“James Forman’s basic concept is that the churches have been a helping hand and a willing partner in the oppression of black people. This also holds true for Puerto Rican people, especially the Catholic Church, since most Puerto Ricans are Catholic.”

This was Pablo (Yoruba) Guzman talking. Speaking for a militant, revolutionary Puerto Rican group called the Young Lords, Yoruba said, “What we do, we do out of love.” The Lords in New York City, and a Mexican-American coalition in Los Angeles, have been leading a new round of assaults on churches. Takeovers and destruction of church property seem to be the next rung of escalation in the confrontation tactics developed last spring by Black Manifesto-maker James Forman and his supporters.

The target of the Lords’ attack was, curiously, a Methodist church. The First Spanish Church was chosen, Yoruba said, “because it was right smack dead in the center of the barrio” (Spanishspeaking community). And, he added, it’s the one church in the community that has shied away from social action: “It’s only open for a few hours and for the rest of the week it turns into one big brick that sits on 111th Street and Lexington.”

The Lords seized the church late last month and turned it into a “liberation school” for ghetto children. They served free breakfasts—and Marxism. “All power to the people,” shouted seventy-five youngsters as they swilled orange juice with their cookies.

The congregation and pastor refused space for the program, later filed suit to oust the Lords after they had spiked a railroad tie across the front door. The eleven-day occupation ended when eight unarmed sheriff’s deputies arrested 111 Young Lords and peacefully removed them from the premises.

Simultaneously, more than fifty ...

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