As part of our “Grow Our Roots” fundraiser to support our international and media work, we wanted to introduce you to two of our comrades headed to South American this summer. They will be participating in our “militant exchange” and various international meetings with our sister organizations in Chile and Argentina. We are more than 80% to our goal of fully funding the travel expenses of our comrades – consider a donation to support this work!
Joe in Champaign-Urbana
My name is Joe/Jocelyne. I grew up in Pilsen, a majority-Mexican neighborhood in Chicago, and moved to Champaign-Urbana to attend the University of Illinois. I was the first in my family to attend college and earned my bachelor’s degree in Latina/o Studies and Political Science. I have been heavily involved in student activism since 2013.
While in college, my interests quickly moved from emphasizing voting to direct action and community organizing. This change was, in part, brought on during 2016 election after seeing the popularity of socialist ideas, yet the failure/lack of desire by Democrats and other ‘progressives’ to enact policies for working class people. Additionally, during the Fall of 2016, I witnessed firsthand the police violence in Standing Rock camp in North Dakota and during anti-Trump demonstrations in Chicago. Since 45’s primary victories and coverage, I realized that addressing the core problems (capitalism, patriarchy, racism, etc) would not happen through the electoral college, legislature, or any other government body.
Soon after I became a student activist, I began to see how as individuals and organizations we part of a larger struggle both within the United States and internationally. All struggles are inherently interconnected and intrinsically inseparable from one another. Since graduating college, I have stayed in Champaign-Urbana and have been working at the local high schools in a college adviser position. Currently, I am working on forming connections within Central Illinois and Chicago to fight against a proposed ICE Detention Center for 1200 people in Dwight, IL (halfway between Champaign and Chicago). Since working in a campus town, but outside of campus, how I view organizing has changed drastically.
I’ve realized that developing analysis and strategy for our situation rather than approaching issues from a detached concept (e.g. address issues based on the need of the community not just the idea) is severely lacking in student activism and other activist spaces. Therefore, my personal goal within the militant exchange is to better understand the background and context of the current movements in Chile, especially how the feminist movement in Latin America operates. I am also interested in better understanding reproduction and abortion access between the U.S. and Latin America. I look forward to connecting with comrades in Chile and Argentina.
F.C. in Los Angeles
My name is FC and I have been a member of Black Rose/Rosa Negra since 2015. I’ve lived my whole life in the East Los Angeles & Boyle Heights area, two neighboring predominantly Mexican working class neighborhoods. I began to identify as an anarchist in my early teens when I began to learn about the ideology through a certain subgenre of punk, however growing up I was always defiant towards authority & Mexican Catholic traditions.
I had only been active occasionally attending rallies with friends until in my early twenties I began working in the entertainment industry – staging productions for movie premieres, studios and private events – and my interest began to grow in syndicalist and anarchist politics. Seeing how the industry operated gave me a better view of how politics and power worked and made me want to join an organization. Later that year I became a member of the IWW came into close contact with members of what is now Black Rose/Rose Negra – at the time the organization was still in its founding process. Once the organization was formed and had a basic integration process I was approached about joining and helped found the Los Angeles local.
It was also at this time that I had already began building relationships with Chilean comrades who I connected with through a speaking tour of three comrades who came to the U.S. in 2014. The sames comrades also participated in several our organization’s annual conventions. Over time their organization “Solidaridad” became one of our sister organizations as we built relationships and saw the similarities between our politics and strategy. Recently we also began forming an international project where members of our organizations spend time in each others countries of origin for some time, not only learning each others politics but also putting them into practice through becoming involved in the projects and organizing work of the group during that period of time.
Although I have traveled in the past many times, my participation in the militant exchange for three weeks will be the longest trip I’ve done. During the trip I will attend a meeting of the international organization we are working to build, discussing our strategic plans for each country, and relating our respective struggles. I will also attend a territorial (neighborhood based organizing) popular assembly, meeting with our Solidaridad comrades, with members of SINTEC construction workers union. My goal will seeing how they put politics into practice – getting an in depth look into the culture of each group and their respective goals and obstacles so that I can bring this back to our work in the U.S.
Joe/Jocelyn en Champaign-Urbana
Mi nombre es Joe / Jocelyne. Crecí en Pilsen, un barrio de mayoría mexicana en Chicago y me mudé a Champaign-Urbana para asistir a la Universidad de Illinois. Fui la primera de mi familia en asistir a la universidad y obtuve mi licenciatura en Estudios Latina/os y Ciencias Políticas. He estado muy involucrado en el activismo estudiantil desde 2013.
Mientras estaba en la universidad aprendí rápidamente a desconfiar del proceso electoral y en cambio enfocarme en la acción directa y la organización comunitaria. Este cambio se produjo, en parte, durante las elecciones de 2016 después de ver la popularidad de las ideas socialistas, pero el fracaso / falta de deseo de los Demócratas y otros “progresistas” de crear póliza que beneficiaría a la clase trabajadora. Además, durante el otoño de 2016, fui testigo de la violencia policial en el campamento de Standing Rock en Dakota del Norte y durante las manifestaciones contra Trump en Chicago. Desde las victorias y la cobertura principales de 45, me di cuenta de que abordar los problemas centrales (capitalismo, patriarcado, racismo, etc.) no ocurriría en el colegio electoral, la legislatura o cualquier otro organismo gubernamental.
Poco después de convertirme en un activista estudiantil, comencé a ver cómo los individuos y las organizaciones formamos parte de una lucha más amplia tanto dentro de los Estados Unidos como a nivel internacional. Todas las luchas están inherentemente interconectadas y son intrínsecamente inseparables unas de otras. Desde que me gradué de la universidad, me he alojado en Champaign-Urbana y he estado trabajando en las escuelas secundarias locales en un puesto de asesor universitario. Actualmente, estoy trabajando para establecer conexiones dentro del centro de Illinois y Chicago para luchar contra el Centro de Detención ICE propuesto para 1200 personas en Dwight, IL (a medio camino entre Champaign y Chicago). Desde empezar a trabajar de largo plazo y dejar de ser estudiante la forma en que veo el activismo ha cambiado drásticamente.
Me he dado cuenta de que desarrollar un análisis y una estrategia para nuestra situación en lugar de enfocar los problemas desde un concepto aislado (por ejemplo, abordar los problemas según la necesidad de la comunidad, no solo la idea) carece de contenido de activismo estudiantil y otros espacios activistas. Por lo tanto, mi objetivo personal dentro del intercambio militante es comprender mejor los antecedentes y el contexto de los movimientos actuales en Chile, especialmente cómo opera el movimiento feminista en América Latina. También estoy interesado en entender mejor los derechos reproductivos y el acceso al aborto entre los EE. UU. Y América Latina. Espero con entusiasmo conectarme con compañeros en Chile y Argentina.