Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Workers Party

1,000 March to Bury Our Fallen Comrades: “..Hold Up the Bloodstained Banner, New Fighters Joining Us to Seize the Time...”


First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 4, No. 20, November 19, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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’We are soldiers in the army
We’ve got to fight though some fall at our side
We’ve got to hold up the bloodstained banner
New fighters joining us to seize the time.’

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Greensboro was an armed camp. The showdown was on – a thousand marchers taking on 1,000 pigs and National Guardsmen. “We are soldiers,” sang the marchers, solemnly and proudly, as the burial procession started and filed up East Market Street against the wind and rain on the way to the cemetery. “We’ve got to fight though some fall at our side.”

“We’ve Got to Hold Up the Bloodstained Banner”

They had come from all over the Black Belt South and as far away as California, Colorado and Ohio to rally around the banner of the Communist Workers Party(CWP). They came in answer to the Party’s call to battle, to fight to bury the five Communist Workers Party comrades who had been brutally assassinated by the Nazi/KKK scum and government agents the week before.

The marchers were determined to provide a fitting burial for Jim, Cesar, Mike, Bill and Sandy – at any cost. It showed in their voices as they sang, “We’ve got to hold up the bloodstained banner.” And most of all it showed in their faces, full of class hatred and disdain, glaring at the long lines of local, state and federal police and National Guardsmen flanking the procession.

Party’s Political Offensive Corners State

The government’s helplessness in stopping the march showed how backed into a corner it was from the very start.

Immediately after the 5 comrades were gunned down at the November 3 anti-Klan rally, Party members and friends stepped forward to take up the banner of the murdered five. Right on the spot, the deep sorrow of the four widows, Signe Waller, Flores Cauce, Marty Nathan and Dale Sampson, became burning hatred. One by one they began agitating over the bodies of their husbands and comrades in arms, linking the Nazi/KKK scum with the government and criminal capitalist system that breeds these hooded, swastika-wearing degenerates.

Their tears turned into powerful indictments against the bourgeoisie and the crowd of community residents that gathered around knew it was all true. “Long Live the Communist Workers Party!” shouted Signe Waller.

Cone, Shaking with Fear, Closes Mill Early

Agitation teams, led by the widows, hit the gates of the textile mills where Jim, Bill, and Sandy had worked, getting the word out to the workers how the three had died and what they died for. The workers crowded around them, glad to see that under the Party’s lead, new fighters were taking Jim, Bill, and Sandy’s place. So afraid were the bosses of the Cone Mills that they had to shut down the White Oak Mill, where Bill had worked, early the day after the killings. Knowing that the three had deep ties with their fellow workers, the Cone bosses panicked and called in state troopers and National Guardsmen to guard the plant gates. On the mill floor foremen carried shotguns. And the same thing was going on all over North Carolina and the whole country. Posters to avenge the Communist Workers Party 5 (CWP 5) went up throughout the country, announcing the funeral march in Greensboro.

Government Declared “State of Emergency” for the Burial of Our Comrades–the CWP 5

The bourgeoisie tried their best to block the masses from pouring out to join the march. First the Greensboro Mayor tried to stop the march, saying no permit would be given. When that didn’t work, he backed off, saying that a burial march didn’t need a permit. Throughout the week, the police and the media were threatening people to stay home for their “safety.” FBI agents swarmed all over the North Carolina A & T campus and the Morningside black community, knocking on doors to scare people into not turning out for the march. They made a special effort to visit mill workers to try to intimidate them. All week long helicopters patrolled over the poor and Afro-American communities in both Greensboro and nearby Durham.

The Party countered with a militant warning to the bourgeoisie. If the Nazis/ KKK come within 25 yards of the procession the government must take the most serious consequences of what happens to the Nazis/Klan. The Communist Workers Party will not permit another Saturday massacre, and will see to it that it never happens a second time.

The bourgeoisie set up a whole apparatus to try to deal with the march. They pulled together a central command at the local pig headquarters with every city, state, and federal law enforcement agency, along with the National Guard, working together. They held daily press conferences, quoting “unnamed sources,” to mislead and confuse the masses. The Mayor of Greensboro was so scared that he was up for 5 days straight and had a nervous breakdown, taking two whole days to recover.

The day before the march, the Mayor declared a state of emergency, setting up roadblocks around the city and the starting point of the march, searching cars and people coming to attend the burial of the CWP 5. State troopers stopped buses and car caravans coming to the march. They searched for weapons, trying to bust the march before it started. But they were no match for the ingenuity and determination of the masses to make the armed burial of the CWP 5 a success. Twenty-six comrades were arrested just hours before the march. The pigs were so uptight that they made the comrades stand with their hands on their heads while the pigs searched the cars twice. All the while other cops stood guard with shotguns pointed nervously at the comrades, and police helicopters hovered overhead. The pigs shook when the comrades began singing revolutionary songs and really freaked out when the comrades chanted, “Long Live the Communist Workers Party!”

On the day of the march, the state pulled out all the stops. They ringed the procession with three layers of troops. The first layer, closest to the marchers, was the local police. National Guardsmen backed up with armored personnel carriers equipped with flame throwers, made up the second layer. On the outside of the Guardsmen were state and federal security agents who shadowed the procession all the way. Overhead two National Guard helicopters circled, and on the rooftops and overpasses flocks of police and FBI sharpshooters perched like vultures. The government was so scared of the masses uniting with the march that they even cut down the bushes along the march route so they could get a clear view of any supporters trying to get into the procession.

Party Determined to Hold Armed Burial March–At Any Cost

The Party and the masses weren’t intimidated one bit by this massive show of government force. We were determined to bury the five comrades at any cost, determined to defend our right of armed self-defense–at any cost. Despite the roadblocks, searches, and the arrests just hours before the procession, the march was armed to the teeth. The government knew it, and there wasn’t a damn thing they could do about it. They didn’t dare to search any of the marchers, fearful of the situation exploding. They knew that if they dared to attack us again like they did in the Saturday massacre, it would only tighten the noose around their own necks. They knew that a second attack would only expose the fascist heart of bourgeois democracy and drive their criminal capitalist system to the brink of no return.

The bourgeoisie is scared stiff of the Party. They know that we will avenge our five comrades a thousand times over. They know that we march under the banner of Marxism-Leninism, and especially Mao Tsetung Thought – that when we are attacked, we will counter-attack a thousand times harder, charging wave upon wave. That’s the invincible spirit of the Party exemplified by the CWP 5 and seen by millions on TV as the comrades charged automatic rifle fire with their bare fists and sticks. And the bourgeoisie knows that this spirit will grow a million-fold.

State Loses Nerve–Punks Out

With all the forces of intimidation and repression at their disposal, the state punked out. They lost their nerve and had to back down, letting the armed procession go on.

Charging forward politically and prepared militarily is what enabled a thousand marchers to take on 1,000 pigs and National Guardsmen and win the battle of nerves.

Heads held high, faces full of class hatred and disdain, glaring at the lines of cops and National Guardsmen, their armored vehicles and helicopters, the march was on. Five-abreast, rank after rank followed the armed honor guard, led by the widows, and the red-draped coffins of the murdered comrades. At the head of the march, two people carried a 7-foot high picture of comrade Jim Waller, Central Committee member of the Communist Workers Party, National Chairman of the Trade Union Educational League, local President of Local 1113T, ACTWU, and a communist folk hero among North Carolina workers. The two carried the picture, mounted on heavy two-by-fours, the entire length of the march–to the cemetery and back – and refused to let anyone relieve them. The whole procession was ablaze with pictures of all five making sure that the spirit of the five will burn deep in the hearts of the masses and haunt the bourgeoisie a thousandfold.

Masses Salute Communist Workers Party Like a Liberation Army

As the procession passed through the community, just before reaching the cemetery, the streets were lined with people who greeted the march as if it were an army of liberation. Under the pouring rain, the masses came out of their houses to salute and chant, stood on rooftops to raise clenched fists of solidarity. One elderly woman sat on her front porch, sweaterless on that cold, rainy day, and watched without saying a word. But she didn’t have to, because the marchers knew where her heart was. They knew that sitting out front was her way of showing her hatred of capitalist oppression and defying the bourgeoisie. It was her way of showing her solidarity with the Communist Workers Party fighters who had given their lives fighting the Klan and Nazis.

And for everyone who came out to salute the procession, thousands more were blocked from getting there by the bourgeoisie. While they were forced to stay home or sit around in corner grocery stores talking about it, they were watching, in spirit with the funeral march all the way – their respect for the Party and its work deepening by the minute. And all of them, both those who were there in body and spirit and those who could only be there in spirit, are part of the new wave of fighters that are stepping forward to embrace the cause of the CWP 5.

At the cemetery, with the procession still in battle formation, comrade Phil Thompson (Communist Workers Party Central Committee member) gave the Party’s eulogy of comrades Jim, Cesar, Mike, Bill and Sandy. He spoke of the threefold significance of the assassinations.

Single Greatest Assassination of Communists in U.S.

He said, “This is the single largest assassination of communists in this country’s history. The CWP 5 were not only fighting against the Klan and Nazis, they were fighting to destroy the entire capitalist system which is the root source of racism and national oppression and daily and constantly breeds Klan and Nazis.” The fact that the bourgeoisie and their state apparatus chose to attack the Communist Workers Party shows how much they fear the Party as the staunchest fighters for the masses’ interests. “A glance at the history of our 5 Party martyrs is like a glance through the encyclopedia of the struggle of the U.S. workers and Afro-American masses,” comrade Phil went on. For example, comrade Jim Waller was elected president of an Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union local after he led a bitter strike at Cone Granite mill, a strike which strengthened the local tremendously and swelled its ranks from 15 to 200. This is just one example of the CWP 5 which represents the Party’s resounding national success in fusing communism with workers and the broad masses. With their brutal assassination of our five comrades, the bourgeoisie is trying to hold back the irreversible preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat in the U.S.

Deaths Make Communism Concrete When People Really Need It

Second, “The CWP 5 are the first communist martyrs since Sacco and Vanzetti and the Rosenbergs. It makes the cause of communism concrete to the U.S. people at a time when they really need it,” comrade Phil continued. “The U.S. workers as a whole are shaking out of the dormant state caused by the lack of a vanguard Party and temporary stabilization of capitalism for close to 30 years.”

The masses can no longer live in the old way and more and more are willing to die for a change in the system. At the same time, the bourgeoisie is hopelessly trapped and entangled among themselves domestically. Internationally, U.S. imperialism can no longer shift the crisis onto third and second world countries. At the same time, the contention between the two superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, is heating up with the danger of a world war greater than ever before. Comrade Phil drew the battle lines clearly: ”There are only two roads—either fight for revolutionary socialism in this country or else the U.S. will march headlong towards fascism and world war 3.”

Avenge the CWP 5: Clarion Call to U.S. People

Third, comrade Phil said, “To avenge the CWP 5 is a clarion call to the whole world and especially to the U.S. people that we’ll make the third time around to seize state power the last time around.” The assassination of the CWP 5 is an attack against all, trying to reverse the developing revolutionary situation and the leadership of a developing revolutionary onslaught against the bourgeoisie. “We are going to seize the time to build up the Communist Workers Party, to prepare for the dictatorship of the proletariat,” declared comrade Phil.

Sunday March Only the Beginning

The Sunday march in Greensboro was a great political victory, and it’s only the beginning. Committees to Avenge the Communist Workers Party 5 are springing up all around the country. The widows of the murdered comrades will be speaking in cities all around the country, the first stop being Washington D.C. on November 20, followed by one in New York City on December 1. The Committees will build up the CWP 5 Memorial Fund, and keep on postering so that none forgets the 5 comrades. Led by the Communist Workers Party, the Committees will turn this country upside down to avenge the CWP 5. Wave upon wave of new soldiers are coming forward to hold up the bloodstained banner of the CWP 5 and new fighters are joining us to seize the time.

Communist Workers Party 5 Can Be Confident They Didn’t Die in Vain

Jim, Cesar, Mike, Bill and Sandy would have loved the idea of being buried in the face of fixed bayonets. They lived and died in controversy as fierce proletarian fighters and a controversial burial, full of stormy and armed confrontation with the bourgeoisie, is a fitting way to honor these comrades. Their murder has whipped up a political storm that will sweep the country, turning it upside down. It’s a storm that will end the criminal rule of the bourgeoisie once and for all, fulfilling the deepest, dying wish of the Communist Workers Party 5. The five’s confidence that their deaths would not be in vain, that it would only bring forward 3, 4 more Jims, Cesars, Mikes, Bills and Sandys, is being borne out all over the country.