Updated: Oct 18, 2020
"When tyranny is law, revolution is order."
-Pedro Albizu Campos
Borikén Independence pt. 1:
What you need to know about Borikén
By Libre A. Sankara & Khalil Sankara
The Crux of Capitalism is a series that will focus on the need for Borikén independence through revolution and its role in liberating the Global South. Giving a brief but necessary historical grounding of the archipelago, the series of islands that make up our country, and it’s battle with imperialism. Understanding why Borikén is a crux of capitalism and what will happen when we gain political, economic, social and environmental self determination. The Boricua people play a key role in the struggle against imperialism and rise of a Socialist world.
Borikén has been fighting for independence since 1493 when the rapist, murderer, and robber Ponce De Leon invaded the archipelago and claimed it as “Puerto Rico'' (meaning rich port) for the Spanish empire. The islands would be seen as an economic gain for centuries to come rather than a sovereign land of Indigenous people. The liberation of the people of Borikén will be a victory for all oppressed peoples against the empire.
At first, the archipelago of Borikén was fighting for autonomy from Spain. The Spanish Empire proceeded to pillage the island of all its natural wealth, culture, and knowledge. Reaping profit by forcing the Indigenous people into slavery. Soon after the colonization, Tainos and other Indigenous people were almost entirely exterminated; but to this day many of which still live in the Caribbean in resistance. in resistance. Enslaved Africans and indigenous people were forced to work the land to produce sugar, coffee and other goods that were sent to Europe and the Americas. After the Spanish-American War (1898), the colonies of Cuba, the Philippines, Guam, Hawai’i and Borikén were handed to the United States of Amerikkka. This transition of colonial rule was marked by the end of military battles through the Treaty of Paris in 1898. The decisions made had little to no concern of the native peoples of these islands still battling against colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism. There continues to be a call for an independent Borikén against an occupation that has lasted for over a century.
We stand with all oppressed people suffering under the colonial grip of capitalism because we understand that the freedom of the Boricua working class struggle rests alongside those fighting for freedom across the globe, our Madre Tierra.
Never on top of or at the expense of others, but almost more intimately, our members consist of those who have suffered under the history that will be analyzed in the following demand for freedom, independence and sovereignty. We realize that the people of Borikén have endured a bastardization and torturous colonial treatment for more than five hundred years. Therefore, we fight for the freedom of all oppressed people because it moves us towards an end to capitalism.
On September 23rd, 1868, the Grito de Lares became one of the first documented rebellions for independence in Borinquen. It was an uprising led by Dr. Emeterio Betances and Segundo Belvis in response to the economic and political repression that the spanish empire had over the archipelago. This legacy fed into independence movements on the island and the diaspora here in North America. The Young Lords organized Boricuas and other oppressed people in the diaspora for freedom in ghettos all across the country. Organizing focused on orienting the local into global emancipation from imperialism.
Propaganda with the sole purpose of serving imperialism has portrayed Boricuas as docile, savage and unfit to lead themselves, their land, and their country. The military occupation of Borikén is a strategic point for imperialism; it continues to be used for invasions, war and enforcing embargos. Eugenics and chemical warfare have been used throughout the islands, namely in Vieques, but also against independence fighters. Experimentation of military-grade technology has led to environmental destruction and the destruction of people's bodies in the realm of health. These injustices are all manifestations of the tyranny that Boricua people have suffered in the face of war and conquest. Furthermore, capitalism forcibly displaced Boricuas, leading to a mass migration to the U.S. The descendants of these migrants are being fed into prisons today under the "War on Drugs", initiated by Reagan.
Borikén has always been a strategic position where the U.S can operate in Latin America and the Caribbean. U.S imperialism finds value not only in the economic exploitation coming from the island's resources and labor but also the military gains it has received from forced military enlistments, military-grade testing, and military presence. We support any nation trying to maintain its sovereignty, build its sovereignty and develop a path to self-determination. Independence for Borikén could bring an end to five-hundred years of colonialism on the island. There is immense potential to be found in removing imperialism from the global south for the first time since the Monroe Doctrine. Latin America and the Caribbean have a right to live without colonialism, occupation, and rule instituted by a settler colonial nation.
These atrocities have been at the forefront of independence movements today and historically. Emeterio Betances is recognized as an advocate of the independence movement on the archipelago and supported the sovereignty of Borikén. Perhaps the most recognized and pivotal leaders in the push for freedom was Pedro Albizu Campos, who helped to form the Partido Nacionalista de Puerto Rico (PNPR). We also recognize: Lolita Lebron, Blanca Canales, Filiberto Ojeda and Oscar López Rivera (the longest-serving prisoner of war under the settler colonial government occupying Borikén) as symbols of active resistance. Today, we see collectives like: Juventud Hostosiana PR, Colectiva Feminista PR y Bandera Roja carrying on our fight towards independence from the United States of Amerikkka.
Of those still fighting colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism, we are a nation at the dawn of independence. In 2019 we saw a people led movement, #rickyrenuncia, where Boricuas removed the colonial governor through organized struggle. Currently, we are working to remove Wanda Vazquez, the current capitalist puppet of the imperialist powers. The natural disasters of: Hurricane Maria, Irma, etc. highlight the urgency for self determination now more than ever.
Revolutionarily organizing Borikén is global emancipation from imperialism.
Borikén is reflective of a history of countries that have naturally been moving towards Communism not only because it overcomes imperialism, but because it meets the needs of the working class people-- the masses. It will be a victorious stride against imperialism for the Global South when Borikén is freed.
Borikén Independence pt. 2:
Pa’lante con Machetes
By Libre A. Sankara
Independence has always been our right, so we continue to fight for un Borikén Libre. We must understand that Boricuas have been fighting for independence since the colonization of the Americas that gave rise to capitalism. When Borikén gains independence through revolution, it will contribute to the blueprint of scientific socialism for the liberation of all oppressed and colonized countries and their people. It would take the boot of imperialism off our necks so that we can grab the machetes and cut off the head of the beast called capitalism! Creating the conditions necessary for the INTERNATIONAL PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION to bring about the inevitable death of imperialism, while it is weak.
We recognize that we are on Turtle Island, stolen land, and stand in solidarity with our Indigenous comrades in all their struggles. We support Palestine in their fight for freedom. We look to the Ayisyen Revolution, which began with a voodoo ceremony and liberated Ayiti (Haiti) and other Latin American countries. The Cuban Revolution returned the power back to the people and sent soldiers to help our African comrades liberate themselves from the grips of European fascists (Burkina Faso, Angola). Vietnam, Korea, and China who are working to liberate Asia. This proves that in unified INTERNATIONAL PROLETARIAN REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE we can collectively fight and win the independence of Borikén through revolución. The ripple effect would build morale for the Socialist countries that are working to create a Socialist future and inspire the liberation struggles of all "so called'' oppressed people. I say "so called" because power, real power, doesn't lie with the few monopoly capitalists, but with the people. What history has shown us is that working class people can and have freed themselves by fighting. Freedom is not something you ask for or wait to happen, it's yours! So, fight for it!
Coño despierta Boricua!
As a country, Borikén highlights what is particularly wrong with capitalism. We have to understand that our country functions as a guinea pig, a testing ground, for new ways capitalist technologies can take form.
As capitalism evolves it begins to develop new tools of colonization, while still being tied to old forms of colonization. For example, the sterilization of immigrants in detention centers in the United States of Amerikkka is something that was done in Borikén in the 1930's. Almost a third of the country's women were sterilized at the same time women were entering into the working class.
Our ports and proximity to colonial powers function as a direct connection to the ability for imperialism to continue to exist. Borikén is a reflection of the INTERNATIONAL WORKING CLASS REVOLUTION because our people have been constantly fighting against imperialism to bring the world back to balance. As a country that has been the hyperfocus of capitalist experimentation, we have suffered from capitalist exploitation and our independence through revolution would weaken the empire.
We have to understand that we were born in the basement of a burning house called capitalism. We can't fix it or hope that some rain will come put out the fire. We have to fight our way out and let it burn without looking back. Only then will we realize there is a whole world that exists with everything we need to thrive. Where radical imagination roams free. A place of collective healing and growing rooted in a love for our people. Where we tell stories about warriors who fought for peace so a new world could exist. This reality is possible, but only if we fight for it now, not later, NOW! The International Proletarian struggle to free BORIKÉN WILL FREE US ALL! ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE/PODER PARA LA GENTE/POUVWA BAY PEP LA!