A Marxist Defense of the L.A. Rebellion

Book Cover: A Marxist Defense of the L.A. Rebellion

Published in 1992. Reissued in 2020.

This pamphlet consists of three articles by Sam Marcy that originally appeared in Workers World newspaper. The two that appear first were written after the Los Angeles rebellion of 1992. The third was written nearly a quarter century earlier, and appeared on the heels of the many uprisings all across the country sparked by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, in 1968.

The situation of African American people in the United States has in many ways deteriorated since then. The political and economic gains won precisely out of the militant struggles of the 1960s have been so deeply eroded that—​as Marcy points out—​the poverty rate is higher in South Los Angeles today than it was in Watts in 1965.

The rebellion in Los Angeles was touched off by the racist verdict in the Rodney King beating case, but it elicited sympathy and participation from other oppressed communities. Across the country, Latinos, lesbians and gays, poor whites — millions of people denied justice and dignity by the racist, sexist, homophobic ruling class — saw immediately that the rebellion was justified.

These articles defend the spontaneous revolutionary action of the masses against the monstrous repressive apparatus of the state. At the same time, Marcy points out that “No viable class or nation in modern capitalist society can hope to take destiny in its own hands by spontaneous struggles alone. Spontaneity as an element of social struggle must beget its own opposite: leadership and organization.”

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