lately i’ve been interested in the idea that the lumpenproletariat (or the unemployables as huey p newton called them) should be the focus of radical organizing. this week, i’m going to post different actions, programs, and writings of the young lords and other organizations that took this analysis. im probably going to focus more on the young lords, because people are less familiar with them from my experience
I originally read all of these in The Young Lords: A Reader. If you’re unfamiliar with the Young Lords, the introduction is available on google books here:
TB Truck Liberated
(From the newspaper Palante, 3 July 1970, volume 2, number 6)
Everyday, Puerto Rican people are faced with the same deadly health problem tuberculosis – a disease that affects our lives and a disease that can be prevented. The reason that t.b. isn’t being prevented is that preventing diseases like t.b. cuts the profits of the capitalists that run the city hospitals. Therefore, the hospitals don’t work on preventing these diseases.
The YOUNG LORDS PARTY has always said that the time will come when the people take over all the institutions and machinery that control and exploit our lives. On June 17, the YOUNG LORDS PARTY put this idea into practice. On this day, we liberated an x-ray truck from the politicians that had been using the truck only for propaganda purposes that serve their own interests and profiteering businessmen that only think about making money.
The truck was seized only after members of the YLP had gone to the Tuberculosis Society several times asking them for the use of the truck. Each time, the request was refused. By refusing us, they made it clear that they aren’t concerned with the health of our people. These trucks have been seen in our community only on a very limited part-time basis. We realized that the reason our people didn’t use it was because the people running the show prior to the LORDS were outsiders who couldn’t relate to our people, our language, and our customs. They never made any real attempt to get the people to use the x-ray facilities.
In the three days that we have had the truck, we have already tested 770 people. According to the technicians, the usual amount of people taken care of in the same amount of time is about 300. So, as far as the YOUNG LORDS PARTY is concerned, this truck rightfully belongs to the people!
The last point of our 13 Point Program and Platform states that “We want a socialist society.” Under a socialist society, medical services are extended outside of the hospital by setting up clinics in all communities and by visiting people’s homes. This type of medical service is called preventive medicine. Although doctors admit it is needed, preventive medicine will never be done in amerikkka as it is today, because in the capitalist society in which we live, capitalists run health services in order to make more money, not to improve health care. The sicker we are, the more money the capitalist makes. ‘The YOUNG LORDS PARTY believes that health care should be a right for all people not a privilege. That is why we put the x-ray facilities in the hands of the people.
The Ramon Emeterio Betances Free X-Ray Truck now belongs to the people. It will be on the streets 7 days a week, 10 hours a day. This truck is here to service the needs of our people.
ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL!
LIBERATE PUERTO RICO NOW!
Ministry of Health
YOUNG LORDS PARTY