Revolution #224, February 6, 2011
Discussion on the Constitution For The New Socialist Republic In North America (Draft Proposal)
Prisoners Debate the Section "Minority and Formerly Oppressed Nationalities"
The following letter was forwarded to Revolution from Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund
I received the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) and was happy to dig in to this much needed document! Being that many throughout America speak of revolution it is amazing that such a constitution hasn't come out sooner.
I had a chance to read this document as well as go over certain portions with my study group here in my housing section. Although for the most part all agreed on the majority of its points, the Latino prisoners were in disagreement with two points in the Constitution. The Black and Asian prisoners agreed with it pretty much as a whole and I read and re-read, trying to find a way that these two points may have been misinterpreted. However, unfortunately I disagree as well.
The Section in question is Article II Section 3, "minority and formerly oppressed nationalities." Although subsection A. (2) African-Americans is correct in stating in part … "There shall be the right of African-Americans to self-determination, up to and including the right to secede from the New Socialist Republic in North America," this guarantee for self determination is crucial in forging a revolutionary society.
The Leninist principle of oppressed nationalities to self determination is certainly an essential aspect for any socialist party and a party that goes without this aspect is a doomed party at its inception, for the basis for revolution is liberty at its core.
The section on African Americans was right on. In contrast, subsection B (2) Mexican-Americans, was a surprise, to hold back on the correct stance given the African Americans to self determination. The section on Mexican-Americans states in part "…there should be established, within parts of this region, a country that is separate from both Mexico and the New Socialist Republic in North America, shall be taken up by the government of the New Socialist Republic in North America…" The freedom guaranteed to the African Americans on voting via the legislature, etc. to secede is withheld in the section for the Mexican Americans.
It seems Mexican Americans, or rather their right to self determination and to secede if the people feel to do so, is left to the government of the New Socialist Republic to decide, rather than the Mexican people themselves as was provided to the African Americans. I have never read RCP's line on this issue of Africans have the right to vote for secession but Mexicans and Native Americans don't. This stance saddened me, as there is no way to justify this uneven lopsided treatment of the oppressed in this country. It should be the right of all to self determination, if we are talking historically for purposes of determining the history of oppression.
Mexicans and Native Americans have been on this continent for thousands of years, and have not only been hunted down and endured genocide but ancestral land theft, rape and pillage for over 500 years. If we are deciding this issue numerically, determining the largest groups needing areas geographically, it's a known fact that in a few decades Latinos will be the largest oppressed group in America, and who knows the number in 100 years.
I think such determinations are incorrect and believe all oppressed nations have the right to self determination. I also believe just because of the historical role of oppression for Mexicans or the numbers, that Mexicans should get no better treatment or rights in the New Socialist Republic. I also believe their treatment/rights should be no worse. We've discussed and debated this issue here and the consensus was that Mexicans must not be a major voting bloc in RCP because it's difficult to see such a vital issue as self determination not being vital enough to correct.
The issue concerning giving portions of the Southwest back to Mexico or establishing an autonomous region or a separate government is another topic of discussion in my study group. First we must look to the political nature of Mexico. Currently we can all agree that Mexico is not a socialist country. On the contrary, it is a corrupt and parasitic entity with decades of repression and stomping on the rights of all Mexican citizens, along with seeking to "play master" to the indigenous peasants in the countryside. Thus to give back portions of the Southwest would only be giving Mexico more people to exploit.
There should, if the Mexican and Latino nations feel, be a secession of the Southwest that would serve as a base area for other liberation struggles worldwide, but particularly in Latin America where most of what is today's U.S. Southwest peoples derive. Of course if the Mexican people feel that they would rather join the New Socialist Republic, so be it, but this should be decided by the Mexican people via legislative vote as was offered to the African American people, as should be also provided to the Native Americans.
The Native Americans have been corralled in concentration camp reservations, but in all actuality, the Mexicans, African Americans, RCP and everyone else, is standing on Native land. We should not attempt to determine what they should do; rather, give them the same opportunity to secede if they so wish, as well as the Mexicans. This is a serious issue and certainly a dividing line, as I found by discussion with other Latino prisoners.
How can we ask people to support the revolution or support RCP and possibly face horrors or death only to find after victory that, while other oppressed nationalities are voting and obtaining their own country, that for other oppressed nationalities we must see what the Executive Council says about whether those who fought and perhaps died in struggle can be liberated.
I have tried to find a way to see it differently but any way I look at it I see you can't allow African Americans the right to secede but not Mexican Americans or Native Americans. I see no reason why RCP could not have gone across the board with Blacks, Mexicans, and Natives having equality in determining their future.
I would like to hear RCP's response on this issue. It is one many people (prisoners included) spend their waking hours struggling for and devoting their efforts into to obtain such self determination in a future society and taking paths that hopefully lead to a vanguard that ensures such liberation.
With nothing to lose and a world to win,
P.S. Please thank those who donated for me to receive the Constitution.
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