Tuesday, February 19, 2013

From the archives of the anti-Vietnam War movement

From the archives of the anti-Vietnam War movement:  a Chicano march against the Vietnam War in East Los Angeles in 1970.

The National Chicano Moratorium Committee was a movement of Chicano (US citizens of Mexican descent) antiwar activists who organized opposition to the Vietnam War. Chicano soldiers suffered disproportionate casualties in the war (from 1967 to 1969, 19% of the casualties from the Southwest US were Chicano while they were only 12% of the region’s population). Activists began to challenge why they should fight for US colonialism abroad while victimized by it in the US.

On August 1970, they organized protests in over 20 cities drawing thousands of Chicanos. The march in Los Angeles, which drew 30,000 protestors, was attacked by police for several hours using extreme violence & tear gas. Three protestors were killed, including Ruben Salazar, a reporter killed by a tear-gas projectile police fired indiscriminately into the bar where he sat.

In response to community outrage at the assault on peaceful protestors, hundreds of riot cops occupied the barrios of East Los Angeles like an invading army--confirming the colonial analogy made by Chicano activists.

Many Chicano activists of that era remain active today in the immigration rights movement & in the antiwar movement.

(Photo from files of Los Angeles Times)

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