleasing, but the real meat of this book was in learning how state repression — primarily by the FBI — was aimed at the Crusade for Justice and the [email protected] movement of the '60s and '70s. There are many books on COINTELPRO and other political repression, but few focus on it aimed at the [email protected] movement like Crusade does. Not only were field reports generated for local police intelligence units on Crusade activity, but these reports were shared with many others like military intelligence, FBI, CIA, etc. For as little as making a speech critiquing capitalism or Amerikkka, an FBI file was started on a persyn. Attending an event protesting pig brutality was also grounds for investigation. I recommend this book because it helped me understand the extent of political repression by U.S. imperialism. Even journalists were having an FBI file created on them for making a critical statement or article on police or government.

I see the need now more than ever to rebuild the [email protected] nation and mobilize the people on the only path to justice and real equality. Our complete decolonization will manifest in an independent Socialist People's Republic of Aztlán.

¡Aztlán Libre!

[Aztlan/Chicano] [Economics] [Theory] [ULK Issue 33]

Latino Patriot or Fascist?

It should be very disturbing when young Latinos from so-called "War Zones", and Texas urban centers — infested with drugs, gangs, prostitutes, pimps, young men from broken homes, raised by the State, in foster care, or juvenile prisons — can look you in the face and speak with prestige about U.$. political systems and social institutions, giving the impression of "legitimacy" when referring to U.$. democracy, freedom, justice, and "social mobility".

This past week the local news station for the San Antonio area aired a special report about a strengthening Mexican economy. The report talked about Mexican consumption reaching levels unprecedented in history, Mexican buying power, and this consumption being fed by U.$. products and production. It included images of bourgeoisified Mexicans holding up a sign with an image of a U.$. flag that said "Made In The USA". This report aired as President Obama visited Mexico and Centro America. One Latino patriot started singing "I'm proud to be an American, Where at least I know I'm free," sparking heated debate across the viewing area.

Another moment of patriotic sentiment was recently expressed when an article was published in the San Antonio Express Newspaper. Ex-State Representative, and self-proclaimed "Hispanic," Henry Cisneros (D) revealed a "philanthropic and humanitarian aid" initiative for the State of Chiapas in Mexico, backed by U.$. financiers. The article stressed the extreme poverty and economic woes of the region. Mr. Cisneros was quick to exaggerate a connection between his own ethnic roots and the City of San Antonio, Texas, as a backdrop for the plan expected to build "international bridges" and raise the living standards of Mexico's "wretched." These "Mexican-Americans" I'm surrounded by were quick to point out the article as an indicator of U.$. international efforts at "nation building," and how our political system here in the States allowed a "Mexican-American" to become a representative not only for the "raza" in Texas, but all the way in Chiapas. What the article didn't mention, and nobody seemed to notice, is that Chiapas is partly under "rebel control." The EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) and the Mexican Federal Government are engaged in low-intensity warfare for the land, hearts, and loyalty of the citizens of Chiapas and most of Southern Mexico. Could it be that Mr. Cisneros is being used as a Brown face for U.$. imperialism? Could the U.$. humanitarian aid be a cover for undermining the insurgents' efforts to gain legitimacy by building infrastructure inside the barricaded "rebel zones" in Chiapas? Wake up people!!!

The strongest argument these Patriots have is: if our living standards are raised, buying capacity strengthened, and struggles of life eased, what's the problem? If a "Mexican-American" can be elected into office, representing Latinos locally and internationally, what is so wrong with our political and economic systems? They say we need more [email protected] in office, and that we need to exercise our rights to vote, and take advantage of every opportunity available, before we point the finger hollering "oppression!" That's the attitude of these fools.

I owe my political development to MIM(Prisons), but I'm just not advanced enough in my understanding of capitalism and imperialism to effectively challenge these views raised when I criticize U.$. domestic and foreign relations. When i speak about communism as an alternative, the programming is reflected by smart remarks about oppressive regimes that sprang up after communists seized power in countries like Cuba, Korea, and Vietnam. China is referenced as a communist system in their minds. The word communism raises so many fears and scares folks away. I don't know how to raise arguments to fight all the negative stigma surrounding communism. I don't know how to effectively strike at the image of legitimacy and prestige seated deep in the consciousness of these herd-minded sheeple (sheep-people). Lumpen prisoners need to understand where their real long-term interests are at. It's not with the maintenance of the Empire, or replacing the conservative white politician with a liberal [email protected] Please help!

MIM(Prisons) responds: First let us quickly address the title to this comrade's essay, as many throw around the term fascist in their letters to us, but we print it here in line with our very specific definition of the term (see our Fascism and Contemporary Economics study pack for more background info).(1) As we will explore more deeply in our forthcoming book on the First World lumpen class, the combination of wealth in this country and the precariousness of the lumpen class makes for a potentially radical, but potentially pro-capitalist, pro-exploitation political base that would team up with the most brutal imperialists. It is for this reason that we take seriously the task of reconnecting the lower class of the oppressed nations with their radical anti-imperialist histories and interests.

Ultimately communists are educators. Some who read Marx mechanically will say that communism is inevitable, period. However, Marx's theory that communism would replace capitalism was based in the idea that the masses of people would, for the first time in hystory, gain a scientific understanding of society and how to guide it to meet their needs. This requires a conscious effort of people to study, understand and teach others. Without that we remain trapped at the whims of social forces beyond our control, determined by a powerful elite who only teach us to be good consumers.

In the imperialist countries this is not just a question of "waking up" or educating people, as there is an economic interest in maintaining the system that gives us all the material wealth that we enjoy at the expense of the Third World. So we are focused on building minority movements while splitting the unity of those who would oppose a transformation of society to a more just and sustainable mode of production. When we have people sitting in prison so twisted in the head that they are singing patriotic songs about Amerika "where at least I know I'm free," we know we have room to expand our influence.

The question of how to reach these potential allies is of utmost importance to us. One piece to addressing this is training our existing allies theoretically. The forthcoming book, [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán, will give comrades an example of how to push Maoism in the context of Aztlán. This will be especially helpful for those narrow nationalists who won't listen to you tell them how great China was under socialism. However, we must also study Chinese socialism, because they accomplished things no other society has to date; Chinese socialism led the way up until 1976. A new bourgeoisie rose to power within the "Communist Party," which remains the name of the capitalist leaders who have led China down a disastrous road for the last 37 years. We have many good books on China and MIM Theory 4: A Spiral Trajectory, which takes a look at some of the other socialist experiments of the past.

Of course, most will not jump right into theoretical study, which is why our education work requires agitational work. It is up to those of us with the theoretical knowledge and understanding to translate the most pressing contradictions in our society into simple, stand-alone ideas that can be repeated over and over to the masses in a way that will resonate, build understanding and support. The mission of Under Lock & Key is to be an agitational tool among the prison masses. This is where we try to put forth our theory in short pieces that will make people think critically and act.

While the majority of the world has a clear interest in ending imperialism, in the United $tates we have to be more creative. We focus on prisons and other state repression that seriously threatens a minority of people in this country. For the oppressed nations we can also draw connections to their people's histories and how imperialism impacts those places as this comrade did with Chiapas. And for the majority of Amerikans who aren't affected by those things, we still have the destruction of the environment and the never-ending threat of war that are inherent contradictions within capitalism, easily remedied by ending the profit motive. As long as we are guided by the correct theory, we can try all sorts of agitational tactics and test them in the real world. It is through this practice, and sharing our experiences with each other, that we can learn what works best.

Note: Fascism is "a movement of mixed elements, dominantly petit-bourgeois, but also slum-proletarian and demoralized working class, financed and directed by finance-capital, by the big industrialists, landlords and financiers, to defeat the working-class revolution and smash the working-class organizations." R. Palme Dutt, Fascism and Social Revolution: How and Why Fascism Came to Power in Europe

[South Asia] [Economics] [Aztlan/Chicano]

Big Fat Elephant in the May Day Dialogue

maoist workers in the field
1 May 2013 - The so-called labor movement in the imperialist countries has long been limited in support and influence due to the overwhelmingly privileged conditions that most First Worlders live in. So in an attempt to seem relevant, and to perhaps mask their white nationalism, they proclaim "solidarity" with worker struggles across the world. In the worst cases, this "solidarity" actively works to mislead the struggle of the proletariat towards economism and tailing of First World development models. But even when it is just "solidarity" in words, it is used to defend the privilege of the exploiter populations in the First World. On this May Day, the featured interview on Democracy Now! epitomized this tendency.(1)

Charlie Kernaghan of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights was interviewed for a segment on the recent tragedy in Bangladesh and the labor struggle in general. Kernaghan informed us that 421 people are confirmed dead and another 1000 are still missing, meaning they are probably dead under the rubble of the factory that collapsed. He explained that the workers were not only threatened with no pay for the month, which would equal going hungry, but they faced the immediate threat of thugs with batons. As the recent fertilizer explosion in Texas showed, the profit motive under capitalism puts everyone's lives at risk. Still, there is a quantitative difference between being forced back into a dangerous situation with batons, and being unaware that it exists. The relative risk faced in the Third World is higher.

As MIM and others have shown elsewhere, there is a qualitative difference between First World wage earners in that they earn more than the value of their labor and are therefore exploiters, in contrast to the exploited proletariat.(2) The conversation around the Bangladesh tragedy degenerated into white nationalism when interviewer Amy Goodman began asking about what is to be done. After cheerleading for more protection of Amerikan wages, the guest began calling for trade barriers to goods from countries like Bangladesh until they can follow certain labor standards enforced by U.$. law. Such opposition to free trade organizes the exploiters at the expense of the exploited.

The elephant in the room became harder to ignore as the guest talked of workers making 21 cents an hour in the same breath as the immiseration of Amerikan workers. Yet, when Goodman began dancing around the wage question the guest responded:

"Well, like I said with the legislation, it's not our job to set wages around the world. That's up to the people in their individual countries. But what we can do is we can demand that if you want to bring the products into the United States, that these workers must have their legal rights."

How is it that we can enforce child labor laws, but when it comes to wages the Third World is suddenly on their own? How can you talk about international "labor solidarity" without talking about an international minimum wage? The idea is ridiculous and the only reason it happens is that the Amerikan labor leaders know that the average wage in the world is well below what they are already making. They want to keep earning more than their fair share, while putting up trade barriers for products produced by exploited labor.

We presume that the people of South Asia will not mistake people making $20k a year, and much more, as being part of the proletariat. But as we come closer to the heart of empire, the proletariat's class view becomes more and more skewed. There is no better example of this than in Aztlán today, where migrant workers see the vast wealth around them and the possibility of getting a piece of it. After the oppressed nations took over May Day in the United $tates seven years ago, the left-wing of white nationalism worked overtime to infuse this new proletarian movement in the belly of the beast with the line of the labor aristocracy.

Today, as the federal government claims to be close to enacting "immigration reform" that will amount to more Amerikan exceptionalism and favoritism, we favor the focus on reunification of families that some in Los Angeles called for on this May Day. This is an issue that ties in well with the national question, rather than economist demands for more access to exploiter-level wages. Reunification challenges the repressive border that keeps families apart, and keeps whole nations of people alienated from the wealth that they produce. As integration in the United $tates has advanced, challenging the border and fighting white nationalism, or better yet First Worldism, needs to be at the center of a progressive proletarian movement in Aztlán. These are the issues that really sparked the massive May Day rallies in 2006 in response to pro-Minutemen Amerika.(3) This is the spirit that we celebrate this May Day.

[Aztlan/Chicano] [Theory]

Brown Berets - Prison Chapter 10 Point Program

brown berets de aztlan prison chapter
For the past few decades California has been increasingly using control units in the form of security housing units (SHUs) as a method of control. These deprivation chambers are a major part of the state's war on the Chicano nation. Where prisons are used to enforce a slow genocide on La Raza, to disrupt the family unit and implement an internment camp by "legal" means, within prisons also lies the SHU which is equivalent to the chopping block where rebellious slaves who resisted or escaped would get limbs amputated as 1) punishment for resisting the oppressor nation, 2) preventing the slave from making future attempts, and 3) to inflict a psychological blow terrorizing the larger population to what will happen to them should they choose the same path of resistance. So too are the SHUs used in this manner on revolutionary or rebellious prisoner who resist the state, for this opposition to the state we are met with SHU which restricts our ability to resist and punishes us for our refusal to obey our oppressor thus instilling a grave warning to the prison masses of what will happen to them should they take the path of resistance. This oppression has gone on for decades and has grown to horrific proportions in recent years. Here in Pelican Bay SHU over a thousand are tortured with solitary confinement alone. The living conditions here have gone past punishment to the most vile cruelty depriving us of the most basic human rights, it is a place where sunlight is denied and health care is often used to extort incriminating information from those being tortured in this house of horrors. It is a place where prisoners have faced the most horrendous abuses like being boiled in tubs of scalding water to being stripped down in underwear and locked in an iron cage outside in the freezing raining winter morning. These stories would be unbelievable had they not been documented in court transcripts for all to see.

Chicanos are overwhelmingly the majority of those sent to SHU, it is the identification of this war on Aztlán, this silent offensive that you won't read about in the bourgeois press or see on the corporate news outlets but which we see, live and have analyzed for all to understand.

These developments led to the formation of the Chicano Prisoners Revolutionary Committee (CPRC) in late 2011 here in Pelican Bay SHU. The CPRC was created initially for the efforts taking place surrounding the hunger strikes that swept U.$. prisons in 2011. It was within this effort to analyze and lend a revolutionary perspective to the developments surrounding human rights in prisons that CPRC gave birth to the Brown Berets - prison chapter (BB-PC) on June 1, 2012.

The BB-PC was inspired by the original Brown Berets that arose in the 1960s and led the Chicano movement in harnessing the people in the barrios with their many independent institutions from free health clinics, child care, free food programs, schools, newspapers etc. We draw from this legacy of serving the people and dig deeper in the theoretical realm.

We do not answer to any other chapter nor does any other existing chapter answer to us, we are an autonomous chapter which due to the extreme repression in Amerikkka's history operates underground within U.$. prisons. Currently we are the first and only prison chapter in Amerika but we expect many more chapters to develop in many other prisons and states as [email protected] develop politically. We do not publish the names of the BB-PC cadre; our chapter resides in Pelican Bay State Prison.

The BB-PC is the Chicano cadre in U.$. prisons that works to transform these pintas and our nation from our vantage point. We are taking the concepts of community organizing and applying them to the pinta, thus these concrete conditions we experience are very different than they are for a chapter out in society and although our efforts are mostly prison based and revolve around contradictions prisoners face on a daily basis our main thrust of course lies in the Aztlán liberation movement. Our ten point program guides us in that direction and allows us to remain in active service of Chicano independence.

We welcome all imprisoned Latinos to partake in the Chicano struggle as a liberated Aztlán will be a place where all Latinos are welcome to be free from oppression.

The following is the BB-PC Ten Point Program:

  1. We are Maoists
    We believe as Mao taught that class struggle continues even under socialism, as a new bourgeoisie develops as happened in the USSR after the death of Stalin in 1953 and after Mao's death in 1976. Mao advanced communism the furthest thus far in world history and it will be through a Maoist program that we liberate Aztlán.
  2. We are an autonomous chapter
    We are a self governing chapter that practices democratic centralism. We understand that because of state repression we are more efficient as an autonomous chapter and that as new chapters arise in other prisons across Amerika that they too will be autonomous in each individual prison.
  3. We want to build public opinion in prisons
    At this stage the only struggle in Amerika is in the realm of ideas, we seek to politicize the imprisoned Chicano nation through educating our gente on all aspects of la lucha.
  4. We want Raza unity
    As the largest Raza population in Amerikan prisons the Chicano nation understands its responsibility to maintain Pan-Latino unity and to educate all Raza on the current repression we face. In the prisons within Aztlán, Raza endure institutional oppression where Raza are overwhelmingly held in SHUs and control units far more than any other of the oppressed. This offensive is meant to neutralize us physically but particularly mentally. We will stand with imprisoned Latinos and resist the oppressor nation as we have done for 500 years and support the Boricua in their march toward independence free from neocolonialism.
  5. We stand in solidarity with all oppressed and Third World prisoners.
    Today's prisons are meant to dehumanize the people and break our will to resist. The internal semi-colonies that are captured and held in these concentration camps face much of the same repression from the state, we understand that to better our living conditions as prisoners it will depend on a united front of oppressed prisoners for legal battles and other effort to obtain human rights in prisons and we will cultivate this collaboration.
  6. We are revolutionary nationalists
    We understand that true internationalism is only possible when each nation is fully liberated. We identify oppression in Amerika revolving around nation, class and gender which enables imperialism to uphold power and we combat these forms of oppression in our long march to national liberation.
  7. Close the control units
    The SHUs and similar models are designed to unleash population regroupment on the imprisoned Chicano nation. It is well known that the most revolutionary elements of the Chicano prison population are plucked from general population prisons and sent to the SHU or other control units in an effort to isolate the revolutionary vanguard from the prison masses, this isolation is then used to torture Chicanos en masse through solitary confinement and other psychological methods for years and decades.

    We understand that this is done primarily to prevent the captive Chicano revolutionaries from mobilizing our mass prison base. We see the control units in Amerika as modern day concentration camps as we are sent to those camps not for physical acts but for thought crimes, beliefs or supposed beliefs that oppose the state. We work to overturn the use of control units in every prison in Amerika.

  8. Stop prisoner abuse.
    We are against oppression in all it's forms within prisons. This includes prisoners preying on prisoners, abuse from the hands of guards, patriarchy or any abuse physically or psychologically. In Amerika prisons are tools of imperialism used to inflict terror on the internal semi-colonies out in society and stifle any resistance to their war on poor people, having experienced and identified the full onslaught of this offensive we take it head on to combat all forms of abuse from the state or otherwise and this includes combatting the state propaganda and tactics of pitting prisoner against prisoner by political education so that prisoners understand who the oppressor is.
  9. Free all political prisoners.
    We not only see political prisoners as those who were politically conscious out in society and came to prison for acts of the movement, we go past that in our analysis and also see SHU prisoners as overwhelmingly political prisoners who are systematically tortured for their ideas or alleged thoughts. We also see most prisoners in U.$. prisons as political prisoners because living in imperialist amerika many of the "Crimes" and criminal injustice system that we face is nothing more than national oppression that is exercised in order to uphold the capitalist relations of production and we work toward freeing the people.
  10. We want a liberated socialist Aztlán.
    Our aim is communism but we understand it will take many years for this to become reality. At this stage we are working for Aztlán independence which will only occur after the defeat of imperialism. We work toward a socialist Aztlán where the peoples' needs are met; things like land, bread, education, health care and many more needs will be met and peoples' power will be exercised in order to transform not just society but prisons as well, to a more vibrant and just environment where all will have an opportunity to grasp revolution and promote production. We will transform these prisons ideologically in order to prepare the ground for these developments as we serve the people.

[Theory] [National Oppression] [Aztlan/Chicano]

Book Review: Occupied America

Occupied America: A History of Chicanos
7th Edition
by Rodolfo F Acuña

occupied america book cover

A well read book in its 7th edition, "Occupied America" is a history book for the [email protected] nation. This book has been a leading text for [email protected] studies for decades. It is an in depth analysis of [email protected] history. It is also important to note that Occupied America was one of the books banned in 2012 in Arizona and has since been a hot item for the libro trafficantes (book traffickers) who have been defying Arizona and smuggling this book back into Arizona and into the hands of [email protected] youth.

It's clear uncut content about Amerika's treatment of [email protected] along with accurate history of [email protected] rising up in resistance has Amerika scrambling to censor this work.

Occupied America was first published in 1972, emerging from a peak in national liberation struggles in the United $tates. In 1981 the second edition was released and Acuña wrote in the preface:

The first edition of Occupied America followed the current of the times, adopting the internal colonial model that was popular during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The works of Frantz Fanon greatly influenced the tone and direction of the book. Since then, just like the Chicano movement itself, I have undergone dramatic changes. I have reevaluated the internal colonial model and set it aside as a useful paradigm relevant to the nineteenth century but not to the twentieth. ...I decided to return to the basics and collect historical data.

This quote would lead us to believe that we would have more unity with the political line put forth in the first edition. Though more recent editions will have more updated information, and would likely be more valuable references for that reason. It seems that the changes between editions 2 through 7 are mostly in factual content, with an attempt to avoid polemics.

So what gets the white supremacists so disturbed about Occupied America? I chose to find out and decided to read it again.

Acuña starts the 7th edition of his book in the pre-Columbian times when civilization first started on this continent going back 50,000 years. One learns of the Aztecs, Olmecs, Zapotecs, Mayans, Incas and other natives. This naturally leads to the European invaders and the beginnings of the forging of the Mexican and then the [email protected] nation.

With the Spanish occupation and genocide that soon followed their arrival in North America, Acuña takes you through the social relations of the natives at the hands of the church.

The quest for more gold and silver and thus the mines soon led to a decimation of the native population and with this process came the resistance. But there was development as well in the economic arena. In the states that comprised "northern New Spain" at the time, like California, the Spaniards had Mestizos and natives working and so these oppressed peoples were, as Acuña explains on pg 33, the "vaqueros, soap makers, tanners, shoemakers, carpenters, blacksmiths, bakers, cooks, servants, pages, fishermen, farmers as well as a host of other occupations."

And so on the one hand the people were worked sometimes to death but on the other hand they developed economically across the region, which is a precursor to nationhood.

Acuña takes us into the Mexican revolution of 1810 when Mexico won its independence from Spain which was a great event but didn't bring socialism to [email protected] and so the exploitation would soon return. Acuña explains the theft of Texas which was spearheaded by the white supremacist Stephen Austin starting in the 1820s. This is where the 2nd edition of the book opens up, leaving out the history above.

The myth of the Alamo is cleared up by Acuña on pg 41 where he states: "Probably the most widely circulated story was that of the last stand of the aging Davy Crocket, who fell 'fighting like a tiger' killing Mexicans with his bare hands. The truth: seven of the defenders surrendered, and Crockett was among them. The Mexican force executed them, and, one man, Louis Rose, escaped."

This book explains the myth of the oppressor nation propaganda that consumes the "history books" we read in public schools.

The U.$. war on Mexico of 1848 is explained very well and one sees the birth of the [email protected] nation in these pages. Along with this birth the layers of state propaganda are peeled back and Acuña highlights the resistance in the [email protected] nation, people like Juan "Cheno" Cantina, Francisco "Chico" Barela and Gregorio Cortez are discussed and one sees how they rose up in militias as revolutionary groups to fight yankee imperialism.

Groups like Las Gorras Blancas (the white caps) came together to defend the people with arms from white supremacy and oppression. In Occupied America we read of the early [email protected] proletariat and the militant [email protected]@ labor struggles. The 'Plan of San Diego' is discussed which was the basis of a revolutionary group that fought the U.$. government in Texas around 1915 with the goal of establishing an independent [email protected] nation, Black nation and First Nations upon victory.

We also learn of how the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo was signed and Amerika stole what is now called the "Southwest." We learn that "the depression" for Amerika was normal program for [email protected]@s. Our conditions did not change and when the "New Deal" came post-depression and Amerikans were put to work on public work projects, because [email protected]@s were not allowed to participate in the "New Deal." At the time of the New Deal, the Communist International was criticizing social democracy in Europe as social fascism for appealing to the labor aristocracy interests in line with the rising fascist powers. In North America the fascist forces were not well developed, but social democracy still served to benefit the labor aristocracy to the exclusion of the oppressed nations.

The book explains the 1960s and the eruption of a new generation of [email protected] that brought the [email protected] movement on the scene. All the [email protected] groups are discussed: Masa, Mecha, Brown Berets, Black Berets, Mayo, Umas, Alianza, Crusade for Justice and many more. These fiery groups along with the many [email protected] publications that are mentioned show the times of this period and the heightened political consciousness in Aztlan.

The "teatro campesino," plays and improvised theater by and for farmworkers out in the fields, showed that [email protected]@s taking on agribusiness added to the times and [email protected] culture.

Although he provides tons of data and information on the entire history of [email protected], the colonization process, the early development of [email protected] as a nation, and [email protected] resistance, where Acuña falls short is in this book is in failing to point out a correct path forward on how [email protected] should liberate ourselves. Oddly he only provides a short paragraph on communism and only to discuss how the state blamed communists for [email protected] activism. And so Acuña leads [email protected] to the edge of the cliff but does not tell the people how to proceed and what will liberate us.

Aztlan will only be liberated in a socialist society, when socialist revolution arrives we will finally taste freedoms. Any struggles short of this will only lead to a bourgeois revolution and a continuation of oppression, only under a new management, as happened to Mexico after the Mexican revolution.

Learning one's history is a necessary step towards liberation but once we are conscious we must then grasp how to move forward and Occupied America leaves this most important element out of the book.

Occupied America has been required reading in Chicano studies college courses in many schools across the United $tates for many decades and will continue in most schools for some time, it has a wealth of information that will continue to awaken and educate [email protected] youth and as a [email protected] historian Acuña has helped the nation in learning our history. Anyone else who wants to learn about the development of [email protected] will also enjoy this book. It is clear why the oppressor nation is so scared of this book - because it's truth!

[Aztlan/Chicano] [Elections]

Democratic Presidential Convention Highlights Chicano Assimilationist

julian castro vendido
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro promotes
Chicano assimilation into Amerikkka
On September 4, 2012 the Democratic convention was held, almost every TV channel was broadcasting this. Like the Republican convention, the Democrats had speakers come out to make a short speech on why you should vote for their candidate. These conventions are a classic 'good cop, bad cop' game meant to hoodwink the oppressed.

This year's democratic keynote speaker at the convention was Julian Castro the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. Castro is running for congress and is seen as an up and coming Democrat. Although he merely adds to the rest of the numerous defenders of imperialism, what is different and thus dangerous about someone like Castro is that he is a Chicano bourgeois politician who is now being propped up to fool the Brown masses, just as Obama was used against the Black masses.

Castro's background is similar to many Chicanos today. His grandmother migrated to the United $tates in the first wave of migration after the Mexican Revolution in 1920. His mother was born in Texas and was actively a part of the Chicano movement of the 60s and 70s. As a first generation college student she joined the Raza Unida Party (RUP) and became one of its leaders.

La Raza Unida Party came about from the leadership of Crusade for Justice another Chicano organization of that time. It was in 1970 that Corky Gonzalez announced the formation of RUP. The Crusade for Justice was actively leading many Chicano struggles of this time period. At one point as Acuña described, "The Crusade for Justice leadership also wanted to form the 'Congress de Aztlan', which would build a Chicano nation."(1) The RUP meant to uplift the Raza's consciousness, take community control of social services in the Barrios, taking control of schools and development (building homes, parks, etc.) which all seems cool and "progressive." But without completely breaking with the oppressors politics these efforts were simply spinning wheels, like trying to ride a bike with no chain; you can turn the pedals all you want but the bike stays in the same spot.

The RUP had a left wing and a right wing, like all phenomenon there were internal contradictions that pulled this group in different directions, and without a clear path for liberation RUP was doomed from the beginning. The biggest error in RUP's program was in attempting to work within the framework of Amerikan bourgeois politics. RUP naively thought Amerika would stand by and allow a historically oppressed people, an internal semi-colony, to build a political party in the barrios, even though it attempted to do so within Amerika's political system. The state would not allow this, as organizing the oppressed for any progressive political activity poses a real potential threat. Once organized and educated this force can easily make a leap from working within the current system to working against the system. This is why people like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were assassinated even though they were not calling for socialism and pretty much worked within the confines of the Amerikan laws. They still had influence and the potential was too much, the threat assessment told the state what must be done.

RUP was heavily surveilled by the CIA (1) and so all the Cointelpro tactics were used to destroy this party. And ultimately RUP suffered from believing Chicanos could be liberated via Amerika's bourgeois politics or through reforms. The fault also lies in those more revolutionary elements within RUP for not steering RUP on a more revolutionary approach that sought the liberation of the Chicano nation by building for a socialist revolution on these shores.

So this is where Julian Castro comes from and thus this bourgeois nationalism is what shaped his ideas and lead him down the road to Brown capitalism or outright defender of imperialism. His assimilationist stance shined forth in his speech with statements like "[we need to] do our part as one community, as one United States of Amerika." This is typical language of a comprador who's job is to bring the other oppressed into the fold of the oppressor. His/her job is always to quell or smother the burning embers of resistance in a people and keep things as they are. The slave of old who lived in the massa's house would go out to the slave shacks and talk about how good the massa is, how good the slaves got it, maybe even given them a piece of bacon or the good meat with a promise for more so long as they hang on and be content or say some prayers. This is the approach Castro took in his speech, his focus - like the rest of the Democrats was on the "middle class," and at one point his petit bourgeois colors intensified as he yelled: "The middle class the engine of our economic growth!" The Brown bourgeoisie must have soiled themselves with excitement at hearing this parasite babble on.

Castro's interests are stripped of the more progressive aspects of 1970s political line of his mother, Rosie Castro, which he branded as outdated in an interview on Pacifica Radio. As misguided as the RUP may have been in their approach, they never spoke of leaving Raza behind, nor were they reduced to telling Raza to 'Pull themselves up by the bootstraps.' Rather they sought to include even the poorest Raza living in shacks and fought to better their conditions while Julian Castro has aligned with imperialism as he stated: "we know in our free market economy some people will prosper more than others." The idea that in a society there will be the haves and the have nots is not something we can accept. But Castro sends the message to the ruling class that he is okay with this and thus is not intending to threaten or challenge this status quo. This buys his seat in the imperialist shuttle of Amerikan politics.

The use of Julian Castro is just the latest attempt to get Chicanos and other Raza to become part of Amerika. But many Raza still remember the oppression we have faced, it is still too much for many to side with the enemy. According to the 2010 U.S. Census about 2.3 million businesses are owned by Latinos. Yet when it comes to voting in bourgeois elections only 60 percent of adult Latino citizens vote compared to 70 percent of Black adults who vote and 74 percent of whites who vote. At the same time approximately 500,000 Latino youth will turn 18 every year for the next 20 years. So I believe Julian Castro is the tip of the iceberg where Amerika will begin courting Latinos much more than they ever have in history, and not just any Latinos but preferably those with family history of activism as Julian Castro and his mother in an attempt to paint these parasites as "legitimate" in the eyes of the Chicano nation. But these Brown faces in high places will never be legitimate so long as they support the super parasites. Those who we see as legitimate are those working to liberate our nation, those working to neutralize the super parasite.

We see Amerika's open repression reaching fascist proportions in Aztlán, especially in prisons and on the "border." Most recently we saw along the Texas/Mexico "border" the U.$. instillation of a "mini navy" (4) where speed boats with high powered weapons are guarding the Rio Bravo and have recently baptized these new boats in Mexicano blood when they shot and killed a Mexican citizen on the Mexican side who was barbecuing in a picnic area with his family right on the river. Footage on the Amerikan corporate media this week shows families and children as the border patrol speeds off while cries erupt in this park. This open war on Raza comes without a peep from bourgeois politicians like Julian Castro, who, rather than condemn this repression in his speech, instead declares "Amerika will prevail" in his speech to massa.

We must also learn from the lessons of the past. We are not free to create our own political parties that struggle for our nations, look at what happened to the RUP and Panthers and others. In Amerika although parties of the internal semi-colonies are not publicly banned, they are certainly banned behind closed doors in Langly, in Washington DC, and their other hideaways. We know this is true when we learn about Cointelpro and other operations to infiltrate and disrupt peoples parties or groups. And so we refuse to be fed snake oil from the imperialists or their allies and hasten the day when Aztlán and the other internal semi-colonies can be liberated from attacks by Amerika!

1. Rodolfo F. Acuña, "Occupied America: A history of Chicanos," 6th ed, p.275.
2. Ibid, p.276
3. Center for Responsive Politics 2012.
4. 6-25-12, CBS nightly news.
5. 7-16-12, NPR, "Democracy Now."

[Aztlan/Chicano] [National Oppression]

Burning Chicano Books

The recent assault raining down on Brown people in the state of Arizona smacks of the rise of the Third Reich in Nazi Germany when Hitler's Brown shirts began burning books that may have contradicted fascist ideology. This was not a phenomenon exclusive to Germany, rather the occupier always attacks an oppressed nation's culture, history and language in order to sap a people's ability to struggle.

What better way to prevent a people from wanting to struggle than to take away their history of struggle and oppression and brainwash them with the oppressor's views and version of history. An act that was outright "land theft" quickly becomes "an honest purchase" or "genocidal acts" become an almost spiritual or supernatural concept called "manifest destiny." In this way ideas are shaped and a people are pacified.

The state of Arizona has dismantled Chicano studies which was obtained in the first place by courageous struggle. Most remember the 1990s when UCLA finally obtained their Chicano studies courses via a hunger strike in 1993. Many schools had to protest and struggle to be able to learn about our history. For too long we have been told a version of history from the oppressor nation's view, twisting real history in an attempt to brainwash our youth. This is a serious attack on the Chicano nation and this comes at a time when an increase in repression is unleashed on migrants by ICE and other government agencies. This is no coincidence when it is viewed with the criminalization of Raza and the southwest states' use of control units to capture Chicanos at a higher rate than any other nationality. Even those "law abiding" youth who are doing nothing wrong but attending Amerikan schools thinking that if they commit no crime and get an "education" they will have a good life are facing attacks from the imperialists — preying on the most vulnerable — our youth!

The banning of books was thought to have been a thing of the past, a fascist way of controlling a people's thoughts and yet we are experiencing it in 2012. The book Occupied America: A history of Chicanos by Dr. Rodolfo F. Acuna was recently one of the books banned in Arizona. This book along with others was boxed up in classrooms in front of Chicano students, as if their history is bad, as if Chicanos are bad, a forbidden people. It has been reported that when this occurred some Chicano youth were crying in class not understanding or comprehending the vile white supremacist monster they are up against living as an internal semi-colony in the United $tates.

Occupied America is a book that has been required reading in Chicano studies courses all over the United $tates for decades! It is a book of the history of the Chicanos and uncovers U.$. imperialism's treatment and oppression of our nation. It does not promote violence or speak of revenge or retribution, this book merely tells the story of imperialism's activity on this continent over the centuries. But as the Chicano scholar Dr. Carlos Muñoz recently put it in regards to the banning of these books and studies "They are afraid of the truth. You know, the truth hurts." I think that's a real simple way to put it the truth does hurt these parasites, their vileness hurts to know or to be reminded of how they treated human beings.

This recent attack is going to backfire on the oppressor nation. Due to this and all the other attacks on the Chicano nation it is going to spark an arousal in Aztlan, a second wind in the Chicano movement is going to kick in where the youth who have since the 60s begun to get lax and not appreciate the sacrifices that went into allowing us to gain things like Chicano studies, all this taking things for granted is now coming to an end and Raza are awakening and our youth are once more being politicized and our barrios are once more being revolutionized. Chicano revolutionaries are organizing and developing new ideology, even prisons are seeing [email protected] becoming conscious and revolutionary and we will use the experience of the Chicano movement of decades past to make a leap in our struggles and push our nation farther than previous efforts. More youth are wanting answers of why they are suffering state oppression and jumping into the mix, many want to know why Occupied America is banned and going out and purchasing the book to see what all the fuss is about if they have not already read it, I myself am going to order it to share with others and all Raza should do the same and purchase this book to learn why the state is targeting this book and to support our Chicano historians who stand in the line of fire by imperialism and its apparatus. Purchase it before it is banned even for purchase!

When we see these developments occur to our gente we should understand that the 2010 U.$. census shows the dramatic growth in the Raza population, when all other folks are decreasing in population Raza are increasing. Raza will soon be the majority and I have written about this before, this "majority" in population that we will be in the future is not being taken lightly by the state, they have think tanks who sit around thinking of ways to stifle and assimilate Raza and how to break the Chicano nation's back via our youth. We must see the seriousness in the banning of Chicano books, this is a low intensity war on the Chicano nation, they are using deportations, prisons, three strikes laws and now schools to force their program onto our nation and so we need to educate Raza in the barrios and the pintas before it is too late.

When the Spaniards came to the valley of Mexico they burned the Mexica's books (codices) and destroyed their written history or most of it along with other traces of their legacy and filled the void with what they wanted future generations to know and when we read what they have written we do not read of genocide and rape because they conveniently left that out. All oppressors have used this tactic of re-writing history. Do not stand by and allow Chicano book burning to occur in 2012. Let us make our voice heard in Arizona and support Raza in that repressive atmosphere who are up against the same world oppressor we are! This madness in Arizona will not be solved by changing Arizona because it is U.$. imperialism which unleashes these fascist laws on our nation so it is with imperialism where the problem lies and so long as imperialism exists book banning will exist, today it is the Chicano nation being attacked via its history books and tomorrow the Black nation's history books will be banned in schools and then others as well so let us stand in solidarity against this coming fascist storm and prepare the people wherever you may be!

Go to Page [1] [2] [3] 4
Index of Articles