What follows is an essay we first learned of via our friend El Chavo! His description is an apt introduction to this important essay. The only thing we’ve done is removed the gendered language of some of the essay. Though we may not agree with everything in this essay, we think it stands as a powerful counter-narrative that viewed the Chicano riots of 1970 as merely a police riot. This essay has been pivotal to our own anti-political understanding of the possibilities for revolt and life in Los Angeles:
The following is a hard to find text about the 1970 Chicano riots in East LA, supposedly written by Herbert Marcuse but really written by the Bay Area 1044 situ group of that time. I find these essays on riots quite illuminating in their attempt to understand these periods of intensity as opposed to the typical lefty line of denouncing all violence.. Unfortunately, these views are rare in LA (or the rest of the world for that matter) and most locals subscribe to the line touted by whatever ideology is currently in favor.
[Originally published in French by Lundi Matin on Feb. 14th, 2016. Translated into English by ediciones ineditos. Translator’s note: “banlieue” is translated as “suburbs” in this piece but in France, the “banlieues” on the outskirts of Paris carries a connotation closer to “the hood,” often accompanied by xenophobic and racist stereotypes of its racialized residents.]
Interview with Samir of the Suburbs & Immigration Movement (MiB)
Ever since the abuses of the Aulnay-sous-bois police had been made public, the evening riots in the Parisian suburbs have shown no signs of stopping, this despite the calls for calm and threats from the Executive branch. A reader of lundimatin had thus found it pertinent to send us an interview he did with Samir, a militant who came out of the Suburbs & Immigration Movement. Samir talks about his politicization in the suburbs in the ’90s, the riots of November 2005, the role of neighborhood associations and gives us his point of view on the current movement calling for #JusticePourTheo. He offers up a particular analysis on the prolonging of the riot within militant action, including its role within politics and its conjunction with other forms of struggle.
Bruno Astarian has published a translation of his own work, noting errors in the edition we published.