Bruce Occena

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Bruce Occena


Bruce Occena is the Project Director for Health Access' Video Medical Interpretation project, working to implement this new technology to assist patients in getting linguistically appropriate care in Oakland. Previously he ran the Substance Abuse Program at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.[1]

Bruce Occena was a founder of the Union of Democratic Filipinos or KDP.[2]

Background

Bruce Occena "played a key leadership role in the later years of the cannery worker reform movement, helped supply the Native Americans who seized Alcatraz Island in 1969 and was among the early leaders of the battle to save San Francisco’s International Hotel from the demolition that led to the displacement of hundreds of low-income residents. As a student at Berkeley in the late 1960s, Occena participated in communist study groups led by Chinese graduate students, and like Nemesio Domingo, he had traveled to Cuba on a trip sponsored by the Venceremos Brigade."

First Venceremos Brigade

In 1969 Bruce Nicolas Occena age 22, from New Jersey, was a member of the first Venceremos Brigade to Cuba.[3]

MLEP

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Circa 1980 Bruce Occena was director of the Marxist-Leninist Education Project.

Call for a Conference on Racism and National Oppression

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Call for a Conference on Racism and National Oppression was a 1980 call by Marxist-Leninists of The Trend, most of whom were Line of March activists, for a national conference on "Racism and National Oppression" to be held in the summer of 1981 in New York or the Bay Area.

Signers from the San Francisco Bay Area were;

Racism Research Project

The Racism Research Project was a group of people who had been studying various historical and theoretical questions concerning racism, especially its formative period in the seventeenth century.

The Project was not a formal organization. Racism Research Project is an identifying name chosen for the convenience of publication.

The Critique of the Black Nation Thesis grew out of unpublished articles written by Harry Chang during the 1970s. The following people were involved in one way or another in the development of the present article:

Gary Achziger, Bruce Occena, Linda Burnham, Smokey Perry, Harry Chang, Barbara Pottgen, Neil Gotanda, Pat Sumi, Paul Liem, Bob Wing, Belvin Louie.[4]

KDP leaders

For the first four years of its existence, the KDP struggled with developing its revolutionary identity. A more prevailing problem, however, was the inexperience among its ranks. Although many had already been activists prior to joining the KDP, membership in a highly structured organization was a relatively new experience. The process of instilling revolutionary standards was guided by an experienced core of leaders in the NEB which included Cynthia Maglaya, Bruce Occena and Melinda Paras. Occefia and Paras were both American-raised Filipinos. Occena was a veteran of the Third World Strike at UC Berkeley and a leading member in the Kulayaan Collective; Paras was a activist in both the US. and the Philippines where she was active in the KM. They established a system of review and summation, organized studies, and initiated the publication of the Ang Aktibista (AA) as an internal bulletin for activists. The AA, first published in November 1973, became a valuable source for studies on a wide variety of theoretical, political, and organizational topics from democratic-centralism to international developments such as Vietnam's incursion into Kampuchea in 1979.

Origins of Line of March

Leading the initial effort to found the rectification network in December 1976 were Union of Democratic Filipinos leaders Bruce Occena and Melinda Paras and Max Elbaum, then a leader of the Northern California Alliance. Soon thereafter, Third World Women’s Alliance leader (TWWA) Linda Burnham joined the group. Believing that the organizational side of party building needed to be conducted mainly in secret, the network was initially clandestine and had no formal name, its members and supporters becoming known loosely as “rectificationists.”

In 1978, rectification leaders built close ties with two members of the Guardian staff – Executive Editor Irwin Silber and former Third World Women’s Alliance leader Fran Beal who were subsequently recruited into the rectification network. At their urging, other network members joined the just-being-formed Guardian Clubs. And Silber – who had authored many of the Guardian’s ideological polemics – began to propound key elements of the rectification perspective in his Guardian columns and in debates in the Club Network.

By late 1978 differences over the Clubs’ direction and the party-building line of the Guardian led to a split, with the Guardian Club membership – supported by Silber and Beal – breaking away to form the National Network of Marxist-Leninist Clubs (NNMLC) in March 1979. This new group enabled the rectificationists to go public and publish the first comprehensive statements of the rectification line. But as Max Elbaum notes, the NNMLC’s “public attacks on the Guardian were extremely harsh, as were its broad-stroke criticisms of the OCIC. This did not auger well for the Rectificationists’ capacity to establish friendly relations with communists who held differing views.”.[5]

Line of March

In the late 1970s Bruce Occena was a leader of the Oakland California based revolutionary organization Line of March.

The main leaders of Line of March were Max Elbaum, Dale Borgeson, Linda Burnham, Bruce Occena, Melinda Paras, Bob Wing.[6]

The Line of March theoretical journal was simply named - Line of March:A journal of Marxist-Leninist Theory and Politics. It was published by the Institute for Social and Economic Studies, PO Box 2809, Oakland California.

In 1980 the Line of March editorial board consisted of co-editors Bruce Occena and Irwin Silber, managing editor Margery Rosnick and Linda Burnham, Max Elbaum, Melinda Paras and Bob Wing. [7].

In 1987 the Line of March editorial board consisted of Linda Burnham, Max Elbaum, Bruce Occena, Melinda Paras, Irwin Silber and Cathi Tactaquin.[8]

References

  1. http://www.health-access.org/item.asp?id=24
  2. Turn to the Working Class: The New Left, Black Liberation,and the U.S. Labor Movement (1967-1981), accessed May 16 2017
  3. THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF COMMUNISM IN 1972 (Venceremos Brigade) PART 2, hearings before the Committee on Internal Security 92nd Congress oct 16-19, 1972 pages 8132-8135
  4. [Racism Research Project, CRITQUE OF THE BLACK NATION THESIS © Racism Research Project Berkeley, California 1975]
  5. The Rectification Network – Line of March
  6. Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today page 103
  7. LOM, Vol 1, No 1, May-June 1980
  8. LOM, No 20, Winter 1987/88