Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Amilcar Cabral/Paul Robeson Collective
Greensboro Collective

The Greensboro Massacre: Critical Lessons for the 1980’s


Since the original drafting of this pamphlet, the trial of six of the Klan-Nazi murderers has begun in Greensboro. Testimony and evidence submitted thus far indicate considerable collusion between the state and the Klan-Nazis that goes far beyond the absence of the police at the scene of the murders and the release, by the police, of the assembly point to a known Klansman. These are some important points:
–The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Control Agency had a agent infiltrate the Nazis and apparently played a large role in the planning and execution of the massacre.
–A long-time informant for the Greensboro Police Department worked with the Klan and was also instrumental in the events leading up to the murders.
–As in the murders of Viola Liuzzo, Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner (and scores of others) law enforcement agencies could have prevented them.

These facts and the others that no doubt will come out, verify collusion between the state and the fascists but not a government conspiracy against the CWP. The CWP is propagating this view nationally and internationally. In fact, they say that the government, on behalf of the capitalist, engineered the massacre and simply used the Klan. Again, the CWP gives us a dangerous and incorrect assessment, along with delusions of their importance. By raising government conspiracy, they let the Klan off the hook. It is evident to all rational people that the Klan, without provocation, is capably of committing the most heinous crimes against Black people, trade unionist and other progressive people. Moreover, this is a weak attempt on the part of the CWP to get people to overlook their actions leading up to the event. While it is conceivable that the Klan would have come to the march and rally even without the CWP’s posturing, the challenge that they issued had a profound effect on the events that took place.

When the CWP points fingers (and throws eggs) at Governor Hunt, Carter, Kennedy and Anderson, etc. they are not simply protesting the failure of the government to take a firm stand against the murders but are saying that the murders were part of a plot to destroy the CWP. The fact that people in leadership positions were killed corroborates this view as far as they are concerned. Another smokescreen to cover their errors.

Does the government see the CWP as a threat to their continued rule and the preservation of monopoly capitalism? Of course not. Communism as a set of ideas does threaten the very foundation of capitalist society. But ideas alone do not make revolution. They have to become a material force and this can only happen when the masses take them up. At this point in our history this has not become a reality. The economic crisis has led to deteriorating conditions for the working class, the Afro-American people are in the early stages of a powerful upsurge, and world war and fascism loom on the horizon. Even under these conditions, the working class and the oppressed nationalities have not, in significant numbers, grasped the need to overthrow imperialism or become conscious revolutionaries. The actions of the CWP and the other opportunists and revisionists have done nothing to improve this situation. We know this, the masses know it and surely the state does. Why not the CWP? Because although their feet are on the ground their heads are in the clouds.

The state is wise enough to know that the ideas of socialism, the dictatorship of the working class and communism are potentially dangerous to them and that they need to be suppressed. Their general approach is the squash these ideas ideologically through the media, schools and churches. When this is not sufficient they move to repression and terror. The “Cointelpro” program and other ongoing actions of the state are examples of this. Yet, if the state sees terror as an immediate necessity and perceived an immediate danger presented by communists, they certainly would not limit their actions to the CWP since there are a number of other groups that are as large or larger and have as much influence among the masses (and that’s not much) as they do. But on the other hand, the state may be ignoring the others because it agrees with the CWP that the CWP has the “overall most correct line.” In any case, the infiltration and repression and the fascism that the CWP rants and raves about is being helped a great deal by the CWP’s childish antics. It has prompted the state of North Carolina to launch a major program of infiltration of so-called “violent” groups. We all know this is the beginning of a program to attempt to penetrate progressive organizations in the state and harass and intimidate activists and the masses.

It is probable that most of the five that were killed were targeted. They were organizers, activist and trade unionists in the area and therefore known to the Klan-Nazis and the state. Some people think that the fact that they were hit and not others is evidence of infiltrators inside the CWP. This could be possible, but it is more likely that the high profiles they had as activists put them in the line of fire when the attack came down.

Finally, the masses in North Carolina and Greensboro in particular are following the trial very carefully. They are not doing so from the point of view of “avenging the CWP 5,” although some have united with this. Rather, they see that the prosecution is presenting a weak case. From the jury selection, which included a Greensboro policeman, to the lame presentation by the D.A., Black people see that the murderers are likely to get off lightly and that this would likewise be the case if they were the victims. They also have examples of racist justice in Miami and Chattanooga to remind them of how the capitalist courts deal with killer cops and terrorist.

We are confident that this renewed interest by the Greensboro Black community will be channeled into effective protest against Klan-Nazi terror and police collusion and for justice for Black and all other freedom loving people. This will be done apart from and in spite of the CWP’s petty bourgeois theatrics that discourage mass struggle and fuel anti-communism and fascism.

August 1980