Why does Chicano Park have images of Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara?

4 09 2017

By Abel Macias

September 4, 2017

These questions are important in light of the current conditions that we find ourselves in. As we have seen, Donald Trump has given rise to those who believe in White Supremacy and racial hatred. Many of these Neo-Nazi and White supremacist groups feel emboldened by the Trump presidency and secure in coming out of the shadows and expressing their racist views in public.

It was this atmosphere of embolden racism that caught the attention of the Chicano/a/x community when they heard rumors that Neo-Nazis were coming to attack their park. It was the terrorist attacks in Charlottesville that made people feel a heightened sense of urgency and vigilance when they heard someone dared to step foot in Chicano Park to do anything that was perceived as disrespectful.

In essence the community was not having it and is feed up with racist attacks against Mexicans and all people of color.

The response was great, three to five hundred people showed up to defend the park. People drove in from out of town to lend their support. There were Chicanos, Chicanas, Chicanx, socialist, anarchist, Whites, Blacks, Natives and many others who came out in mass to defend the park and its murals.che_guevara_y_fidel_castro

But what murals were under attack and scrutiny? It appears White supremacist and Neo-Nazis don’t like Fidel Castro and Che Guevarra because they were communist. They also tried to equate an ancient Native American symbol which they stole to represent their fascist regime in Nazi Germany.

But what is wrong with communism and why can’t we determine for ourselves who we choose as our heroes? The Chicano community has every right to sympathize with communism, socialism or any other ideology that it feels meets the needs of our community. Who are outsiders to say what we can or can’t believe in? This is the essence of self-determination and what we have been fighting for since those murals were painted back in 1973.

Who was Fidel and why does he deserve a place in Chicano Park? Without getting into a very long history lesson, we should know that Fidel was a revolutionary leader that overthrew the Cuban government in order to bring about change for the people. Because he beat overwhelming odds in defeating the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista who was backed by the United States, he is a hero. He was and is an inspiration to the people who feel they can never win a battle with a more powerful force. But he proved that wrong, he was a shining example of how organization, determination, faith and perseverance can beat all odds.

One of the people who helped Fidel defeat the Batista dictatorship was Dr. Ernesto Che Guevara. Che was an Argentinian by birth, but left his country after studying to become a medical doctor to travel Latin America. He met Fidel in Mexico where the Cuban was making plans to reenter his country with a small group of revolutionaries in order to take power. After their successful overthrow of the dictatorship and implementation of the new government, Che decided to go to Bolivia in order to help build another revolutionary army to overthrow the Bolivian government. Unfortunately, he was unaware the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States was sending support to the Bolivian government in order to stop another revolution in Latin America. Che was assassinated by Bolivian forces with the assistance of CIA operatives stationed in the country.

So to the Chicano Movement in the 1960s Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were heroes in the fight against U.S. Imperialism and Capitalism. These two systems are the same that continue to oppress Chicanas/os today. And it is for that reason that we defend the legacy, imagery and murals painted in Chicano Park. Because even if people do not know the history that is represented in some of the figures and icons that are in Chicano Park they know that no right wing racist or Neo-Nazis are going to come into the park and destroy or deface the murals that we fought for.

Yesterday, was an amazing example of how the people came together to defend what is ours. Now we must continue to organize ourselves and study the legacy of Fidel, Che and many others who fought to make a better world. If we learn anything from these great heroes, we should learn that they analyzed the conditions they were under in order to make strategic decisions that would lead to victory in the face of great odds.

Onward Mi Gente

¡Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

The Idea of Communism, by Tariq Ali

17 02 2010

It’s been a really long time since I’ve written a book review and I just finished reading this book, so I thought what better time to write a review.  I understand my reviews don’t follow the standard format.  I’m really just doing this to get the word out there.  To pass on some information.  I try to read as much as I can, but don’t do it as much as I would like.  I was just in San Francisco and happened to stop by a bookstore that I like.  I had been there a few times when I was living in the SF Bay Area.  I happen to be in the neighborhood and decided to stop in.  The place is called Dog Eared Books.  It’s a really cool place, that I like.  It’s pretty small, but has a big enough selection on history, politics and other social sciences to keep me interested.  I think if it was too big I would just wander around too much.  The other cool thing is that they have used books and some are almost new, but for a discounted price.

So anyways, I was in the place and ended up buying three books that I haven’t read.  I will write more on those when I finish reading them.  I read this one first, because it was the smallest one of the three and because I’m most interested in the subject.

I feel like I have heard of the author, Tariq Ali before, but have never read any of his work.  The cover artwork and subject is what first drew my attention to the book.  It is a wonderful book to handle if you ever see it.  It’s a small hard cover book with great cover art.  It was interesting because you could fit it in your back pocket and take it with you with no problems.  The problem with that is the text is so damn small.  So you gotta have good lighting when reading this book.

To be honest, I was disappointed with the book.  If your looking to learn about communism, this is not the book for you.  According to the author this was an essay that a publisher insisted he write on the subject.  So it’s not an explanatory text.  I was hoping I could come away with a deeper understanding of Communism and Marxism and that wasn’t the case.  This text is designed more for the person who already knows a lot about Marxism and Communism.  It gets more into the history and geopolitics of Communism.  He gives more of his insights into how and why Communism transpired the way it did in Europe and China.  He touches on Latin America.  I didn’t really get too much out of this book.  Perhaps if I knew more about the history and geopolitics of European communism than I would have enjoyed this book more.

Again, not for the beginner.  If you are interested in learning more about communism, socialism and/or Marxism there are plenty of other text and websites out there.

One of my favorites is by Marx for beginners by Ruis.  O.k. so it’s illustrated, but it’s for beginners, so it’s not intimidating and it’s fun to read.  What better way to start off learning about a subject.  There is always the PSL page also, we have short articles on various subjects and answers to many questions about socialism.  Just click on the following link Marxism 101

Socialism, What It Is and Why We Need It

17 10 2009
Come out and learn more about this important topic

Come out and learn more about this important topic