Capitalist Murder on the Streets!

(July 1930)

From The Militant, Vol. III No. 26, 12 July 1930, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Three revolutionary workers murdered in one week. That is the toll taken by police savagery and reactionary labor thugs in New York City and Chicago.

In Chicago, Herzel Weizenberg, a member of the T.U.U.L., was set upon by gangsters of the Painters’ Union bureaucracy because he was engaged in distributing leaflets for the Left wing group. The brutal scum of society, paid employees of the reactionary labor traitors. attacked comrade Weizenberg with brass knuckles, black jacks and lead pipes and left him in such a condition that he died a few hours later in the hospital.

In New York City, at a street meeting in Harlem of the Communist! Party, the police came to the aid of the black chauvinists of the Garvey movement who had started to break up the Communist meeting. Wielding their clubs in a rabid frenzy, the blows fell thickest upon Alfred Levy, an unemployed member of the Party. The injuries he received at the hands of the police proved fatal.

Forty-eight hours had barely passed when the police claimed another victim. This time it was the Mexican worker Gonzalo Gonzales, also a member of the Communist Party who was shot down in cold blood by a policeman in Harlem for marching through the streets with a small group of workers on their way to an indoor meeting. Comrade Gonzales died an hour later.

The New York militants responded to this outburst of barbaric police fury by an impressive funeral parade of more than five thousand workers, a united march of hundreds of Negro workers together with their white brothers, a symbol of the coming day of the revolutionary labor unity which the capitalist class seeks so desperately to hamper and destroy. The splendid march of the workers is only a beginning. A real struggle must now be begun – against police brutality, against the murder of the workers, and for the freedom of speech and assembly of workers.

Police Savagery

Why are the police so savage in their attacks on workers’ meetings? There are thousands of gangsters engaged in the most nefarious work, openly, every day, in the city. Thirty thousand speak-easies run with cynical disregard for capitalist law. Corruption, bribery, peculation run rampant throughout the official administration. And the police are silent and inert as the tomb. But the activities of the labor movement, particularly of its revolutionary section, immediately arouse the uniformed thugs to mad activity; because the property, the wealth, the right to exploit and crush, the power of the boss clash is endangered; because the threat rises of a working class aroused out of its lethargy and inspired to militant struggle. That is the function of the police: the suppression of the militancy of labor and the preservation of capitalist class power.

The awakening of thousands of workers under the influence of the economic crisis has impelled the police to more brutal activity. The working class must be kept in its place – the place of the underdog! The offensive against it must be sharpened on every front. Therefore, the most violent measures against the vanguard, the most militant section of the working class, the Communists. Break up their meetings! Raid their halls! Shoot down their fighters!

The attack on the whole working class is always started against its most conscious section. The capitalists [realize] the value to the workers of the Communist movement and its dangers to their class rule. They know that the Communists alone – not the bosses’ agents in the trade unions or the middle class socialist party – seek to mobilize the workers for struggle against their misery. They hate the Communist Party and fear its potential strength – not because of the blundering and harum-scarum policies and leadership of the Party, but in spite of them. Workers Stirred

The attack on the Communists is first blood drawn from the whole working class. The whole working class must therefore unite against this attack. It must present an iron front to the murderers of workers on the street. The workers have been profoundly stirred by these slaughters. The workers must actively resist the disruption of labor meetings.

The Communist Party must strike back at the police thugs and their masters with the weapon of the united front – the organized power of labor. We do not speak here of the paltry frauds, the hollow, self-deceptive “united fronts” that have been practised recently by the official Party. We urge instead a genuine united movement of all the progressive workers and their organizations to batter down the police terror, to fight militantly for that which is being taken from labor so violently: free speech, free assembly and free press.

Such a movement and such slogans can make powerful reply to the blue-coated murderers and their capitalist employers. The creation of such a movement will proceed from the elimination of the Party’s official phrase-mongering, meaningless to the masses of workers an incapable of setting them in motion.

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