- Shut Down the Control Units (9/20/2023)
- Build a United Front for Peace in Prisons (7/30/2023)
- Boycott Juneteenth: End Mass Incarceration and Solitary (7/01/2023)
- We Demand Our Grievances are Addressed in Texas (5/24/2023)
- Stop Censorship of Non-Nude Publications and Photos - Repeal BP-3.91 (5/24/2023)
- NPR Ignores Torture in United $tates
- General Tchiani Leads Coup Against President Bazoum in Niger
- The Necessity for Revolutionary Introspection
- RICO Act Tool of Political Warfare
- A PREA Audit or a PREA Scheme
Book Review: "Geronimo: The True Story of America's Most Ferocious Warrior"
It’s uncanny how books fall into your hands at times. Recently my circle has been discussing the subject of prisoners of war (POW’s) in the United $nakes and, what do you know, a comrade slides me this book on a POW who died imprisoned, the Chiricahua Apache Chief Geronimo.
Going into the book I treaded lightly as biography type books are quite biased. Many of the tomes written on leaders of the oppressed within the empire tend to be heavily biased slander that amounts to imperialist propaganda. This book was written as an “Interview” by Barret while Geronimo was a POW at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. I went into the book bracing myself for a book that would attempt to tell Geronimo’s story while promoting Amerikkkan ideals if even unconsciously. I was not wrong.
The subtitle of the book itself is an error: “The True Story of America’s Most Ferocious Warrior.” Geronimo was a First Nations warrior. America is the name of the white nation who stole the land it now occupies. The subtitle thus describes Geronimo as a member of this white settler nation which is ridiculous, as he fought against Amerikkka.
The first part of the book focuses on general Apache life with an emphasis on the mythology of the Apache creation story of origin. Steeped in the metaphysical ideas of a “God” and how a talking dragon would visit early ancestors. Sadly many of the world’s societies have such creation myths that are passed down. It highlights the need for a materialist approach to all we do and gives a glimpse of how the world would think if we were without dialectical materialism.
Part two, “The Mexicans”, answered a lot of questions I had. Here it describes how at one point Geronimo and his tribe traveled into “old Mexico” – as he calls it – and while the warrior went to trade in the town they returned to a massacre where it was reported that Mexican troops had killed everyone including Geronimo’s aging mother, wife, and three children.
I had often heard of Geronimo’s anti-Mexican sentiment, now I know why. Contradictions among the people continue today where oppressed nations fight for crumbs and leave devastation on either side. It’s disappointing to hear, knowing Geronimo’s passion for fighting Amerika it would have been beneficial for the oppressed to join forces and fight Amerika as this was in 1858, ten years after the U.$. war on Mexico and the birth of the Chican@ nation. Surely there was much resistance sparking and embers of resistance still burning.
I can’t stop to wonder had a united front of oppressed nations come together and resisted the U.$. how it would have resulted, add Black folks in the mix and it would be even better.
The first half of the book seemed to exalt Geronimo’s raids and murder of Mexican people. The first half has almost no mention of his war on the white nation, on which much of his reputation is built on.
Part three titled “The White Men” depicts various attacks and treachery when U.$. troops would call “peace” only to meet up and murder the Apache forces. At one point the Apache Chief Manigus-Colorado was called by the U.$. military for peace talks and assassinated. Geronimo seemed to be the only one who did not trust the U.$. troops or “white men” and thus never attended peace talks during that time period and lived through the treachery.
Chapter 16 titled “In Prison And On The War Path” was chilling to read. Here Geronimo contemplates war on Amerikkka and death. This portion of the book struck me more than any other of the passages. I feel his words and taste them internally. To me it’s as raw as it gets for those of us who are prisoners of war.
"In the summer of 1883 a rumor was current that the officers were again planning to imprison our leaders. This rumor served to revive the memory of all our past wrongs, the massacre in the tent at Apache Pass the fate of Mangus-Colorado, and my own unjust imprisonment, which might easily have been death to me.
“We thought it more manly to die on the war path than to be killed in prison.”
So much to unpack here. The mention of the leaders being imprisoned brought back memories of Pelican Bay SHU. The SHU was where leaders of the imprisoned oppressed nations in Califas were kidnapped and “imprisoned”. Taking leaders is a common practice of the oppressor nation. For Geronimo it triggered the Apache when they heard that their leaders would be kidnapped again. That’s a very traumatizing experience. I feel it. For those who have never been captured, tortured or kidnapped I can only say that the closest example I can give of Geronimo’s words here is that of a child who was kidnapped by a stranger, taken from their family and returned as an adult and then one day this persyn was either snatched again or told that another person would be kidnapped. Imagine the trauma this persyn would feel: the memories of being taken. The trauma likely became unbearable to the point that resistance, even resulting in death, must have seemed welcoming.
It seemed that every few pages Geronimo or his tribe would sign another treaty with Amerikkka. A lack of political investigation resulted in decisions based on subjectivity. As materialists we know that the oppressor will not relinquish power willingly, hystory has taught us that. Had Geronimo been a dialectical materialist he would have come to that realization much sooner.
Reading how the U.$. Army General Miles told Geronimo he would build Geronimo a house and give him access to cattle and provisions if he would simply stay in his place on the reservation was really revealing. Geronimo was a prisoner of war and knew it. Today many Chican@s and other oppressed don’t even know that we too are prisoners of war, for the U.$. war on Aztlan continues. We too are in a reservation called the United Snakes.
A low intensity war continues on the Chican@ nation. The U.$. government has always maintained an offensive on the colonies since the invasion was first launched, the offensive simply changes names, vehicle, and nationality, but its vision and operation remains fully intact. On April 20th, 1886 U.$. troops stationed in Arizona and New Mexico were issued this order by the U.$. War Department:
“The Chief object of the troops will be to capture or destroy any band of hostile Apache Indians found in this section of country and to this end the most vigorous and persistent efforts will be required of all officers and soldiers until the object is accomplished.”
If one were to substitute the word “Chican@s” instead of “Apache Indians” this statement could have been written last night. Insert the dreaded “gang member” which the colonizers love to use to vilify oppressed nations youth survival groups and the statement may be even more authentic to today’s mission. The pigs are tasked with accomplishing this mission in their war on the poor. Political groups or parties claiming to work in the interest of the oppressed here in the Snakes who do not move in ways that acknowledge this program of protracted soft war on the oppressed while conducting their work in the field in the so called interest of the colonized reduce their efforts to crass concerns of proletarian morality.
Today the state is resuming its offensive to “capture or destroy” hostile indigenous people (Chican@s, not First Nations in this context) and as the statement says they are obligated to do so “until the object is accomplished.”Their vigorous and persistent" efforts today amount to the KKKourts, three strikes, “gang” enhancements, hyper-policing, and of course murder and assassination to none but a few.
It is not that Chican@ people are dimwitted and without comprehension to grasp we are being attacked and targeted. What muddies the water is to see Chican@ or Black pigs carry out this program of “capture or destroy” which works in the state’s interest to disguise the ONGOING onslaught on our people, that have stopped since 1848 and before, as one long chain of oppression the state may employ Chican@ Toms and Black Toms as actors, but it is a state operation, that is: a program of white supremacy to maintain white power.
At the end of this book it’s a shame to read about Geronimo converting to Christianity to which he describes associating with Christians will “improve my character”. A warrior reduced to surrendering to the oppressor. Metaphysical thought like Christianity has not “improved” the character of the oppressed, rather, it has worked to subdue and pacify even one of the “ferocious” warriors like Geronimo. There’s even a picture of Geronimo in his Sunday best with the caption “ready for church” at the end of this book.
This was an interesting book that teaches one of the injustices committed by Amerikkka against indigenous peoples; but there are also lessons of how a warrior can (through the brute heel of the oppressor) become broken and surrender, and in doing so lead much of ey’s people into the abyss of plantation-minded Amerikan apologia. I needed to read this book at a time of extreme repression in my own life to re-energize and I think you need to read it as well. To die on the war-path for liberation . . .
Book Review: The Old Gringo
The Old Gringo
by Carlos Fuentes
Fuentes has written a couple dozen novels and many consider him one of Mexico’s literary icons. I previously picked up one of his novels that I never got to finish so when I stumbled upon this novel I was determined to complete it and learn more about how Fuentes sees the social reality of Mexico.
This novel is set during the Mexican Revolution, depicting the mystery of a real life dissapegrande in 1914. Protagonist “The Old Gringo” is an Amerikkkan journalist who travels to Mexico “to die”.
Fuentes is a skillful storyteller who nudges you through the story with comedy and nuance. At the end of chapter 2, Fuentes quotes “The Old Gringo” as saying: “To be a gringo in Mexico . . . Ah, that is euthanasia”.
Ahh if only . . . It’s known through historical records that during the time of the Mexican Revolution, at least with Pancho Villas line, being a gringo in Mexico actually was euthanasia. Villa at one point gave ‘gringos’ 24 hours to leave Mexico or get the wall. The white oppressor nation was 86’d, but today, sadly Amerikkkans are welcomed by the Mexican bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie who partially are dependent on dollars from El Norte. Mexico’s economy overall depends largely on U.$. dollars.
The Mexican Revolution was essentially a revolution against capitalism internally and U.$. imperialism externally, which in the form of “foreign investors” was exploiting Mexican resources while the people starved. On page 29 Fuentes writes on this and the remedy:
“. . . flee from the Spanish, flee from the Indians, flee from the servile labor of the encomienda, accept the great cattle ranches as the lesser evil, preserve like precious islands the few communal lands, the rights to land and water guaranteed in Nueva Vizcaya by the Spanish Crown, avoid forced labour and, for a few, seek to preserve the communal property granted by the King, resist being rustlers or slaves or rebels or displaced Indians, but, finally, even they, the strongest, the most honorable, the most humble and at the same time the most proud, conquered by a destiny of defeat, slaves and rustlers, never free men, except by being rebels”.
Here Fuentes skillfully walks us through the dilemma of landless people who even out of the most humble circumstances are left with one choice to be free: rebellion. Fuentes also hits on a struggle close to the Chicano nation, which is the land grant struggle enshrined in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexican@s, like Chican@s were given land grants that were to honor contracts and titles for communal lands that families and villages held since the arrival of the Spaniards. Much of these lands had been held in common “communally” for even hundreds of years BEFORE Spanish colonization. During the time of the Mexican revolution the capitalists on both sides of the false U.$. border began to disregard land titles and confiscate communal lands by force. Fuentes rightfully highlights that rebellion is the remedy.
It was refreshing to see Fuentes mention the encomienda system, something rare in novels these days. The encomienda system was a debt peonage system in Mexico where, although Mexico is commonly touted as ending slavery before AmeriKKKa, it continued with this plantation-like labor servitude before during and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
A good chunk of the book is spent on bourgeois ideas of ‘The Old Gringo’ and the White Teacher, Harriet Winslow who is actually his daughter. Lots of descriptive wordage is spent in an attempt to captivate the reader in an agonizing trip that results in a yawner. But every now and then Fuentes shakes us out of our literary coma with a sharp and vibrant realness that pulls us back into captivating fiction, as on page 64 when he quotes Villa’s General Arroyo:
“Ask yourself how many like me have taken up arms to support the revolution,, and I am talking about professional people, writers, teachers, small manufacturers. We can govern ourselves, I assure you, Senorita. We are tired of a world ruled by caciques, the Church, and the strutting aristocrats we’ve always had here. You don’t think we are capable, then? Or do you fear the violence that has to precede freedom?”
Fuentes captures the reality of freedom. It is a process that can only be birthed through the canal of violence. Capitalism leaves no other option. The reformists will have us attempt to vote freedom into reality, which has never been realized. Even many so-called “revolutionaries” have not developed the correct line on liberating a nation, the truth is that the oppressor will never relinquish their power willingly. Although conditions today are not ripe for armed struggle and we do not promote that stage of resistance today, the truth is as Mao put it: political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
‘The Old Gringo’ travels to Mexico to join the revolution. A journalist and veteran of the U.$. civil war, he goes to die in Mexico. Perhaps tired and demoralized from an AmeriKKKan life. Yet, he ends up being the conscious voice of the white nation, especially when Harriet Winslow defends the “forefathers” in an evening debate with The Old Gringo. He hands it to her by replying “We are caught in the business of forever killing people whose skin is of a different color”. And forever killing non-whites has indeed been AmeriKKKa’s business since its inception. Fuentes delivers the stark reality of the white nation. Our ancestors in their graves confirm this and would applaud Fuentes for translating this even in novel form.
I have read many novels but none that analyzed William Randolph Hearst, the media magnate/U.$. propagandist. In this novel ‘The Old Gringo’ is a journalist working for Hearst before leaving to ‘die in Mexico’.
Hearst was known for war-mongering and saber rattling through his bourgeois rags in the interest of the U.$. empire. When the Mexican Revolution popped off Hearst had front page headlines urging AmeriKKKa to act, prodding the U.S. government to intervene formally.
Fuentes goes past merely mentioning this and even provides a succinct but excellent political analysis of this in the most simplistic way where on page 81 he describes The Old Gringo participating in the propaganda campaign aimed at Mexico during the revolution:
“This land . . . He had never seen it before; he had attacked it by orders of his boss Hearst, who had enormous investments in ranches and other property and feared the revolution; but as he couldn’t say ‘Go protect my property’ he had to say ‘Go protect our lives, there are North American citizens in danger, intervene!’”
In a nutshell Fuentes deciphers U.$. imperialism. Protecting property abroad for U.$. interests, well put Fuentes. Many of the wars in the modern day stem from this protection of U.$. interests. This war was brought to the surface some years back when U.$. Vice President Chaney , who had been part owner of Halliburton, was outed when the public learned Halliburton profited from the very war that Dick Cheney endorsed. Capitalism profits from death.
‘The Old Gringo’ ends with General Arroyo shooting and killing ‘The Old Gringo’ after The Old Gringo begins the papers (land grant deeds) identifying that the communal lands belonged to the people. The papers destroyed, the land is no longer the peoples’. One can say that ‘The Old Gringo’ in the story represents AmeriKKKA, that old land thief AmeriKKKa who one day will face justice.
I have long been a fan of novels, particularly those revolutionary gems that capture a world not yet here. Culture, which books and art fall into, is powerful and a huge tool for our battle in the realm of ideas. Proletarian literature is crucial to our movement globally and particularly the Chicano Movement (CM). The CM hasn’t churned out a lot of revolutionary novels based in dialectical materialism that depict our social and economic reality. Fuentes could have dug deeper, perhaps inserted characters from political trends or parties of the time in order to analyze these political lines, or highlight the fallacies in them. Nonetheless, despite the shortcoming in the book, it did highlight some key points and does so in an inviting way and is worth a read.
Book Review: Eastside Dreams by Art Rodriguez
In my research of Chican@ novelists and storytellers I stumbled upon this book by California Chican@ author Art Rodriguez.
What grabbed my attention initially was that the Author was also an ex-prisoner, as a youth he spent time in Juvenile Hall and the California Youth Authority (CYA) and specifically in Preston School of Industry where I also did a stint in as a rebellious youth.
The cover art was interesting, it was done in the genre of “Aztlán-realism” which is a style developed and coined by California prisoners which focuses on the social reality of the Chican@ nation rather than bourgeois vomit art. Aztlán realism displays our reality while raising consciousness. Rordiquez really delivers in his cover art by showing a one time landmark of San Jose, Califas which is the Jose Theater. The Jose Theater was a theater in downtown San Jose frequented by Chican@ lumpen youth. In the 1960’s the author states movie tickets were 50 cents and that up until the 1990’s tickets stood at a buck or two. Poor barrio youth had an alternative to the streets at an affordable price.
The author also shows an incarcerated Chican@ on the book cover, again, a true depiction of Aztlán: colonized and imprisoned. Although the story “East Side Dreams” is a childhood story of the authors’ life in San Jose, Califaztlan and Rodriquez could have chosen to depict bikini-ied wimmin on a local sports team to warm up to the local Chican@ petty-bourgeoisie who would rather pretend that captivity is not part of Aztlan’s social reality. Rodriquez brings Chican@ mass incarceration front and center which is refreshing.
Reading East Side Dreams brought back so much memories of my own childhood. Cruising around and hanging out with the homies, picking up and just being a Chican@ youth is all there. It’s very clear that Rodriquez didn’t concoct his stories from being raised in some ivy league prep school. He could have been one of my childhood homies, especially when he writes:
“Driving during 1966, sometimes the guys borrowed a car from someone or would take a car without permission. That’s what I would do occasionally.”
The lumpen continue in this tradition of “taking” without permission on a small scale. The lumpen may “take” from other lumpen, especially here in the $nakes where lumpen are not the lumpen of the third world and thus have more material items at hand. But this sentence reveals some truth – the lumpen will not ask permission. It is a “ballsy” lot who are most likely not to ask for permission, we will witness this during a future civil war I’m sure.
The author reveals he is the product of a Mexican migrant father and a white mother who met at a dance hall in the Barrio in East San Jose. As a result he hints at the national oppression that came with this union. For example, his mother’s white father (who was ironically raised himself by his white mother’s Mexican migrant boyfriend) who would tell Rodriguez’ white mother Mildred not to go to the dances because he didn’t want her to interact with the “bad people” (these were Chican@-Mex dances). Sadly though, Rodriguez does not analyze this and unpack why this national chauvinism (“racism”) exists or how it affected him and his homies growing up amidst it. This reveals that Rodriguez’s choice of either not wanting to “take his book there” (political courage), or not having the political consciousness to crack that open for us all to see.
It was nice to read about his mom opposing her father and siding with Rodriguez’s migrant father, eventually marrying him, having children, and even learning Spanish to communicate and to nurture Spanish in her children. As appealing as this biography was to me in depicting barrio life, I must say the parts describing being in the concentration kamp was more interesting to me.
Rodriguez describes a scene where he’s being taken out of Juvenile Hall by a “Chican@ guard” who reveals information to him whereas the white guards were menacing to him. It was interesting that Rodriguez objectively identifies the pig as a Chican@. Most would not, our mistreatment and oppression likely would have many identify the pig as many things but not Chican@. It is true that people identify as they please; a person can assimilate but without knowing what they identify as we can also identify what we perceive them to be (i.e. a blond hair, blue eyes white man or a New Afrikan womyn, etc.). We may not be right, but it’s our initial perception. A pig can be a Chican@ or a Chican@ traitor; but a Chican@ nonetheless.
It would have been nice to read a more political take on this book, but it was enjoyable to read a Chican@ novelist who does not bend to subjectivity in his novel and I look forward to review his other books available.
Book Review: “Power to New Afrika - Essays by Comrade Triumphant”
This zine offered a breath of fresh air in terms of political line coming out of the concentration kamps. Imprisoned New Afrika (like Aztlán and other oppressed nations) has plenty of rebels, those rising up or conscious that we stand on the side of the people against the pig. The anger and defiance is strong, but ideology that is strong and stuffed with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is what is often lacking from the prison writings of today. Power to New Afrika is another gem that contributes to filling this void.
Looking at this zine through a Chican@ lenses, I agreed with the assessment that it was after the assassination of Martin Luther King that the Black vanguard attempted to steer the Black movement onto the next stage of resistance. We of the Republic of Aztlán have also made a similar assessment recently from the data/chatter that tells us the state is planning to assassinate a key figure of the Chicano movement, and our assessment was the same where we feel that the Chican@ vanguard should use this to take Aztlán to the next level of resistance.
On page 10 in the zine, the writer discusses the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (PG-RNA) and how since 1968 at their birth they have been attempting to obtain land “legally,” but a report is cited from a memorandum sent to the FBI director at the time in 1970 J. Edgar Hoover from Special Agent in Charge in Jackson, Mississippi which is titled “Counter Intelligence Operations Being Effected, tangible results (Republic of New Afrika)”:
“Since March 1968… the RNA has been trying to buy and lease land in Mississippi… Counter intelligence measures have been able to abort all RNA efforts to obtain land in Mississippi.”
COINTELPRO is real. When I read this I thought of every doofus who has ever asked me the absurd question: “do you REALLY think COINTELPRO is fucking with us?” I’ve found that the more liberal on the spectrum the less they believe in a COINTELPRO, the more radical you are the more you know how real it is. The fact that the Feds in their own words admit to sabotaging RNA efforts like legally purchasing land tells us that even “legal” efforts are not safe if the state feels that you are a threat.
On page 11 the author correctly identifies the principal contradiction within the New Afrikan nation being between the political-economic force of independence versus political-economic forces of integration. This is also true for the Chican@ nation. Internally, we struggle with getting free and the Ti@ Tomas’ struggles to keep serving massa on the plantation. We see these TI@ Tacos trying to run for a colonizer position in Washington DC or as state governor, while claiming to be revolutionary. The Tom compradors have suckers believing in their foolishness, but the truth is simple – one cannot be considered a revolutionary while aspiring to be, or supporting a U.$. President or governor. U.$. imperialism is the enemy of the world’s majority and in this case, the Trojan Horse tactic will not work.
This zine addresses the battle of ideas that I feel apply to the Chican@ Nation as well. In this writing, the author writes of the “war for the New Afrikan mind” which goes on to describe “independence vs integration” really being a historically dialectical materialist process versus the post-modernist philosophical analysis. This truth needs to also be embraced and thought by all Chican@ cadre today as well. This political line really amounts to life or death to Aztlán. One nourishes and builds the nation, the other poisons and destroys it. One political line wants to burn the plantation down and the other wants to defend it.
It is a misnomer to entertain the notion of Brown, Black, Red, or Yellow “Amerikans,” for the word Amerika is but the name of the white-nation. This zine really unpacks this for the reader particularly, for the Black Nation; but it is mostly applicable to the Chican@ Nation as well.
The slave system is addressed in this zine as well and rightfully so. One cannot give an analysis of colonialism in the U.$. without understanding how the slave system and subsequent “paper” abolishment of slavery play into the role of semi-colonialism today.
What we should understand is that by using the so-called abolition of slavery as a bargaining chip, Amerika was able to at once overthrow the Confederacy while continuing white supremacy by other means. Today we see the same internal struggle within the white nation being carried out by other means via Republican vs Democrat squabbles using the oppressed nations’ wants and aspirations and rights as bargaining chips while at the same time keeping white supremacy intact.
It was refreshing to read how the author describes how a revolutionary nationalist must be a socialist. For the Chican@ Nation this is also true. A revolutionary nationalist is a socialist or a communist in many cases. We overstand that capitalism and imperialism specifically is the source of our despair.
Another great point raised in this zine was on page 37-38 where the author discusses the contradictions among the people, and specifically discusses the most influential orgs for New Afrika of the time (1907-1925) being the NAACP, Garvey’s UNIA, and the African Blood Brotherhood (ABB). According to the author, the ABB was founded by “proletarians,” and thus had the leading line being led by Black Marxists. Ey goes onto say:
“ABB and the UNIA were both highly successful in organizing the broadest masses of our nation as well as linking our struggle concretely with the international anti-imperialist struggle. For this reason we say that they advanced our people further than the NAACP, but they didn’t enjoy the same fame or support on the popular front. This of course is due to their class make up and the fact that the integrationist aspect as always, is aligned with the empire’s agenda. Thus, the colonizer controlled popular front has and will always lend credence to those people and groups, and ideas that in the final analysis, run counter to the interest of our nation.”
This is deep. Big lessons to be gleamed here. For one, the NAACP was and continues to be a group of Black compradors who have worked on reforms, although good deeds do help people on a small scale, the work of liberal orgs like the NAACP also corral people into having faith in Amerikkka and promoting the idea of working within a capitalist system will free people from oppression. This accounts to creating more supporters of empire. For this reason orgs like NAACP for Black folks, or National Council for la Raza (NCLR) and their kind for Brown folks, are simply the labor bureaucracy for bourgeois politics and thus are promoted widely by the U.$. government and its propaganda media arm. Meanwhile, real revolutionary orgs like the Republic of New Afrika, the Republic of Aztlán, the Communist Party of Aztlán (Maoist) or MIM(Prisons) will not be given Hollywood style commercials nor be invited to the White people House in Washington, D.C. anytime soon to sing x-mas carols around the tree (not that anyone wants to). The point is that Tomism is rewarded and the Uncle Tom orgs of all stripes are given resources to become popular and the real ones are smothered like a baby in the crib to use Lenin’s quote.
The mostly unconscious masses (and oftentimes self-proclaimed “communists”) often erroneously connect popular with correctness, or numbers in an org as correct political line. This is very wrong. The colonizers work hard to make this so. When we hear on the news about Amerikkka pouring billions into its war machine, understand that a part of this is promoting these Chican@ or New Afrikan Uncle Tom orgs that tell its members to vote for an enemy political candidate.
This zine is now required reading for members of our organization. Free New Afrika! Free Aztlán! Free the land!
The State of Aztlán 2023
Revolutionary greetings Raza! The future of our nation relies on us all knowing the political standing of our people and for Chican@ groups and orgs. It’s essential that we keep our finger on the pulse of the people to closely follow our strengths/weaknesses in order to push our movement forward. A national liberation struggle exists in stages. Without knowing what stage we are in, we cannot respond or struggle to meet the demands of a given stage. For those reasons the Communist Party of Aztlán (CPA) has conducted this study and is releasing this Report of the State of Aztlán 2023.
Many years have transpired since a true materialist analysis has been given on the nation. There has been “statements” given by various Chican@ groups but none with political lenses. Political line is key for all that we do as revolutionaries, from our organizing food drives to giving a political analysis. Our political line is our foundation, without a correct line all of our work remains “in progress.” Every project or scientific study done amongst the Chican@ masses becomes efforts in perpetual transition or revision. Although we can expect all matter to remain in motion and in need of adaptation to given responses, we can also limit the need of playing Whack-A-Mole because of an incorrect line. For this reason Maoism plays a key role not just within the national liberation movement of Aztlán, but within the International Communist Movement (ICM) as well.
Our Moral Compass
The Chican@ nation today is engaged in a War for Independence. Make no mistake that within the folds of all the vicarious trappings that a capitalist society can muster there exists a war, a low intensity war but a war nonetheless between Amerikkka (aka the White nation) vs. Aztlán. This war is for the national liberation of our nation. We want land, we want freedom, we want to form our own government that is socialist in nature. But don’t get it twisted, as we used to say in the Barrio, We are communist revolutionaries who overstand that the innate contradictions within capitalism and thus imperialism demands that we strive for a communist future if we are truly for equality of all humyn beings.
One of the challenges that Aztlán faces today is in not enough groups or orgs raising the Communist banner. Today the Communist Party of Aztlán, Republic of Aztlán and ROA Brown Berets are the only unapologetically Chican@ Communist orgs repping communism proudly and openly.
Of course we believe that a communist world will not arrive today or in our current lifetime. Today we struggle for a socialist government, where state power is in the hands of the have-nots and led by a proletarian political line. This proletarian political line, the goal of which is a communist future, remains our moral compass.
Historical Materialism of Aztlán: Energy with incorrect line
In order to understand the development of the Chican@ Movement we must first describe a brief political overview of the movimiento. Marx taught us that historical materialism can help us gauge a phenomenon to then respond to it in a way which pushes a given struggle forward. We can learn from history in order to transform the future. For a true materialist analysis of the Chican@ Movement, let us look to the last wave of Chican@ resistance of the 1970’s.
Although there were groups that developed, such as the August 29th Movement, which were essentially communist, the Chican@ movement of the 1970s was for the most part a cultural nationalist formation. A collection of Chican@ groups and orgs that mostly sought better schools, jobs, and housing while fighting discrimination, police brutality and an end to Chican@s in Vietnam. Despite the great energy behind these movements, a push for a socialist government was not yet a topic on the Chican@ “kitchen table” for most groups. Reforms were at the helm.
Besides the student group MEChA, the largest formation was the Brown Berets. The Brown Berets has chapters across these false U.$. borders, it was militant as far as mobilizing against the state, particularly against the pigs and instilling a Chican@ nationalism throughout the Barrios. And yet the Brown Berets of the 1970’s had a political line that could not lead to Aztlán’s liberation and were actually not a socialist organization. They fought to reform the system not replace it with socialism. In fact the Brown Berets of the 1970’s had not one chapter that was openly communist, not a single one openly striving for a socialist government and not a single chapter studying Maoism. This should not surprise us because the inherent flaw in cultural nationalism is that it is reformist in nature and its “Lucha” leaves the settler colonialist economic superstructure intact and merely swaps culture. Brown Capitalism is fine to the cultural nationalist so long as a Brown Massa replaces White Massa on the plantation.
The essence of our oppression lies not simply in a greedy settler who don’t like our skin tone but loves our land, but in an economic system that enriches a minority at the expense of the global majority. A system that strips every drop of humynity from the conscience of a people in order to enrich a few. Capitalism teaches that profit is more important than humyn life.
The 1970’s taught the movement great examples of how to organize in the barrios, how to create a Chican@ student movement and resist the U.$. colonizer military. Many lessons are gleaned but it also taught us that resistance without targeting Capitalism is like having a new sports car without gas, it looks great, and has lots of potential but it cannot drive us to the liberation highway, or out of the driveway for that matter.
The 1970’s Chican@ Movement had the energy but it lacked communist ideology at the helm. Had the Brown Berets, MEChA and other Chican@ groups of the 1970’s been Communist-led, Aztlán may have launched a strong Socialist revolution given the other struggles of the times with the Panthers and others within these false U.S. borders and internationally.
Some correct line; not enough energy
Today’s Chican@ Movement exists and has slightly recovered from the U.$. government’s efforts to neutralize all resistance to colonization. The vanguard of the contemporary Chican@ Movement has identified Maoism as the leading line in the world today. No other ideology has advanced Communist thought as far as Maoism.
We see Maoism leading the struggles today in India, the Philippines, and sprouting in barrios within the U.$. Empire itself. Maoism has blossomed in Chican@ hearts like no other time in our nation’s hystory.
Maoism taught us that a new bourgeoisie develops within the Party itself. This is a great lesson for today’s Chican@ Movement as it would have been for the 1970’s. It reminds us that despite a leadership of any type the possibility exists of a leadership to become corrupt even after a socialist revolution. Many can see this truth play out today in the leadership of their own groups. In the case of both the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin and in China after Mao’s death this proved true.
The publishing of the book Chican@ Power and the Struggle for Aztlán in 2015 was akin to a nuclear missile being launched on the United Snakes. If we look at the political landscape of Aztlán pre-2015 and post-2015 we see a dramatic shift take place within the Chican@ nation. Pre-2015 Chican@ groups, especially the Brown Beret formation were still simply service groups working on reforms, toy drives, free lunches and coat drives. The language was of “Viva la Raza,” “Stop Police Brutality” and “Stop School to Prison Pipeline” which are all good campaigns. Post-2015 1,000 of the Chican@ Power books had been sold and distributed to people inside and outside prison. Revolutionary nationalism became a term that Chican@s re-popularized. Many Brown Beret groups began studying the Chican@ Power book with some making it required reading for new recruits. Many Brown Berets began to identify openly as socialist and communist. Slogans such as “Free Aztlán” became popularized in Aztlán. The idea of secession and independence was revived in Aztlán. The Chican@ Power book was republished by Republic of Aztlán in 2021. Chican@ press, radio and other media was developed promoting Maoism and independence. Online Maoist groups were created for the Chican@ nation. Online Maoist study groups were developed for specific Brown Beret formations in various states. In 2022, the first Communist Party of Aztlán was founded and announced live on the FM dial on an East Oakland Chican@ Maoist Radio program/ YouTube channel called Free Aztlán.
As Materialists we cannot make an analysis subjectively. We can only come to a conclusion after reviewing the data from tests in the field. A review of the above developments helps lead us to our conclusion.
The Chican@ Power book is political ideology created for Aztlán. Chican@ Maoism, it’s what was the missing link, the igniter. The political line that the Chican@ Movement never had in a book written by and for Chican@s.
The Chican@ nation has made a leap in consciousness, a development has taken place and the state is responding. It is responding by sending in its agents to employ COINTELPRO tactics to leaders of today’s movement. But it is also inserting agents amongst us to bourgeoisify our revolutionary momentum. These agents will have a group that claims to be revolutionary encouraging its members to vote in the imperialist elections for a U.$. President. That is no longer a revolutionary group, it is a branch of the Democratic Party.
The Chican@ Movement is at a crossroads. There is a revival with some energy. The political ideology exists and cadre have been trained that can push the momentum forward. At the same time we see the state employing a counter intelligence offensive on Aztlán to push it back. Security is needed now more than ever as the state begins to neutralize certain figures. We suspect imprisonment but they will also want to go past that to curtail any bigger leaps in our movement. We suspect the state will assassinate a key figure in the Chican@ Movement. What the state doesn’t know is our leaders realize and walk toward this possibility willingly from the first act of resistance against colonization. If leading the raza onto a real push of liberation means risking one’s life, it is an easy choice. In the spirit of Mao, I would say to die for the raza is heavier than Mt. Popocatépetl.
Chican@ Maoists need to separate the wheat from the chaff, as Mao said. It is apparent what groups are infiltrated by state agents. It’s important that these revisionists not influence the movement.
More study groups need to be launched pushing the correct line. Develop prison outreach because as the lucha heats up, members of your groups will be imprisoned.
Highlight that revolutionaries do not vote for imperialists. The Democrats have long infiltrated “grass roots” orgs to bring them into the fold and they continue today.
We need to continue teaching the next generation in order to keep that drum of resistance beating in the hearts and minds of our youth. Each one, teach one.
Our beautiful movement continues to develop. Do not let the many lives that have been sacrificed be made in vain. When they assassinate one of our leaders use it to push the struggle forward. When they imprison one of our leaders highlight this injustice and use it as a teaching tool for all freedom fighters. When they target and harass, agitate and propagate.
The Road to revolution is painted Brown. Dare to struggle, dare to win!
Viva Aztlán libre y socialista!
Study Ideology, Build Autonomous Cells in Aztlán
Recent political frame ups with our fraternal org Communist Party of Aztlán (CPA) has demanded that we raise awareness on political repression and contemporary work of the Cointelhoes. We will be starting a series on modern tactics unleashed on the oppressed nations.
We are also reaching out to the concentration kamps and to imprisoned Aztlán to develop Republic of Aztlán (ROA) cells in concentration camps across these occupied territories. Developing imprisoned Aztlán with communist ideology is the first step toward liberation.
Some of our founders were trained via MIM(Prisons) study groups and we want to revive this tradition once again. ROA chapters are autonomous and are required to go through MIM(Prisons) study group level one before being recognized and activated in a concentration kamp. Write in for more info on joining the study program.
Solidarity & Historical Parallels Between Chicano Nation and Palestine
The Republic of Aztlan extends our arms in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Why should the liberation of Palestinian people be so important to us Chicanos? It is because we share the legacy of colonialism; a struggle for national liberation; a common destiny when it came to empire-building of white nations; we share the common experience of forced expulsion from our homelands; and we share the same oppressor – world imperialism.
We will examine the five reasons that the Chicano nation should find solidarity with our oppressed nation brothers and sisters in Palestine:
We share a common thread of 100+ years of colonization;
We share a common thread of a struggle for national liberation;
The commonality in our histories is that both Palestinians and Chicanos share a common destiny and historical role when it comes to world imperialism. In the U.$. the doctrine of manifest destiny justified land theft and genocide as a divine right of a specific nation’s people. In the U.$. those people were the Euro-Amerikan settlers. In Palestine, the Arabs face land theft and genocide which is based on a belief that I$raelis have the religious right to said land and therefore exterminating Palestinians and taking their land is an unfortunate necessity in creating a supposed Jewish state.
With this idealist religious justification, forced expulsion has been unleashed on the Palestinian people. We recall that in the 1950s, Operation Wetback expelled 1-2 or more million Mexican people whether they were born in the U.$. or Mexico didn’t matter.
Our oppressors are the same - world imperialism. At this point, the primary contradiction in the world is with imperialism and the oppressed nations. This is how Chicano liberation is inextricably linked to Palestinian liberation.
The I$raeli-Palestinian conflict is not the product of ancient ethnic nor religious hatred, nor is it about modern religious hatred either. It is the tragic clash between two peoples with claims to the same land – one claim being idealist and the other being historical materialist. It is the outcome of a 100-year-old colonial occupation by Zionists and later I$rael, backed by the British, the United States, and other major imperial powers. This project is about the national bourgeoisie of a persecuted religious minority in Europe speaking for all Jews in every corner of the world (from Russia, Iraq, Ethiopia, Spain, the United $tates, etc.) into building a powerful homeland granting them protection which will be gained through eradication of an indigenous population. It is about the rendering of the Palestinians as non-people, writing them out of the historical narrative as if they never existed and denying them basic human rights. It depends on the metaphysical idea that all Jewish groups from all around the world all with different history, language, culture, territory, and psychological make up all belong to one nation because of religion. It feeds off of the anti-semitic idea that Jews are outsiders in the various respective countries they reside. Yet to state these incontrovertible facts of European colonization — supported by innumerable official reports and public and private communiques and statements, along with historical records and events — sees I$rael’s defenders level charges of anti-Semitism and racism. We ask the question: what is more anti-semitic? The claim that says zionism requires an ethnic cleansing and assimilation of various historically Jewish communities around the planet into the model European Jewish groups? Or the claim that says Jews don’t belong in our country and they should live in their own place where no one has to deal with them?
Edward Said, a Palestinian intellectual of the famous book “Orientalism” who grew up in British occupied Palestine summarized: “This is a unique colonialism that we’ve been subjected to where they have no use for us. The best Palestinian for them is either dead or gone. It’s not that they want to exploit us.”
Zionism was birthed from the evils of anti-Semitism. It was a reaction to the discrimination and violence inflicted on Jews, especially during the savage pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th century and early 20th century that left thousands dead. The Zionist leader Theodor Herzl in 1896 published “Der Judenstaat,” or “The Jewish State,” in which he warned that Jews were not safe in Europe, a warning that within a few decades proved terrifyingly prescient with the rise of German fascism.
Britain’s support of a Jewish homeland was always colored by anti-Semitism. The 1917 decision by the British Cabinet, as stated in the Balfour Declaration, to support “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” was a principal part of a misguided endeavor based on anti-Semitic tropes. The British elites, including Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, also believed that Jews could never be assimilated in British society and it was better for them to emigrate. It is telling that the only Jewish member of Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s government, Edwin Montagu, vehemently opposed the Balfour Declaration. He argued that it would encourage states to expel its Jews. “Palestine will become the world’s ghetto,” Balfour warned.
This partially turned out to be the case after World War II when hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees, many rendered stateless, had nowhere to go but Palestine. Often, their communities had been destroyed during the war or their homes and land had been confiscated through fascist brutality. Those Jews who returned to countries like Poland found they had nowhere to live and were often victims of discrimination as well as postwar anti-Semitic attacks and even massacres.
These first Jewish settlers knew they needed an imperial patron to succeed and survive just like the early Euro-Amerikan settlers needed sponsors from their old countries. Their first patron was Britain, which sent 100,000 troops to crush the Palestinian revolt of the 1930s and armed and trained Jewish militias known as the Haganah. The savage repression of that revolt included wholesale executions and aerial bombardment and left 10% of the adult male Arab population killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled. After the British left after the contradiction between the settlers and the British became antagonstic, the Zionists’ second patron became the United States, which now, generations later, provides more than $3 billion a year to I$rael. I$rael, despite the myth of self-reliance it peddles about itself, would not be able to maintain its Palestinian colonies without its imperial benefactors. This is why the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement historically frightened I$rael. It is also why Chicanos should support the economic boycott of I$rael as well.
The early Zionists bought up huge tracts of fertile Palestinian land and drove out the indigenous inhabitants. They subsidized European Jewish settlers sent to Palestine, where 94% of the inhabitants were Arabs but once colonialism began to look bad in the post-World War II era of decolonization, the colonial origins and practice of Zionism and I$rael were whitewashed and conveniently forgotten in I$rael and the West. In fact, Zionism — for two decades the coddled step-child of British colonialism — re-branded itself as an anti-colonial movement.”
“Today, the conflict that was engendered by this classic nineteenth-century European colonial venture in a non-European land, supported from 1917 onward by the greatest Western imperial power of its age, is rarely described in such unvarnished terms,” Khalidi writes. “Indeed, those who analyze not only I$raeli settlement efforts in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights but the entire Zionist enterprise from the perspective of its colonial-settler origins and nature are often vilified. Many cannot accept the contradiction inherent in the idea that although Zionism undoubtedly succeeded in creating a thriving national entity in I$rael, its roots are as a colonial settler project (as are those of other modern countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). Nor can they accept that it would not have succeeded but for the support of the great imperial powers, Britain and later the United States. Zionism, therefore, could be and was both a national and a colonial settler movement at one and the same time.”
Much like the United $tates, I$rael too was started by the outcasts of the old world who were more useful in the new world (North America and Palestine respectively) than the old (Europe). Through venturing through North America old colonialism was able to gain a major section of primitive accumulation (land conquest and enslavement of our First Nation and New Afrikan brothers), and transform itself into modern imperialism; and through the outpost that is I$rael, modern imperialism was able to export its finance capital safe and sound into middle east proper.
One of the central tenets of the Zionist and I$raeli colonization is the denial of an authentic, independent Palestinian identity. During the British control of Palestine, the population was officially divided between Jews and “non-Jews.” One time I$raeli Prime Minister Gold Meir said:
“There was no such thing as Palestinians … they did not exist.”
This erasure, which requires an egregious act of historical amnesia, is what the I$raeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling called the “politicide” of the Palestinian people. Khalidi writes, “The surest way to eradicate a people’s right to their land is to deny their historical connection to it.” Chicanos have been subjected to the same name erasure by the U.$. government’s push to call us Hispanics, Latinos, or Mexicans and erase our Chicano name which is fundamentally based on national identity.
The creation of the state of I$rael on May 15, 1948, was achieved by the Haganah and other Jewish groups through the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and massacres that spread terror among the Palestinian population. The Haganah, trained and armed by the British, swiftly seized most of Palestine. It emptied West Jerusalem and cities such as Haifa and Jaffa, along with numerous towns and villages, of their Arab inhabitants. Palestinians call this moment in their history the Nakba or the Catastrophe.
Since 1948, Palestinians have heroically mounted one resistance effort after another, all unleashing disproportionate I$raeli reprisals and demonization of the Palestinians as terrorists. But this resistance has also forced the world to recognize the presence of Palestinians, despite the feverish efforts of I$rael, the United States, and many Arab regimes to remove them from historical consciousness. The repeated revolts, as Said noted, gave the Palestinians the right to tell their own story, the “permission to narrate.”
I$rael is an apartheid state that rivals and often surpasses the onetime savagery and racism of apartheid South Africa. Modern I$raeli society is infested with metaphysical racial chauvinism with “Death to Arabs” being a common popular chant at I$raeli soccer matches. I$raeli mobs and vigilantes, including thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu, carry out indiscriminate acts of vandalism and violence against dissidents, Palestinians, I$raeli Arabs. The government of I$rael has promulgated a series of discriminatory laws against non-Jews that eerily resemble the racist Nuremberg Laws that disenfranchised Jews in Nazi Germany. The I$raeli educational system, starting in primary school, is an indoctrination machine for the military. The I$raeli army periodically unleashes massive assaults with its air force, artillery and mechanized units on the largely defenseless 1.85 million Palestinians in Gaza, resulting in thousands of Palestinian dead or wounded.
The Zionists could never have colonized the Palestinians without the backing of Western imperial powers whose motives were driven by anti-Semitism. Many of the Jews who fled to I$rael would not have done so but for the virulent European anti-Semitism, that by the end of World War II saw 6 million Jews murdered. I$rael was all that many impoverished and stateless survivors, robbed of their national rights, communities, homes, and often most of their relatives, had left. It became the tragic fate of the Palestinians, who had no influence in the European pogroms or the Holocaust, to be sacrificed on the altar of hate.
Don’t forget that the Obama administration resupplied I$rael in the middle of their slaughter of innocents in Gaza in 2014. Obama, Biden, Trump the democrats and racist corporate media are all complicit with the war crimes against humanity that I$rael is committing. On top of this, the various police forces of Amerikkka utilizes exchange programs with the state of I$rael to trade intelligence and train in I$raeli tactics of suppressing Palestinian resistance in the urban areas. Those same tactics will be implemented on the ghettos, barrios, and reservations to discipline entire communities of oppressed nations. Back in the George Floyd uprisings, the streets were littered with gas canisters which claimed “Made in I$rael.” It got to a point Palestinian activists were sharing counter-police tactics online for us in how to deal with those tear gas and police tactics.
As revolutionary nationalists, we highlight the necessity for solidarities for not only our nations but for all oppressed nations to gain their self-determination. We also call to combat anti-semitism and metaphysical views of what nations are which give to movements like Zionism in the first place. For these reasons, the Republic of Aztlan and the Chicano Nation finds solidarity with Palestine. From the river to the sea, Aztlan and Palestine will be free!
Reformism Will Declaw The Movement
Recently reformists have been hard at work to once more derail our movimiento and undermine the efforts of those striving for socialist revolution for Aztlán. This further highlights the slogan of the Republic of Aztlán(ROA), which is: “Ideology is key for Aztlán to be free.”
The last 5 years have witnessed Aztlán develop politically in many ways. We’ve seen the formulation and participation in political study groups by not just Chican@ political groups and orgs but by everyday raza with no political ties or limited consciousness. The now revived identification of REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM which so many have come to see as the most correct path to liberation for Aztlán. Revolutionary books and Chican@ revolutionary independent media have added to the momentum and organizations declaring their efforts to free Aztlán from the white settler colonial nation’s clutches. This of course is great and those who are politicized should nurture this in ways that they can to push the nation forward. Mao foresaw a new bourgeoisie developing even within the communist party based on observations of the Soviet Union. Mao recognized this force will work hard to take the people back down the capitalist road, as happened to Revolutionary Russia and Mao’s China. Similarly, we must recognize and weed out the bourgeoisie within our national liberation movement so it doesn’t stop us before we even get started.
Some have foreseen that within a matter of years Chican@s will be the majority of the U.$. population. This is not automatically a good thing. If capitalism wins the battle of ideas, Chican@s would simply be the majority reactionary force within the United Snakes, a bunch of brown capitalists. It becomes a great thing when we raise consciousness and have the largest politicized forces within the empire that can then affect revolution. Even within the movement itself it’s not a good thing if the movement produces a million brown Trots or liberal reformists, because these dead end politics would never acquire a socialist revolution which frees Aztlán.
This conversation is hard to grasp for those just entering the movement. To so many raza who have grown up under the white oppressor nation’s occupation, just hearing a group shout “Viva Aztlán!” is enough solace to the oppressed to seek out for hope. And as warming as words are from some of these liberals in revolutionary clothing the need for a correct political line is essential if we are to leave a lasting effect on today’s Chican@ Movement for the next generation.
When an organization talks about national liberation but openly promotes the idea of participating in bourgeois politics, affecting change via Amerikkka’s ballot box or even holding signs promoting Amerikkkan Presidential candidates, we should see that there’s nothing revolutionary about these particular groups. They are simply reformist at their core.
Those with revolution in their corazón can be easily duped into spending a life they believe is for La Causa only to be upholding the occupation and strengthening U.$. Imperialism.
An organization truly serving the raza would work hard at getting you to understand the illegality of the U.$. bourgeois political system not luring you deeper into it with dismissive arguments of “let’s be realistic on how we can affect change today”. Legitimizing the occupation by participating in it will not resolve the contradictions we face, rather it will only solidify our oppression.
Understanding ideology allows us to see that only those orgs that not just dismiss the colonial system but organizes outside of its influence are truly fighting for our liberation. Numbers do not equate correctness but political line does. Reformism wants to work within the colonial system and not overturn it, no matter how many times they shout “Viva La Raza”. And reformists at the end of the day are enemies of the people because they practice enemy politics.
COVID-19 Reveals Contradictions in Cuba: Stop the U.$. Embargo
At this moment Cuba is entering into a new phase in their struggle which unveils a reality unfavorable to socialist construction. Yet we should keep in mind that Cuba’s fate remains unsealed. History shows that the Cuban people are up to the task of fighting for socialism as they continue to inspire others around the world. They have enormous amounts of creative and practical experience. Here we examine some of the positions in the popular debate around Cuba, as well as the true source of its successes and failures.
Privatization and Pandemic
The current protests in Cuba are the result of growing privatization of sectors in multiple industries. This has been a gradual trend, but in February of 2021 it took on new heights. Tourism in particular, as a private industry, is Cuba’s largest revenue generator making over $3.3 billion for its people in 2018. With the ease of relations under President Obama there was unfortunately even more of a rise in privatization and large growth in tourism. Labour Minister Marta Elena Feito said the list of authorized activities in the private sector had most recently expanded from 127 to more than 2,000. Some of these include barbershops, restaurants, taxi services, domicile and hotel rentals, small shops and cafes. Most of these private sector jobs, which are primarily in major cities such as Havana, are oriented towards the tourist industry.
The last report showed that 600,000 people, around 13% of the workforce, joined the private sector when the opportunity arose. COVID-19 brought problems as the borders were closed to non-residents in order to prevent the pandemic’s spread. About 16,000 private workers asked for their licenses to be suspended, according to the Labor Ministry, which temporarily exempted them from taxes. Shortly after, the amount increased to 119,000, which was roughly 19 percent of the private workforce. This measure allowed for a small section of the private work force to be protected during the pandemic, however other sections, mostly in tourism, were catastrophically hit.
U.S. Economic Warfare
The labor ministry stated that the decline began before COVID-19 as a result of Trump’s new additions to the embargo on Cuba. In December of 2020, Cuban tourism had fallen by 16.5% due to U.S. sanctions that imposed restrictions on travel to Cuba, money transfers, and trade between Cuba and other nations. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control in 2020 stated the following in regards to the more recent additions, “OFAC is removing the authorization for banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction to process certain funds transfers originating and terminating outside the United States, commonly known as”U-turn" transactions. Banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be authorized to reject such transactions, but may no longer process them." The rules also block money sent to Cuban government affiliates, and decreased the limit but still allow for remittances to most families in Cuba.
On 19 October 1960, the U.S. embargo was implemented as policy to undermine the revolutionary government as a response to its nationalization of industries and dealings with countries led by communist parties. Over the coming years tension only increased and the embargo would continually be adjusted to prevent growth of the Cuban economy. As of now the sanctions vary with over 231 entities and subentities like ministries, holding companies, hotels, etc.; meaning the U.S. is trying to control Cuba’s economy. These provisions also extend to international companies like the various shipping companies in 2019 which were sanctioned by the U.S. government for participating in oil trade between Venezuela and Cuba. This was during the same period that the U.S. was accusing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of falsifying the election results that left Juan Guaido to bite the dust. Allegations which later were proven to be false yet nevertheless caused dire consequences for millions.
Economic terrorism continues to be perpetrated by the U.S. against Cuba to prohibit other nations and companies from participating in trade deals. Some ways the U.S. does this is by denying licenses or deals with U.S.-based companies or other nations that have the audacity to ignore the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Year after year the U.N. votes in favor of an end to the embargo with only two nations (the U.S. and Israel) voting in favor of continuing the embargo.
In 2021 former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Cuba once again as a state sponsor of international terrorism in another futile attempt to further isolate Cuba from potential trading partners. This designation carries with it the implication that any business or state which does business with Cuba participates in sponsoring terrorism. As a result the U.S. will then implement sanctions on those businesses or states or at the very least deny them vital business opportunities that they need to sustain a functional economy in a U.S.-dominated global market. It follows from this that the private sectors in Cuba who were not prepared for the pandemic, were already affected by the ongoing trade embargo for about 60 years, with Trump’s administration amping up attempts to suffocate Cuba’s resilient economy.
Cuban Protests Dwarfed by Uprisings in U.S.
When the protests erupted in Cuba this month, the U.S. wasted no time in opportunistically pushing their agenda. Meanwhile, expatriated Cuban terrorists living in the U.S. sent videos over social media promoting the destruction of public property owned by the Cuban people, looting, assault on peoples security forces etc. These videos, not surprisingly, never found their way into mainstream reports but were exposed by Cuban media. Díaz-Canel even made a point to say that there are revolutionaries who have been misguided by false reports forged by subversive reactionaries, and people with legitimate demands for an end to the embargo and reform of failed policies. This made clear that these demonstrators were not the target of criticism but genuinely concerned, although in some cases misguided, citizens.
In reality only a small capitalist minority from certain private sectors affected by the embargo and COVID-19 have taken to the streets to promote their interests; interests that are antagonistic to that of the Cuban people. President Díaz-Canel proceeded to visit the demonstrations himself and speak with people. On live TV Díaz-Canel called revolutionaries to take to the street and oppose the reactionaries and to stay in the streets as long as necessary in order to defend the revolution. It was correctly stated by Díaz-Canel that the reactionaries with violent intent are of a specific small group who align with U.S. interests. More specifically from his mouth he stated that, “They want to change a system, or a regime they call it, to impose what type of government and what type of regime in Cuba? The privatization of public services. The kind that gives more possibility to the rich minority and not the majority.”
Counter protests proceeded to take place where a greater part of Cuba’s 11 million people came out to demonstrate their support for the revolution and continuance of socialist construction. With such a small minority of protestors being for regime change and only a few dozen arrests we have to ask ourselves why there is such a controversy? It is only explainable by the private interests and imperialist U.S. who wishes to finally deal a deadly blow to Cuba. After decades of failed CIA assassinations, a failed U.S. invasion, and a failed Embargo, the U.S. government is reiterating its fledgling commitment to undermine the people of Cuba.
All the while the Amerikans fail to see the irony that in 2020 the protests in the U.S. were estimated to have between 15 and 26 million participants with over 14,000 arrests documented as related to the protests and a number of deaths associated. These numbers are not even all encompassing in the true magnitude of arrest and torture by the U.S. government on its own citizens. These protests put forward demands guaranteed by the Cuban constitution. Article’s 16, 18, 19, 41, 42, 43, 44 of the Cuban constitution reveal rights and guarantees afforded to Cubans that in the U.S. don’t even exist or are up for debate. A civil war was needed to end slavery only to have it replaced by Jim Crow segregation in this country. Without a doubt a quick look at the Cuban constitution in comparison with the U.S. constitution, one would begin to question the true ethics of the U.S. and why Cuba is portrayed the way it is.
Cuba has made greater advancements than the U.S. in many fields. It achieved a higher literacy rate, lower infant mortality rate, a lung cancer vaccine as well as a COVID-19 vaccine independently developed with a 92% success rate. All this despite the embargo and war crimes of the U.S. The U.S. in their sad attempt to condemn Cuba’s Communist Party declares the people of Cuba to be subjugated, unable to protest, or have free speech. As can clearly be seen, the president of Cuba not only respects the constitutional right to protest and have free speech, but invited millions to take to the streets to do so.
The Will of the People in Cuba
In 2018 a new draft of the Cuban constitution removed reference to communism. This first draft was met with wide-scale protests and a popular demand that reinstated communism as the goal. In 2019 the new Cuban constitution reaffirmed the popular will. Time after time the U.S. is embarrassed by Cuba’s revolutionary people. Which is presumably why the U.S., who routinely overthrows democracies, assassinates world leaders, or suffocates nations with sanctions, takes special interest in torturing Cuba. It is not without effect either, as many Cubans feel this pressure and suffer untold losses in this cruel escapade waged by the United States.
Mind you, Cuba is not without mistake. The continued privatization of industries and reliance on tourism is a massive failure on the part of the Cuban government. Failures to foster the full creative potential of the Cuban masses by putting politics in command has led the Cuban government to become a bureaucratic mess. With a large population of revolutionary masses eager to promote the ideals of socialism and forge ahead on their path of self-determination, it is sad to see the Cuban state fail to remove the fetters on the Cuban people that restrict their ability to take control of power for themselves. This is a result of internal contradictions within the Cuban state.
Over the past few decades the gradual decline of peoples’ power has been witnessed. Today’s events are a result of the pandemic and U.S. embargo. However, the principal issue is not from without Cuba and it certainly is not from the Cuban people. It is in the Cuban state and their failure to remain vigilant against growing opposition forces within the state itself. Forces that undermine the peoples’ will. Forces that cause unnecessary retreats and failures in planning. With all due respect, these are serious errors that must be rectified by campaigns led by the revolutionary Cuban people. Only the Cuban people can determine their destiny.
So our appeal to Cuba should be directed towards the revolutionary masses who represent the socialist majority. We are in solidarity with you and support you. We will continue to fight to bring to an end the U.S. embargo and all interventions. The revolutionaries in Cuba who emulate the ideals as well as principles of socialism with the aim of building communism are a continued inspiration to the freedom fighters all around the world.
Díaz-Canel welcomed revolutionaries to the street to participate in open debate and oppose the reactionaries. This is a step in the correct direction. So long as those revolutionaries are allowed to progress down whatever path they find suitable for themselves to sustain their revolution. So long as they combat the reactionaries as well as the revisionists. All of this on the terms set forth by the revolutionary Cuban masses themselves who are truly world renowned heroes of revolution.
MIM(Prisons) adds:It is not MIM line that Cuba was ever really on the socialist road. The Cuban revolution was very clearly one of national liberation from imperialism. However, Cuba paralleled the Derg in Ethiopia in taking on “Marxism-Leninism” for geo-political reasons related to using the Soviet Union as a counter-balance to other imperialist interests. That’s not to say there weren’t Marxists in their ranks, most popular movements in the Third World are going to have Marxist influences. But the Marxists had not consolidated a party around the proletarian line before seizing power. They did not follow Mao’s example of building United Fronts with other classes by maintaining proletarian leadership and independence. In a capitalist-imperialist world, coalition governments invariably lead to capitalism.
Cuba stood out for many decades as a symbol of resistance to U.$. imperialism, even after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is also well-known for directing resources in the interests of the Cuban people and the people of the world. In our article on Ethiopia we mention that the Cubans had their differences with the imperialist Soviet Union, and that speaks to the path Cuba took independent of the USSR during and after its existence.
We agree with current President Díaz-Canel that privatization is only bad for the people. However, nationalization only threatens imperialist meddling, it does not address the internal class contradictions of a country. And in the case of Cuba, with the dependence on tourist money and remittances, the Amerikans have significant and increasing control over their economy despite nationalization.
In the United $tates state-run firms (like the post office) are often defined as “socialism.” But Maoists define socialism differently, as an economy that is guided by the proletarian line, always engaging in class struggle, pitting the interests of collectivism, humyn needs and humyn relations above production, efficiency and profit.
As Mowgli writes, the internal contradictions of a capitalist economy in Cuba cannot ultimately be resolved without a popular movement to rectify the current leadership and shift to the socialist road. We would go further in stressing that socialism is class struggle. There is no policy shift that can bring a country to the socialist road, only the militant mobilization of the masses concentrated in a communist party that puts the class struggle at the forefront. Our opposition from within the empire to the embargo serves to help the Cuban people see their dreams come true via continued class struggle.