This paper joins the 1970s and 1980s revival of Puerto Rican nationalism in Chicago—marked by the ascension of internationalism and armed clandestine activities in defense of Puerto Rican independence—to the emergent pan-Arab political awakening in the United States. Defining the geopolitics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the United States’ involvement therein, as the crucial macrohistorical landscape for radical social movements during this period, this paper interrogates the national tapestry of state violence, police repression, and anti-prison activism that shaped the Puerto Rican diaspora’s politics of resistance against an aggressive, imperialistic state. Utilizing the writings of Puerto Rican militants imprisoned on charges of seditious conspiracy against the United States, as well as the aboveground organizations mobilizing for their release, I argue that the struggle for Palestinian self-determination functioned as a crucial geography by which Chicago’s Puerto Rican independence activists learned to think and operate within a “Third World” political condition.
1] Órgano Teórico Movimiento de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueño, “13th Anniversary of the PFLP,” De Pie y En Lucha (Stand and Fight) (1980) in “A La Izquierda: The Puerto Rican Movement, 1923-2002,” microfilm reel 5, Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY, New York, NY.
See more of: AHA Sessions