Feminism and Marxism: Class view of women’s oppression
In Chicago, Mexico
WW in 1968: Repression breeds resistance
Published Apr 6, 2008 10:32 PM
Editor’s note: Workers World is in its 50th year of publication. Throughout the year, we will share with our readers some of the paper’s content over the past half century. Below are reprints from two articles in 1968—the first one is on the police riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the second one is on the repression against students in Mexico, days before the Olympics where held there.
Sept. 13, 1968
The Lessons of Chicago
By Fred Goldstein
The violence openly inflicted on liberals and radicals alike at the Chicago Democratic Convention confirms that the U.S. ruling lass is entering a new phase in which their reliance upon deception is to be increasingly abandoned in favor of the use of force. The use of violence against the white population (after centuries against the Black) is part of the preparations for stepped-up attacks on the oppressed people around the globe.
All attempts to place the responsibility on the insignificant hired thug of the bosses, Mayor Richard Daley, are calculated to mask this fundamental shift.
Thousands of U.S. troops, tanks, jeeps, and all the other necessities of combat cannot be shifted around the country at the cost of creating great political unrest (to say nothing of the expense) on the say-so of such a relatively low-ranking political stooge as Daley. Nor can National Guard troops be called upon by a mayor.
For that matter, the Chicago Police Department would never dare to “mar the image” of the entire Democratic Party unless it had received explicit orders from the party hierarchy to crack heads. The White House, the Pentagon, the Democratic National Committee and the entire capitalist establishment were all involved in the Chicago operation.
In short, Mayor Daley was working for the ruling class and not they for him, as the bourgeois news media imply when they either condemn or condone “Daley’s handling” of the fascist attack on anti-war protesters in Chicago.
(The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Sept. 3 that it had just allocated $3.9 million to the cities for so-called “riot-control.”)
Of course, the billionaires did not shift from fraud to force arbitrarily. It’s just that their bag of tricks is just about empty and their two war candidates are about equally discredited.
It is no coincidence that they started clubbing, gassing and breaking heads just at the moment when the “peace” campaign of Eugene McCarthy was about to come to an ignominious end. (The police attack on McCarthy headquarters was the final humiliation dealt the liberals and served to illustrate the fascist mood of the ruling class.)
The rulers who rigged the convention long in advance knew that McCarthy was to be discarded in Chicago. And they also knew that thousands of youth whom the McCarthy campaign had kept off the streets would be back on the Chicago streets together with thousands of radical youth who had never fallen for the imperialist-liberal McCarthy in the first place.
So the bosses prepared well ahead of time to deal with the anger and indignation which was as inevitable as the Humphrey-Nixon race. They decided to give the white youth a taste of the treatment hitherto reserved for the Black liberation struggle.
But an important by-product of Chicago is the wave of revulsion of new layers of youth for a parliamentary system which has to defend its candidates from the hatred of the population with bayonets and cubs.
Parliamentary illusions went up with the clouds of tear gas as the war party at the amphitheater steam-rolled over popular anti-war sentiment. “The flow of blood from the heads of unarmed demonstrators in front of the Conrad Hilton made many a convert to the revolutionary struggle.
The bourgeoisie used strong-arm methods to brush the liberals aside and thus demonstrated the fraudulence and the futility of imperialist democracy.
If the liberal politicians folded up at the first show of force by the ruling class, the militant youth did not.
While McCarthy crept off to the side-lines and McGovern stepped back into Humphrey’s fold, the fighting young people who really want and need to end imperialist wars were spontaneously fighting back against the cops. New and militant tactics were being developed simultaneously with the beginnings of change in their ideology.
Several hundred police, who tried to attack a Grant Park rally after someone lowered the American flag, were literally driven away by the youth in the crowd. The cops were hit with everything that could be thrown and then surrounded by barricades of benches and immobilized before they withdrew in defeat.
Mobile street demonstrations were carried out, during which obstacles were strewn about to slow down police cars. Youth at Lincoln Park built such sturdy barricades to keep from being driven from the park that police had to saturate the area with tear gas many times in order to drive them out.
Occasional aggressive forays were made by small bands of youth in search of isolated police on foot or in patrol cars. In general, however, the brutality of the police produced spontaneous retaliation wherever possible.
Many so-called leftists frown upon these new tactics as “adventuristic” and inadequate to defeat such a heavily armed force as the police. But those who are serious about leading a revolutionary struggle against imperialism must take a carefully constructive attitude towards the initial bursts of revolutionary energy shown by the young people in Chicago.
Opponents of imperialism will try to assist the militants to improve their tactics, not throw cold water on them.
In general the Chicago events have shown that the capitalists will always resort to force if popular will stands in the way of their imperialist objectives.
These events have confirmed the Marxist analysis of the state. This resort to violence on the eve of new imperialist crises has pointed out to thousands of young people that revolutionary resistance to boss rule is the only way to stop wars of aggression.
These are the lessons of Chicago.
After Two Months, With Scores Dead –
Mexican Students Fight Back Fearlessly Despite Gov’t Repression, Mounting Deaths
Sept. 24—Mexican students fought an all-night battle using bullets, gasoline bombs and barricades made out of buses after riot police fired point blank into a crowd attending an anti-government rally in Mexico City.
More than fifteen students were killed, many more wounded and hundreds arrested, including leaders, as the struggle against the repression of the Díaz Ordaz government entered into its third month.
Student heroism reached new heights as the government sent the army to occupy the huge vocational school complex in the northern section of the city. Armored cars and patrol wagons guarded school buildings as the school was put under siege. The National University was occupied last week, touching off even greater protests than those which caused the occupation in the first place. It was the first time in 40 years that the army set foot on campus.
The latest atrocities against the students began outside the National Polytechnic Institute when several thousand students gathered in the streets for an anti-government rally. The police fired into the unarmed crowd. The students, seasoned by two months of battle against the army and the hated Grenadiers (Mexico City’s Tactical Patrol Force), were ready and they answered back.
“For the first time,” read a New York Times dispatch of Sept. 24, “the students, most of them of high school age, used firearms on a large scale … students fired on police from school buildings and from nearby houses.”
Gasoline bombs were a principal weapon of the Mexican youth, just like the Black youth in the U.S. Only a block away from one of the schools occupied by the army, teenagers were stopping cars and asking for contributions of gasoline. “For the people of Mexico,” the youths implored the motorists.
The students also seized a gasoline tanker truck, according to an Associated Press dispatch of the same day, during what was described as the fiercest fighting “since the revolutionary days of the 1920s.” The students hurled the Molotov cocktails at buses commandeered by the Grenadiers.
The students were fearless in the face of unprecedented terror and mounting casualties.
“An official at a hospital near the vocational school complex said the figure of 15 known dead was less than the actual death toll because students were seen hauling away some bodies,” according to the AP.
The purpose of the students in seizing their own dead was to counter government lies about student casualties. (Until today the government has not admitted to any student deaths, although the students claim scores were killed.) The police and the army incinerate student corpses.
“When the first student fell, police called on the others to surrender. But the students shouted back, ‘Now we can prove that we have one dead.’” And they would haul away their fallen comrades.
The violent fury of the Díaz Ordaz government against the students grows more intense each day as the scheduled date, Oct. 12, for the opening of the Olympics approaches. But the Mexican guardians of $1 billion in U.S. investments who keep the workers and peasants in slavery in the name of the revolution are facing a youth movement which has proven that it is ready to die in the streets “for the people of Mexico,” much as the July 26 Movement was ready to die for the people of Cuba in the 1950s. And just as in Cuba under Batista, the crisis of Díaz Ordaz in Mexico is the crisis of his U.S. masters.
More America hatred and Marxist love from the Workers World, or whatever the hell it is called. Communists in America, what next? Sheesh…
Note that these two incidents occurred in 1968, during the Prague Spring. I wonder why World Workers or whatever the hell they are called, didnt mention the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia during that same year?