MIA: History: ETOL: Document: Education for Socialist Bulletin: The Fight Against Fascism in the USA.

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—Socialist Workers Party [US] Education for Socialist Bulletins—

The Fight Against Fascism in the USA

Appendix C: Defense of Anti-Nazi Demonstrators Scores Victory!

excerpted from the June 1975 issue of Young Spartacus

“If the enemy had known how weak we were, it would probably have reduced us to jelly. …. It would have crushed in blood the very beginning of our work.”—Goebbels

San Francisco—A concerted attempt by the administration of San Francisco State University (SFS) to purge organizations charged with “disruption” in connection with the militant demonstration that drove the Nazis off campus on March 10 has been thwarted. The successful anti-Nazi demonstration and the aggressive, resourceful defense campaign, for both of which the Spartacus Youth League was centrally responsible, stand as significant examples for left-wing activists, who increasingly will come face-to-face with the fascists and other right-wing goons.

On May 6 Associate Dean of Students Sandra Duffleld ruled that “no action should be taken regarding the groups allegedly or admittedly involved” in the antifascist demonstration namely the SYL, Progressive Labor Party and the Revolutionary Student Brigade. The ruling was made on the basis of the recommendation by the Organizational Review Committee that “no action be taken against any group named.”

Both the ORC recommendation and the Duffleld decision, however, maintain that a “disruption” occurred and reaffirm the “right”—of the fascist scum to “free speech” on campus in the future. Both assert that such “disruptions” should be prevented by ensuring that cops are mobilized on campus for any future demonstrations. With this warning, the administration has backed off from pursuing the witchhunt. However, one of the students who originally filed charges against the SYL, PL and the RSB has now stated his intention to appeal the Duffleld decision. Whether or not the administration will choose to renew its campaign against the left through this appeal is not at this time clear. While Duffield has spoken unsympathetically of the appeal, the Dean of Student Affairs,

responsible for making a ruling in the case of such an appeal, has not yet released a statement. This Dean was one of the first to denounce the March 10 demonstration as a “disruption” and was responsible for initiating the “investigation” into the action.

Militants Demonstrate, Fascists Cower

The so-called “disruption” on March 10 was the outcome of a militant demonstration by 100-150 students, faculty and trade unionists which had been called by the Ad Hoc Committee to Stop the Fascists, a united front initiated by the SYL around the demand, “No Platform for Fascists!” […] Unfortunately having been invited to make a “presentation” to a speech class, “Advocacy and Issues,” the fascist feces dared not to appear before the class and instead cowered in a nearby office, spewing their filth to

reporters seeking a sensationalist story.

When the demonstrators discovered their lair, the cops arrived and tried to escort these aspiring SS men to their waiting army surplus truck. Several of the fleeing rodents were pummeled by angry demonstrators before they were able to make their getaway under cop protection.

In a statement distributed at SF State the following day the SYL solidarized with the “education” given the Nazis, declaring:. “This is just as it should be. There is no legitimate platform for would-be Hitlers. The abstract question of ‘free speech’ to such small-time petty thugs is clearly subordinate to the class question of defense of minorities and the labor movement as a whole.” Communists and labor militants recognize no democratic rights for fascists, who terrorize and murder black people today and who would stoke ovens with mountains of corpses should they rise to power. The leaflet went on to caution that the administration might well seize upon the “disruption” to attempt reprisals against the campus left involved in the action.


The administration began quickly to begin whipping up an atmosphere for a witch hunt of student radicals. Within hours of the demonstration, SFS President Romberg issued a public statement which thundered, “We will not tolerate the destruction of academic freedom at San Francisco State University by an organization which denies the reasonable exercise .of free speech by others.” Two days later, Romberg’s lackey, Dean of Humanities Leo Young, brought formal charges against the Spartacus Youth League, PL, RSB and the Jewish Lesbian Gang, demanding that they be barred from campus, quite a denial of “free speech”! The Dean of Student Affairs then rushed out letters to all students registered in the class requesting them to fink on the demonstrators.

The bourgeois media likewise fully backed up the witchhunting administration. The San Francisco Chronicle (March 12) vented its spleen on the demonstrators in an editorial that equated the protestors with the fascists. Other papers and radio stations blared shrill editorials hypocritically ranting about “free speech” and the U.S. Constitution.

On campus, hostility to the demonstration was also widespread, even affecting many students who considered themselves to be left-wing radicals. For several weeks the campus newspaper was deluged with letters denouncing the denial of “free speech” to the Nazis—more accurately, to anyone, including the Nazis. The letters particularly criticized the SYL, the recognized leader of the united-front demonstration.

SYL Initiates Defense Campaign

As soon as the charges became public, the SYL began to organize the March 10 Defense Committee (M10) as a united front based on the slogans, “Stop the Witchhunt!,

Drop the Charges!, No Reprisals!” The M10 Committee held a press conference, at which attorney Charles Garry, Charles Jackson (former activist in the SFS Black Student Union), several trade-union militants, and a representative of the SYL spoke.

The M10 Committee held fund-raising events, notably the showing of the film “Night and Fog,” which depicts the sickening horrors of Nazi barbarism in searing images that shatter pedantic, academic disputations on the “moral right” of the fascists to “free speech.” The SYL also held forums on campus pedagogically explaining the nature of fascist movements and the working-class strategy to defeat fascism.

Before an audience of over 150 students and faculty the SYL debated the proposition “No Platform for Fascists” with the liberal professors Keller and McGuckin who were responsible for inviting the Nazi swine on campus. Against the pervasive liberal attitude on campus, most articulately voiced by Keller and McGuckin, that fascism can be defeated in the “free marketplace of ideas,” the SYL in one of its several special Young Spartacus supplements argued:

“Fascism is a military phenomenon. It cannot be defeated through polemical struggle. We didn’t organize on March 10 around ‘No Platform for Fascists’ because we stand in fear of fascist ‘ideas’. {…] Rather, we refuse to wait until the fascists get strong enough to carry out their terrorist program, possibly taking the precious lives of some workers and leftists, before we act against it.” […]

The “respectable” YSA, which had done absolutely nothing to protest the appearance of the Nazis on campus, echoed the wail of the liberals and smeared the militant demonstration as “unfortunate,” “counterproductive,” and even a “disruption.” These tongue-clicking “Trotskyists” lecture that fascism should be discouraged through “an educational campaign” (Zengers, March 10, 1975)! But when it came to defending the left under administration attack, the YSA flounced out of the M10 Committee and

did absolutely nothing, not even an “educational campaign,” to beat back the witch-hunt. […]