Photo: Border Agents patrol border wall outside of San Diego.
Correction: Gustav Montag was killed on January 31, 1971, not August 29, 1970 as previously published.
By The Incendiary Editorial Board
The fascist 21-year-old Patrick Crusius wrote about the so-called “Hispanic invasion of Texas” in his manifesto before carrying out his shooting rampage last week in El Paso, killing at least twenty-two people and injuring dozens more. He repeatedly cited the growing “Hispanic” population of Texas as proof of this invasion and the justification for the killings.
The attack was carried out in the Chicano Nation, a territory millions of Chicanos have called home for generations and where Anglo-American settlers invaded to establish the Republic of Texas in 1836.
The nature of these fascist shootings is related to US imperialism’s continuing genocidal oppression of the Chicano Nation and its attacks against Mexican immigrants. Bourgeois media often paint these killing sprees as manifestations of mental illness or male chauvinism. Even the imperialist liberal “left” obscures US settler-colonialism and imperialism by claiming that President Trump’s chauvinist rhetoric is to blame. These theories only obscure the conditions that give rise to these reactionary mass shooters, the contradictions of US imperialism.
Imperialism is capitalism in an already divided world, where the imperialist nations, chief among them the US, contend for the natural resources and human labor of the oppressed nations, forcibly opening up markets for the export of finance capital in the process.
Imperialism is capitalism in decay, where the most reactionary factions of the ruling class turn toward fascism in an attempt to stabilize the inevitable crises that arise, resorting more and more to the violent repression of the working class in both the oppressed nations and the imperialist nations. In settler-colonial states like the US, fascism finds an easy foothold in a society predisposed to targeting “outsiders.”
It is with this backdrop of US imperialism and the rise of fascist ideas that we see increasing displays of naked brutality launched against the supposed “enemies” of US imperialism and settler-colonialism, namely the oppressed Black and Chicano nations as well as other scapegoats like Muslims and LGBT people.
Since the early settler-colonization of the Mexican territory in the Southwest, which would later develop into the Chicano Nation, people of Mexican descent have been targeted and persecuted. For just as long, Chicanos and immigrants have combated and resisted colonization and national oppression.
The 70s Chicano National Liberation Movement
A complete historical account of the Chicano National Liberation Movement from a Marxist perspective is sorely missing from the history of the US Communist Movement. Suffice it to say, it is impossible to find a period in the history of the Chicano Nation without resistance to settler-occupation.
Chicanos have always fought against US occupation, from large-scale organized confrontations to smaller battles. Organizations like Las Gorras Blancas, the Brown Berets, El Partido Nacional de La Raza Unida, the Chicano Liberation Front and August 29th Movement to name a few, carried forward the flame of national liberation into the present.
One of the more popular events in the annals of Chicano national history is the Chicano Moratorium on August 29, 1970, when the Chicano masses demonstrated against US imperialism in East Los Angeles, resulting in Sheriffs killing three people – famous Chicano journalist Ruben Salazar and Brown Berets Lyn Ward and Gilberto Diaz. This heavy crackdown on the Chicano movement generated a higher level of organization, which included a return to the question of armed struggle by some groups such as the August 29th Movement and the Chicano Liberation Front.
Unfortunately, the New Communist Movement was plagued by revisionism, and these groups squandered the clamor of the Chicano masses for national liberation. Some of the survivors of the 70s Chicano national liberation movement still exist today, leading the masses astray, like the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and their mass organization Centro CSO in Boyle Heights.
The Chicano national liberation movement finds itself in a prolonged bend, one without its Communist Party, let alone any revolutionary organization, to lead the struggle. From counter-revolutionary Chicano cultural nationalists who support capitalism to reactionary postmodernist Chicanos who negate the existence of Chicano Nation altogether – these are the Chicanos who have united with US imperialism. They are complicit with US imperialism’s task of keeping Chicanos from turning their national consciousness into a weapon for national liberation and socialism.
The Republic of Texas, a Separatist Settler-Colonial Project
The El Paso shooter is only the latest example of the reactionary anti-Mexican and anti-Chicano vigilantes, a leftover from the old memory of the Republic of Texas.
The Republic of Texas was founded in 1836 and was absorbed into the expanding settler-colonial United States in 1846 as it went to war with Mexico, resulting in the seizure of all the northern Mexican territories.
Formed in part to protect US settlers’ “right” to hold slaves, the Republic saw the rise of groups like the Texas Rangers who would hunt down Chicanos and Mexicans or organize mobs to lynch them. This continued after Texas was incorporated into the United States, such as in 1918 when a group of Texas Rangers and ranchers invaded the small town of El Porvenir and proceeded to execute 15 villagers. These terroristic practices were not exclusive to Texas but pervaded all of occupied Chicano territory.
Crusius follows an ideology popular among the most reactionary US chauvinists, arguing for the separation of races, supporting the continued colonization of the oppressed nations and colonies of the world, including the Chicano Nation, Black Nation, indigenous nations, and other indigenous groups inside the US.
The fascists, the reactionaries, particularly US imperialist chauvinists, cling to the vile and dying ideas of the old state. In the case of the US, this ideology is grounded in settler-colonialism, national oppression, and exploitation.
US imperialism is in its last and final stage; these horrific shootings and fascist manifestos are but its death throes.
Chicano National Liberation as Part of the Socialist Revolution
Like all problems, the colonization of the Chicano Nation has a solution. No Marxist can deny the right to self-determination of an oppressed nation as part of the fight for Communism. The Chicano Nation can only truly fight for self-determination through socialism, because the world-dominant US imperialism will not allow one of its own internal colonies to secede. To effectively free itself, it must eliminate the lingering threat of US imperialism through countywide People’s War.
Fascism leeches off the cynicism of the masses and passes off what is reactionary as progressive; Crusius attempted to do this in his manifesto. He said the US was “rotting from the inside out.” He said the US political system and its two hegemonic political parties betray and fail the people. He said that corporations have taken over the government. However, Crusius does not see himself as the low-level vigilante henchman of US imperialism that he is, but rather as a patriotic “preserver” of America.
It is chilling (but not surprising) that Crusius ends his manifesto with a call for other fascists to carry out similar attacks on the unarmed masses. Communists and revolutionaries must take heed; Crusius is not really calling for “new” attacks, because the reality for the internal colonies of US imperialism is that the attacks have never stopped. They have just developed accordingly.
As the country watches the Communist movement grow, more organizations targeting these contradictions of US imperialism and settler-colonialism will emerge and recruit from the deepest and broadest masses. Maoists must never lose faith in the masses, who clamor for a socialist society, where new ideas replace these old, dark and reactionary ideas of mass shooters generated by the economic base of imperialism.