Manuel Criollo is a Los Angeles activist.
Criollo is the lead organizer for the Labor/Community Strategy Center's Bus Rider Union, the country's largest grassroots mass transit organization. He has been a media coordinator, propaganda & materials coordinator, and campaign organizer on a wide range of local, regional and statewide campaigns.
Criollo was formerly the Project Director of the SALUD Project at Clínica Para Las Américas, the Publications Coordinator for the Sidewalk Vending Coalition of Los Angeles, and has organized youth and students against anti-immigrant and anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives in California. He received his BA in from University of California, Santa Barbara, and in 2006 was recognized by La Opinion as one of the "Future Leaders of Los Angeles."
Married to Noemi Soto.
Labor/Community Strategy Center leaders December 2019.
- Eric Mann - Director
- Barbara Lott-Holland - Associate Director
- Manuel Criollo - Director of Organizing
- Channing L. Martinez - Facility Manager. Strategy and Soul Movement Center
- Carlos Elmo Gomez - Lead Organizer, Fight for the Soul of the Cities
- Ashley Franklin - Organizer, Fight for the Soul of the Cities
By 2001, when Eric Mann returned from the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa the Labor/Community Strategy Center agreed that we needed a specifically Black/Afro-centric campaign. Out of a Reparations Study Group we initiated the Community Rights Campaign to focus on racism, colonialism, and militarism in the public schools based on a Black/Latinx united front but within that, a chance for us to give our work a greater Afro-centric focus. Damon Azali Rojas, Manuel Criollo, Barbara Lott-Holland, Patrisse Cullors, Carla Gonzalez, Mark-Anthony Johnson, Ashley Franklin, and now Channing Martinez and Brigette Amaya are among the many gifted organizers who have led that work for the past 20 years.
Maria Guardado connection
The first time Manuel Criollo met Maria Guardado was in 1993, at a student club meeting of the Student Organization of Latinos (SOL) at Los Angeles City College. She was introduced at that meeting. After she cleared her throat, she recited one of her most enigmatic poems MADRE (Mother), a poem about a mother's search for her kidnapped children in El Salvador. You could hear the pain, the emotion, the panic, that hope for one more search and yet the poem ends with hope and strength in the name of freedom. After declaring her poem, she continued with the detailed testimony of her torture by the Salvadoran military and their US advisors as they beat her, as they tried to break her body, mind and spirit. For me, it was one of those moments of clarity-both challenging and exhilarating-it's almost like when I first read Malcolm X, it shattered something I knew was rotten but was programmed to think otherwise, which was both scary and liberating. Maria spoke of revolution; anti-imperialism; the misery caused by capitalism; El Salvador as a new colony; the need for building black and brown unity; and more importantly teaching us that those thoughts and ideas had to be put into action-take it to streets and win over the people, she'd say.
- Since that day, my life and Maria's life has intertwined in ways I couldn't have imagined during that meeting-my first exposure to Salvadoreño history, Marxism, Cuba, revolution, was with the FMLN and the many veterans and young activists that took me under their wing. Maria, of course, was one of the anchors of the FMLN in Los Angeles. Not surprising given her affiliation to the Communist Party of El Salvador that dates back to the 1960's, where she was part of a 10-person unit and the only woman. Her unit leader was none other than Shafik Handal. The same Shafik Handal who is a national hero for liberation and whose electoral run in 2004 electrified the country, the FMLN and the Latin American Left. I had the honor of going with Cynthia Rojas for the Strategy Center to cover the elections and document ARENA's and the US rightwing attack on Shafik and his election with a media campaign that came with veiled threats of diplomatic sanctions, mass deportations, fear and lies-which momentarily defeated the FMLN's run, but victory came five years later and now the FMLN has been able to win two straight presidential elections.
"Strategies For Revolutionary Change"
Los Angeles, March 9, 2004? "Strategies For Revolutionary Change:An Inter-Generational Dialogue and Debate with Six Revolutionary Activists and Thinkers"
- Max Elbaum: Given New Conditions, What Should We Carry Over from the Past, and What Has To Be Left Behind?
- Warren Mar: One Struggle, Many Fronts : Linking the Anti-War Movement with Our Struggles at Home: Why the Global South Leads the Way!
- Bill Gallegos: Why a Chicano Revolutionary Became a Communist, Why We Still Need Revolutionary Organization: What It Could Look Like
- Lian Hurst Mann: "Women Hold Up Half The Sky": In the Workplace, in Communities, & at Home: What We Want to Teach Our Daughters about Imperialism
- Manuel Criollo: In Search of an Anti-Racist/Anti-Imperialist Left in a Right Wing Era; The Challenges and Strategies for a New Generation!
- Simmi Gandhi: Building for a Future of Grassroots Democracy as We Organize Our Fights Today; Models, Reflections and Necessary Questions for Today.
Manuel Criollo March 19, 2017:
Look what I found Richard Moore Louis Head Catherine Murphy Pam Tau Lee I was so lucky to share that moment with many of you Lanita Morris Robert Battles Majora Carter Katynja McCory Roberto Roibal — with Shirley Pate, Esperanza Luzbert and Richard Moore.
US Social Forum National Planning Committee
Bus hours protest
Gabriel Strachota April 3, 2012:
Email the Federal Transit Administration and call on them to mandate LA Metro to give us back our million hours of bus service. Reshare! — with Haewon Asfaw, Manuel Criollo, Nicole Eng, Emilie Blattman Costello, Patrisse Cullors, Steggie Hufstedler, Emory Douglas, Cynthia Azali-Rojas, Alejandra Lemus, Francesca Contreras, Dae-Han Song, Jas Wade, Kitzia Esteva, Ashley Franklin, Chantal Coudoux, Rebecca Eleanor, Raquel Romao, Damon Gbuduala Azali-Rojas, John Bell, Snad Garrett, Tammy Bang Luu, Carla Gonzalez, Kelly Archbold, Tekoah B. Flory, Frankie Darling Palacios, Ron Gochez, Simone Andrews, Crystal McMillan, Nati C. Poder, Ami Patel, Kalil Cohen, Sunyoung Yang, Ash-Lee Henderson and Bus Riders Union.
Solidarity with Venezuela
Gabriel Strachota April 18, 2013:
Share widely:: 3pm Sunday 4/21 in LA @ MacArthur Park:
The US is once again working with the Venezuelan right wing to destabilize Venezuela & undermine 21st century socialism. We say no!
Democracy Now! Breaks it down:
NYC: https://www.facebook.com/events/172119516270450/ — with Jas Wade, Carlos Monsanto, Jeanette Charles, Christen Hebrard, Francisca Porchas, Sunyoung Yang, Manuel Criollo, Kelly Archbold, Tammy Bang Luu, Eric Romann and Patrisse Cullors.
Ear to the Ground Project
- We would like to express our deep respect and appreciation for everyone who took the time to talk with us, and the organizations that generously hosted us during our travels. Interviews were confidential, but the following people have agreed to have their names listed for this publication:
Most of those listed were connected to Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward
Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward was a phone in webinar organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization in the wake of the 2016 election.
- Now what? We’re all asking ourselves that question in the wake of Trump’s victory. We’ve got urgent strategizing and work to do, together. Join Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of the Movement for Black Lives and Freedom Road, Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Jodeen Olguin-Taylor of Mijente and WFP, Joe Schwartz of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Sendolo Diaminah of Freedom Road for a discussion of what happened, and what we should be doing to build mass defiance. And above all, how do we build the Left in this, which we know is the only solution to the crises we face?
- This event will take place Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific.
- Open Society Foundations, U.S. Programs Manuel Criollo
- center, A Tribute to Maria Guardado by Manuel Criollo on Wednesday, May 27, 2015
- Strategies For Revolutionary Change: An Inter-Generational Dialogue and Debate with Six Revolutionary Activists and Thinkers
- Ear to the Ground, About, accessed Nov. 12, 2015