Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Letter to the Guardian: Two Rallies – Two Lines

First Published: The Guardian, November 13, 1974.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Paul Blumberg, Cleveland, Ohio: Rod Such’s coverage of the Steelworkers convention “Abel Wrecking Steel Union” is a serious distortion of Sept. 23 events and a calculated attempt to narrow and cut the heart out of the struggle against the no-strike deal.

There were two pickets and rallies at the convention. Each represented a different line on how to build the struggle against the no-strike deal and how to build the workers’ movement. The morning rally, built in good part by the October League ML in the District 31 Committee to Defend the Right to Strike, was small in numbers as well as its thinking. It made the struggle against the ENA no-strike agreement the concern of only steelworkers, and said that the struggle centered mainly on convincing delegates to oppose ENA. Its thrust was on “dumping Abel” as the main way to build the struggle. In his speech, Dennis Peskin of the OL emphasized that what was wrong with ENA was that steelworkers didn’t get to vote on it.

The afternoon rally, organized by rank-and-file Steelworkers Committee to Smash the No Strike Deal (initiated by the RU) stood out in sharp contrast. Its approach was to fight the ENA as an all-out attack on the working class by the imperialists as a result of their crumbling system (not just a narrow question of dumping Abel and reforming the United Steelworkers [USW]). Peskin narrowed the struggle by making the main concern Abel’s tyrannical administration. The main aspect is not that we didn’t get to vote on ENA, by that the working class is under attack, with steel as a testing ground for shackling the entire working class.

The afternoon rally was a good example of broadening the struggle and arming the people with an understanding of what we’re up against and how to fight back. The two rallies were opposing lines. Building a steelworkers pressure group vs. building a mass, conscious, fighting workers’ movement.

I hold the second view. The convention is not the place where the ENA will be defeated. The task lies in the masses, not only the convention delegates of the USW.

Lastly, Such distorted reality by saying “250 people were there to urge delegates to oppose Abel’s no-strike agreement.” Maybe 40 or 50 people (the morning rally! were there to do that.

But 250 people were mobilized for the afternoon rally steelworkers, autoworkers, postal workers and students. Not to scurry after delegates but to build a movement to smash the ENA!

Rod Such lumped the two rallies together, under the leadership of a wrong political line. He also gave the false impression that the first rally was the largest and the road ahead.

I don’t know if you’d call this yellow journalism–it sure as hell isn’t red!