Building a Latino-Black Strategic Alliance
This week, Alt-Black.com has posted several articles from LatinoRebels.com that provide compelling insights into contemporary Latino political and ideological thought. This is an effort to encourage Alternative Black Nationalists (The Heresy) to give some thought to the potential and necessity of building a long-term strategic alliance with like-minded activists and communities in the Latino diaspora. Next week the site will publish its first installment of a short series of articles on building a Latino-Black Strategic Alliance.
As discussions involving race and ethnicity are fraught with labels that can give unintended offence, Alt-Black.com will use the gender-neutral term “Latinx” to refer to persons whose origins are from Central and South America and parts of the Caribbean. Latinx incorporates the term “Hispanics,” commonly used to reference persons from Spanish speaking countries and includes Spanish speakers of African heritage (Blatinx) across the diaspora and Brazilians of African heritage who speak Portuguese.
In the Cathedral (America), defining race has always been a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant prerogative. Mexicans were never mentioned in the Census until 1930, when suddenly they were designated as a separate race from whites. When President Roosevelt’s "Good Neighbor Policy" hit a snag after a federal judge ruled three Mexican immigrants were ineligible for citizenship because they weren’t white, Mexico protested. Roosevelt circumvented the policy, and by 1940 the Census treated Mexicans as white again.
In the 2000 Census, Latinx status was revisited by the Office of Management and Budget and the Census Bureau. Persons of “Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race" were labeled as “Hispanic or Latino” and designated as “ethnicities.” Consistent with the Census Bureau’s arbitrariness and racial machinations, the respondents were also asked to select a racial preference. In the 2010 Census, 53 percent of Latinx respondents selected “white race” identification.
It is the Latinx communities’ prerogative to reach consensus on self-identification, either ethnically or racially in a way consistent with their diasporic historical and cultural development. Of greater concern is the potential to build the Darker Nation’s relationship with Latinx intellectuals, activists, middle and low-income and immigrant communities.
Blacks and Latinx have a substantive history of working together. As early as 1947 the NAACP joined with the League of United Latin American Citizens in the 1947 Mendez v. Westminster case in California, that foreshadowed the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision striking down public-school segregation.
Mexican-American members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) participated in the 1963 March on Washington. During the radical upsurges of the late sixties, the Black Panthers and others worked in coalitions with the Puerto Rican nationalist group the Young Lords. The National Farm Workers Association led by Cesar Chavez garnered support from Black Civil Rights and Black Power advocates.
As we approach the end of the 21st Century’s second decade, the blowback from the decline of American Empire and seismic demographic shifts threatening the nation’s white majority have led to the election of a white racist demagogue as president. With the specter of the “Browning of America” looming over America’s “spacious skies,” we have also witnessed the unleashing of a growing white nationalist movement.
The authoritarian “Sun King” Trump launched an all-out racist assault on Mexicans, “illegal” immigrants and Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. He has also systematically pilloried Black athletes as unpatriotic subversives and repeatedly denigrated the Black community as a sub-human species of uneducable misfits, prone to violence and disorder. In addition to the direct assaults on Latinx and The People of a Darker Hue, we have entered a period of sustained and intense race-based cultural warfare.
The perils confronting Latinx and the Darker Nation should be self-evident, but the prospects for unified and supporting responses to these attacks cannot be assumed. Durable political alliances, coalitions and unified fronts are the substance of struggle, candid exchanges and patient understanding. The following passage from a February 2016 article called “The Black History of Latinos,” by Hector Luis Alamo, a Chicago-based writer and deputy editor at LatinoRebels.com gives us hope that such alliances can be forged with the Latinx diaspora in the future:
"Even for those Latinos who can’t claim a more recent African lineage than 200,000 years
ago, Black History Month should be a celebration, a month long grito, for a group of people
whose experiences in this New World has been both very similar and also very different from those of Latinos. Black people are the descendants of men and women and children dragged across an ocean in chains, of centuries of entire generations bred, raised, worked and broken under threat of the whip. Latinos — namely those who aren’t black, and especially those with indigenous blood — are the survivors of an equally gruesome past, of whole civilizations wiped out by smallpox and greed: one a sickness of the body, the other a sickness of the soul. Both blacks and Latinos (for lack of a better phrase) are the victims of European expansion, white supremacy, Christianity and capitalism. Blacks and Latinos are blood brothers, if not for the blood in their veins, then for the blood they’ve shed.
As the new Alternative Black Nationalist Trend develops its agenda and relationships with friends and allies, our program will evolve with time. Concerning the basis upon which “The Heresy” seeks to build strategic alliances with the Latinx diaspora, we support the following:
-Alternative Black Nationalists support legitimate peoples struggles against imperialist and globalist systems and cultural exports, particularly against American Empire.
-Alternative Black Nationalists support self-determination for Puerto Rico and all nationalities that are forcefully denied the right to form sovereign states or autonomous entities by imperial powers.
-In Central America, South America and the Caribbean, Alternative Black Nationalists support genuine autonomous regions for Latinx of African and native indigenous peoples experiencing national and/or ethnic oppression within their borders.
-Within the current boundaries of the United States, Alternative Black Nationalists support the right of self-determination for people of Mexican descent in those areas taken by force from Mexico. Self-determination can be exercised by establishing an independent sovereign Latinx state and/or autonomous regions, independent city-states where appropriate, reparations or a voluntary full partnership union in a new multi-racial state connected to a new central government in North America or Mexico.
Alt-Black.com looks forward to future discussion and debate among Black nationalists and all interested parties in the Latinx diaspora.