First Published: Guardian, June 6, 1970.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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A confrontation between members of the Progressive Labor party and the Student Mobilization Committee erupted May 24 when from 55 to 60 members of PL with some members of the Worker-Student Alliance (SDS/WSA) stormed the national steering committee meeting of the SMC in Boston.
According to a spokesman from PL the purpose of breaking into the afternoon session of the meeting was to promulgate “working class ideas” at the meeting, which was called to discuss antiwar tactics.
Before the PL-WSA group broke in, John Pennington, national secretary of SDS/WSA, charged the SDS/WSA point of view was being excluded from the meeting and demanded his entire group, waiting in the hall, be admitted. Two delegates from PL and WSA were already inside the meeting. In the scuffle that followed several people were injured, one seriously, according to SMC.
A defense committee for the SMC met the attack having formed that morning after several disruptions. Explaining the morning scuffle, the PL spokesman said a PL member registering for the morning session in order to distribute leaflets was beaten up by members of the SMC. The SMC charges that when the PL member attempted to enter the meeting without registering, PL and WSA members already within the meeting hall came out to his defense and began a scuffle.
The SMC issued a statement condemning attacks within the movement, charging PL had provoked several in Boston during the past few months. One of these was on the speakers platform at a large April 15 rally there.
The PL spokesman said the reason for the attacks was that at the April 4 organizing conference for the April 15 rally, PL “won over the rank and file” against having a liberal speaker: on the platform. At this, the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA) faction of the SMC, desiring to have liberal speakers, pulled out and formed another organizing meeting, said the spokesman. PL won over the rank and file at this meeting, too, said the PL spokesman, and the YSA faction formed a third meeting which got the permit from the city for a rally on the Green April 15.