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Lynching Campaign Against Zangara

(February 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 10, 20 February 1933, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The jackal press has let loose a veritable furore against the would-be-killer of Franklin D. Roosevelt. This same ruling class to which the death of hundreds of workers and their families by starvation is just a daily event, which murders workers on the picket without an afterthought, which sent millions of young workers to the slaughter house of the world war with equanimity sets up a lynching howl against Zangara – a product of the self-same system. How shallow does this indignation sound from the pen prostitutes who lose no opportunity to sanction a Negro lynching in the bourbon South!

It is not Cermak, mayor of Chicago (who is responsible for the shooting of demonstrating unemployed), but Zangara who is the victim of this affair. Four years of starvation have not failed to leave their effects upon the working class. It has aroused bitter resentment in the hearts of the oppressed. Zangara attempt on the life of the president-elect is a misguided expression of this burning discontent. It is the intensive exploitation, and the years of hunger regime that drove Zangara to this desperate expedient – those who reap the wind sow the whirlwind.

The method which Zangara chose to indicate his opposition to the rule of the parasitic capitalist class is not the method of the Communists. We do not support individual terror. On the contrary, the annals of the revolutionary movement is rich in its implacable opposition to this petty bourgeois tactic. It is not out of any moral considerations that we oppose terroristic actions of an individual character. The blood of proletarian fighters covers the hands of the capitalist hirelings. It is they who sent Sacco-Vanzetti to a hideous death. It is they who hold Tom Mooney in a living tomb for a crime which the whole world knows he never committed. The day of reckoning with the barons of murder and profit will yet arrive. But it will never advance one step by individual terrorism. While a capitalist society exists the death of any one of these officials will change nothing. There are hundreds, nay, thousands of lackeys who can and will take the place of the officials. What is responsible for the wretched conditions of today is not the individual, but the class system of capitalism. And the way to abolish the system is not by petty-bourgeois, anarchist terror but by united action of the million masses in determined struggle against all forms of class oppression. It is only on this scientific Marxian basis that we take our stand against individual action. With the same vigor we will stand against any attempt to lynch or persecute the real victim, Zangara.

Undoubtedly, the master class will try to utilize this event to stir up an “anti-red” hysteria or some sort of a drive against the foreign-born revolutionary workers. But our position is clear. The capitalist class cannot mask the privation into which it has driven the masses by a “red herring” of this kind. Our fight will go on to the end.

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Last updated: 16 April 2015