Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Frenzied Maoists on Gangster Binge

Halt RSB Hooliganism!


First Published: Young Spartacus,#41, March 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In Boston during February the Revolutionary Student Brigade (RSB), the youth group of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), has run amok in a campaign of threats, harassment, provocation and hooligan attacks against the Spartacus Youth League at Boston University (BU). Well known and justly despised for thuggery against its political opponents on the left, the RSB has been roundly denounced for its gangsterism against the SYL in a statement signed by several faculty members and the black student organizations at BU.

This most recent campaign against the SYL at BU began on February 3, when a lone SYL supporter was set upon by three RSB goons in the George Sherman Union (GSU) an hour before a scheduled “public” class sponsored by the RSB. One of the Stalinist hoods shoved the SYL comrade against a wall and hissed, “You better not show up tonight.”

Determined to defend our democratic right to distribute literature in any public area, the SYL refused to be cowed by such threats, and a Young Spartacus sales team was dispatched to the area near the room where the RSB class was scheduled. But in the public hallway forty feet away from this classroom a group of frantic RSB supporters confronted our comrades and warned that we would not be allowed in the area. When the SYL sales team declared its intention to sell Young Spartacus and hand out flyers in front of the class, the RSB started a fight.

During the melee one RSB thug suffered a bloodied head while another received an arm injury. As the SYL withdrew from the scene, several RSB goons threatened to “get” SYL members later, and one of the Maoists spewed racist epithets, referring to a black SYL supporter as “curly head.”

Then, in an act of cowardice and hypocrisy, the RSB ran to the agents of the BU administration in the GSU building, knowing full well that this would provoke the intervention of the campus cops. Indeed, the next day, when the SYL set up its literature table in the student center, the RSB in the company of campus cops fingered SYL supporters, charging them with an unprovoked assault!

Maoist Gangsterism – The Record

But it is the RCP/RSB which is smeared by a long record of gangsterism, threats and harassment directed against its leftist critics. Only space limits the list of RCP/RSB thuggery:

At BU last October 21, RCP/RSB goons assaulted three SYL members who were selling Young Spartacus outside a showing of “Ten Days That Shook the World.” In this unprovoked attack one SYL comrade was thrown to the floor, another slammed against a wall, and a third kicked in the groin. A petition condemning the RSB’s thuggery was published in the campus press.

At BU on January 25 an RCP/RSB petty thug snarled at an SYL member, “You’re going to be floating down the river just like the dead Vietnamese. Trotskyites.”

In New York last spring the RSB launched an unprovoked assault on the SYL at an anti-ROTC picket line at Columbia. Outnumbering the SYL by at least 4-to-l, the RSB knocked three comrades to the ground and then repeatedly kicked them in the back and neck; so brutal was this attack that one SYL comrade was hospitalized. This attack was roundly condemned by numerous campus organizations in a statement which appeared in the Columbia Spectator.

In San Francisco on June 1, 1974, the Revolutionary Union (RU, forerunner of the RCP) harassed militant trade unionists passing out pro-ERA literature at a women’s rights rally. An SL supporter who came to the aid of the militants was jumped by the Maoists and had his ear lobe bitten off-yes, bitten off!! by one of these rabid Stalinists.

In Fremont, California, the RU had repeatedly threatened socialist newspaper salesmen outside the General Motors plant. In response the workers of UAW Local 1364 on October 8,1973, passed the following motion,

“No member of this union shall attempt to prevent the sales or distribution outside the plant gate of the literature of the various labor/socialist groups, since this violates the basic tradition of free and open discussion within the labor movement.”

On April 11, the RSB in Los Angeles attacked members of the Progressive Labor Party who were attempting to join a demonstration protesting Moshe Dayan.

On October 24, 1974, the Guardian reported an invasion of its New York offices by RU members trying to use “strong-arm tactics” on the Guardian staff.

On February 21, 1975, and June 13, 1975, the Militant carried reports of RCP /RSB attacks on Militant salesmen in Denver and Portland.

The list is endless!

RSB Invites Administration Repression

By fingering the SYL the RSB has provided the Boston University administration with a pretext for a crackdown on the entire left on campus. The BU administration has a long history of repression against students, faculty and workers. In October 1974, the BU administration prosecuted some students protesting a conference at the reactionary Center for Latin American Development Studies (CLADS). During the past period the BU administration has fought against faculty unionizing drives and is currently involved in a court suit to deny union recognition. It has fired BU clinic workers solely for political activity and refused to allocate funds to these workers as mandated in a student referendum.

So, as a result of the RSB complaint, on February 4 the administration announced the suspension of the SYL from the campus, without providing charges, evidence or a trial. The administration then demanded that the SYL appear before an “unofficial” hearing on the “incident” involving the RSB. The SYL immediately responded with a leaflet stating: “We oppose testifying to the administration against any left group and will refuse to do so even when it involves our own defense... Keep the administration out of the affairs of BU students, faculty, and workers!”

In contrast to the enthusiastic cooperation the BU administrators received from the RSB, the SYL categorically refused to supply any details of the incident and refused to incriminate the RSB in any way during the forced hearing. The BU bureaucrats felt compelled to lift the suspension, having no evidence to back up the slanderous claims of the RSB. But the administration imposed a de facto suspension on the SYL and the RSB. “You might say that they are on probation,” one bureaucrat stated (The Daily Free Press, 9 February 1976).

As a result of its collusion with the BU officials the RSB has facilitated the further tightening of restrictions against the left on campus. Sales are now banned in certain areas of the GSU making it difficult for any group to distribute propaganda in the student center. Also the administration has stepped up arbitrary harassment of the left, the SYL in particular. Objecting to our use of the term “class series” they recently threatened to cancel room reservations for the SYL.

Campaign of Threats

In the days and weeks following its ill-considered thug attack on the SYL, the RSB has continued to threaten our comrades. On February 6 in the Boston subway a raving RCP punk confronted an SYL member and threatened to “knife” him. At once the Stalinist was restrained by bystanders and the train conductor. That evening, in front of numerous witnesses in the BU student union, another livid RSB thug threatened to “pay back” an SYL member. Later, eight cowardly RSB supporters were seen lurking outside a YSA forum, but the SYL members attending the forum left the area together with YSA members in a show of force which prevented an RSB ambush.

The SYL has refused to be intimidated by Stalinist threats and thuggery at BU. Combatting the RSB with apolitical campaign, we began to circulate a petition against the RSB’s despicable behavior soon after the February 3 confrontation. The petition stated,

“The undersigned organizations and individuals, considering themselves part of the left and working class movement, and threats made by the RSB against the SYL at Boston University and the Boston area. Despite our political differences we jointly condemn such acts of violence within the left as part of a tendency, which, if escalated, would destroy the entre left. We stand for the right of all left and working class organizations to freely propagate their views in the public domain and to defend themselves against gangster attacks.”

To date this statement has been endorsed by C. Cranston, vice president for Umoja, the BU black student organization; SU professors Murry Levin, Joseph Boskin, Robert Cohen, Ray Sherbill, former president of the BU Student Union; Bill Donahue, Mark Klinedienst, and Tina Sanchez, members of Socialist Union at Clark University; Al Gimmerson, professor at Clark; Jack Roach, professor at the University of Connecticut; Janet Roach, professor at Eastern Connecticut Community College; the Revolutionary Communist League (Internationalist); the Spartacist League; and the Boston University Spartacus Youth League. The petition has been submitted to The News, a weekly student publication at BU.

In addition to circulating this statement the SYL has continued to exercise its democratic right to sell and distribute literature at the BU campus, including at RSB public forums. The RSB’s efforts to stifle revolutionary politics by silencing the revolutionaries has met with signal failure.

Fists as the Handmaiden of Betrayal

Like all Stalinists the RSB resorts to gangsterism because it cannot politically defend its rotten politics. The RSB glorifies Stalin, who used concentration camps, firing squads and assassinations to wipe out the entire leadership of Lenin’s Bolshevik party, and Mao, who has smashed all opposition to his bureaucratic clique and cult of personality, even those oppositions, like the Chinese Trotskyists 25 years ago and the Shanghai rail workers last year, who were loyal to the gains of the Chinese revolution. The RSB’s cringing support for Mao’s foreign policy leads it to line up with Kissinger, the CIA and the imperialist power play in Angola. At the same time the RCP hailed the suppression of the leftist soldiers’ rebellion in Portugal as a “good thing,” since “the social imperialists have been blocked from power” (Revolution, December 1975). In 1971 the RU/RSB apologized for Pakistani genocide in East Bengal and the brutal suppression of the youth revolt in Ceylon.

For the last two years in Boston the RCP has lined up with Louise Day Hicks and even demanded in one newspaper headline, “People Must Unite to Smash the Boston Busing Plan!” The RSB finds so-called “progressive” aspects in the racist offensive against busing but opposes the ERA and denounces homosexuality as “moral depravity” and “capitalist degeneracy.”

It is their reactionary politics as well as their growing isolation that has driven the RSB supporters at BU and elsewhere to low-life thuggery. The RSB punks have reacted by aping the macho “toughness” of the racist “Southie” street gangs.

We Will Defend Workers Democracy!

The SL/SYL has consistently defended the rights of every tendency in the left and labor movement to hold its own meetings, distribute its literature in any public place; attend all public meetings and defend itself from gangster attack. Our commitment to workers democracy is not merely verbal; we actively uphold workers democracy for ourselves and for every left group, including the RSB.

At Boston University, for example, we participated in a defense campaign for all the militants arrested in the 1974 CLADS demonstration, including several supporters of the RSB. At the City College of New York last year the SYL initiated a Committee to Defend the RSB to protest the victimization of RSB supporters after a sit-in at President Marshak’s office. Just last semester the SYL protested the decision of the administration at the State University of New York at Stony Brook to revoke the campus status for the RSB, despite our protest over the RSB’s disgusting exclusionism which had provoked the administration reprisal in the first place.