Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

“Communist Inspired Strike?”

October League press release

First Published: The Call, Vol. I, No. 2, November 1972.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In recent weeks the Atlanta Constitution along with other mass media have carried articles attacking the October League (Marxist-Leninist). These attacks have been marked by lies, slanders and distortions designed primarily to take the heat off of the Mead Corporation.

The workers at Mead have just agreed to return to work after a seven-week wildcat strike which was directed at the intolerable conditions for workers in the Mead plant. Instead of accepting the workers demands and ending these conditions, Mead has directed an all out campaign of racism and anti-communism in the press designed at making the October League their scapegoat.

Their cries of “outside agitators” and “communist inspired strike” have served only to expose their vicious character and their commitment to anti-worker policies within their factory.

To charge as they have that the October League is to blame for the labor unrest in Atlanta is a lie which all of the Mead workers are able to see through. The truth is that Mead and the companies like them are to blame for this unrest-unrest which will never cease until the real causes are changed.

It is not the October League which has been forcing workers to work in air that is so filthy and polluted with dust that several women have passed out, only to be sent immediately back on the line when they were revived. This crime has been done by Mead.

It is not the October League which has practiced racial discrimination in their policies of hiring and promotions, reserving all or most of the better-paying, skilled jobs for the white workers, while black workers are kept in the dirtiest, lowest-paying jobs. This is Mead’s policies out of which flow millions of dollars in profits due to wage differentials.

It was Mead and not the October League who directed the Atlanta Police Department to attack the Mead workers on September 21, jailing more than 70 workers and brutally clubbing the arrested workers to the ground. This attack which caused serious injuries to many, including the possible blinding of one black worker, was meant by Mead as a lesson to all the workers of this country, that if we stand up for our rights, we will suffer even more brutality.

It is Mead and not the October League which has forced the workers temporarily back to work without accepting any of the just demands of the strikers. Furthermore, Mead is firing 36 of the alleged strike leaders without any compensation, even though they have admitted that many of the strike demands were justified.

As to the charges of “outside agitators” it is clear that this is just another catch phrase designed to scare people. The October League members in the strike leadership were democratically elected by the workers themselves. They are all workers in the plant suffering the same exploitation and oppression as all the other workers. It was the Atlanta police and their brutality who had no business at the strike line and who are the real outsiders.

Finally, the October League has never concealed its views. We stand openly for socialism, that is, for a society where the majority of the people, the working people, run things instead of a handful of millionaires like Mead Corporation, Sears, and Nabisco Corporations. These capitalists have complete power over the police, the government and the army.

It is because of their greedy drive for profits that we have the conditions found in Mead. It is because of their thirst for power that we have the war in Vietnam. It is because of their ruthlessness that we have millions going hungry in this, the richest country in the world.


It is because these capitalists are trying to keep the working people divided that we have racism and discrimination.

To the charges of fighting to put an end to these conditions and to this oppressive system, we in the October League plead “guilty!”

We demand that Mead put an end to the terrible conditions in its Atlanta plant. We further demand that there be an immediate end to racial discrimination in all areas of hiring and promotion. We demand that the 36 fired workers be returned to work at once with back pay and that all of the heroes of the Mead strike be compensated fully for the time they lost due to the strike.

Until these conditions are met, the struggle of the workers and of the October League will continue whether out on the strike line or in the plant.