Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Central Organization of U.S. Marxist-Leninists

Monopoly Capitalists’ Anti-Busing Movement is an Attack on the Democratic Rights of the Black People and on the Unity of the Working Class

Published: The Workers’ Advocate, Vol. 4, No. 1, December 15, 1974.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Since last April, a large-scale fascist mass movement has been organized by the monopoly capitalists in Boston to violently attack the democratic rights of the Black people and other oppressed nationalities. This movement has focused on mobilizing white people including white workers to attack the right of Blacks to attend integrated public schools. The movement has arisen under the transparent guise of opposition to busing, the form which school integration presently takes in the big cities. Especially since the Boston busing program began in September, violent lynch-mob attacks have been organized against Black students attending formerly all-white schools and Black passers-by have been seized and beaten. Whites organized by the fascists have boycotted the integrated schools. Police called in to protect the ’Blacks have either stood idly by or attacked the Blacks. While the anti-busing movement has adopted anti-government rhetoric (against “dictatorship”, and “forced busing”, etc.) to hide its fascist nature and gain the support of white workers, it has had the open blessings of the biggest monopoly capitalists in the U. S., speaking through their chief political representative, Gerald Ford (following in the footsteps of Richard Nixon before him). The anti-busing movement has gained the open or covert support or the acquiescence of nearly the entire bourgeoisie, including the liberal bourgeoisie which generally has taken a stand of “neutrality” towards the Black people’s democratic rights or has cravenly failed in practice to defend its much-advertised ideals of “freedom” and “civil rights”. The leaders of the anti-busing movement have even declared their aim to pass a Constitutional Amendment abolishing the limited school integration the Black people wrenched out of the hands of the bourgeoisie in the 1960’s. Thus anti-busing is part of a fascist offensive by the monopoly capitalists aimed at stripping the Black people of all their meager existing democratic rights and driving them back into semi-slavery. This attempt by the bourgeoisie to re-enslave the Black people and split the working class by turning some white workers into servants of the bourgeoisie and hangmen of the Blacks is part of the monopoly capitalists’ drive to develop fascism in the U.S. It is a matter of grave concern for the entire working class.

A struggle has developed against the fascists in Boston. The Black students have dared to defend themselves against the racist attacks and attend the integrated schools. Blacks have defended themselves against the police and civilian attacks. Several demonstrations of Black people along with white supporters have been held to denounce the fascist attacks and defend the democratic rights of the Afro-American people. Trade unions have passed resolutions in support on integration. On Saturday, Dec. 14, thousands of people will demonstrate in Boston to defend the Black people’s democratic rights. Only resolute struggle against the monopoly capitalists’ fascist anti-busing movement and for democratic rights will be able to defend the right of the Black people and other oppressed and racially-discriminated-against nationalities to attend integrated public schools.


The working class of Boston has a long history of fighting for the emancipation of the Black people. In 1841, 70,000 Irishmen headed by the Irish patriot Daniel O’Connell addressed an appeal to the Irish workers in America, calling upon them to take part in the struggle against slavery. It said: “Irishmen and Irishwomen, treat the colored people as your equals, as brethren. By all your memories of Ireland, continue to love Liberty – hate Slavery – Cling by the Abolitionists – and in America you will do honor to the name of Ireland.” At a meeting at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Wendell Phillips, the Abolitionist leader, read the appeal to a crowd of several thousand Irish workers, who enthusiastically applauded every paragraph and shouted answers to his questions: “Will you ever return to his master the slave who once sets foot on the soil of Massachusetts? (No! No! No!) Will you ever raise to office or power the man who will not pledge his effort against slavery? (No! No! No!)” And despite the attempts of the copperhead agents of the slaveowners to turn the workers against the anti-slavery struggle, the Irish and other white northern workers contributed their quota of blood to the good cause.

Such are the revolutionary traditions of the Irish and other white workers of Boston. But on the very spot where such deeds were done, one hundred years later the monopoly capitalists, acting through their instruments the Boston School Committee, the Boston City Council and other organizations, had segregated the Boston schools. And when this segregation was threatened they mobilized a fascist movement among the white people to suppress the Blacks, appealing to the descendants of the Irish workers of 1841 and other white workers to side with the capitalists, oppose the interests of the working class, and attack the Black people.

In 1965, under the mass pressure of the Civil Rights Movement, the Massachusetts state legislature passed the Racial Imbalance Act, making school segregation based on housing patterns (“de facto” segregation) illegal. Although the Act had a strong racist side (a school was only considered “imbalanced” if it contained too few whites), the fascist agents of monopoly capital in Boston, headed by Louise Day Hicks, a real estate capitalist and chairwoman of the Boston School Committee, actively began to organize a fascist movement against it. In that year they opposed Operation Exodus, an attempt by the Black people of Roxbury to organize their own busing program, which involved 1500 or so students at its peak. For the next nine years the Boston School Committee worked feverishly to increase the segregation of the schools and block the implementation of the 1965 law. In this, they met the opposition of certain sections of the bourgeoisie which wanted to give concessions to the Blacks only in order to ease the pressure of the Afro-American movement, which became especially strong with the great Black Rebellions in 1965-1968. The Massachusetts Board of Education and the Massachusetts state courts made half-hearted attempts to force the B.S.C. to give up its segregationist practices; federal agencies withheld close to twenty million dollars, and in 1973 and ’74, two federal judges connected with the Departments of Health, Education and Welfare and Housing and Urban Development found the BSC guilty of “de jure” segregation (deliberate segregation, not based on housing patterns) – but to no avail. However, by April 1974, the B.S.C.’s evasions had run their course and they had faded to overturn the Racial Imbalance Act as unconstitutional. The state Supreme Court was forced to order what is known as the “state plan” to go into effect in September. (The “state plan” had been drawn up in April 1973, after many years of refusal by the B.S.C., and after vacillation on the part of the Massachusetts Board of Education and Boston Mayor White had failed to force them to do so.) It was the state Supreme Court’s order in April 1974 to implement the “state plan” which was seized upon by Hicks, Kerrigan and other B.S.C. and City Council members to escalate their anti-busing movement.

Through a network of neighborhood Home and School Associations organized to oppose school integration, on April 3rd the fascist politicians mobilized a demonstration of 20,000 people to call for the repeal of the 1965 Racial Imbalance Act. To compel attendance, the B.S.C. sent letters home via students announcing the event and requiring the parents’ signatures! White students were excused from school to attend. (At the demonstration the Boston motorcycle police flew the colors of their racist neighborhood associations from their handlebars.) In May, the anti-busing movement organized a non-binding referendum asking whether or not children should be assigned to schools on the basis of race (that is, whether or not integration should take place, since children already were assigned on this basis). Although only 12 per cent of the eligible voters voted on this sham referendum (“rejecting” integration by 15 to 1) it paved the way for amendments of the state Racial Imbalance Act. In 1973 the state legislature had voted to repeal the Act and the liberal bourgeois Republican, Governor Sargeant, wanted to repeal it, too, but was forced to veto the repeal after a federal judge advised him that it would be ruled unconstitutional. In July, 1974, Sargeant pushed amendments to the Act through the legislature making integration no longer mandatory (essentially repealing the law against de facto segregation) and offering instead a bribe for school districts which would integrate, on the basis of so much money for so many Black students, etc.

On June 21, 1974, after deliberating since 1972, Federal District Court Judge Arthur Garrity issued an opinion on an NAACP suit against the Boston School Committee, Mayor White and the Mass. Board of Education for violations of the 13th and 14th amendments of the Constitution. Garrity found that the Boston school system was not a system of “neighborhood schools”, as the fascists claim, nor a de facto-segregated system, but a de jure-segregated, dual-school system essentially no different from the segregated schools which existed so long in the South. The B.S.C., Mayor White and the Mass. Board of Education were found guilty of deliberately segregating students of different nationalities. De jure segregation totally contradicts the 1954 Supreme Court school integration decision and all federal court rulings since and Garrity could not avoid ruling against it.

Garrity rejected the B.S.C.’s defense (argued by James St. Clair. Nixon’s Watergate lawyer) that it had simply upheld the “neighborhood school” system and innocently found themselves with segregated schools. Garrity’s opinion outlined six major aspects of de jure segregation in the Boston schools.

1. Facilities, Utilization and New Schools – white schools were over-crowded while Black schools were under-used. For example, white South Boston High was 676 students over-enrolled, yet it still accepted white transfer students from all over the city, taking in white students leaving integrated schools. Elsewhere, in a 98 per cent white neighborhood, the B.S.C. opened up a school composed of 93 per cent Blacks and other op- pressed nationalities, claiming that the reason was “to keep friendships intact.” On the question of busing itself, the B.S.C. favored busing to maintain segregation in the city, pushing for years for a plan to bus 8,000 Black students to the suburbs without any busing in the city.

2. Districting and re-districting – in Boston, only the elementary school students attended schools on the basis of districts, the middle (junior high) schools were partially districted and the high schools were not districted at all. Districting and re-districting were carried on by the B.S.C. to maximize segregation and many children walked past schools to a more distant segregated schools. Integrated housing districts had segregated schools next to them. In 1960 there were 49 “unbalanced” schools: with B.S.C.’s re-districting; by 1969 there were 62 such schools.

3. Feeder patters – half of Boston’s 18 high schools were “fed” from middle school ail over the city. Students went to middle schools according to where they went to elementary schools and then were assigned to high schools according to where they went to middle school, irrespective of neighborhood or district. This meant that the B.S.C.. channeled students freely, assigned them arbitrarily to segregated schools. At tin; same time, most Black students were put on a system of entering high school after the 8th grade while most white students entered after the 9th grade. Together, these two aspects served to create a segregated, dual-school system.

4. Open enrollment – paraded as a device for integration, this was actually a device for segregation, since it could be used to transfer white students out of schools containing Blacks and since it placed the burden of integrating segregated schools onto die individual Black students. B.S.C. claimed that this method of segregation was “the American way” and fought hard against the “dictatorial” policy of controlled transfer which Boston was forced to adopt in 1971. Even with controlled transfer, B.S.C. continued to send white students from integrated, under-used schools to over-crowded, all-white schools in South and East Boston, citing such racist arguments as “for the student’s safety” as justification.

5. Teachers – in Boston, Black teachers taught in all-Black schools irrespective of where they lived. 81 of Boston’s 201 schools never had a Black teacher and 35 more have had only one since 1967. Out of 4,243 permanent teachers, only 231 or 5.4 per cent were Black. Out of more than 500 administrative positions, Blacks held only 18. (33-36 per cent of Boston’s students are Black while Blacks constitute 16-20 per cent of the population. 30,000 mostly-white students attend parochial or other private schools.)

6. Exam schools – three exam schools existed, whose students were almost entirely white and traveled from all parts of the city to attend. Boston Technical, then 85 per cent white, was situated in the middle of the Black Roxbury community.

In addition to the above points, Garrity’s opinion pointed out that de jure segregation existed to such a degree that 10 per cent of all elementary students, 50 per cent of all middle school students and 85 per cent of all high school students already rode the city buses and subways to go to school. Thus busing is not the issue for the fascists; racism and white chauvinism against the Black people is.

Garrity ordered the implementation of the “state plan” in September and demanded that a further plan be submitted by B.S.C. by December 16. He declared that all the Boston schools would be integrated by 1974. The plan Garrity ordered implemented is a limited democratic concession by the bourgeoisie.

On the question of districting, the state plan ordered elementary school districts to be changed to conform more with geographical boundaries and to increase integration. The number of students in “unbalanced” schools is supposed to be reduced from 20,000 to 7,000 and the number of “unbalanced” schools from 48 to 21. However, the plan does not affect elementary school students in South Boston, East Boston, Charleston, Hyde Park, West Roxbury and other white neighborhoods and leaves their children in segregated schools. The plan also leaves the controlled transfer policy in the hands of the B.S.C., supposedly to deal with further desegregation and over-crowding but still a potent weapon for segregation.

The middle schools have been re-districted and the grade structure throughout the system has been CONverted to an identical structure for all nationalities. The combination of these policies supposedly reduces the number of middle school students in segregated schools from 4, 520 to 1,100, but large white communities are left untouched with the provision that the B.S.C. in charge of controlled transfer of Black students to those districts instead of thoroughly consolidating the school system.

As for the high schools, the state plan districts the high schools (except for the trade and exam schools), reducing travel distance, overcrowding and under-enrollment and desegregating many schools. Three one-sex-schools (which were mostly black) are now co-educational. However, the plan leaves the segregated white neighborhoods of East Boston, Charlestown and the North End untouched (which are the very neighborhoods that need integration) and does not deal with the exam and trade school system. The plan singles out South Boston, so that Hicks and the fascists would be able to concentrate their efforts there where they had their strongest base.

The plan and order do not provide for the training and hiring of the 1400 or so national minority teachers required to make for a proportional teaching staff. The schools are 32% Black and 7% other minorities yet of the 4,243 permanent teachers, 231 or 5.4% were Black. Nor does the plan call for teaching special programs on Black history, etc., or full language programs in Spanish, French, etc., for minority students. (Garrity has since taken some steps in this direction.) The plan leaves the Boston School Committee intact and in power, failing to replace it with a larger body with proportional representation of the national minorities. (A referendum was held on this question on Nov. 5: despite the tense situation and the B.S.C.’s well organized political machine, the vote against the B.S.C. was strong – 46,656 to 76,769.) The plan also leaves the white schools intact in Brookline, a suburb geographically surrounded by Boston.

Thus the integration plan in effect in Boston is a democratic concession by the bourgeoisie to the people. It carries out some integration, placing working-class youth of different nationalities in the same schools with each other, where in close contact they can learn to unite against the capitalist authorities. But it is very limited, neither thoroughly integrating the Boston schools nor safeguarding the rights, of the oppressed national minorities within the integrated schools. And in fact, it creates maximum conditions for the fascist movement to develop in South Boston against it. This is how the liberal bourgeoisie works with the fascists to sabotage the democratic concessions it gives.

Immediately upon Garrity’s order the B.S.C. raised a great hue and cry against the plan. They stepped up their fascist campaign – mobilizing organizations dedicated solely to opposing integration of the schools – such as R.O.A.R. (Restore Our Alienated Rights), Mass. Citizens against Forced Busing, etc. In addition, such organizations as the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association have played a role. Almost a year ago the patrolmen’s association threatened to refuse to defend Black children if the busing plan were implemented. Also prominent in the fascist alliance is the American Party, a New England version of Wallaceite fascism, which made anti-busing its main plank in the last election. Certain sections of the Catholic Church have played a big role. Finally there are the openly fascist lynchers – the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party, who are encouraged to provide the fascist alliance with the worst possible venomous propaganda against the Black people and who eagerly organize the lynch-mob attacks. The leading force in this fascist alliance has long been the Boston School Committee which, over the past 15 years, has organized the fascist anti-busing movement in Boston and been its main spokesmen. Due to the corrupt nature of Boston politics, all five of the B.S.C. members are from South Boston, heart of the anti-busing movement. All of these organizations support the reactionary proposed Constitutional amendment.

The basic ideology of the anti-busing movement in Boston is racism and white chauvinism – a venomous hatred of Blacks as a race and a nationality and advocacy of the supremacy of the white majority. At the same there is a large dose of American national chauvinism (parading the flag and boasting of “American democracy”) and also anti-communism (denouncing busing as “socialist” “dictatorship” by the government). This fascist ideology is thinly disguised by anti-government rhetoric about “freedom of choice” and opposition to government “dictatorship” and “forced busing”. The white chauvinism and racism are usually expressed under the cover of fear for the white children’s “safety” in “crime-infested Roxbury”. For example, on September 16, Hicks and other fascist leaders issued a “clarification” of their positions on busing, claiming that the reason South Boston residents were stoning Black students coming into South Boston was that they feared for their children’s “safety” in “crime-infested Roxbury”, where 100 unconvicted Black murderers of whites supposedly run loose (later proven a Hitler-style big lie). Thus the fascists “feared” to let the Black children in because it was “too dangerous” for the white children to go out. A pretty piece of reactionary logic! At the same time, the most vicious slanders and slurs of the Black people are spread openly among the masses – resembling nothing more closely in viciousness than the propaganda spread by Hitler’s Nazi movement about the Jews – advocating shipping the Black people “back to Africa”, talking of their “raping white women”, etc., etc. It is clear that the fascists are not opposed to some “criminals” in Roxbury or elsewhere but consider the Black people themselves to be criminals wherever they go. Otherwise, the white parents would simply join with the Black parents and try to solve the problems of crime, while their children attended integrated schools.

The fascists and racists also give the argument that they are not supporters of segregation but only want “quality education” and call for “money for quality education not buses”. This view is most widely expressed by the South Boston Information Center. Black people suffered for nearly 100 years from the kind of “quality education” that results from segregated schools and found that separate schools can never be made to be equal since they are separated for the sole purpose of enforcing inequality of nationalities. It was against the practice of “separate but equal” that the entire Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and ’60’s arose.

Most hypocritical of all are the claims of the anti-busing fascists to be champions of “democracy”, “freedom of choice” and “constitutional rights” against the “dictatorial” and “socialist” intervention of the government to impose “forced busing” on the poor little “neighborhood schools”. The fascists speak of the “inconvenience” of busing when more children were traveling greater distances to school to enforce segregation before the plan than travel to be integrated now. They speak of “wrenching” the little babes out of their mother’s arms when the plan does not even bus elementary school children and when just such “wrenching” is needed to bring up self-reliant children. Their talk of “freedom” means nothing more than the freedom of whites as the oppressor nationality to trample on the Blacks and other oppressed national minorities, deny them entrance to the common public schools and violently suppress them – and be protected by the law. The “democracy” they talk of is the right to spread their chauvinist lies in order to mislead the white working-class youth and turn them against their Black brothers and sisters. The “freedom” and “democracy” demanded by the anti-busing movement is the freedom to stand on the side of the exploiters and oppressors of the Black people – the monopoly capitalist class which also exploits and oppresses the white workers – and act as its obedient tool in suppressing the Black people. It is the same “freedom” and “democracy” demanded by the slaveowners and lynch-mobs of the past.

The true nature of the “freedom” and “democracy” fought for by the anti-busing movement became clear in practice on the first days of school in September. On the first day of school and continuously thereafter, the bus loads of Black youth who came to South Boston High School were met with stones and racist insults from white mobs organized by the fascists. Supposedly to “protect” the Black students, Mayor White ordered a police escort for the buses and Judge Garrity ordered the arrest of all those interfering with the opening of school. Despite these orders the police only arrested a handful of hoodlums for show and encouraged the racist attacks. Soon attacks on the Black students also took place at Hyde Park High School and the bourgeois news media did its best to promote an atmosphere of racial warfare. The National Director of the KKK came to Boston and held a public rally. Shortly after, Klan terrorists fired shots into the Black Columbia Point Housing Project. The Columbia Point residents, together with white and Puerto Rican friends, immediately organized self-defense to oppose the attacks. The police promptly showed their true nature as the military arm of the monopoly capitalist state machine. Previously they had allowed the KKK to hold rallies, have motorcades in South Boston and provoke Black people; they had allowed the nazis to roam the streets of the working-class communities in search of support and had only escorted some to the Rhode Island state line once when they became too embarrassing. But when the Black people armed themselves in self-defense against the KKK, the bourgeoisie sent 300 riot police armed with automatic weapons to occupy the housing project. Thus the fascist activities of the KKK and the nazis receive the full support of the bourgeois state machine, but when the Black people arm themselves in self-defense the bourgeois state savagely suppresses them. This illustrates the nature of the state under capitalism – an instrument in the hands of the capitalist ruling class for the oppression of the exploited classes, the working class and oppressed masses, including the Black people.

This was further demonstrated in the events that followed. Early in October, the Black youth in Roxbury rose up against the fascists, turning out on the streets and attacking the police. On October 7 a white lynch-mob attacked a Haitian worker, who happened to be driving through the edge of South Boston, and severely beat him (he was rescued by other whites). On October 8 because of the threat of a Black rebellion, Mayor White called for federal marshals. Garrity turned down his request. Governor Sargeant later readied 450 National Guardsmen but they were never used. Meanwhile, the police ran roughshod over the Black people in many areas, arresting and beating many. They also wildly attacked ordinary white working people, while never justly and firmly defending the Black people from fascist attacks. Thus, while it is just that the Black people should demand that the government should protect their right to attend integrated schools and other democratic rights, experience shows that only the organization of the masses can be relied on to defend the Black people from lynch-mob and police attacks.

The fascist movement held repeated rallies throughout the fall in various white communities and downtown. On October 4,8,000 rallied on “national boycott day”. Then, on October 10, President Ford broadcast the monopoly capitalists’ public go-ahead sign for the fascist movement, saying: “The court decision in that case, in my judgment was not the best solution to quality education in Boston. I have consistently opposed forced busing to achieve racial balance as a solution to quality education. And therefore, I respectfully disagree with the judge’s order.”

Meanwhile the fascists led a school boycott, much publicized by the national news media as a so-called expression of white opposition to busing. Only in South Boston-Roxbury among high school students, did the boycott have any strength. There, on October 14, South Boston High had 50 per cent Black attendance (400 Black students) and 28 per cent white attendance (307 white students) , the other Blacks staying away because of the racist attacks. In no other part of the city did the boycott have much significance, city-wide absenteeism by November only reaching a little more than double what it was the year previously. On November 7, giving encouragement to the boycott, Garrity ordered that tutoring be provided for all boycotting students whenever they decide to come back to school.

Throughout this period, organized support for integration came mainly from the bourgeois elements in the Black community: the NAACP, Freedom House and the Mass. Congressional Black Caucus, which is prominent among the sponsors of the December 14 demonstration. On October 13, these forces organized a demonstration of 600-1000 to support busing, and on November 30, joined by Mrs. Coretta King (wife of Martin Luther King), they held a demonstration of about 2000. They rely on the capitalists and their state machine to defend the democratic rights of the Black people and oppose the organization of the masses in self-defense. They also regard the white workers as inherently racist and chauvinist and make no effort to appeal to them to overcome the demagogy of the fascists and unite to support the Black people’s democratic rights. In addition, several industrial unions in Boston including the United Steel Workers, International United Electrical Workers, the United Electrical Workers, the United Auto Workers and other unions such as Local 1199 of the Drug and Hospital Workers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees expressed support for the integration of the schools. The AFL-CIO Building Trades Council, however, came out in opposition to integration as did Teamsters Local 25.

The state and local liberal bourgeois politicians have covertly supported the anti-busing movement and opposed the democratic rights of the Black people, hiding their opposition under many guises and professing to support “freedom” and “civil rights”. For several years Mayor White and Governor Sargeant have proposed programs such as Metco (busing Black students only to the white suburbs), a plan also endorsed by Rep. Drinan, well-known liberal, and Michael Dukakis, recently elected Democratic Governor. White and Sargeant also pushed building more ghetto schools, etc., etc., and anything else in order to avoid carrying out the democratic task of integrating the schools. They describe the busing program as imposed from above by the federal government and say the federal government must enforce it. They treat the question as one of “quality education” and not integration, thus giving direct aid to the segregationists and fascists. It was Sargeant who pushed through the legislation in the state legislature to castrate the democratic aspects of the Racial Imbalance Act. As for White, he is a co-defendent in Garrity!s decision, cited for continually approving the Boston School Committee’s segregationist practices by approving their budget year after year. Both White and Sargeant refused to organize proper protection for the Black school children and have openly collaborated with and expressed sympathy for the anti-busing movement. Dukakis, the recently elected Democratic Governor, advocates segregation under the signboard of “community control”, which would sanction the creation of actual de facto-segregated neighborhood white schools in South Boston and elsewhere while claiming to support the “right ” of the Black people to remain in the ghettoes and administer a few of the inferior school programs that would be offered to them.

As for Garrity himself, forced to hand down such an opinion, he has done a lot to weaken its effects. Limiting the busing essentially to only one of the places where it is really needed, he gave the fascist movement a perfect target and chance to organize, allowing them to concentrate their forces where they were best organized – in South Boston. He limited the busing almost entirely to high school students, who are easier for the fascists to mobilize, since the whites have already been subjected to years of segregation and indoctrination to feel “different” from,, and hatred for Black students. Further, his order that tutoring be given to the boycotting students directly encouraged the fascist movement.

As for other liberal bourgeois figures in the area who “support” busing, when it came time to defend the democratic rights they were so vociferous in proclaiming, they were nowhere to be found. Kennedy, a big “champion” of civil rights, made hardly a peep to defend the Black children’s right to attend the integrated schools. This is no accident, as it was not long ago that he embraced the arch-segregationist and fascist George Wallace in Alabama, openly revealing the kinship between the liberal bourgeoisie and the fascists.

Thus the claim of the liberal bourgeoisie to support integration and civil rights for the Black people is political deception.

Such is the origin and development of the present situation in Boston, where a fascist mass movement, mobilized by the agents of monopoly capitalist class among the people, has made violent attacks on the Black people’s democratic rights, focusing on opposing their right to attend integrated public schools. It uses the guise of anti-busing and spouts anti-government rhetoric while in fact standing for the most bestial racism and white chauvinism. It has the open blessings of the monopoly capitalist class, including the liberal bourgeoisie. The Black people and their friends have risen up on several occasions in unorganized self-defense and there are the beginnings of a movement to defend their rights on an organized basis. The workers of other nationalities have as yet not come to the defense of the Black people in any numbers and a certain section of white workers have allowed themselves to be turned against their class interests and into hangmen for the bourgeoisie, to attack the Black people.

Such a situation must change, and it will change provided the progressive people in Boston organize themselves and the revolutionaries go among the workers of all nationalities and explain to them the importance of defending the democratic rights of their most oppressed brothers and sisters.


Busing, a form of school integration, is a concession by the bourgeoisie to the struggle of the Afro-American people. During the 1950’s and 60’s the struggle of the Black people raged for freedom and equal rights and against racial discrimination and violent repression. In the course of this struggle the capitalists were forced to make certain concessions under the pressure of the masses. Even when these were made in words, however, it was not until the masses of the Black people arose in their millions that any of the promises of the bourgeoisie were carried out.

School integration itself was not given by the capitalists through any sort of “benevolence” but the limited degree to which it has been achieved in the South (and integration, like ”any democratic right, is only achievable under capitalism in the most limited and mutilated form) has only been because of the pressure of the masses.

The Black slaves, white workers and farmers were the main force in the Civil War against Slavery. Yet despite that earth-shaking conflict, the slaveowners made every attempt to make a come-back once defeated. Under the domination of the northern bourgeoisie the former slave-owners reversed the revolutionary bourgeois-democratic struggle of the Reconstruction period, denied the Black people land and democratic rights and drove them back into semi-slavery, bound to the semi-feudal plantations under the sharecropper system. This reaction backed by the northern capitalists resulted in forging the Black people into an oppressed nation in the Black Belt area of the South. The reactionary political and social policies of the bourgeoisie were recognized by the U. S, Supreme Court in the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision in 1896 which declared that the Black people would be “separate but equal”. Thus the entire segregationist system including schools, was built up on the plantation basis and Black people were deprived of nearly all the rights they had won in the Civil War.

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, Blacks migrated from the plantation South to become industrial workers in the modern industry of the North and West. There they entered by the millions into the struggles of the workers to organize themselves into industrial unions and the advanced Black workers came forward to join the Communist Party while it was still a revolutionary party. Blacks participated by the millions in World War II against fascism. All through this period, often under communist leadership, the Afro-American’ people waged militant struggles against racial discrimination while the Black workers participated vigorously in the struggles of the workers against the capitalist class. Struggles were waged against lynching, against the sharecropper system and against the Jim Crow segregation that permeated the life of the Black people, especially in the South. But the Jim Crow system in schools and all aspects of Black people’s life was still intact at the end of the 1940’s.

After World War II capitalist industry and mechanization of agriculture began to develop rapidly in the Black Belt South. Still more Afro-Americans migrated to the northern and western cities. Internationally, the tremendous upsurge of the national liberation movement in Asia, Latin America, and particularly in Africa, where many countries shook off the chains of colonialism and achieved national independence, aroused great enthusiasm among the Black people. The American bourgeoisie came under the fire of more and more criticism internationally for its racial discrimination against the Black people. At the same time, the socialist camp came into existence with the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and one-third of the world’s people stood outside the capitalist system. Tremendous numbers of Black people were workers by the middle 1950’s; the isolation caused by the plantation system in the South was breaking down; and the Black people became more and more aroused to demand an end to racial discrimination and violent repression while the possibility of organizing a large-scale mass movement grew.

In 1950, mass struggles broke out in several southern counties – Clarendon County, South Carolina, and Prince Edwards County, Virginia, – demanding integration of the schools as the only means by which to improve the miserable educational conditions forced on the Black people under the segregated system. The NAACP brought suits in the Supreme Court demanding school integration. Under the pressure of a large-scale campaign among the Black people, the Supreme Court passed the Brown vs. Bd. of Education decision, declaring that “separate but equal” was inherently unequal and calling for school integration in the South. True to the anti-democratic nature of the imperialist bourgeoisie, the Supreme Court the next year provided a loophole to its “democratic” order, declaring that it could be implemented “with all deliberate speed”. In the following years, virtually no integration took place as President Eisenhower would not act on the question, and as the Southern bourgeoisie drew up its racist Southern Manifesto vowing to resist integration. In fact, it wasn’t until after the massive south-wide Civil Rights Movement took place in 1961-4 that the bourgeoisie passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act containing the threat of a cut in federal funds for school districts that did not integrate their schools. To prevent the desegregation of schools the southern authorities pushed through numerous “freedom of choice” plans. By February 1967 the federal government had cut off funds to only 39 out of the thousands of segregated school districts in the South. Then, between 1965 and 1968, the great Black rebellions took place in the northern cities, such a revolutionary upsurge as had never been seen before in the United States. Thrown into a panic, the bourgeoisie hastily pulled together the Kerner Commission and issued a study expressing their fear of the revolutionary potential of the Black youth in the northern cities. In particular, they complained that without an equal education and therefore without hope of getting jobs equal to the white workers, the Black youths would persist in disrupting the entire functioning of the capitalist society. Only then did any of the bourgeoisie act. Initial integration was forced through against all racist resistance in the South. In 1968. ’69 and ’71 the U.S. Supreme Court passed decisions striking down the “freedom of choice” plans, striking down the “with all deliberate speed” loophole and, in the most significant decision, in Swann vs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, ordered busing across city lines to achieve school integration. In the course of these cases, the bourgeoisie admitted that the de jure – de facto distinction is meaningless, since in all the big cities the schools are segregated both according to housing patterns and deliberately by the school authorities.

Busing programs were put into effect in many cities, including Charlotte, N.C., Little Rock, Tampa, Memphis, Berkeley, Denver, Philadelphia, Jacksonville and others, without especial difficulty. Immediately the monopoly capitalists struck back at this concession through Richard Nixon, who as President worked to mobilize a segregationist movement in the form of anti-busing. He stacked the Supreme Court to prevent any further democratic decisions, sought and carried out every kind of delay and encouraged the movement to get a Constitutional amendment to ban busing. In 1972 he sent a bill to Congress to stop busing, which was followed by a flood of anti-busing bills and amendments. Supreme Court Justice Burger, a Nixon appointee, said that the Swann case should not be interpreted as approving fixing racial quotas in school districts. Finally, in 1974, the Nixon Supreme Court passed its main blow against school integration, declaring that the proposal to integrate the Detroit schools by busing across the city lines (Metro busing) was unconstitutional.

Thus the big bourgeoisie continued to opposed the integration of schools, only granting a few concessions under the pressure of the peak of the Afro-American struggle. Today, a certain amount of school integration has taken place in the South. But when it came to the question of extending integration to the northern cities, the monopoly capitalists, led by Nixon, went to great lengths to oppose it. Today the monopoly capitalists are on the offensive against school integration, just as they are attacking the democratic rights of the Black people and other oppressed nationalities all along the line. The denial of Metro busing in the Detroit case means that school integration may not take place in any significant measure in the dozen or so major cities where the Black population is 50 per cent or more, where simply shifting the smaller white population around within the city would have little significance. More and more openly the bourgeoisie are shedding whatever masks they had put on in the ’60’s as “friends of the Black people” and “civil rights advocates” and openly declaring their plans to drive the Black people back into semi-slavery. The anti-busing Constitutional amendment has passed in 18 states. 90 per cent of the country’s mayors have declared that they are “neutral” on busing. President Ford is following in Nixon’s footsteps in opposing busing. Sen. Kennedy is making agreements with George Wallace. Senator Sam Ervin, much promoted as a “Constitutional expert” during the Watergate investigations, has declared that busing is ”unconstitutional”. Finally, the House of Representatives voted recently to prevent the federal government from collecting statistics on the race or sex in education. If passed by the Senate, this bill would effectively prevent the enforcement of any of the civil rights legislation or Court decisions. Thus the monopoly capitalists as a whole are opposing the extension of school integration to the north and in fact are calling for and preparing to carry out its roll-back in the South as well.

Such policies in the educational sphere are part and parcel of the increasing drive for fascism being developed by the monopoly capitalists. Staggering under the economic crisis, the big bourgeoisie is looking for a way out by shifting the burden of the crisis onto the working masses. This means suppressing the working class and in particular the people of the oppressed nationalities in order to carry out increased exploitation. School integration would promote a united struggle by the working class against the capitalists. But to mobilize white working people into a fascist mass movement of attack on the Black people would assist the monopoly capitalists in suppressing the Black people and also in splitting and suppressing the struggles of the entire working class, especially as the deepening crisis is leading to an upsurge in the workers’ movement. In 1970, when the U.S. imperialists were hard hit by the struggles of the Indo-Chinese people abroad and by’ the movement against the imperialist war at home, they attempted to start a fascist mass movement called the “hard-hat” movement, in order to mobilize construction and other workers to attack the progressive people. This attempt failed because it met with militant resistance from the revolutionary people. In 1972, the bourgeoisie sought to develop a fascist mass movement on the question of busing in Pontiac, Michigan, and to spread it to the rest of the country. This also failed. Now the bourgeoisie is trying again, this time with a certain amount of success. This time, too, they must be opposed.

The capitalists’ attempt to build a fascist mass movement on the question of busing is a harbinger of their plans for the fascization of U.S. society. The anti-busing movement is not simply a racist and chauvinist movement against the Black people, but it is an attempt to speed-up the process of fascization in the U. S. by developing a fascist movement complete with anti-government rhetoric, flag-waving American national chauvinism, anti-communism, and especially racism and white chauvinism against the Black people. The presence and open and full participation of the Klan and the nazis shows the nature of the movement. Even the fights which have taken place between the anti-busing forces and the police have been immediately followed by attacks on Blacks. Fascism does not come to America bearing swastikas, but instead it comes draped in the American flag, portraying itself as the defender of the Constitution and shouting loud and long about “American democracy”. This democracy is only democracy for the capitalist exploiters and their fascist agents; where there is democracy for the bourgeoisie and fascists there can be no democracy for the working class and the Black people. Such is the fascist nature of the anti-busing movement.


The anti-busing movement is a fascist movement of attack on the democratic rights of the Black people and other oppressed nationalities by the monopoly capitalist class. It attempts to split the working class by mobilizing some white workers to blindly go against their true class interests, become the hangmen and lynch-mobs of the bourgeoisie and go on a campaign of pogroms against the Black people. In this way the monopoly capitalists hope to consolidate their rule and wipe out opposition among from the national minorities and workers in the heat of the crisis. At the same time that the big bourgeoisie generally openly supports the anti-busing movement, various liberal bourgeois spokesmen claim to support integration. But in fact, this is only political deception. The recent history of the struggle of the Afro-American people shows that the capitalists only claim to be for democratic rights. They act only when a concession is wrenched out of them by the masses. Then they sabotage, limit and mutilate the democratic concession until it becomes nearly meaningless, unless it is enforced by the masses through continued struggle. Finally, the liberal bourgeoisie sends its agents into the democratic mass movement to teach it to rely on the capitalist government, practice non-violence and in other ways to make it defenseless before the fascist onslaught of monopoly capital.

The working class supports school integration because it is a matter of winning what limited democratic rights are possible for the Black people and the workers as a whole under the dictatorship of the monopoly capitalist class. It provides a wider field for the class struggle of the entire working class (for example, school integration opens up contact among the working-class youth of different nationalities and prepares them to unite when they enter the factories). Thus, school integration and other democratic rights of the Black people also serve the interest of the entire working class, since they assist them to unite against their common enemy, the capitalist class, in order to wage revolutionary struggle. But monopoly capitalism will concede only the most limited democratic rights, as the history of the Black people proves. The working class and oppressed masses can only achieve real democracy by overthrowing the dictatorship of the handful of capitalists, and replacing it with the dictatorship of the proletariat, of the vast majority.

In addition to integration as a democratic right, the working class should demand full rights for all nationalities in the integrated schools. That is, that the Black and other national minority students should have the right to be taught the history of their people and their culture and language (as in the case – of Spanish, etc.), and to have teachers of their nationality hired proportionally to teach them.

In order to oppose the developing fascization of U.S. society, the workers of all nationalities, together with all revolutionary people, should unite and oppose the fascist anti-busing movement in Boston and wherever it appears and defend the democratic rights of the Black people and other oppressed national minorities. White workers, especially, to whom the bourgeoisie is looking to supply the cannon-fodder for the fascist mass movement, should come forward and strike the shackles from the necks of the Black people and thereby unite the entire working class against the capitalist class.

In 1933, the League of Struggle for Negro Rights, organized by the Communist Party, called upon the Black and white workers to unite to defend the democratic rights of the Black people and jointly overthrow the rule of capital. They appealed to the workers:

Today a new class has arisen to assume command of the march of history. That class is the working class. In its hand lies the fate of the future; it alone possesses the ability to so transform the present foundations of society as to wipe out once and for all the oppression of the vast majority of the people by a small group of exploiters, to eradicate for all time the causes of the present plight of the Negro people. Just as the fate of the Negro people is inextricably bound to that of the working class, the white workers cannot strike the fetters of wage slavery from their neck unless they strike the shackles from the Negro people....

Unless white labor wishes to be dragged down to the oppressed and degraded position of the Negro toilers, unless it wishes heaped upon itself also the thousand and one persecutions which plague labor with black . . . unless it wishes to remain in perpetual wage bondage and misery, let white labor extend its arm of alliance and solidarity on every issue which faces it as well as the Negro people! It devolves upon the white workers to cast to the winds the least stench of the slave market and the lynching post still clinging to them if they are to appear in their full grandeur as the makers of history and the molders the future. Unless they do this, they cannot rightfully claim the Negro people as their allies, they will be deprived of that powerful black arm in the struggle against the adversary. The only way the white workers can break through the wall of mutual distrust that has been erected by three centuries of the oppression of Negroes in this country is to step forward as the champions of the cause of Negro liberation. They must emblazon on the banner of labor the demands born in the struggle for Negro liberation.

This is the only way for the white workers to remain true to the tradition of the Irish workers of Boston of 1841, when they so vigorously denounced the slave power and vowed to shed their blood in the defense of their Black brothers and sisters. Only in this way can the American working class unite for the proletarian revolution.