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Palante Young Lords Party

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Parent Issue
Day
26
Month
November
Year
1971
OCR Text

I became a Dragon when I was around iourteen. At that time the Dragons and the Viceroys were the two big gangs in El Barrio (a Puerto Rican ghetto in New York). We had a thing where we fought each other. But we honored each other too. We used to talk about how bad the Viceroys were. We used to teil stories about how bad Little Man was, and we told stories about how bad thls cat was, and how bad the other cat was. We'd try to, like, justify how strong we vere wheii we went into batüe. The pride was the thi ,:'. 'Cause you had a feeling when you walked down the .street that you were somethin' - fuck all that garbage and all the shit that was around you and how fucketl up all your clothes were - you were somebody. If you were a bad motherfucker you had a rep, and you'd die for your rep if somebody fucked with it because that's all you had. It was like you were trying to say to the world, "This is me, man, I'm alive, you dig, and I got somethin', and I live in this community, and I'm somebody here. I'm a leader. . . " Especially if you were a leader of a gang. You'd run into the block, burn, get chased out by the pigs or by the Viceroys, you'd do your thing and then you'd run out of there. And at the end of it, when you'd get together with your boys, you would say, 'Teah! I did this, and I did that, " and your boys would say, "Yeah! Man, dig the shit this brother did! You this motherfucker when he did that!" You know back and forth, hugging each other and really being up in the air about the fucking thing. We feit like kings - like we were warriors. "Cause it was a thing where you protected your turf. All you had was your turf - there was nothing else. All you had was this pride in being an hombre, in being bad and laking care of your people. You know, I shot this brother. It happened when I had stopped gang-fighting. But something happened with my youngcr brother, and we had to go down. The brother we shot was an ex-Viceroy. Me and my brother burncd him, we put, like, seven bullets in him. It was a fucked-up thing, you dig, it was a fucked-up thing. That brother is now a Lord. And we love each other. And the deep thing about it is, the brother 's in a wheelchair - behind what me and ray brother did, you know what I mean. And still, you know, he's politica! enough and I'm political enough that we understand, you dig, why the shit went down - it was the conditions we were living under. And that's why he and I have dedicated our lives to fighting for the freedom of our people, so no more of our kids will fuck around like we did - 'cause, like, we hurt him, and it's still there, you dig, and at the same time we hurt ourselves. Bobby To support its economie exploita.ti.on of Puerto ilico, the United States instituted a new educational system whose purpose was to Americanize us. Speciücally, that means that the school 's principal job is to exalt the cultural values of the United States. As soon as we begin using nooks that are printed in English, that are printed in the United States, that means that the American way of liie is being pushed - the American way of lifc witli all its bad points, with its commercialism, its dehumanization of human beings. At the same time that the cultural values of America are exalted, the cultural values of Puerto Rico are downgraded. People bepn to feel ashamed of speaking Spanish. Language becomes a reward and punishment system. If you spcak Knglish and adapt to the cultural values of America, you're rewarded; if you speak Spanish and stick to the old traditional ways, you're punished. In the school system here, if you don 't quickly begin to speak English and shed your Puerto Rican values, you're put back a grade - so you may be in the sixth grade in Puerto Rico but when you come here, you go back to the fourth or fifth. You're treated as iï you're retarded, as if you're backward - and your own cultural values therefore are shown to be of less vulue than the cultural values of this country and the language of this country. In the Young Lords Party, we talk a lot about the colonized mentality when we 're frightened of taking on responsibilitles. We've been conditioned to feel that we can 't lead other people. The school system doesn't develop an individual 's initiative and The Young Lords Party was formed to take care of the needs of the Puerto Rican colony in the IL S, , and has now expanded to the island of Puerto Rico. The needs of the people are many and the cultures which make up the people in the U. S. are so different that each colony under U. S. Imperialism must direct U's own growth; selfdetermination for it's people. Just as the Young Lords Party serves the people of the Puerto Rican colony, the Rainbow People's Party is set up to serve the needs of the Rainbow colony, the Black Panther Party for the Black colony, etc, and eventually all the various colonies will unite to provide self-determination for all Peoples on the planet„ The book PALANTE, put together over a period of about a year, depicte the growth of the Young Lords Party from it's birth to it's present point of development. The Lords are going through changes, just as all people who are consistently dealing with the problems that face us and threaten our very lives are going through changes, and this book explains why. And, just as important, the book brings the Puerto Rican community into our homes, and into our being. We feel that it's important to under stand what our brothers and sisters in other colonies of Euro-Amerikan Imperialism are doing and how their growth and development are very similar to our own, in the Rainbow colony, because soon we will be uniting with all progressive people to continue the struggle for the planet's freedom. The following text are excerpts from the book and can not possibly say all that the book says- in the same way the book can not describe the torment that the Puerto Rican colony goes through every day. We hope that this will be the beginning of understanding the Young Lords Party - of understanding aU people. -John Collins, RPP PAL ANTE can be ordered direcüy from the YLP for $3.75 (paperback) - send to PALANTE, co Young Lords Party, 202 E. 117th St. , New York, N. Y. , or may be picked up at Centicore Bookstore on S. University. ity. It develops your ability to follow, it develops a worker-employer mentality, which is suited to this country - the teacher is the employer and the students are the workers. When we talk about cultural genocide, we have to sec what it does to an individual that goes through this school system. When you raise your hand in class and the teacher, instead of listening to what you have to say, begins to correct your accent and insists that you're gonna talk perfect English, whatever thoughts are coming out are just gonna be ignored until this superficial thing is corrected according to what the system has set as a standard. We 're faced with an education that isn't relevant to us. We 're iaced with reading books that have nothing to do with what we know to be our people's experience and vhat we know to be our personal experience. We're faced with out-and-out racism, not only the racism of textbooks, which ignore the contributions of the Third World to the development of civilization - but also the out-and-out racism of the teachers who instruct us, who have already been told that they have a class of slow learners and so therefore they feel that they don 't have to work too hard, because we can 't learn too much anyway. We have the racism that this society generates in which people that tells them that people of color are inferior, and therefore you can treat them like inferiors. We still have the vestiges of slavery, the slave trade, left over. The chains that have been taken off the slaves ' bodies are put back on their minds. David Pérez "THERE'S A TENDENCY TO SAY 'THE PEOPLE' AND PUT THE PEOPLE AT ARM'S LENGTH. WHEN WE SAY 'PEOPLE', WE'RE TALKING ABOUT OURSELVES. WE'RE FROM THESE BLOCKS, AND WE'RE FROM THESE SCHOOLS, PRODUCTS OF THE WHOLE THING. " The hospital industry, like everything in this capitali st society, is interested only in making itself wealthy - it has no interest whatever in the side effects people suffer as a resul t of the way that they're used as guinea pigs. The interest is, as always, to get more and more profits. Ten thousand Puerto Ricans can die tomorrow, as long as the industry continúes to mak e that money. In the Young Lords Party we believe in complete change, no patch work can be done. In all the hospitals in the city, workers have started talking about health and getting involved in changing the health system, because they have been witnessing the type of treatment our people get in the hospitals. The Lords have also become involved with preventive health programs. We heard about a lead poisoning kit that the city had gotten hold of, but wasn't using. They just had them in refrigerators up at City Hall someplace. So HRUM and the Young Lords went to Commissioner McLoughlin's office and we said that we wanted to put those kits to use. After many hours of discussion, they gave us one hundred kits to start working with. When we weatback into El Barrio, and started going door to door, we found that many children were suffering from lead poisoning. Now, lead poisoning is a very dangerous disease. Those children who don 't die from it can get mental retardation - for the rest of that child's life he can be just a vegetable, a human being that's always going to have to be dependent on someone else. When we did our testing, we knew that we weren 't dealing with our oppression itself, we were just dealing with the symptoms of it. But what we could do at least was show our people that we do not have to wait until some cat graduates from medical school and then comes down to aid us - we can help ourselves. So we collected urine, we tested it, followed it up and we found many children who were poisoned. Then we made sure that these children were seen in hospitals like Metropolitan, Mt. Sinai, Lincoln. As a result, the city started moving to co-opt the program. Suddenly it declared lead poisoning the number one health problem in the city. It had been the number one problem in the city for years and years, because the houses have always had the same lead paint on the walls. We also started testing for TB- another "disease of oppression. " The city has this litüe patchwork program, you know, to try to prove to somebody that they're doing something - in actuality it's just killing time. The TB rate among Puerto Ricans and Black We're here because we are trying as best we can to take the power of the State and put that back in the hauds of the people who for so long have been denied everything. It's a very deep, emotional thing, you know, for people whove been told for so long that they're fucked up, that they're niggers, spies, that they ain't worth shit, to be doing this. We are showing people an alternative to living under a capitalisüc society - an alternative to the tenement, to the street, to the workplace, to the fanguito. Each generation that comes up is taught that this is the only way things can be done, this life, right. It's a fact of life that you 're poor, that there are some people on top, and that most people are on the bottom. It's a fact of life that this is a dog-eat-dog world, and if you want to make it you got to make it by yourself. But we're gonna take them f acts of life and turn them around. We're saying that it is gonna be a new fact of life that what counts flrst is not so much the individual but the group, and in order for the individual to survive, the group, the nation, has to survive. people is very, very high. Most of the time when the test is given it's positive, because even if you don 't have the disease itself, the germ is surely there because we live in such crowded conditions and TB is so contagious. We started going door to door and doing the tine test, which is a very simple thing - the myth that only doctors could do it was done away with - and found again that a lot of our people were suffering f rom TB. Again the hospitals had to move because a lot of There's a whole new way to live, you know, if the people together are planning where their nation's gonna go, how their government is running, how much they're going to produce, who's going to produce what, and what they're gonna do with it once they get it. In cold, scientific terms this means that production and distribution get put in the hands of the people. That's a phrase that everybody can sing by rote, but if we think about it and if we under stand it, it's a whole mindblowing concept to oppressed people, because weVe never been shown that we can succeed in anything. You know, there was a way that the people used to walk in the street before 1969, before the Young Lords Party began - people used to walk with their heads down like this, and the pigs would walk through the colonies like they owned the block. They'd come in here with no kind of respect in their eyes. For 400 years, youVe taken the best that this motherfucker could throw at you, and now you 're gonna deal. So now, what's he gonna do? He wants to land nis haymaker, he wants to round everybody up-you know that's coming. But we are a tempered people, we have been tempered like the blade of a knife by years of living under this shit. When fascism comes, people gonna be ready for it. It's gonna blow the pigs' minds, right, but we ain't gonna give up. Because the people have seen that there's a way. Yoruba Guzman pie just started gotng in and demanding that those services be glven. Flnally we ripped off a TB truck. We knew the city had this truck that was used In El Barrio only two hours a day. We wanted to use it around the clock to serve our people. They said no, we couldn't have it, that it didn't belong to them, that they had rented it. The thing was, our people couldn't walt, 'cause they were dying from TB. We took the truck and we started testing our people, and in one day we tested 1,000. Gloria Gonzales "WE DECDDED TO BEGIN A FREE CLOTHING PROGRAM WHEN THE DEPARTMENT OF WELFARE CUT THE CHECKS TO 66 CENTS A DA Y IN NEW YORK CITY AND OUR YOUNGER BROTHERS AND SISTERS HAD TO GO TO SCHOOL WITH THREE OLD CLOTHING. ALSO THE YLP E EDUCATING EVERYONE TO THE FACT THAT OUR PEOPLE ARE THE ONES THAT MAKE THOSE C LOTHES IN THE GARMENT DISTRICT AND THEN HAVE TO PAY FOR THEM, WHEN THEY ARE RIGHTFULLY OURS!" "REVOLUTION E NOT SOMETHING WE WANT TO DO. IT IS BLOODY AND CRUEL. BUT IT IS SOMETHING WE HAVE TO DO TO LIVE DECENTLY AND FREE. "