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

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

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

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

Synopsis

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 Left explores 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.

Excerpt

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. 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 the consequences for those struggling to challenge capitalism and racism?

Particularly important to my thinking was my involvement with the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles, which, in the 1980s, was seeking to create a multiracial left by organizing in low-income communities of color. During my time with the Strategy Center, I learned the importance of organizing beyond the Chicana/o community and the need for an explicit class analysis. I came to appreciate how class consciousness could potentially bring various racial/ethnic groups together and contribute to a larger movement for social and economic justice. Moreover, I realized that although multiracial organizing was new to me, many people had done this sort of work before, and in fact the Strategy’s Center project drew upon those experiences. Previous generations of activists had struggled with the tensions inherent in building an antiracist and anticapitalist movement, and I realized that a close examination of these efforts might yield important insights that would cast new light on contemporary efforts—an especially relevant task given the explosion of progressive and social justice activism that characterized turn-of-the-century Los Angeles. As I began exploring this subject, I saw that the left of color had a rich and deep history in Los . . .

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