multiculturalism in the canadian state
James M. Blaut
70671.2032 at SPAMcompuserve.com
Tue Nov 23 17:34:05 MST 1999
I guess I can speak to your question about PSP since I was a militant and
my wife was on the Central Committee.
As you know, the Movimiento Pro Independencia (MPI) decided to re-form as a
Marxist and then Marxist-Leninist political party, Partido Socialista
Puertorriquen~o, PSP, in the late '60s. It had branches not only in Puerto
Rico but in several US cities, including Chicago, where I live, given its
position that Puerto Ricans form one nation. MPI, PSP, and the present
successor organization, Nuevo Movimiento para la Independencia de PR (NMI)
have a permanent diplomatic mission (and a consular-style building) in
Havana: this has long been recognized by the Cubans as the central sector
of the independence movement. (I'm oversimplifying slightly.) In Puerto
Rico, apart from the social-democratic Puerto rican Independence Party
(PIP; member of the Socialist International), PSP was by far the largest
and most influential force in the independence movement throughout its
existence; in addition, its newspaper, Claridad, carried writing by all
sectors of the movement, including religious sectors. (A famous Catholic
bishop who was an important figure in the independence movement had a
weekly column in Claridad until his death.) It is important to understand
that, in quantitative terms, PSP was much large and stronger than all of
the other leftist parties put together. PSP was also very close to the
trade union movement; leaders of several unions were on the Central
While many militants quit PSP, no factionalism was ever importasnt and no
break-away party ever formed -- this in stark contrast to left movements in
many other places.
So you may ask (and do): What happened? What happened was: nothing
happened. That is, the party began to dwindle in its inlfuence and
mambership after about 1980. The the majority of militants came to believe
that the party was not fulfilling its central function, which was to move
PR towards independence and socialism. At a party congress in the early
'90s, the majority voted to transform PSP from a Marxist-Leninist party to
what was hoped would become the core of a unified national liberation
movement, centered on the new organization, NMI, and on Claridad. That is
what we are now.
So it was our failure to have palpable success in moving the Puerto rican
people towards independence and socialism, that led the party to
self-destruct (or self-deconstruct, if you prefer).
Some of you will doubtless wonder why PSP didsn't simply stop trying to be
a mass party and become a small ML cadre party, maybe within an umbrella
liberation movement. The answer is: the majorty of militants voted to go in
the other direction.
In the US, tthe Young Lords and later the Young Lords Party didn't have
much organizing success. Eventually they became a small Maoist party, which
I believe no longer is active. Another sector which favored clandestine
actiuvity, also was important in the US as well as Puerto Rico, and still
is active. I would say that in spite of very great doctrinal differences,
all three sectors were friendly toward one another: all were working for
socialism and independence.
If any lister wants to query why PSP accepted the doctrine of One Nation,
I'll gladly refer you to literature but I don't have time to post an
explanation of the position. You could check my 1987 out-of-print Zed book,
_The National Question: Decolonizing the Theory of Nationalism_ or: J. M.
Blaut y Loida Figueroa, _Aspectos de la cuestion nacional en Puerto Rico_
(Imp. Claridad, 1988, also out of print), or J. M. Blaut, "Are Puerto
Ricans a 'National minority'"? Monthly Review, 1977.
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