PSP (was re multiculturalism...)
Jose G. Perez
jgperez at SPAMfreepcmail.com
Thu Nov 25 01:32:49 MST 1999
Thanks for the update. I know the PSP was close to being a hegemonic
force on the left in Puerto Rico, and a party with a mass audience, if not
yet a mass party.
And there's a lot to be said for a current willing to ditch an old
organizational form that no longer seems to fit the actual concrete tasks of
revolutionaries and adopt new ones.
Has the NMI had any success in broadening its base? I can see that in
some ways resistance to the U.S. colonial occupation has broadened
(Vieques), and that despite everything, The U.S. has been completely unable
to stamp out Puerto Rican national consciousness. And nobody seems to be
claiming, as they used to in the early 70s, that the "compact" settled
Apart from that, I'm curious to know if the comrades who came out of the
PSP into the NMI and view themselves as Marxists or Leninists have felt any
need for a specifically Marxist organization, currency tendency or grouping
of some sort.
Also, I tried searching for a Claridad web site, but couldn't find one.
Is it online?
P.S. I hadn't thought about the "one nation" debate in probably two decades
or more. Is it still an issue? Looking back now, I have the impression
various currents were trying to justify what was really a question of
practical organization. If the PSP had had close relations with a strong
revolutionary party in the U.S., the organizational forms might well have
been different (even hybrid), independently of theoretical issues.
From: James M. Blaut <70671.2032 at compuserve.com>
To: INTERNET:marxism at lists.panix.com <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Date: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 7:48 PM
Subject: Re: multiculturalism in the canadian state
>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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