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Day of The Young Combatant in New York City

New York City. Amid widespread repression and a crippling economic crisis during the 1980s, thousands of poor young people and children of fired workers organized to fight against the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.

Submitted to Enough 14.

Day of the Young Combatant is celebrated annually, on March 29th. It commemorates the legacies of Eduardo and Rafael Vergara Toledo, militant members of the revolutionary anti-dictatorship group MIR (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria). Eduardo was only twenty years old and Rafael a mere eighteen years old when both were ambushed by Chilean State minions on March 29, 1985.

Eduardo was gunned down while trying to flee. As he lay dying, he pleaded with his brother to save himself. Rafael refused, remaining by Eduardo’s side. The State caught up with him moments later, and Rafael was brutally beaten before being shot in the head.

When contemplating these extra-judicial murders, one cannot help but recall the countless murders of young members of the Black Panther Party. Such events serve as stark reminders that a state need not label itself “dictatorship” in order to persecute and assassinate its own people. These killings are common under regimes of all stripes, and are meant to intimidate dissenters and corrode revolutionary aspirations.

We take this opportunity not only to honor those who struggled against Pinochet in Chile and those who fought and died for Black liberation in the 20th century, but also to honor the young combatants of today. We stand in solidarity with those who took to the streets during the George Floyd uprisings across the US and beyond. We honor the youth who have been caged by the state and those who have resisted inside. We see in them the tremendous bravery of Jonathan Jackson, who at 17, was gunned down after storming the Marin County Courthouse fighting for his brother’s freedom. George Jackson writes a dedication to his brother, Jonathan Jackson, showing us who the young combatant is: “To the Man-Child, Tall, evil, graceful, brighteyed, black man-child — Jonathan Peter Jackson — who died on August 7, 1970, courage in one hand, assault rifle in the other; my brother, comrade, friend — the true revolutionary, the black communist guerrilla in the highest state of development, he died on the trigger, scourge of the unrighteous, soldier of the people; …to the destruction of their enemies I dedicate my life.”
On this day revolutionaries gathered outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn to raise voices towards those incarcerated inside. The passions of the crowd could not be relegated to our voices: pots and pans were hit, airhorns blared, the walls of the adjacent building were covered in messages: Burn The Prisons, Free Everyone, and Fuck 12. The march took to the streets and barricades were made and a pig car damaged. Chants of DEATH TO AMERICA and OFF THE PIGS! could be heard echoing through the night.

From today until all prisons are ash, we call for fires across the american plantation. We want to highlight Jailhouse Lawyers’ call for mass abolitionist demonstrations on the anniversary of the Nat Turner uprising and George Jackson’s assassination, August 21st, and the Attica Uprising on September 9th, we will #shutemdown2021.

We close by honoring the youth of Minnesota, Portland, New York, Palestine, Nigeria, Greece, Mexico, and countless other places across the globe who risk life and limb for liberation every day. We remember the scores of young comrades who boldly fought against oppression throughout history while recognizing that their story is not over. It lives on in the youth of today: in the courage, determination, and utter selflessness young combatants embody as they boldly confront fascism, capitalism, and white supremacy. Youth resistance is essential to breaking the chains of oppression once and for all so that we may see true, international liberation realized in our lifetimes.

Together, we will advance this struggle for liberation by any means necessary — and we will WIN!

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