Radical Imagination, Radical Humanity

Puerto Rican Political Activism in New York

By Rose Muzio

Subjects: New York/regional, History, American History, Social Change, Social And Cultural History
Series: SUNY series, Praxis: Theory in Action
Paperback : 9781438463544, 250 pages, January 2018
Hardcover : 9781438463551, 250 pages, February 2017

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Victor Quintana


1. Introduction: Puerto Rican Radical Politics in the 1970s

2. Operation Move-In and the Making of a Political Movement

3. Colonialism, Migration, and Nationalism in Political Identity

4. From Community Organizing to Radical Politics, 1971–1975

5. Resisting Cutbacks and Imagining Revolution, 1975–1980

6. Solidarity Work and Party-Building

7. Cadre Dilemmas

8. Conclusion: Radical Imagination, Radical Humanity

Works Cited and Consulted

Provides firsthand accounts of militant Puerto Rican activists in 1970s New York City.


In this book Rose Muzio analyzes how structural and historical factors—including colonialism, economic marginalization, racial discrimination, and the Black and Brown Power movements of the 1960s—influenced young Puerto Ricans to reject mainstream ideas about political incorporation and join others in struggles against perceived injustices. This analysis provides the first in-depth account of the origins, evolution, achievements, and failures of El Comité-Movimiento de Izquierda Nacional Puertorriqueño, one of the main organizations of the Puerto Rican Left in the 1970s in New York City. El Comité fought for bilingual education programs in public schools, for access to quality jobs and higher education, and against health care budget cuts. The organization mobilized support nationally and internationally to end the US Navy's occupation of Vieques, denounced colonial rule in Puerto Rico, and opposed US aid to authoritarian regimes in Latin America and Africa. Muzio bases her project on dozens of interviews with participants as well as archival documents and news coverage, and shows how a radical, counterhegemonic political perspective evolved organically, rather than as a product of a priori ideology.

Rose Muzio is Assistant Professor of Politics, Economics, and Law at the State University of New York at Old Westbury.


"This is a crucial contribution to Puerto Rican studies, to the history of the radical Sixties and Seventies, and to what the author calls the 'Third World Left. '" — CENTRO Journal