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Black, Brown, Yellow, and Left

Black, Brown, Yellow, and Left: Radical Activism in Los Angeles

Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 1
Pages: 361
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  • Book Info
    Black, Brown, Yellow, and Left
    Book Description:

    Laura Pulido traces the roots of third world radicalism in Southern California during the 1960s and 1970s in this accessible, wonderfully illustrated comparative study. Focusing on the Black Panther Party, El Centro de Acción Social y Autonomo (CASA), and East Wind, a Japanese American collective, she explores how these African American, Chicana/o, and Japanese American groups sought to realize their ideas about race and class, gender relations, and multiracial alliances. Based on thorough research as well as extensive interviews,Black, Brown, Yellow, and Leftexplores the differences and similarities between these organizations, the strengths and weaknesses of the third world left as a whole, and the ways that differential racialization led to distinct forms of radical politics. Pulido provides a masterly, nuanced analysis of complex political events, organizations, and experiences. She gives special prominence to multiracial activism and includes an engaging account of where the activists are today, together with a consideration of the implications for contemporary social justice organizing.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93889-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    This book compares the historical experiences of African American, Japanese American, and Chicana/o activists who were part of the Third World Left in Los Angeles from 1968 to 1978.¹ The idea for this project grew out of my general curiosity with the sixties, as well as my desire to understand the generation of activists who preceded me. Although I was only a child during the late sixties, I knew that this period was key to understanding contemporary politics, particularly in communities of color. How and why did the seemingly revolutionary politics of the sixties and seventies falter, and what were...


    • ONE Race and Political Activism
      (pp. 15-33)

      The experience of growing up in Los Angeles partly explains my interest in the issues of race, class, and political activism that this book addresses. Born in East Los Angeles, I lived for a number of years in San Pedro and subsequently moved to Westminster in Orange County. Throughout these various moves, one constant was riding in our station wagon with my brothers and sister while driving to visit relatives throughout the area. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s I regularly traveled the Harbor Freeway to visit Grandpa and Tía Lola in East L.A.; the Pomona Freeway to see my aunt...

    • TWO Differential Racialization in Southern California
      (pp. 34-58)

      Historical accounts of contemporary Southern California often emphasize World War II because during this time the region reinvented itself and its contemporary foundations were established, including a major restructuring of the regional racial hierarchy.¹ Accordingly, it was the racial and class structure of the post–World War II era that Third World Left activists grew up in. This same formation led to the differential racialization of African, Mexican, and Japanese Americans that activists ultimately rebelled against. My goal in this chapter is to consider how the demographic, political, economic, and social changes initiated by World War II affected communities of...

    • THREE The Politicization of the Third World Left
      (pp. 59-86)

      Although popular images of the sixties and seventies often portray a period of widespread political activism, only a minority, albeit a significant one, became politically active, and even fewer became leftists. Instead, the vast majority of activists from communities of color, particularly Chicanas/os and Blacks, supported either a nationalist or a civil rights political ideology, thus requiring us to ask what set the members of the Third World Left apart. What led them to this path, and how did that process differ from those who adopted more conventional movement politics? What was the draw of an anticapitalist critique, and how...


    • FOUR Serving the People and Vanguard Politics: The Formation of the Third World Left in Los Angeles
      (pp. 89-122)

      The previous chapter demonstrated how both the historical moment and the larger political culture contributed to the development of individual political consciousness. While politically conscious individuals are essential to social movements and political struggle, they are not enough. Without the presence of political organizations, counterhegemonic activity would be limited to rebellion and random acts of protest. Organizations and groups are the essential building blocks of movements, as they provide the space where like-minded individuals coalesce and can accomplish a great deal more collectively than alone.

      This chapter examines the creation of the Third World Left in Los Angeles, particularly the...

    • FIVE Ideologies of Nation, Class, and Race in the Third World Left
      (pp. 123-152)

      Popular depictions of sixties radicalism, as seen in movies likeThe Big ChillandForrest Gump,¹ tend to reduce political activism to rallies, marches, and speeches, thereby glossing over the vibrant theoretical debates that characterized the movement. Though most of the Third World Left identified as revolutionary nationalist, Marxist-Leninist, or some combination, there was profound ideological diversity within the movement, as most organizations developed highly nuanced political positions informed by the history and experiences of the organization’s membership. Such ideologies offer valuable insights into how different racial/ethnic groups understood societal problems, their proposed solutions, the distinctive nature of each organization...

    • SIX The Politics of Solidarity: Interethnic Relations in the Third World Left
      (pp. 153-179)

      Movements are more than the sum of their parts. Their character, size, and shape are also determined by their interactions with other organizations and individuals. I am particularly interested in the interethnic politics of the Third World Left, given the movement’s emphasis on internationalism and revolutionary nationalism (versus cultural nationalism). What were the attitudes of East Wind, the Black Panther Party (BPP), and CASA toward whites and toward other people of color? To what extent did they actually engage in coalition building or interethnic activism, and how does the reality correspond to the rhetoric?

      I make two main arguments in...

    • SEVEN Patriarchy and Revolution: Gender Relations in the Third World Left
      (pp. 180-214)

      The topic of gender relations in the New Left, particularly the Third World Left, is vast, and researchers have only begun exploring it. Much of the general literature on the movement has a de facto masculine perspective insofar as it either was authored by men or, more typically, focused on them. Nevertheless, gender permeates the Third World Left, because somewhat like race, it structures our culture, society, everyday life, and sense of self. Hence feminists have argued that “[p]art of what ‘gender consciousness’ embraces is recognition that one’s relationship to the political world is at least partly . . ....

    • EIGHT The Third World Left Today and Contemporary Activism
      (pp. 215-238)

      Proposition 187; Rodney King and the 1992 uprising; Justice for Janitors; the Bus Riders’ Union; the Hahn/Villaraigosa election; Three Strikes; Black-Korean tensions; globalization . . . ¹ These are just some of the key events and processes that have created the contemporary political and economic landscape of Southern California. To what extent, if any, are these developments related to the 1960s and 1970s? What role might Third World Leftists have played in them? While the world, and Southern California in particular, has changed greatly over the last three decades, there are clear connections between the past and the present, although...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 239-298)
  10. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 299-332)
  11. Index
    (pp. 333-346)