First Published: The Guardian, July 14, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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As more than 30,000 marched in Philadelphia July 4 in the most significant anti-imperialist demonstration of the year, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) staged its own demonstration across town.
In the first national show of strength of the RCP, 3500 to 4000 people marched in an action of the “Rich Off Our Backs–July 4 Coalition.”
The major slogans of the demonstration were “Jobs or Income–Right Now;” ”We Won’t Fight Another Rich Man’s War” and “We’ve Carried the Rich for 200 Years – Let’s Get Them Off Our Backs.” Contingents from various Revolutionary Student Brigade (RSB) chapters and worker contingents such as Autoworkers United to Fight in ’76 and the United Workers Organization (UWO) marched for about an hour and a half in an organized manner, without incident or arrest.
Noticeably lacking from the demonstration were references to nonworkplace struggles, such as cutbacks in social services. There was no reference to international issues except for the all-inclusive, “We Won’t Fight Another Rich Man’s War.”
The only banner relating to racism was from a Milwaukee youth group and read “No Forced Busing.” This fall, Milwaukee faces court-ordered busing to end school segregation. RCP asserts that in the midst of the current right-wing offensive which uses opposition to busing as a cover to whip up racist hysteria, progressive forces must also unite “to smash busing.” The RCP says busing is a “tool used to divide the working class,” and makes opposition to it, rather than the racist attacks on Blacks, their prime target.
The demonstration, organized by the RCP and RCP-dominated groups such as the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the Unemployed Workers Organizing Committee, UWO and the RSB, was the culmination of three days of activities by the coalition in Philadelphia.
In the last six months, RCP and its organizations had made the July 4 demonstration its main organizing activity. A major portion of the new party’s energy–RCP was formed last fall out of the Revolutionary Union–had gone into this “important step . . . building for the day when we will get [the capitalist parasites] off our backs.”
In other demonstrations by the Rich Off Our Backs coalition during the weekend:
• About 500 people participated in a demonstration July 2 protesting city plans to close Philadelphia General Hospital;
• July 3 actions in support of striking rubber workers and protesting a bicentennial attraction commemorating the Spanish-American War, drawing a combined total of 1200 persons; a cultural event that night, attracting over 2000 people.