First Published: Berkeley Barb, August 30-September 5, 1968.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In reply to last week’s article by Stewart Albert and interview with Eldridge Cleaver, NO ONE in the Radical Caucus called the street people “those scum” or anything of the sort. We view the Berkeley Communards, the Up-Against-the-Wall Motherfuckers and similar groups as our brothers after all, how can you put down people who put up posters along the Avenue quoting Mao on revolution! We think it is very important to continually disrupt the system; but we also believe that it is very important for others of us to begin the difficult work of reaching ordinary people and building ties between them and the street people.
In his article Stewart Albert attempted to reduce our political objections to Jerry Rubin to petty jealousies. It is true that at Ann Arbor people who have worked with Jerry stated their opinion that he is erratic and not committed to building political machinery which Eldridge himself has repeatedly cited as the primary purpose of his campaign. But most of the criticism of Jerry was related directly to his politics: as a brother from Up-Against-the-Wall Motherfuckers said at a “Free Huey!” rally last Sunday, the Yippees are the far right wing of the cultural revolution.
Eldridge himself has clearly demonstrated his ability to reach the white people in the streets: PFP should add to this dimension by running a person from the working class along with Eldridge. This may at first seem foolish, since Stewart Albert has notified us that the working class is “nonexistent”. But a quickie check of the factories, shipyards, construction sites, offices, etc. indicates that millions of people are still there, still exploited, and still unrepresented. Stewart actually knows this, because he bothers to debunk the revolutionary potential of the AFL-CIO. Now, to say that we should ignore working people because the AFL-CIO is not revolutionary is like arguing that we should forget about black people, since we all know how reactionary the NAACP is. This is not to say that many working people are not politically backward and that many of them are not supporting George Wallace. But this is all the more reason to address ourselves to them!
It is for this very reason that many of us supported Peggy Terry for Vice-President. She is a middle-aged working class white) woman, with a southern racist background, who has been converted into a dedicated revolutionary. She spends all her time in the hillbilly communities of Chicago and other big cities, making radicals out of the mothers on welfare, the unemployed men, the pool hustlers and the other “brothers on the block” who are the true white analogy of the members of the Black Panther Party.
We feel that Peggy Terry – who fully supports the black liberation movement and the National Liberation Front of Vietnam (“I see their enemy as the same enemy of poor whites”) – will help our movement broaden its base to begin reaching ordinary working people. We feel the sight of this woman, with her southern accent intact, standing on a platform with Eldridge Cleaver, arguing for an alliance of poor whites and blacks against their common enemy will perhaps create a little more “psychic pandemonium” than even Jerry Rubin’s most ecstatic cry of “Yippee!”
Peggy Terry pointed out at Ann Arbor that many working class whites are moving toward George Wallace because they do recognize, the bankruptcy of the two big parties and they don’t see anyone,) other than Wallace, who is even attempting to represent them.
We in the Radical Caucus sincerely hope that our movement will not write these people off and throw them into the arms of the growing fascist movement in this, country. As Stewart correctly points out: “history does not give its actors an eternity in which to decide.”
Again, none of this means that the movement in the streets is unimportant. In every major street confrontation with the pigs in this area (Last October’s Stop the Draft Week, the Berkeley and Hashbury riots, etc.) Radical Caucus people were out in the streets, along with thousands of others. But to be true revolutionary, in this society or any other, means more than the willingness to put your body o the line from time to time to create chaos for the rulers of the system. It means the commitment of our lives to winning the majority of the people to our movement so that they cannot only disrupt, but actually CHANGE this system, from bottom to top.
for the Radical Caucus