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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Gender]
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Chican@s Must Fight Gender Oppression

Free Aztlan Sunglasses
As a prisoner who has been studying revolution and theory for some years now I must admit that even for the most politically conscious prisoner, the issue of gender oppression is not as clear as it should be. Part of the problem, at least in my opinion, is that gender issues are largely taboo topics within prisons and this is a reflection of the grip of patriarchal culture and backwardness which plagues these dungeons.

For those of us attempting to de-colonize not just our own minds but also the minds of our fellow prisoners, it is necessary to understand what gender oppression entails. It seems ridiculous to learn about uprisings and liberation struggles without learning who was liberated. Our aim should be to discover how all of society was freed, not just how men were freed, or how a certain gender was freed. Consciousness means we become educated in more than gun battles or our people's history. It means we understand people and the struggles they go through because in one way or another we are part of this struggle.

There should be no part of society that we do not understand. Gender issues are a part of our society so we should understand them fully. But this takes us going outside our comfort zone.

Homosexuals and trans people will continue to exist even if some don't like it or people don't talk about it. Just like biological wimmin will continue to exist, or men for that matter. Not understanding a phenomenon will not make it change or disappear. Rather by not understanding something we usually only react to it in the wrong way, which only helps the oppressor.

Having been born and raised in a colonial-patriarchal-capitalist society, like most other prisoners I have gone about my life unaware of the realities of gender issues. An oppressive society works hard to keep our minds off the tough issues and even shapes the gender roles the way they want people to follow them to reinforce their hold on power. If we don't make an effort to understand our social training, we simply grow up lining up to the role capitalist society has laid out for us; what they say is right.

There are many elements of gender oppression, for example "male chauvinism." There is such a thing as "gender chauvinism" where one gender believes it is above another and as a result it will deny other genders of their rights. Gender oppression has existed since the birth of classes. Males took control of capital ownership from the beginning and the institution of patriarchy has simply been strengthened with heterosexual males at the top ever since. It is a social structure built on oppression just as vile as racism.

As I researched the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 70s I saw two things that were tied to one another. One was how there was a large current within the movements which was stuck in bourgeois nationalism, meaning it was all for the Chicano movement but was not anti-imperialist or even anti-capitalist. This was a shortcoming. But the other thing was many back then were homophobic and male chauvinist, and these two things fed off each other and served as a host for the other to exist and thrive.

The interconnections between gender oppression and class oppression are extensive. They, along with national oppression, are what keeps Amerikkka existing. Today's Chican@ movement learns from the past and we move forward combating gender oppression any way we can. Aztlán will not be freed without all Chican@s being free, including those oppressed because of their gender.

Gender is tied to the social reality in which we exist and I agree with those who argue that to snip the cord between gender and social reality is a metaphysical notion. We cannot expect to transform gender oppression without transforming society.

As prisoners we need to change the perception of male-dominated struggle. Even in the prison movement, which is struggling for prisoners/humyn rights, many believe it is a male prisoner thing. In reality, other genders are untapped and yet to be harnessed and set free to help lead our efforts within U.$. prisons.

If we look to the history of governments we find that nowhere was it possible to combat gender oppression with quicker results than in Mao's China. In 1976 when Mao died wimmin were about 22% of the deputies and about 25% of the standing committee of the National People's Congress which was the highest governmental body at the time in China. After Mao's death these numbers were reduced greatly. This was a period when wimmin in the U.S. Congress were about 1%!

When taking all this into account, with gender oppression existing in the United Snakes, it's important that we also understand that there is also a First World gender privilege which, like the worker elites, benefit just by living within U.S. borders. Wimmin in the First World, of all nationalities, enjoy a privilege that does not exist in the Third World. But of all First World wimmin, white Amerikans still enjoy the most privilege in the First World, just like their white worker counterparts. Complete gender equality will come when we reach communism, and until then we need to make a conscious effort to combat gender oppression within our struggles for liberation.

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[Culture] [Aztlan/Chicano]
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Politics and Art should have a National Style

"Mao's conviction that Chinese culture was a great perhaps a unique historical achievement strengthened his sentiment of national pride. On the other hand, his explicit aim was to enrich Marxism with ideas and values drawn from the nation's past, and thereby render it more potent as an agent of revolutionary transformation, and ultimately wersternization, not to replace it with some kind of neo-traditionalism in Marxist dress." - Stuart Schram

The sinifaction of Marxism is the adaptation and application of Marxism to Chinese conditions. That was the beginning of Mao Zedong thought, and that was the basis upon which Mao Zedong sought to not only liberate China from feudalist, comprador and imperialist control, but upon which he advanced Marxism-Leninism to the third and most advanced stage of revolutionary science. When traditional Marxists who saw no revolutionary potential past Europe and Amerika regarded Mao as "a mere peasant chief with little knowledge of Marxism", what they were really expressing was their doubt in the Chinese peoples' ability to wage class struggle because they were supposedly "backward" and hence uncivilized, even though Chinese society goes back thousands of years. When Japanese imperialism landed in China, renamed it Manchuria and claimed it as their own, Mao challenged and successfully annihilated that claim. National liberation for self-determination, that is what Mao correctly perceived as his hystoric task to push China forward in the Chinese peoples' struggle for national dignity. That was Mao's hystoric duty as a revolutionary. What will ours be? For revolutionary-nationalists from the Chican@ nation it is the adaptation and application of Maoism to Chican@ conditions.

"In essence, sinifaction involved for Mao three dimensions or aspects: communication, conditions and culture. The first of these is the clearest and least controversial. In calling for a new and vital Chinese style and manner, pleasing to the eye and to the ear of the Chinese common people, Mao was making the valid but previously neglected point, that if Marxism is to be understood and accepted by any non-European country it must be presented in language which is intelligible to them and in terms relevant to their own problems. But how, in Mao's view, was the reception of Marxism in China determined by mentality (or culture), and experience (or concrete circumstances)? Above all, how were both the culture of the Chinese people, and the conditions in which they lived, to be shaped by the new revolutionary power set up in 1949? ... Mao sought to define and follow a Chinese road to socialism. In pursuing this aim, he unquestionably took Marxism as his guide...as well as seeking inspiration, as he had advocated in 1938, from the lessons and the values of Chinese history."

The adaptation and application of Maoism to Chican@ conditions therefore does not at all negate our hystory or reality, rather it affirms it and demands that we are reckoned with. Mao said that Marxism is a general truth with universal application and the science of practice which has now been summed up in hystory proved him right. So now that we know the power of revolutionary science that is Marxism-Leniinism-Maoism works, the question moved from what form of struggle does Chican@ national liberation take, to how do we begin to implement it? How do we adapt and apply Maoism to prison conditions, and then how do we apply this new understanding to the barrio. What does a Chican@ communist vanguard organization look like behind prison walls? What does it look like on the street?

These are all questions that can only be asked and answered by Chican@s in the process of the struggle.

The Chican@ nation is currently at a critical juncture in its extensive hystory. We are beginning to reach a point in which we will either cast our lot with the rest of Latin America, wage our struggle for national liberation and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Third World, or we will perish along with imperialism. As before, so today the choice is ours. Will we continue to send our sons and daughters to die in the periphery for a flag and land that isn't theirs, or will we prime them to fight imperialism and liberate Aztlán? We have the revolutionary imperative. Patria o muerte!

Notes: 'The Thought of Mao Zedong' Stuart Schram, Cambridge University Press, pg198.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Police Brutality] [Colorado]
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Colorado Mourns the Killing of a Chicano by a Cop

Fort Collins Colorado - a 25-year old Chicano lumpen was killed by a cop today after what appears to be a robbery gone awry. The details are still unclear and prison censorship interferes with information gathering, but the news has sent shock waves reverberating throughout the Chicano lumpen prison population. One question comes to my mind, if being in prison isn't enough, since we are under a new brutally authoritative system in Colorado prisons, and now kkkops are killing us, where do we find relief?

And to the fact that Chicanos use violence against one another with the factions of various different lumpen groups, how do we use this new murder to bring revolution to the forefront in Colorado? With the minds and consciences in sadness, how do we really use this situation to unite?

Violence between all Chicano lumpen only justifies violence against us by the cops. My last article revolving around Mike Brown now pushes the genocide both external and internal to the forefront and should be used to remind us that our conditions are our responsibility.

Aztlán and the social responsibility for its liberation begins with peace between all lumpen Chicano groups. However shocking this incident is at the moment, I would like to take this time to express my deep condolences, sadness and solidarity to the homies, family and loved ones of this young comrade in the struggle.

Captive Chicanos: don't react with focoism, premature acts of violence against any guard will only continue to justify the use of force and violence against us by the state apparatus.

Revolution is our only option. To turn our pain into a force of revolutionary education, that will save our children and our comrades in arms.

Understand how the police state and the overall imperialist class holds an imaginative sway over us, by its use of things like patriotism and calls to social responsibility to our government. This is not our duty, our duty is to smash the internal divisions and unite. If we don't we all will not be safe. It is time to live for something more. Fight Back!

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[Censorship] [Aztlan/Chicano] [National Oppression] [Washington]
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Washington Prohibits Foreign Language Publications

Walls Closing In

I am fighting this Washington Department of Corrections policy "c) Publications in a foreign language will not be allowed with the exception of religious publications." They let letters come in in a foreign language, up to 10 pages. Before 2010 they used to let me get books and magazines in Spanish, but then they changed the policy.

I'm familiar with the censorship pack from MIM(Prisons), but there is nothing that applies to this issue. I exhausted the grievances. Their last response was that they had security interests and that it was a threat to the security of the institutions.

I've heard that there are states that let foreign language literature come in, also I heard that the federal system does too. These clowns told me that there is no state, federal or constitutional law that supports me to get books or magazines in a foreign language. I'm asking for the help of ULK readers around the country to advise me with a case or law that I could use in an argument or lawsuit. I don't know how to file one but I have to learn somehow. I wrote the ACLU and other organizations, but they never gave me a response.

If you do have some advice please sent it to MIM(Prisons). And finally to all those in Washington state, it would be good if we can come together in this and many other issues.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is an important battle because it is clear denial of access to educational materials for all Raza, and is particularly important for those Spanish-speaking prisoners who are not fluent in English. This blatant national oppression must be fought. We look forward to hearing from our readers with suggestions for how to best approach this campaign.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Culture]
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World Cup Distinguished Chicanos from Amerikans

Although the World Cup has been over for some time I feel compelled to comment on Mexico's national team.

When Mexico beat Croatia to make it to the round of 16 there were "disturbances" in Los Angeles. As Los Angeles has a high concentration of people who see themselves as Mexicans and not Amerikans, this goes to show that there is a separate, oppressed nation in the United $tates.

But this disturbance alone doesn't prove this. As J. Stalin said, "A nation is formed only as a result of lengthy and systematic intercourse, as a result of the fact that people live together from generation to generation. But people cannot live together for lengthy periods unless they have a common territory."

Mexicans in the United $tates, and especially in California, are distinct from Amerikans as well as from their relatives in Mexico. As Latinos are becoming the largest population in the United $tates it's even more important that a national party be formed to better serve the Latino nation, as the United $tates is incapable and incompetent to serve the needs of the Latino people in North America.

Note: MIM Theory #7, p. 49.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade that there is a separate nation within U.$. borders that is comprised of the primarily indigenous people of what was northern Mexico, and includes many descended from immigrants from Latin America as well. Though it is far more complicated than just some World Cup festivities, this comrade is correct that we can see evidence of the separate nation in many areas of culture. We have come to call this nation the Chican@ nation, and this is the subject of a book that is scheduled to be released at the end of 2014: Chicano Power and the Struggle for Aztlán. Write to us to get on the list for a copy of this important book.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Police Brutality] [ULK Issue 37]
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Andy Lopez: Another Chicano Youth Killed by Police

RIP Andy Lopez
In February 2014, parents of Andy Lopez were kicked out of a Santa Rosa mall for wearing
shirts memorializing their murdered son.

Chicano youth Andy Lopez, whose 13-year-old life was cut short by a Santa Rosa pig, has yet to obtain justice. This was a concrete example of what it means when people say that Aztlán is occupied under a settler state. Our colonization is expressed in many ways and our youth being shot dead in the street is one of the in-your-face OVERT examples, which even the bourgeois Chicanos cannot pretend not to notice.

When the white Deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus executed Andy on 22 October 2013, comrades here discussed what should be done in response to these attacks on the Chican@ Nation. Our conversation on the subject was pretty heated. One topic that kept coming up was the example that the Black Liberation Army provided back in the day when the Black Nation was under heightened attack from the lethal COINTELPRO. Everywhere in the world where a people are under attack and being murdered by the occupying state, at some point the people will fight fire with fire.

It's been four months and still there has been no indictment of the pig in question. But then when do we ever see the state prosecute its own when the oppressed are murdered in our occupied streets? We cannot allow Andy's death to be swept under the rug. So many within the Chican@ nation have begun a perverted romance with imperialism. The super profits that are extracted from the Third World seem to have intoxicated many in our nation to the point where when our youth are turned to swiss cheese by a pig, it's conveniently ignored. Revolutionary Chican@s need to work to detoxify the people and put Aztlán back on a revolutionary path. Our work should start with mobilizing Aztlán around acquiring justice for Andy Lopez.

There are plans for a march on 2 June 2014 in Santa Rosa to build awareness of this tragedy and to commemorate what would have been Andy's 14th birthday. Let us spread the word and gain momentum on the justice that we need to obtain. We support this march and will continue to develop ways to properly respond to the occupation of Aztlán. Andy's death should be seen as not only a rallying point but a juncture where we usher in a new wave in the Chicano movement. Aztlán libre!

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [National Oppression]
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National Struggle or Assimilation

national liberation or assimililation
Reading MIM Theory #7: Proletarian Feminist Nationalism I couldn't help but notice that to date there has been a strong trend of oppressed nationals becoming more and more molded and fitted to U.$. culture and its parasitic ways.

A quote by Malcolm X found in MT7 struck me hard: "I'm not going to sit at your table and watch you eat, with nothing on my plate, and call myself a diner. Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate. Being here in America doesn't make you an American. Being born here in America doesn't make you an American."..."No, I am not an American, I'm one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism. I don't see any American dream, I see an American nightmare."(1)

I'm hard pressed to find an organization that's "Latino" nationalist and agitating for the emancipation of what is currently the south western portion of the United $tates to become a nation itself.

These days you hear Latinos all throughout the United $tates clamoring for comprehensive immigration reform. Enough of this assimilation, and how about a call for what was once Mexico to return to its people. Whether this emancipated state will become part of modern day Mexico or form its own nation is for the people to decide for themselves. Those same people clamoring for immigration reform, who fail to realize that they are an oppressed nation within an oppressor nation, can't help but feel as if they constitute a part of this oppressor class (white chauvinism). The policies that will be enacted due to their protesting and petitions will only hurt and destroy the Latino communities. As a people who are already stigmatized and oppressed, the crumbs of the white nation are counter to the ultimate interests of Latino people.

It's no secret how the INS and ICE deport huge numbers of Latino people who only come here to make and earn a living. Some might ask: if Amerika is so fucked up why do you want Latinos here? Well if numbers are power then the more people we have the better we are able to form a revolutionary nationalistic party and arouse national sentiment in face of brutality. Moreover as burdensome jobs will go to those immigrants the better it'll be to swell the ranks of the proletariat.

Most people these days are so jingoistic with Amerikanism that at the same time they wave the U.$. flag they wave their country of origin flag too, not grasping how NAFTA and trade relations with "south Amerika" are one sided and are to the advantage of the white U.$. middle class. Even within prison you hear prisoners clamoring of how great the United $tates is.

Oppressed nations must take notice that you are not what the U.$. constitution meant to defend, you never will be and it's futile to think cheering and asking for reforms will free your nation. H. Ford Douglas put it nicely: "There is as much force in a black [Brown, red, etc] man's standing up and exclaiming after the manner of the 'old Roman' - 'I am an American citizen,' as there was in the Irish man who swore he was a loaf of bread, because he happened to be born in a bake oven... I can hate this government without being disloyal, because it has stricken down my manhood and treated me as a saleable commodity. I can join a foreign enemy and fight against it, without being a traitor, because it treats me as an ALIEN and a STRANGER, and I am free to avow that should such a contingency arise I should not hesitate to take any advantage in order to procure indemnity for the future. I can feel no pride in the glory, growth, greatness or grandeur of this nation."(2)

Notes:
1. Malcolm X, The Ballot or the Bullet, April 3, 1964, Cleveland, Ohio
2. Quoted in MIM Theory 7, pg 40.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Theory]
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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 Chican@ 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 Chican@ militant, Corky developed in the urban setting of Denver.

The Crusade for Justice was formally founded in 1966, in response to murders of Chican@s by pigs. It was an organization which sought self-determination for Chican@s and hoped to serve as a model for the Chican@ 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 Chican@s 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 Chican@ nation, it held the 1969 Chicano Youth Liberation conference, which brought Chican@s together for the first time like no other. It was here that the concept of "Aztlán" and Chican@ independence was brought to the Raza like never before. And although this was guiding the Chican@ 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 Chican@ 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 Chican@ communists involved in the Chican@ movement, but they were a minority. For most, the Chican@ 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 Chican@ 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 Chican@ 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 Chican@s 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." Chican@ 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 Chican@ 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 Chican@ 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 Chican@ community organizations to go into prison and helped to create a bridge of cooperation where Chican@s being released from prison would be funneled into the outside Chican@ 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 Chican@ 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 Chican@, 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 Chican@ 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 Chican@ 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. Chican@s 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 Chican@ 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 Chican@ nation, not simply for land-owning families, and thus Corky was more correct.

The Chican@ 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 Chican@s. 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 Chican@ 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 Chican@ 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 Chican@ 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 Chican@ movement of the '60s and '70s. There are many books on COINTELPRO and other political repression, but few focus on it aimed at the Chican@ 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 Chican@ 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!

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Economics] [Theory] [ULK Issue 33]
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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 Latin@s 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 Latin@. 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, Chican@ 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

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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.

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