The Young Lords emerged in 1969, at the height of the decade’s radicalization when two million students polled in the US said they believed in the necessity of building a revolutionary party. Respectively, the group called for society’s radical transformation: the end of US colonial rule in Puerto Rico, colonization everywhere; self-determination for Puerto Ricans and all racially oppressed people in the US mainland; and a socialist society, which contrary to capitalism’s blind pursuit of profit, would prioritize human need. The group forms part of the New Left, the diverse social movements of the 60s that challenged racism and Jim Crow; US war in Vietnam; old soul-slaying social norms that constrained personal freedoms in the US; patriarchy and heteronormativity. While their white campus-based counterparts rebelled against the sterility of suburbia, sixties radicals of color, like the Young Lords and Black Panther, were radicalized by the experience of migration in the context of the new urban poverty produced by post-war deindustrialization, housing displacement, medical discrimination in public hospitals, and police violence in northern cities. Anchored in local communities, the group marshalled the best organizing strategies bequeathed to them by over a decade of movement activism and won ground breaking reforms.
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