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The Young LordsA Radical History$
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Johanna Fernández

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653440

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653440.001.0001

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The Politics and Culture of the Young Lords Party

The Politics and Culture of the Young Lords Party

(p.193) Chapter Seven The Politics and Culture of the Young Lords Party
The Young Lords

Johanna Fernández

University of North Carolina Press

The Young Lords applied to the U.S. context the worldview known as Third World socialism—the ideas and strategies for liberation that emerged during wars of decolonization in Vietnam, Cuba, Algeria. These drew from Marxism, Maoism, Franz Fanon, and Lenin. In the US, radicals argued that racialized groups—including black Americans, Native Americans, Chicanos, Asian Americans, and Puerto Ricans—were internal domestic colonies, politically and economically underdeveloped and dispossessed of their rights to self-determination. While Third World revolutions iconized peasant guerrillas, organizations like the Black Panthers and the Young Lords identified the lumpenproletariat as the most revolutionary class in society. At a moment when economic restructuring and the flight of industries to the suburbs produced permanent unemployment and greater economic and racial segregation in the city, the activism and politics of grassroots radicals like the Young Lords reflected the distinctive social features of their urban environments. The Revolutionary Nationalism of urban radicals was tied to the vast relocation of white Americans from city to suburb. In this environment, the ideal of people of color fighting together with white Americans for change grew more and more difficult to enact as the daily lives of these populations grew further and further apart.

Keywords:   Marxism, Third World Socialism, Maoism, Lenin, Vietnam, Lumpenproletariat, Revolutionary Nationalism, Chicanos, Decolonization, Economic restructuring

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