Marine Defense Meet

Hundreds Gather to Protest “Dynamite Plot” Frame-Up

(January 1932)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 3 (Whole No. 99), 16 January 1932, p 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

On Thursday evening, January 7, a mass meeting in defense of Jack Soderberg, Thomas Bunker and William Trajer, Victims of the harbor bosses’ “dynamite plot” frame-up was held at Webster Hall. Over 500 workers attended the meeting, which was held under the auspices of the Marine Workers Defense Committee.

For the first time in years, New York workers belonging to various political tendencies met together, swayed by a feeling of genuine working class solidarity in the face of the vicious class enemy.

Comrade James P. Cannon, of the Communist League of America (Opposition) was the first speaker at the meeting at which Carter Hudson, chairman of the Marine Workers Defense Committee presided. Comrade Cannon eloquently presented the case of three defendants, pointed out the political background and the purposes behind this latest attack of the capitalist class and appealed to the workers present to support the Marine Workers Defense Committee and its efforts to repel the designs of the bosses in this ease as in others by a frank and real united front.

Other speakers included A.J. Muste, of the Conference of Progressive Labor Action, who pledged the support of his organization to the defense and its willingness to cooperate with the Committee; Ben Gitlow of the Lovestone group, who made an appeal for funds for the defense; Walter Starret of the Road to Freedom Anarchist group and Carlo Tresca, editor of Il Martello, who cited similar frame-up cases in the history of the American working class.

All speakers were well received. Despite the manifold political shades and colors, all appeared to be united to prevent the capitalist class from taking advantage of the dissensions within the working class for their own ends. The meeting represents a commendable attempt to close the ranks in warding off the blows of government oppression of workers and workers’ institutions. As such it will undoubtedly call forth more and bigger meetings and manifestations of the same sort in the future.

The official Communist party and the I.L.D. were conspicuous by their absence. But many rank and file party comrades sat in the audience. The absolute necessity of action in cases such as that of the three marine workers will not fail to awaken the workers, Communist and non-Communist, to proletarian solidarity. We hope that rank and file pressure will lead the party and the I.L.D. to realize the mistake of their passivity in this case quickly. For the sake of the working class as a whole, as well as for that of the party. Such mistakes are dearly paid for. The force of united working class defense is irresistible. It is bound to overcome all obstacles.

The first Marine Workers’ Defense meeting has started the drive. It is up to every class conscious worker to contribute his bit to the fight for the release of Soderberg, Bunker and Trajer. Let no one stand aside.

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