The Puerto Rican Movement: Voice form the Diaspora

por Librería El Candil

Little attention has been paid to the Latino movements of the 1960's and 1970's in the literature of social movements. This volume is the first significant look at the organizations of the Puerto Rican movement, which emerged in the late 1960's and 1970's as a response to U.S. colonialism on the island and to the poverty and discrimination faced by most Puerto Ricans on the mainland.

To combat these two problems, and drawing on a tradition of patriotism and social responsibility, a number of organizations grew up, including the Young Lords Party (YLP), which later evolved into the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization; the Pro-Independence Movement (MPI), which evolved into the U.S. branch of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party; El Comité; the Puerto Rican Student Union (PRSU); the Movement for National Liberation (MLN); and the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN). The Puerto Rican Movement looks at all these groups as specific organizations of real people in such places as Boston, Chicago, Hartford, New York, and Philadelphia.

The contributors, almost all of whom were involved with the organizations they describe, provide detailed descriptions and historical analyses of the Puerto Rican Left. Interviews with such key figures as Elizam Escobar, Piri Thomas, and Luis Fuentes, as well as accounts by people active in the gay/lesbian, African-American, and White Left movements add a vivid picture of why and how people became radicalized and how their ideals intersected with their group's own dynamics.

These critical assessments highlight each organization's accomplishments and failures and illuminate how different sets of people, in different circumstances, respond to social problems-in this case, the "national question" and the issues of social justice and movement politics. Author note: Andrés Torres is Professor, College of Public and Community Service, University of Massachusetts, Boston.José E. Velázquez is a Social Studies teacher in the Newark, New Jersey, public school system.


Edited By: Andrés Torres & José E. Velázquez ⎢Temple University Press Philadelphia ⎢1998