Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

PLP Hits The Streets


First Published: Challenge, Vol. II, No. 3, July 13, 1965
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Still bigger crowds of garment workers greeted speakers from the Progressive Labor Party during its bi-weekly noon-hour street meeting at 38th St. and 8th Ave. on June 29th. Workers leaned out of garment loft windows and stopped at all four corners to listen to a call for the election of Bill Epton to the State Senate from Harlem.

They cheered Epton as well as CHALLENGE-DESAFIO reporter Felipe de Jesus (who spoke in Spanish) and David Douglas, a leader of the Harlem Defense Council, when they denounced the New York cops’ picket line against a civilian review board taking place that day at City Hall.

“Those cops, who don’t want any investigation into their criminal acts, are walking around City Hall with members of the American Nazi Party,” declared Epton. He then reminded the Jewish garment workers, standing among crowds of black and Puerto Rican workers, that the “mass murder of their brothers and sisters in the gas ovens of Buchenwald by Hitler should serve as a warning of what can happen” with racism gone mad.

Douglas told the workers that the only way to get the bosses and Dubinsky off their backs was to throw them out and that a start had to be made through intensive organization by the rank-and-file garment workers, in and out of the Union. At one point, when the ponce tried to “clear” the crowded sidewalks, Douglas asked them not to be intimidated by the cops who “didn’t want them to hear the truth.” They stood their ground to listen.

De Jesus pointed out that while the government spends millions of the workers’ tax dollars to build bases in Puerto Rico aimed at stifling people’s revolutions in Latin America, it doesn’t lift a finger to raise the minimum wage in New York above $1.25.

Other speakers included national P.L.P. President Milt Rosen, and CHALLENGE Editor Walter Linder. Ten thousand Epton campaign leaflets were received and read by the workers while many bought CHALLENGE to take back to their shops.