Hard Times Conference
In 1976 Antonio Rodriguez, Secretary General CASA attended the Weather Underground and Prairie Fire Organizing Committee organized Hard Times Conference Jan 30 - Feb 1 at the University of Chicago.
According to Portia Siegelbaum, writing in the Communist Party USA's Daily World, Wednesday March 3, 1976 page 4, in late February, the Marxist-Leninist Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola and Angola government officials led a two-dav seminar in Havana to acquaint a large United States delegation with the struggle of the Angolan people.
A day and a half presentation by three Angolan leaders: Commandante Dibala, a member of the MPLA central committee and political commissar of the Eastern Front; Olga Lima, director of political affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Relations; and Pedro Zinga Baptista, a member of the Foreign relations department of the MPLA, was followed by a question and answer period. The MPLA spokesmen affirmed that MPLA doesn't believe that revolutions can be exported, but that it does believe that examples are followed.
Attending the seminar were 26 North Americans representing a wide range of organizations as well as several journalists.
Among the representatives were Marjorie Boehm from Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; James Bristol of the American Friends Service Committee; Robert Chrisman of the magazine Black Scholar: Henry Foner of the Fur and Leather Workers Joint Board; George Houser of the American Committee on Africa; Lee Johnson of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; Brenda J. Jones of Freedomways Magazine: Willis Logan of the Africa Office, National Council of Churches; Anthony Monteiro of National Anti-Imperialist Movement in Solidarity with African Liberation ; Patricia Murray of National Conference of Black Lawyers; Antonio Rodriguez of Centra de Accion Social Autonomo (acasa), a Chicano organization and Jose Velazquez of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party.
A telegram sent to the gathering by Rep.Charles Diggs (D-Mich) expressed regret that he could not attend and offered his hope for a frank and fruitful meeting.
North Americans in Support of Angola
The Angola Support Conference came into existence to organize a conference to support the MPLA held in Chicago, May 28-30, 1976. The Conference supported the MPLA and opposed U.S. and South African intervention in Angola. The sponsors were organizations supporting the MPLA from around the country. After the Chicago conference, the organization continued its activities with Prexy Nesbitt serving as national coordinator. Sponsors were;
- Barbara Barnes, MPLA Solidarity Committee
- Marjorie M. Boehm, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
- James E. Bristol, American Friends Service Committee
- Robert S. Browne, Black Economic Research Center
- Robert Chrisman; Black Scholar
- Johnnetta B. Cole; National Committee of the Venceremos Brigade
- Henry Foner, Amalgamated Meatcutters and Butcherworkmen of North America;
- Larry Holmes; Youth Against War and Fascism
- George M. Houser, American Committee on Africa
- A. Lee Johnson, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
- Brenda J. Jones, Freedomways Magazine
- Edgar Lockwood, Washington Office on Africa;
- Willis Logan, Africa Office, National Council of Churches
- Anthony Monteiro, National Anti-Imperialist Movement in Solidarity with African Liberation
- Patricia Murray, National Council of Black Lawyers
- Prexy Nesbitt, US Out of Angola Committee and Chicago Committee for the Liberation of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea
- Moses Newsom, Afro-American Newspapers
- Lance Pustin, Prairie Fire Organizing Committee
- Anthony H. Rodrigues, CSAS-General Brotherhood of Workers
- Michael Simmons, Third World Coalition/Southwest Workers Federation
- Jose E. Velazquez, Partide Socialista Pertorriquena
- Joe Walker, Bilalian News. .
April 15, 1978 — In one of the most militant and massive demonstrations held anywhere in the United States since the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, over 35,000 people, the majority Black, Asian and Latin youth, came to Washington, D.C., to voice their total opposition to the racist Bakke case now pending before the Nixon-packed U.S. Supreme Court.
Chanting “We won’t go back, send Bakke back,” the angry voices of thousands of youth from the oppressed communities demanding the overturn of the notorious Bakke decision, an end to racism and upholding of affirmative action programs were undoubtedly heard in the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court and the White House.
“We say no to racism, we say no to sexism, we say no to Bakke, we say no to Carter!” With these words Jimmy Garrett, co-chairperson of the Washington, D.C., National Committee to Overturn the Bakke Decision, greeted the marchers as they gathered at the steps of the Capitol where the final rally was held.
Hilda Mason of the Washington, D.C., City Council opened up the rally by voicing the feelings of everyone present at today’s historic march. “Today we are marching, we are marching for justice. We are marching to stop the oppression against minorities, against the denied, against the have-nots.”
Bill Simons, president of the Washington Teachers Union and secretary of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, denounced the Bakke decision as a racist offensive against affirmative action. He added, “We will continue to march until we get what we were promised—equality and justice for all.”
Antonio Rodriguez of CASA-General Brotherhood of Workers, a Mexican workers’ organization based in California, said, “There is no greater proof that the people make history, make social change, than today here in Washington, D.C. We say that affirmative action, we say that special admission programs are the only concrete ways toward those goals when they talk about equality in the abstract.”
May Day Singers
"Survival Day 84" speakers
The 40th Anniversary Commemoration Committee of the Chicano Moratoriums was formed in the summer 2009 by the Chair of the National Chicano Moratorium Committee of August 29, 1970 along with two independent Chicano Movement historians whom although not of the baby boomer generation, have become inspired by the Movimiento. The organization posted a list of significant “Chicano movement” activists on its website which included Antonio Rodriguez.
- Outlaws in Amerika, West Goals 1982, Pg33-35
- Letter to all persons who attended the Angola Support Conference, July 8, 1976
- http://africanactivist.msu.edu/organization.php?name=Angola+Support+Conference Angola Support Conference Wisconsin State Historical Society]
- Workers World, WW in 1978: 35,000 march to ‘Beat back Bakke!’ Workers World is in its 50th year of publication. We reprint this article from the April 21, 1978, issue of the paper as part of our special archival series. By Jaime Veve
- [Workers Viewpoint September 29 1980]
- Chicano Moratorium website: Moratorium Participants (accessed on April 16, 2010)