First Published: The Call, Vol. 6, No. 6, February 14, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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More than 100 workers attended a New England Regional Fight Back Conference in Boston, January 22 to sum up the struggles of the last year and chart the course ahead.
The delegates participated in wide-ranging discussions and exchange of experiences gained in many fronts of the class struggle. In the conference resolutions, the representatives placed their main political emphasis in the period ahead on deepening the Fight Back’s ties to the mass struggle and winning many more working-class and minority fighters to a revolutionary program of struggle against capitalism.
Participating delegates to the conference came from Buffalo, N.Y., Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut, as well as from already established chapters of the National Fight Back Organization such as the Boston Workers United to Fight Back (BWUFB) and the Cambridge Fight Back.
Among the many speakers at the conference, a worker from Advent Corp. in Boston addressed the need to unite employed and unemployed workers in common struggle. “At last year’s conference,” the worker said, “I’d just been laid off. Now I’m laid off again. But I’ve been fighting all my life, and I’m going to keep on fighting against this system.”
In addition to the increased attacks on the working class and oppressed minorities, communists and other militants have also been targeted and harassed by the capitalists. The conference heard messages from workers at St. Regis Paper, where communists were fired by the company, and from American Biltrite, where communists have been attacked by union and company goons for demanding equality of languages and exposing the union bureaucrats.
“To be attacked by the enemy is a good thing,” one speaker said. “It shows you’re doing good work. As we deepen our ties to the masses this year, we can expect more of the same because the capitalists understand that we’re going to get rid of them.”
The conference saw a successful struggle waged against an incorrect view within the Fightback that had held back growth over the last few months.
One delegate explained that, although hundreds of workers had participated in BWUFB-led actions against the segregationist movement in Boston and in support of the Gary Tyler freedom movement and the fight for jobs, many of these workers had not been organized into the fight-back.
The delegates criticized this and resolved to build the fightback with a working-class line and working-class leadership. With this correct orientation, delegates felt that the fightback organizations will achieve significant advances in the months ahead.
Resolutions were adopted at each of the three conference workshops. In the “Jobs or income Now” workshop, delegates decided that, in raising their demands, they should do broad political work among the masses to expose the imperialist system as the cause of the crisis.
The workshop on “Discrimination Against Minorities and Women” resolved to go deeply among the working people and minorities in building support for Gary Tyler and linking this work to the fight against local examples of racist oppression, such as Boston’s segregationist movement. The delegates discussed ways the fightback could support the struggles of women for equality, and the whole conference endorsed International Women’s Day actions on March 5.
The “International Situation” workshop proposed increased educational work to expose superpower war preparations and the danger of a new world war. It urged support for the struggles of the peoples of the third world, for normalization of U.S.-China relations, for Puerto Rican independence, and for the fight against apartheid in South Africa. In addition, the workshop condemned Jimmy Carter’s “pardon” of draft resisters and demanded full, unconditional amnesty for all deserters and resisters and the upgrading of all “less-than-honorable” discharges.
The conference took place in the midst of sharpening class struggle as the theme of “bringing the fightback to the masses” is brought into play, not only in New England, but throughout the country as well. Other recent reports from local fightback communities show a whole range of important struggles in which the NFBO has been able to provide leadership.
In Baltimore, for instance, the Baltimore Fightback Committee, along with the October League and the Communist Youth Organization, is organizing resistance in the city’s Afro-American community to a recent wave of fires that have killed at least 12 people this year alone. It has recently been exposed that over 90% of all fire deaths in the city occur in the Black communities, where bad housing, discrimination in fire department hiring and overcrowded conditions all contribute to the high death toll.
Across the country in Oakland, Calif., the Fight Don’t Starve Committee (FDS) rallied at the city’s municipal court building Jan. 27 in support of three of its members. They face phony charges stemming from a May Day demonstration at the unemployment office in 1974 organized by FDS. The charges were first dismissed over a year and a half ago, but prosecutors decided to raise them a second time.
A spokesman for FDS told The Call that, “The reactivation of these charges is intended to harass and stop the unemployed from organizing, especially at a time when the fightback campaign for ’Jobs or Income Now!’ is intensifying in Oakland.” The spokesman pointed out that this latest attack “will not stop the jobs campaign from growing” because “the masses need a strong organization to fight back against the system.”
These concrete fightback actions, coupled with the type of political consolidation provided by the New England meeting, are helping to weld the National Fight Back Organization into a more powerful nationwide force. More regional meetings in other parts of the country are scheduled for February.