Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Workers Party

CWP Shuts Down Democratic Convention For Two Hours

First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 5, No. 32, September 1-7,1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Communist Workers Party shut down the Democratic Convention for two whole hours on August 14, the last night of the Convention. This is something over ten thousand demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic Convention failed to do. As an article for the Village Voice reported: “The Secret Service sealed the Garden for two hours, from about 9:50 to 11:50. They said it was because there were too many people in the Garden. But they wouldn’t let anybody in or out. After awhile they did start to let people leave, but there were about 300 media people locked out.”

“Kennedy Had the Good Sense To Be Scared”

What freaked out the ruling class, their politicians and the Secret Service the most was the CWP’s ability to skillfully combine different forms to serve them notice. During the 1968 Convention protests, demonstrators never even saw the politicians except on TV, much less getting in the Convention hall. But, using passes with the highest security clearance obtained for us by our supporters in high-places, we repeatedly penetrated the Garden security. Our friends indicted the politicians over and over again, with one comrade unfurling a banner right in front of the speaker’s podium. Twice our supporters lit firecrackers on the Convention floor. And on August 14 alone, we got to Carter and served him notice, not once, but twice. “Later I would wonder if Kennedy’s awkwardness and tardiness on the podium, his stiff face and brief appearance, weren’t related to the trouble with the communists. The trouble started after Carter had begun to talk, so he had no way to know what was happening, but Kennedy must have known and maybe he had the good sense to be scared,” observed one perceptive journalist.

At the same time, outside the Garden, the CWP’s bold, frontal political assault stunned the police and Secret Service. We marched right up to the Garden, right up to the pigs and Secret Servicemen, and hammered home our notice. “Greensboro, Miami—Payback Time!” When the pigs broke ranks and attacked the demonstration, they were punished. Twenty-six pigs were hurt, and only 17 demonstrators were arrested. The injuries suffered by the heroic 17 didn’t come from the open street battle, but rather from the torture inflicted on them by the desperate pigs in the backroom of the precinct. What these lowest form of cowards couldn’t do in the streets, they did behind closed doors. During the 1968 Chicago Convention, 668 protestors were arrested and hundreds more were hurt to 192 police injured.

One thing stood out clearer and clearer for the whole country to see during the four Democratic Convention days. On one side was the stale, lifeless Democratic Party, choking on the smell of rotten lies layered upon each other year after year—trying to survive. Alexander Cockburn and James Ridgeway captured the suffocating atmosphere of the Convention when they said that the Republican Convention in Detroit was vigorous in comparison. (Village Voice, August 13-19,1980)

On the other side was the Communist Workers Party, a strong, clean gale to clear away the smoke and decaying smells of capitalist backroom politics, and a beacon to lift the hearts and provide hope to the oppressed of this country.