Another Look into Damian Garcia's Murder
5 Oct. 01
by Lifta for Marxist-Leninist Newswire
Friday, October 05, 2001
On April 22, 1980 members of the RCP/USA went to the Pico Gardens housing project in the Boyle Heights neigborhood of Los Angeles in order to distribute party information and recruit people to join their planned May Day march comming up the following week. According to Los Angeles Times reports, the RCP/USA was distributing leaflets which said "No Work, No School for May Day" when a crowd of about 50 youth confronted them. The shouting match which insued quickly escalated to fire hoses when an alleged youth gang members demanded party members leave the project. First turning project fire hoses on the RCP/USA and then attacked them with fists and knives. Two party members were stabed, Damian Garcia and Hayden Fisher. Garcia died at the scene from multiple stab wounds to the abdomen, chest and neck. Fisher rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition with a stab wound to the back and he later recovered.* Damian Garcia was a gradute of San Bernadino High School and a graduate of the U.C. Santa Barbara. He was survived by his wife Carole Garcia and a two year old son, also named Damian.
What is interesting about the Garcia case is that it provides the RCP/USA with an important propaganda tool, Garcia being the RCP/USA's first and only martyr. Since it was recently exposed that the RCP/USA newspaper the Revolutionay Worker had published false reports, particlarly concerning the status of the people's war in Peru where, in 1994, the RCP/USA reports that Chairman Gonzalo of the Shining Path had signed a peace accord with the then Fujimori government were exposed as fraudulent be Cesar Hildebrant, a Peruvian journalist, in 1997. More recently, the Revolutionary Worker false reported that Chairman Gonzalo was on a hunger strike. This hoax was quickly exposed by both El Diario Internacional and Red Sun Magazine, as well as, Marxist-Leninist Newswire. The Revolutionary Worker was subsequently exposed by Marxist-Leninist Newswire for falsely reporting on the status of the people's war in Nepal, where the RCP/USA twice reported that the people's war in Nepal was escalating when infact the CPN [Maoist] were actually involved in peace negotiations with the Nepali government on both occassions. With this in mind, Marxist-Leninist Newswire undertook an investigation into the events which claimed the life of their only martyr to see if RCP/USA claims about the issue matched facts reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Although, the RCP/USA never published their account of the events that took place at Pico Garden April 22, 1980 they have maintained for over 21 years that Garcia was murdered by the police. Lt. Terry Trent of the Los Angeles police department, homicide division said immediately after the attack "what they [the RCP/USA] didn't take into account is the territorial imperative of the barrio gang environment." According to the Los Angeles police two gangs controled that area and had order the RCP/USA to leave Pico Gardens. When Garcia verbally challenged them, he was killed. Th e RCP/USA Los Angles spokesman Rosalio Gomez immediately declared the murder a "police hit".**
The RCP/USA instead of cooperating with the police in an effort to discover the identity of Garcia's killer, which would uncover the alleged "police plot" to kill him, the RCP/USA actually refused to cooperate with spokesman Gomez stating at, a demonstration at the very spot Garcia was murdered, "We don't cooperate with the police at all; we have no need to...it was a police hit. They know who killed him and helped set him up." Los Angeles city councilman Arthur K. Snyder, who's district included the Pico Gardens project warned the RCP/USA to "go home before an even more violent catastrophic event occurs...take your violence to Beverly Hills."
Although Marxist-Leninist Newswire was unable to find any further mention of the Damian Garcia murder case in the Los Angeles Times. Neither the RCP/USA, Garcia's widow or any other members Garcia's immediate family were particulary interested in finding the killer. Therefore, we shall not tire ourselves in finding him either. What is clear to us, however, is that RCP/USA members saw the killer of Damian Garcia face-to-face and could identify him, but in an effort to prove their revolutionary sincerity they refused to cooperate with the police. This is a commendable act in itself, however, to attempt to blame the police, when they know the murder was commited by locals who detested them, marks a long opportunist trend in the RCP/USA's record and has underemined their long term credibility. It is palpably true that if the RCP/USA believed that Garcia had been murdered by the Los Angeles police they would pressed the City of Los Angles for an inquiry into Garcia's murder and organized demonstrations against the City until the case was publicly disposed of one way or another. Activists have sensed this duplicity by the RCP/USA for many years. Their lying about the Garcia cased has caused much unease about them. It should, therefore, serve as a negative example for activists, and particularly journalists. If our members are killed by backwards sections of the working-class, it must be reported as such.
* Los Angeles Times, April 23, 1980, pt. 2, p. 1, Col. 4.
** ibid, April 24, 1980, pt. 2, p. 1, Col. 1.