This August 29, 2021, Unión del Barrio celebrates 40 years of struggle. Forty years that our organization has had a permanent presence in our communities. This anniversary still has us amid the COVID 19 pandemic that has plagued our peoples for over 18 months. This pandemic prevents us from celebrating as we have always done – with an act of celebration where all of our networks of struggle, family members, sister organizations, comrades, and friends gather to celebrate. For this reason – because Unión del Barrio must act responsibly and not put at risk the physical integrity of any member of our communities – the celebration of our 40th anniversary will be held in the near future. One or two years, in conjunction with the celebration of that 41st or 42nd anniversary with special significance, and in person.
On August 29, 1981, in the heart of Barrio Logan, a dedicated group of veteran Chicanas and Chicanos saw the need to form an organization that could provide real and tangible responses to the needs of our people. They are the ones who founded Unión del Barrio. During that period, the four comrades who gathered at the home of Ernesto Bustillos in Logan and founded Unión del Barrio, did so with a vision of building an organization of organizers. In the days following the founding of Unión del Barrio, a dozen comrades joined the organization. All of them with a long and rich organizational trajectory in the Chicano Movement and serving the people of the Barrio, that is to say, social fighters embedded in the heart of our neighborhoods. During the initial meetings, the name of the organization, a declaration of principles, and points of unity were set to paper.
The word Unión was chosen because of its representation of the word unity. The term for raza neighborhood was chosen because the founding members lived in the “Barrio” and because they wanted to ensure that the organization always had its roots grounded in the community. The logo was chosen with the intention of connecting the newly founded group with the rich cultural history of the Mexican people and with the Chicano movement, as both represented a history of militant political action. For this reason, the Caballero Aguila was chosen who, as stated by Ernesto Bustillos, one of the founders, “represented our indigenous reality and because the Eagle Warrior was one of the best warriors of the Aztecs and the last to defend Tenochtitlan.”
The colors that would represent the organization were also chosen. They agreed to embrace the colors red and black as these are the ones used in México and the rest of Latin America as representing the class character of our struggle as workers and its connection with revolutionary organizations.
At the celebration of the tenth anniversary of Unión in August 1991, Juan Parrino summarized the moment at the founding meeting of UdB with the following words:
“It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since a handful of activists gathered in the backyard of a Logan Heights home and began the formation of Unión del Barrio. In all honesty, and I have never shared these memories before, I remember a feeling of great anticipation that August afternoon in 1981. A deep sense of self-determination pulsed through me. I felt that this meeting to form Unión del Barrio would amount to something much more significant than the sum of our previous contributions to the struggles of our people. “
And comrade Juan ended by saying: “We come together to help rebuild the Chicano Liberation Movement and set the stage for greater Raza Resistance. We had separated ourselves from an organization that focused mainly on a single issue and organized itself from a human rights perspective. We set out to create an effort that would help regenerate Chicano-Mexicano nationalism and instill the fighting spirit of self-determination in our people, self-determination that is such a necessary element to attack the multitude of problems affecting the Chicano Mexicano nation”.
The principles that Juan Parrino presented in his intervention during the celebration of Unión del Barrio’s 10th anniversary are still relevant 30 years later.
As the organization progressed through the years, it grew politically and ideologically. In its first years of existence, it was decided that the mechanism by which we would govern the internal life of the organization would be based on the principles of Democratic Centralism. This practice evolved and was implemented in the late nineties.
Democratic Centralism was chosen because Union del Barrio militants of those years were “ultra-democratic.” I want to make a parenthesis here and explain a little more in-depth what Democratic Centralism is, which is a method of administering democracy, and how we are accustomed to the practices of administration of democracy under the rules and laws of capitalism. Society does not know other forms of democracy except that which has been promoted by the colonial state, which is why “Democratic Centralism” is unknown to most people.
The premise of Democratic Centralism we maintain “total freedom in discussion, and total unity in action.” This is because Democratic Centralism is a tool that allows for Participatory Democracy to emerge. Each of the members of an organization or political party can participate in the decisions made by the entire organization or party. These decisions can be made anywhere within the organization’s structure. In other words, Democratic Centralism allows for the flow of ideas and decisions from the bottom up and from the top down. Using this method, collective decision-making is prioritized above individualist acts, and it is why ultimate authority rests within elected bodies, that is, when the different bodies that make up the organization are formally meeting, that is where the most substantive decisions are reached.
In order for these organizational bodies to function under Democratic Centralism, a series of principles must be complied with. Perhaps the most important of these principles are the following three:
Criticism and Self-Criticism: Which are excellent tools to develop efficient work, to free the organization’s activities from errors, to expose failures and achieve their rectification, to strengthen discipline, and force us to be more demanding of ourselves. When implemented well, criticism and self-criticism is constructive, demanding from the militancy and the leadership a ongoing struggle against tendencies that tend to only see the positive aspects of things, to only see the successes. When using this tool, it is not an enumeration of the errors made, but rather an examination of the causes of these errors. If we can identify the causes, then we can highlight the preventative measures that must be taken to avoid repeating those mistakes. When not done this way, criticism then becomes a destructive act that disintegrates the organization instead of lifting it up.
While self-criticism is the way, we demonstrate that we are aware of our personal mistakes. Self-criticism also highlights that we have understood and assimilated a criticism that has been made to us. Through a self-criticism we indicate our failures and at the same time we identify their origin for their subsequent rectification and improvement.
Subordination of the Minority to the Majority: The minority has the duty to subordinate itself to the majority and to participate with all its strength in the fulfillment of the adopted resolution, regardless of whether its opinion was different when the matter was discussed and analyzed. This subordination of the minority to the majority crystallizes the premise of “total freedom in discussion, and total unity in action.”
Principles of Collective Leadership: A revolutionary political party or organization is not formed around a leader or chieftain. To fulfill the multiple tasks it is essential that there is a collective leadership in which each of its members contributes their vision and preparation to solve problems and tasks of the moment. Only a collective leadership is capable of preventing itself from falling into individualistic positions. This collective direction must be enacted at the each distinct level of the organization, from its leadership to its base.
In the moments when an organizational body is in session, leaders become members of that body because that body in a meeting is the highest authority. For that body to not remain without “direction” or someone in charge, a President is elected, who will lead the meeting. This is put into practice in all our meetings.
In a Congress, which is the highest authority of our organization, a Presidium is elected which is made up of several delegates who fulfill different roles, and is led by a president of the Presidium. This Presidium becomes the governing body, until the new General Secretary and the new Central Committee are elected.
The highest authority under Democratic Centralism is when the organization meets in a Congress. In this event, decisions begin to crystallize from the top-down. Outside a Congressional period, the highest authority is the Central Committee while in session. This body is in charge of ensuring that the decisions made in the Congress are carried out.
To conclude the subject of Democratic Centralism, Unión del Barrio held its 1st National Congress in February of 1997. From this historical moment onwards, Unión del Barrio began to put Democratic Centralism into practice, electing its first Central Committee and its first Secretary General, leaving behind the structure of “Mesa Directivea.” It must be said that our first Secretary General was elected at this first congress which was our dear comrade Ernesto Bustillo, one of the original founders of Unión del Barrio, who passed away 9 years ago. Also elected a member of that Central Committee was our dear comrade Pablo Aceves who passed away in September of 2018.
Immediately after our 2nd National Congress, held in March of 2002, we had an organization fully governed by Democratic Centralism since it was decided to move away from the Chapter structure to the Base structure. Between 2002 to 2017, a 15-year period, Unión del Barrio held four National Congresses, the last one being in December of 2017. During each Congress, we advanced our political line and our ideology, always maintaining the principles of self-determination, anti-colonial struggle, and anti-imperialism. This allowed us to effectively face the following years of struggle, which were the hardest years that our people in the United States and the people of the world have had to face.
During our 35th anniversary celebration in 2016, among many circumstances and historical events, we foreshadowed what was coming our way. In our keynote speech that night, the following was raised when we were referring to the presidential election that would take place in November of that year in the northern empire:
“Republicans are not far behind in the electoral circus, and they bring to the fore the second phenomenon: an unusual character drawn from the dark corporate corners: Donald Trump. But Trump, and so-called Trumpism, go far beyond the strange and unusual. The ideology carried by Trumpism is a serious danger to peace and bourgeois democracy, not only in this country but also worldwide. This is why Unión del Barrio calls for a struggle to block Trump and Trumpism. ”
And it was a pity that we were not wrong. Donald Trump was elected the next president of the most powerful nation in the world. Nuestra raza, our communities, and the entire world would be victims for the next four years of what Unión del Barrio identified as Trumpista fascism. And, as we said that night in August of 2016, Trump, through his election campaign and through the four years of his administration, made anti-raza politics the cornerstone of the Trumpista movement. And worst of all, it will remain the cornerstone of future Trump-inspired political activities.
To illustrate what we are saying, listed below are some of the actions that Trumpist fascism carried out against the Mexican /Latin American people within the political borders of the United States:
An important milestone of Trumpist fascism occurred when Trump lost the 2020 presidential elections. Before this election took place, fascist Trumpistas argued that if they lost, it would only be because the Democrats would have committed fraud.
And they did it just that. The Trumpistas argued that there was fraud—for which they never presented evidence— refused to hand over the White House, and all the power it represents to the winner of the elections. On January 6, 2021, the day the election would be certified by the US Congress, the Trumpian Republican Party added direct political violence to its list of strategies. January 6 is the clearest evidence of how the two colonial parties no longer share electoral, judicial or legislative mechanisms to resolve their differences. The Trumpian movement formally passed beyond the elections and irrevocably altered the previous arrangements of ruling class power in the United States.
Unión del Barrio, in analyzing the events of January 6 reached the following conclusions:
“What happened on January 6 was not a spontaneous action. Months before the events of January 6 and months before the November 2020 elections, the Trumpian movement had already disqualified as fraudulent any electoral result that did not declare Trump the winner. This media campaign was followed by a malicious intervention by the United States Postal Service to disrupt its capabilities in a way that was clearly intended to undermine voting by mail. In addition, before the election, Trump aggressively removed and replaced key military and intelligence officials. It was also reported that he had met with military and political figures to consider a preventive implementation of martial law to postpone the elections.
Furthermore, the events of January 6, 2021 revealed plenty about the future of American politics, not only for the two-party system but also what these people have in mind for our communities here and throughout Nuestra America. To begin with, the assault on the Capitol on January 6 was not a “collapse” of law enforcement at all, it was a collapse of the pre-existing peace of the ruling class. It was primarily a Trump-incited political action developed, only incidentally, by the actions of white supremacist rebels and neo-Nazi misfits, which we witness live on our television screens. Knowing who perpetrated the violent attack is less important than understanding why the attack was allowed to occur.”
In the years 2017, 2018, and 2019, the world saw the inequality among its inhabitants widen. Neoliberalism rages in the countries of the world. In Nuestra América, the social upheavals begin, where millions of people take to the streets to protest social inequality, unemployment, hunger, repression, and gender violence.
It must be said that in this globalized world more than 1 billion people do not have access to clean water. 840 million people do not know electricity. 2.2 billion people do not have adequate sewage. 758 million people are illiterate. 303 million girls and boys between the ages of 5 and 17 do not go to school. 820 million people go hungry every day.
This is the groundwork left by capitalism and neoliberalism and the corporate theft protected by the empire and the puppet governments of our people. This represents the statistics up to the end of 2019. That’s where the pandemic comes into play. The COVID 19 pandemic has been attacking the entire world now for more than 18 months.
The number of people who have been infected by the coronavirus exceeds 201 million, and according to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that the real number of deaths from coronavirus is 2 or 3 times higher than the 3.4 million deaths reported to that agency. That is, the actual death toll could be between 6.8 and 10 million deaths. Naturally, the vast majority of these infected and dead come from the working class.
COVID 19 may not discriminate when attacking, but when it attacks, the most vulnerable population is always in front of it. That is why the coronavirus has had a higher percentage of infections and percentage of deaths within the working class, and the most deprived. We saw it in our neighborhoods here in the United States; the working class had to continue working despite the virus and despite the deaths caused by the virus. For the working class, there is no real help from capitalist governments or governments that are bought and sold to capitalism.
Hence the vaccine appears which gives us relief and a feeling that we are already seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. A light that is clouded by a vaccine apartheid. This was stated at a summit coordinated by the progressive international of national and regional governments, health workers and laboratories from 20 countries that met virtually last July. At the end of that summit, they announced the beginning of a “new world health order.” This is because the vaccine is already beginning to be discriminatory; while the richest countries have enough vaccines to immunize their total population three times over, in the poorest countries, nine out of ten inhabitants will not receive the vaccine this year. Again savage capitalism views the working class as merely disposable. It must be said that until today only 17% of the world’s population has been vaccinated.
The real light at the end of the tunnel is delivered by Mrs. Regla Angulo Pardo, vice-minister of health of Cuba, presented at that summit, highlighting that Cuba has five of its vaccine candidates, including Soberana 02 and Abdala, which are about to get emergency use approval. The Foreign Minister of Venezuela, Jorge Arreaza, announces that his country will join in the production of these two vaccines.
But the people of the world are suffering, in addition to COVID 19, from the other pandemic, the always present pandemic of capitalism which has not stopped attacking us. What’s more, the northern empire has used the existence of the COVID 19 pandemic to sharpen its attacks and direct and indirect interventions against the people, nations and countries that they consider to be an enemy of what they believe to be democracy and freedom.
Cuba is one of those nations, which by the way, received the support of 184 countries last June through the vote against the blockade of the island. Only two countries voted in favor, the US and its prodigal son Israel. But these results do not matter to the northern empire, which for more than 60 years has applied this economic blockade against the largest of the Antilles. The empire does not care that the UN initiated this vote in 1992, almost 30 years ago, condemning the blockade and that year after year since its inception and overwhelmingly, the countries delivered a vote of total rejection of the infamous and genocidal blockade.
The count of the damages inflicted on Cuba by the blockade are clear, and in his speech at the United Nations assembly, it was denounced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, stating that in the six decades that the blockade has been in place it amounts to 147,853 million dollars (from April 2019 to December 2020 the blockade produced damages for 9,157 million dollars)
Trump, as was expected during his time in office, dictated more than 240 economic measures against Cuba. Days before leaving power last January, he added the cherry on the cake by adding the island to the list of terrorist countries.
Biden, as was expected, has done absolutely nothing to stop some of these measures, much less to end the criminal and genocidal blockade.
This is how many people realized after the last onslaught of the empire against the Cuban revolution with the destabilizing escalation, which was expressed in June and July, reaching its peak in the violent events that occurred on the morning of July 11 in San Pedro de los Baños and other cities on the island, where hundreds of Cubans took their discontent and frustrations to the streets. It is clear that a number of citizens took to the streets that Sunday with a display of messages through social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and, as Bruno Rodríguez denounced, these messages were generated from computers and servers localized in other parts of the world. In these messages, the Cuban population was urged to take to the streets to provoke what the media at the service of large corporations called a “social outbreak on the island.”
The “social outbreak” lasted until that Sunday. After that, people continued to be seen in the streets, not protesting but supporting the Cuban Revolution. This was in Cuba. On social networks and in the media, the “outbreak” continued, and our televisions repeated the images of the “social protests” in Cuba. The media began to show mobilizations of thousands of people claiming that this happened on the Malecón in Havana, when it was about shots taken in Egypt. Or they showed thousands of people protesting in what looked like Havana, when in reality it was a sports celebration in downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina. The effort was to convince the world that the days of the revolution were numbered and that at any moment Díaz-Canel and Raúl Castro would leave the island.
The truth is that in many parts of the world, including in the United States, pronouncements, mobilizations and multiple expressions have been made public in defense of the dignity of Cuba and its people. This is due to Biden’s imposition of the prolongation of the blockade and coercive measures in the midst of the pandemic, without taking away or retreating a single millimeter to the measures against the island that his predecessor Trump left. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president of Mexico, declared that Cuba deserves an award for dignity, for its struggle in defense of national sovereignty and exemplary resistance politically confronting the USA for more than half a century.
But Cuba is not the only country that the empire attacked. There are also Ortega’s Nicaragua and Bolivarian Venezuela. The empire had taken its eye off Evo’s Bolivia, when it managed to demonize Evo and the MAS government, using fakes news, pushing Almagro, president of the OAS and faithful servant of the empire, together with neoliberalist presidents and heads of puppet states to the empire, to declare that a fraud was carried out in the elections that re-elected Evo as president. As a result of this, Evo resigned from his position, this to avoid a bloodbath, and left the country at the end of 2019. We are sure that he will soon begin to demonize the figure of Luis Arce, president of Bolivia elected in November 2020, a year after Evo’s resignation. Nor will the figure of the recently elected president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, be exempt from the next round of demonization.
The Nicaragua of the present and under the government of Daniel Ortega has suffered surgical attacks from the US empire. With the intervention of the OAS and its Secretary-General Luis Almagro, with the intervention of USAID and the media corporations, they have carried out a fierce and ruthless campaign to demonize and discredit Ortega and the Sandinista Party. Of course, these media corporations never mention that the government of Daniel Ortega together with Sandinismo has cut poverty by 50%, reached 90% of being self-sufficient in food production, and that they have one of the best health systems in Latin America, and that they boast one of the lowest COVID 19 mortality rates in the world.
Now that the Nicaraguan people go to the polls on November 7, these media campaigns against Ortega have intensified. This is because the polls indicate that Ortega and Sandinismo will win these elections overwhelmingly. International pressure and hatred has increased in recent weeks due to the house arrest order issued by the Office of the Attorney General of Justice against Cristina Chamorro, leader of the opposition who aimed to be a candidate for the presidency of the republic, accused of abusive management, ideological falsehood and money laundering in the role she played in the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation. The AECID and USAID agencies during 2020 gave the Chamorro foundation more than one million dollars.
Like Cuba and Nicaragua, Yankee imperialism has not let Venezuela breathe. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the United States has attacked the Bolivarian Republic indirectly or directly.
The worst years of these attacks were suffered during the four years of the Trump administration. As President Maduro put it, saying: “We faced four years of the Trump administration of cruel attacks and sanctions that damaged the Venezuelan economy. Trump left an irrational policy against Venezuela that has been questioned by human rights organizations. More than 80% of the population rejects the sanctions.”
The Biden Administration has made no gesture to reverse the inheritance that Trump gives it. Biden continues to recognize the puppet Guaido as “President in Charge,” despite the fact that he is no longer President of the National Assembly. Sanctions remain intact. According to the president of Venezuela himself, the new US administration, and I quote President Maduro: “for the moment there has been no positive sign of rapprochement, the only different thing that could be heard are the spokesmen of the White House and the State Department that they are looking for a dialogue in the country, but it is very timid because the sanctions are still intact.”
I could not leave this panorama of direct or indirect interventions by the US empire without mentioning Afghanistan and the latest events in that country. To fully understand these events that began to unfold a few days ago and impact its 38 million inhabitants, history must be recounted.
Between 1979 and 1986, the president of the Afghan government, Babrak Karmal, of Marxist ideology, initiated a series of reforms that eliminated usury, created a literacy campaign, stopped opium cultivation, legalized trade unions, established a minimum wage law, and reduced the prices of basic necessities by 20% and 30%.
Regarding women’s rights, the socialist government granted permission not to wear a veil, abolished dowry, and promoted the integration of women into work – in those years, 245,000 workers and 40% of the doctors were women, 440,000 women worked in education- as well as promoted the participation of women in the political life of the country. Decree #7 of October 17, 1978 granted women equal rights with men. The period of the Democratic Republic was when there were more professional women in Afghanistan.
Of course, the Islamic fundamentalists were in total opposition to these advances. The American empire extended its hands to overthrow the democratic regime, arming the Muhajidins and what became the Taliban with ground-to-air missiles to destroy the Afghan army and the Soviet troops that were occupying Afghanistan.
In 2001 came the military and political penetration of the US imperialists who, together with the North Atlantic Organization (NATO) and due to the Al Qaeda attacks on US territory, invaded Afghanistan to paradoxically defeat their old allies, the Taliban.
20 years later we are witnessing not “miscalculations” of the capitalist regime, but a diplomatic, military, and political defeat of the Pentagon, State Department, and White House guidelines, to the defeat of the Afghan Army, to the defeat of the government of that nation whose president Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and the defeat, once again, of foreign policy and interference by foreign powers.
With the entry of the Taliban, the installation of an Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan is imminent, dominated by the Taliban movement, fanatic, and ultra-conservative Islamism, religious forces, with a military component to repress on a massive scale. After thousands of deaths and spending two trillion dollars, intolerance of women’s rights, the expansion of the violation of human rights, political persecution coupled with social and economic backwardness has been established in Afghanistan.
I want to refer to Mexico since the two years of AMLO’s government have passed. Naturally, the media have not stopped trying to discredit the government of Mexico. The biggest criticisms are that in two years the violence has not stopped. That homicides, kidnappings, murders, and shootings have skyrocketed. That the femicides continue and that the AMLO government has done absolutely nothing to control this situation. It is what we have in the press, it is what we hear every day. It is what the Latin American and Mexican people who live north of the false border have to ingest because there is nothing else on TV.
What the TV did not say is that in these two and a half years of government there have been two and a half years “of policies based on morality”, and with this morality there are harsh attacks on corruption, whose roots in Mexican society date back decades, so much so that it was already part of the “Mexican culture”, it was already natural for a president to rule for six years and steal and let steal, allow and let allow government collusion with illegitimate entities such as the drug cartels. With AMLO and the reforms that he has carried out in this regard, such as the toughening of penalties for the crimes of embezzlement, bribery, and electoral fraud, or the recent initiative that seeks to limit the presidential jurisdiction, are clear indicators that he already makes war on this “culture of corruption.”
What is not written in the press or on social media is that these two and a half years of government AMLO has exercised it with austerity. That is to say, protecting the national budges not only from bribery and embezzlement, the hiring of “invented” officials, the payment of very high salaries to public officials, ending with the “presidential” lifetime salary, and so on. It is not said in the newspaper and on TV that policies of “republican austerity” have also been implemented, which have led the AMLO government to save on purchases and contracts of the Administration the amount of 1.3 billion pesos that is about $65 million dollars. As AMLO himself says, “we govern without luxury or frivolity, which has allowed us not to put more into debt to the country, not to raise taxes or the price of fuel.”
The second year of AMLO’s government was marked by the COVID 19 health crisis. In almost the entire world, and especially in the richest countries, policies of economic stimulus and support for companies were carried out, the government of AMLO it responded lukewarmly to the economic derivative, limiting itself to tying up subsidies to the poorest and a very modest amount of credits to small businesses. The Mexican president defended these economic policies as “unconventional strategies” that “avoided taking from the people to rescue those above.”
Of the 100 promises that AMLO made in his electoral campaign, he has already fulfilled practically all of them. Only four remain:
On the other hand, AMLO’s approval levels reached the not so negligible 60% considering the approval levels of neoliberal governments such as Piñera in Chile that does not reach 20%, this in July 2021, or that of Iván Duke of Colombia that beats his friend and Chilean comrade by 3 points, with 23% approval according to data also from July 2021. At these levels of approval and in the case of the three appointed presidents, the management of the pandemic, but in the case of Chile and Colombia, the greatest impact is made by the Chilean and Colombian people has been through massive social protests.
In the midterm elections of June 6, those who had to settle for a new electoral right-wing coalition formed by the PAN, the PRI and the PRD. This coalition was left in third place, the other two thirds is held by the coalition that leads AMLO’s party. The Mexican right could not regain electoral ground despite all the effort it invested, through the alliance of the three political parties, its propaganda deployment in the information media: newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. Also, the use of its considerable propaganda force on social media networks.
One of the most controversial measures that AMLO’s government took was the formation of the National Guard and the legalization of having the military outside the barracks performing police duties. In May of last year, Mexico sealed in by law what had been de facto for 14 years in the lives of Mexicans: having the Mexican army patrolling the streets with the justification of increases in drug trafficking.
What is complicated about this decree is that it gives broad powers to the army, since the law does not establish any supervisory mechanism, it does not oblige the army to subordinate itself to the civil command, but there is mere coordination between the army command and the civil command but does not limit the functions of the army outside the barracks and is not sufficiently regulated. This decree ceases in 2024, that is, at the end of López Obrador’s term.
Unión del Barrio has relentlessly remained in the front line of combat. Always rising and never falling back. In recent years, since the celebration of our 35th Anniversary in 2016 and the celebration of our VI Congress in 2017, Union has not stopped fighting to crystallize what we proposed. This is despite the four years of the Trumpista government and despite the fact that the last year of that disastrous and savage government was also spent under the always harsh onslaught of the COVID 19 pandemic. Despite “Social distancing,” and incidentally social distancing is the worst thing that can happen to a political fighter, Unión has continued to fight within the frameworks imposed by the pandemic.
We have continued to organize and defend our people. We have held dozens of dozens of forums and conferences. We have taken to the streets to protest and denounce the abuses, exploitation, and discrimination. We have patrolled thousands of miles of streets in our neighborhoods in Southern California with our Community Patrols to defend our people and against criminal abuses by ICE and the police. We have managed to face the challenges of social distancing and continued awareness and educating the youth sector through Escuela Aztlán and continued the struggle of Ethnic Studies that are connected with our communities and struggles and do not depend on the authorization of the government of the state or bodies designed to snatch the true history of our peoples. The actions of May 1 during the last two years, even in the face of the COVID challenge, have been manifested in the best possible way promoting the unity and solidarity of the working people and the affirmation of their rights and internationalist orientation. In the same way, work with the sector in prisons has not ceased, due to the conditions of the COVID we know that the vast majority of those affected and infected in prisons are our people.
We have worked with different organizations, either in coalitions or in support of them. We have worked with the Palestinian Youth Movement, supporting them in their fight for the defense of the Palestinian people. We have supported the calls to denounce the genocidal attacks of the Zionists against their people. With AnakBayan and their fight in defense of the people of the Philippines and continue to support their working-class sectors that reside in the United States. We have worked side by side with the Kuanap Cuahuan coalition in the fight to eliminate symbols of genocide and uphold historical rights as indigenous nations. We have always worked with our sisters and brothers from the Brown Berets of Aztlán.
Our struggles for national liberation and socialist reunification of Mexico force us to extend our contacts and work beyond the U.S. imposed political borders. We have not been absent from the popular struggles in Mexico in particular and from all of Nuestra America, this is what makes us true internationalists.
In the last four years, we have sent representatives of Unión del Barrio to at least a dozen meetings and international gatherings.
We participated in the Sixth Meeting of the Working Youth of the World Trade Union Federation in Mexico City in November 2016.
Together with the National Central of Education Workers and the Bi-National Indigenous Worker’s Front, we organized the UdB-CNTE / FIOB Magisterial Encounter, held in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico in July 2017.
We were present at the Meeting of Social Movements “For Peace, Unity and the Integration of Our America”, within the framework of the CELAC Summit in the Dominican Republic in January 2017.
We attended the Nuestra América Trade Union Meeting – Political Training Workshop: Continental Political Situation held in Mexico City in October 2017
We participated in the meeting named May 1 – International Solidarity Encounter, in Havana, Cuba May 2019.
We were present at the Anti-Imperialist Meeting of Solidarity for Democracy and against Neo-Liberalism, held in Havana Cuba in November 2019.
To this we must add a few meetings, forums and seminars that were held virtually, already in the midst of the pandemic.
We have maintained relationships with unions and party organizations in Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Uruguay and Argentina.
In short, we have remained internationalists, and we intend do so in the future. We understand that the unity of the peoples will be what defeats once and for all the pandemic of capitalism and savage imperialism.
At this moment I want to remember our comrades that today are no longer with us physically speaking, but that they are present and will continue to be in each idea, in each act, in each demonstration, in each statement, in short, in each action that we take as Unión del Barrio. I am referring to Ernesto Bustillo, Patricia Marín, Marco Anguiano and Pablo Aceves. Four militants of our organization who gave everything for our people. Four militants who continue to be present with us, because we as unionistas will never leave behind the flag that they raised with such passion and dedication. The flag that we continue to raise today and forever!
Also on behalf of the Central Committee of Unión del Barrio, I would like to salute the African People’s Socialist Party, which this year we celebrate 35 years of continuous and solid political alliance. Unión was only 5 years old when we encountered the APSP. Since that day we have not separated in our common journey along the revolutionary path, along the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist paths.
Finally, I would like to greet, and always on behalf of the Central Committee, each one of the members of Unión del Barrio. To each of the comrades who believe in justice, freedom and dignity. We greet each and every one of the young people, those who are not so young but who retain that still youthful heart, the comrades who work in education, the artists. We greet the students, the professionals …, we greet single mothers, mothers and fathers, and members of our LGBTQ+ community. We salute each and every militant who continues to fight for freedom, dignity and self-determination of our people in the bowels of the US empire.
Long live Nuestra América!
Long live Unión del Barrio!
Rommel Diáz, Secretario General