'A race struggle, a class struggle, a women's struggle all at once': Organizing on the Buses of L.A.

Eric Mann


In Los Angeles today, the Labor/Community Strategy Center is carrying out a difficult Left experiment in the age of the omnipresent Right. The center is an explicitly anti-racist, anti-corporate, and anti-imperialist think-tank focusing on 'theory-driven practice'-the generation of mass campaigns of the working class and oppressed nationalities, in particular the black and Latino workers and communities. These campaigns are historically relevant on their own terms, but also have real relevance to any transition to an uncharted socialist future. Despite Clinton/Blair-style refinements on neoliberalism, imperialism's infliction of massive human suffering and its moral and ethical deterioration has never been more apparent; there is an enormous opening for an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist Left, as there is now no viable progressive liberalism or social democracy even trying to co-opt radical Left ideology and organizing. The work of the Strategy Center is reflected in several interrelated organizational forms. At center stage is the Bus Riders Union/Sindicato de Pasejeros (BRU): a multi-racial mass organization of the transit dependent, the front-line mass campaign that extends the political influence of the center, tests its anti-imperialist theories, and generates a militant struggle to improve the public transportation system and the lives of 400,000 overwhelmingly minority, female, and low-income members of the urban working class.

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