Documents

Historical documents are not our primary focus. However, as we come across documents of interest–particularly those that are of relevance to a blog post we have done or are related to one of our Flickr photo albums, we scan and post them. Scroll all the way down on this page to access the historical Washington Area Spark and On The Move newspapers published from 1971-75 and digital copies of other periodicals. The following are categorized by subjects in alphabetical order and by date within each category:

Anarchism and Syndicalism

Weather Underground FBI Wanted Poster  – 1972

While never specifically espousing an anarchist philosophy, the Weather Underground’s political beliefs and actions mirrored some of the characteristics of anarchism. The group formed as a result in a split of the mass student-based organization Students for a Democratic Society in 1969. The Weathermen, as they were originally known, carried out their first major action later in the year—The Days of Rage in Chicago’s streets October 8-11th. Several hundred hard-core activists battled Chicago police over three days under the slogan “Bring the War Home.” A major focus of the demonstration was the trial of the Chicago 8—antiwar leaders of various philosophies charged with fomenting a riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention.

The clashes with police ended with six Weathermen wounded by police gunfire, 287 arrested and a number of other injured. The police suffered several dozen injuries—none serious. Many of those charged failed to appear in court resulting in most of the wanted profiles on the linked document.

The Weather Underground went on to conduct a symbolic bombing campaign of government, industrial or other political targets until 1977 when the group essentially disbanded.

A few members went on to participate in the May 19thCommunist Organization joint action with the Black Liberation Army of a 1981 robbery of a Brinks truck in New Jersey that resulted in the death of a guard and two police officers. Suspects were arrested over a five year period and sentenced to long prison terms.

Antiwar

(See Vietnam War for Indochina conflict)

The Washington Area Resistance Freakout – 1967

The Vietnam-era draft resistance group sponsored an event at Washington’s Ambassador Theater (formerly Knickerbocker) before holding a protest on Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s lawn–1967. The group staged several high profile demonstrations in support of those who refused induction into the armed services  in the Washington, D.C. area.

Hiroshima Day commemoration – 1972

The Washington Area Peace Action Coalition flyer advertising Hiroshima Day events and calling for a planning meeting of interested groups. Hiroshima Day annually marks the 1945 bombing of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. using atomic bombs. The U.S. remains the only country that has used atomic weapons against an enemy–killing an estimated 200,000 Japanese, most of whom were civilians.

Civil Liberties

Virginia communists denounce Heller bill – 1940

The Virginia Communist Party issues a lengthy statement March 11, 1940  condemning the General Assembly for passing the so-called Heller Bill that would deny public facilities to communists or others.

Specifically, the bill would have instructed “custodians of all public buildings in Virginia” to deny the use of such buildings to anyone who “advocate, advise or teach the doctrine that the government of the United States or the Commonwealth of Virginia, or any political subdivision thereof should be overthrown or overturned by force violence or any unlawful means.”

After it passed the state senate without fanfare, a campaign was launmched to defeat the bill in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Delegate Francis Pickins Miller of Fairfax called it “a departure from the policies this state has cherished for three centuries” and declared it would “create a new public officer in Virginia, the custodian of dangerous thoughts.”

Gov. James Price ultimately vetoed the bill in a victory for the communists and civil liberties advocates.

Call for civil rights demonstration in Washington: 1948

An ad hoc committee called the National Non-Partisan Mass Delegation to Washington puts out a flyer calling for a gathering in Washington, D.C. June 2, 1948 to demand Congress pass civil rights legislation.

Specific demands included abolition of the poll tax, a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission (The FEPC existed during World War II—similar to today’s EEOC), ending segregation in the armed forces, and passage federal legislation making lynching a crime.

Two of the main sponsors were NAACP founder W. E. B. DuBois and actor, singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson.

Several thousand attended the demonstration and added defeat of the Mundt-Nixon anti-communist bill to its legislative demands.

Negro Freedom Rally Committee flyer – Sep. 1949

Following the “Peekskill Riot” where a white supremacist mob attacked people who gathered for a Paul Robeson concert, protest rallies were organized around the country, including Washington, D.C.

Marie Richardson flyer – Dec. 1951

As the Second Red Scare moved into full swing, authorities brought felony charges against Marie Richardson Harris for lying on a federal job application. The federal government alleged she was a member of the Communist Party. Harris held the Library of Congress job for 2-3 months and handled no classified information. However, she had been the first black woman to hold a full-time union position in a national union (United Federal Workers) and was executive secretary of the local National Negro Congress. She served 4 ½ years in prison.

The case of Marie Richardson Harris: The victim of a modern witch-hunt – 1952

The Committee to Defend Marie Richardson Harris publishes an 8-page description of the case and appeals for help defending Ms. Harris who was sentenced to prison for failing to disclose communist affiliations on a government job application.

As the Second Red Scare moved into full swing, authorities brought felony charges against Marie Richardson Harris for lying on a federal job application. The federal government alleged she was a member of the Communist Party. Harris held the Library of Congress job for 2-3 months and handled no classified information. However, she had been the first black woman to hold a full-time union position in a national union (United Federal Workers) and was executive secretary of the local National Negro Congress. She served 4 ½ years in prison.

Her defense committee had a fundraiser broken up by D.C. police and itself was later designated as a subversive organization by the U.S. government.

NLRB non-communist affidavit – circa 1955

The Taft-Harley Act passed in 1948 prohibited members of the Communist Party from holding labor union office if the union were to use provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. It required officers to sign a “non-communist affidavit” in order for the union to be eligible for National Labor Relations Board services and the use of the law in disputes with employers. The unions of the American Federation of Labor quickly agreed to this, but the Congress of Industrial Organizations briefly resisted and tried to use non-compliance with signing the affidavit as a direct action way of neutralizing other anti-labor provisions in the Taft-Hartley Act such as prohibition on secondary boycotts, sympathy strikes, authorization for states to enact so-called “right to work” laws, among others.

The refusal to sign quickly collapsed as major unions such as the United Auto Workers signed and anti-communist fervor swept the U.S. It wasn’t long before the CIO expelled or forced out 11 major national unions for alleged communist-domination and all the remaining union leaders signed the affidavits.

Many mark the decline of the labor movement to the Taft Harley Act and the inability of labor to wage effective resistance.

A flyer protesting HUAC hearings in D.C. – 1968

A September 1968 flyer advertising protests at the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings in Washington, D.C. into the clashes at the 1968 Democratic Convention. The flyer is unsigned, but lists the alternative newspaper Washington Free Press as a contact on the reverse side. At the hearing, prominent Yippie Abbie Hoffman was arrested for wearing an American flag shirt while his compatriot Jerry Rubin was hustled out of the hearing when he showed up bare-chested with an ammunition bandolier and a toy M-16 rifle [see Rubin and Hoffman]. Rubin and other Yippies tried to stand in silent protest of the “unfair treatment” they received at the hands of the committee.

The Day After (TDA) Watergate protest flyer – 1970

A flyer advertises for a The Day After demonstration to protest the pending verdicts of the Chicago 8—defendants charged with fomenting disturbances at the 1968 Democratic Convention by their speech. The 600-1000 demonstrators who gathered would later march on the Watergate home of Attorney General John Mitchell (People’s Tour of the Watergate) where they clashed with police in some of the bitterest street fighting in D.C. of the anti-Vietnam War period. Fighting broke out between police who used batons and tear gas and protesters who used rocks, bottles and sticks. 145 people were arrested during the hours-long confrontation that followed the initial halt of the march. The 145 were later awarded damages after a lawsuit. The demonstration was organized weeks in advance with leaflets advertising “The Day After (TDA)” the verdict with a time and place to gather.  The TDA was used multiple times over the next few years as a way to spread the word about an action in the pre-internet era.

This flyer should be viewed in conjunction with a related flyer below.

A flyer containing a map called a “Tour Guide” for the Watergate The Day After demonstration  – 1970

A “tour guide” map of a planned demonstration to follow the verdict in the Chicago 7 (formerly Chicago 8) trial produced in February 1970. The creators are not known.

The defendants were charged with fomenting disturbances at the 1968 Democratic Convention.

The 600-1000 demonstrators who gathered would later march on the Watergate home of Attorney General John Mitchell (People’s Tour of the Watergate) where they clashed with police in some of the bitterest street fighting in D.C. of the anti-Vietnam War period.

Fighting broke out between police who used batons and tear gas and protesters who used rocks, bottles and sticks. 145 people were arrested during the hours-long confrontation that followed the initial halt of the march. The 145 were later awarded damages after a lawsuit. The demonstration was organized weeks in advance with leaflets advertising “The Day After (TDA)” the verdict with a time and place to gather.  The TDA was used multiple times over the next few years as a way to spread the word about an action in the pre-internet era.

This flyer should be viewed in conjunction with a related flyer above.

Dillingham for Sheriff poster – 1970

A full page ad in the alternative newspaper Quicksilver Times was the only expense J. Brinton “Brint” Dillingham recorded during his September 15, 1970 Democratic primary quest for Sheriff of Montgomery County, Md.

Dillingham campaigned on freeing all political prisoners, including those incarcerated because of their economic status, and disarming sheriffs’ deputies. Early in the campaign in November 1969, Dillingham blasted incumbent Sheriff Ralph W. Offutt charging that sheriff’s deputies used undue force in shooting a convicted cattle rustler in the rump when he tried to escape from jail.” Offutt responded, “if that long-haired s.o.b. wants to make an issue, let him.”

Later in the campaign he sought writs of habeus corpus for a dozen people charged with crimes but held in jail because they couldn’t make bail. When the election was held, Dillingham drew a surprising 10,000 votes to Offutt’s 40,000.

Mother Jones collective exposes alleged police agent – 1970 ca.

The Mother Jones Collective in Baltimore, a Marxist-Leninist formation that grew out of the student movement, puts out a flyer describing a suspected police agent named John Shaw circa 1970.

The Mother Jones collective along with the Mother Bloor collective in Maryland were typical formations that grew out of the student movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s that laid some of the basis for the new communist movement of the 1970s.

The Mother Jones collective held Marxist-Leninist study sessions, developed communist work at factories, shipyards other places of employment in Baltimore, held rallies and demonstrations and defended the Baltimore Black Panther office among other activities.

U. of Md. ‘wanted poster’ of undercover police – 1970 ca.

The first in a series of “wanted” posters put out anonymously on the University of Maryland campus of police agents and informers following the student strike of 1970.

This one features state police officers John Paul Cook and Bob Wacker.

U. of Md. ‘wanted poster’ of undercover police (2) – 1970 ca.

The second in a series of “wanted” posters put out anonymously on the University of Maryland campus of police agents and informers following the student strike of 1970.

This one features alleged state police officer or informer Jim Lair.

U. of Md. ‘wanted poster’ of police/FBI informant (3) – 1970 ca.

The third in a series of “wanted” posters put out anonymously on the University of Maryland College Park campus of police agents and informers following the student strike of 1970.

This one features alleged police/FBI informant Thomas Hyde.

Civil Rights and Black Liberation Before 1955

Stop lynching; demand death penalty – 1931

A flyer advertising a December 29, 1931 Washington, D.C. meeting sponsored by communist aligned groups to protest recent lynchings is shown above.

The flyer demands the death penalty for the murderers of Matthew Williams in Salisbury, Maryland and Sam Jackson and George Banks in Lewisburg, West Virginia.

The League of Struggle for Negro Rights, the International Labor Defense and the Scottsboro Defense Committee were all communist-led organizations.

Poll Tax Repealer – Mar. 1943

The March 1943 edition of the Poll Tax Repealer, a national newsletter published by the National Committee to Abolish the Poll Tax.

Poll taxes (a tax levied when voting in an election) were imposed in many U.S. Southern states as one of several methods to minimize African American voters.  Laws typically excluded from the tax anyone whose father and/or grandfather, had voted prior to the Civil War—assuring that nearly all African Americans were subject to the tax and most white Southerners were not.

The national campaign against the poll tax began in the early 1940s and continued through the end of the decade.

The campaign had some success at the local level as some states repealed their poll tax, including Georgia in 1945.

The civil rights movement wasn’t successful at ending the tax until the 24thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1964. Poll taxes in state elections were outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966

Call for civil rights demonstration in Washington – 1948

An ad hoc committee called the National Non-Partisan Mass Delegation to Washington puts out a flyer calling for a gathering in Washington, D.C. June 2, 1948 to demand Congress pass civil rights legislation.

Specific demands included abolition of the poll tax, a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission (The FEPC existed during World War II—similar to today’s EEOC), ending segregation in the armed forces, and passage federal legislation making lynching a crime.

Two of the main sponsors were NAACP founder W. E. B. DuBois and actor, singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson.

Several thousand attended the demonstration and added defeat of the Mundt-Nixon anti-communist bill to its legislative demands.

Negro Freedom Rally Committee flyer – Sep. 1949

Following the “Peekskill Riot” where a white supremacist mob attacked people who gathered for a Paul Robeson concert, protest rallies were organized around the country, including Washington, D.C.

Save the Martinsville 7 from the electric chair – Mar. 1950

A flyer by the Committee to Save the Martinsville Seven calls for a rally in Richmond, Virginia March 23, 1950.

The Martinsville 7 were seven African American men convicted of raping a white woman in 1949 and sentenced to death.

All 45 men executed in Virginia’s electric chair up until 1951 for the crime of rape were black men convicted of assaulting white women.

A nationwide campaign by the Civil Rights Congress highlighted the issue of racial injustice, but failed to stop the executions.

The men were electrocuted by the state of Virginia in February 1951.

Marie Richardson flyer – Dec. 1951

As the Second Red Scare moved into full swing, authorities brought felony charges against Marie Richardson Harris for lying on a federal job application. The federal government alleged she was a member of the Communist Party. Harris held the Library of Congress job for 2-3 months and handled no classified information. However, she had been the first black woman to hold a full-time union position in a national union (United Federal Workers) and was executive secretary of the local National Negro Congress. She served 4 ½ years in prison.

The case of Marie Richardson Harris: The victim of a modern witch-hunt – 1952

The Committee to Defend Marie Richardson Harris publishes an 8-page description of the case and appeals for help defending Ms. Harris who was sentenced to prison for failing to disclose communist affiliations on a government job application.

As the Second Red Scare moved into full swing, authorities brought felony charges against Marie Richardson Harris for lying on a federal job application. The federal government alleged she was a member of the Communist Party. Harris held the Library of Congress job for 2-3 months and handled no classified information. However, she had been the first black woman to hold a full-time union position in a national union (United Federal Workers) and was executive secretary of the local National Negro Congress. She served 4 ½ years in prison.

Her defense committee had a fundraiser broken up by D.C. police and itself was later designated as a subversive organization by the U.S. government.

DC Anti-Discrimination Pamphlet – 1952

The group headed by Mary Church Terrell, the Coordinating Committee for the Enforcement of D.C. Anti-Discrimination Laws, put out regular updates to the public about which restaurants served both black and white people.

The committee was conducting pickets and boycotts of those that operated Jim Crow. Most of the chain restaurants and lunch counters in the downtown area desegregated under this pressure prior to the group winning the Thompson’s Restaurant case in 1953 where the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Washington, D.C.’s so-called “lost laws” of 1872 and 1872 that banned discrimination in public accommodations.

Coordinating Committee for the Enforcement of the D.C. Anti-Discrimination Laws appeal – 1953

The U.S. Court of Appeals rules against the Coordinating Committee for the Enforcement of D.C. Anti-Discrimination Laws in the Thompson’s Restaurant case and the group puts out an appeal for funds. The U.S. Supreme Court would later reverse that decision and uphold Washington, D.C.’s so-called “lost laws” of 1872 and 1872 that banned discrimination in public accommodations.

Civil Rights and Black Liberation After 1955

Eldridge Cleaver speech flyer at American University – Oct. 1968

Black Panther Party Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver, presidential candidate on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket and author of Soul on Ice is invited to speak on the American University campus in Washington, D.C. 

The Panthers would establish a small chapter in the city in 1970 and prominent leaders, including David Hilliard, Huey Newton, Elbert “Big Man” Howard, Donald Cox, Eldridge Cleaver, and Kathleen Cleaver all made public appearances in the city.

American Independent Party candidate for President George Wallace handbill – Nov. 1968

A handbill passed out at polling places in Maryland November 5, 1968 for white supremacist candidate for president George Wallace who was running as a third-party candidate on the American Independent Party ticket.

Wallace hoped to garner enough electoral votes to throw the election into the House of Representatives where he could be a kingmaker and bargain to preserve white supremacy in the south. He won five southern states, but Richard M. Nixon won enough electoral votes to win the presidency.

Wallace ran behind both Nixon and Humbert Humphrey in Maryland in 1968, gaining about 170,000 votes to the other two nominees who each received about 470,000.

Coolidge student march against the war flyer – 1969

A flyer advertises a demonstration held during the Vietnam Moratorium by black students at Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C. October 15, 1969. Over 100 students from Coolidge High School sought to enter the White House grounds with a black pinewood coffin containing letters from students asking President Nixon to end the war. Refused entry by White House guards, the students pressed forward anyway. Park and metropolitan police bolstered the guards and arrested three students and one passerby. 500 bystanders gathered around the confrontation angrily shouting at police to let the arrested students go.

Black Panthers seek to recruit D.C. white student allies – Dec. 1969

During the Black Panther recruiting drive in December 1969 led by Jim Williams, the group also sought to set up an affiliated chapter of the National Committee to Combat Fascism (NCCF).

The flyer publicizes a number of events designed to familiarize area students with the Panthers and to recruit members to the NCCF chapter.

The tour came shortly after the Chicago police murder of Fred Hampton on Dec. 4thand this event is addressed on the reverse side of the flyer.

The NCCF only functioned for a short time, but the Panthers established a full-fledged chapter at their announcement of the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention at the Lincoln Memorial in June 1970.

Flyer calling for a strike and school boycott on King’s birthday – 1970

A flyer calling calling for a work stoppage on the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr January 15, 1970 also advertises a rally at Howard University. The work and school boycott achieved some success across the Washington, D.C. City agencies reported absenteeism as high as one-third of the normal staff. In the sanitation department where garbage collectors had which been designated as “essential” employees, 70 percent were absent Teachers across the city were absent in higher rates as well with the Washington Post reporting that 40 teachers were absent at the Moten Elementary school in Anacostia. Students across the region also boycotted classes. The Washington Post reported that 800 students out of 2,400 at Eastern High School in the city were absent. “School attendance also declined in Arlington, Prince Georges and Fairfax counties, the newspaper reported.

Remember the Augusta Six – May 1970

A rally is called at the University of Maryland College Park May 20, 1970 to honor the six slain black men in Augusta, Ga. who were shot to death by police—most apparently in the back—while they were protesting the violent death of a 16-year-old that was in police custody.

The campus was under martial law at the time following two weeks of confrontations between students and National Guard and police. Gatherings were prohibited. This is likely why the flyer is unsigned. The first demand of the 1970 student strike was the ending of repression of black people.

Black Panther Party call for a rally and press conference at the Lincoln Memorial – June 1970

The Black Panther Party issues a call for a rally and press conference at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to be held June 19, 1970—Emancipation Day—to announce plans for a Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention.

The tabloid-sized call was put out by the D.C. chapter of the National Committee to Combat Fascism—a Panther allied group that permitted whites to join.

The broadside referred to Judge Julius Hoffman’s chaining Panther leader Bobby Seale to a chair during the trial of the Chicago 8:

“The shackling like a slave of Black Panther Party Chairman Bobby Seale is like the reincarnation of Dred Scott 1857. This brazen violation of Bobby Seale’s Constitutional rights exposes without a doubt that black people have no rights that the racist oppressor is bound to respect.”

The press conference drew about 1,000 people. 

Black Panther Party call for a Revolutionary Peoples Constitutional Convention – June 1970

The Black Panther Party issued its call for a Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. June 19, 1970 (Juneteenth).

This tabloid size paper contains the proclamation and essays by Chair Huey Newton and Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver.

D.C. Black Panther Party press release – July 1970

A press release by the newly formed Washington, D.C. chapter of the Black Panther Party issued July 5, 1970 after a raid by the D.C. police.

Call to plenary session of the Revolutionary Convention – Aug. 1970

The four regional offices of the Black Panther Party, including the southern regional office headquartered in Washington, D.C., publish this two-sided invitation to the plenary of the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention to be held in Philadelphia, Pa. September 5-7, 1970.

Guide to the Philadelphia plenary of the Black Panther Revolutionary Convention – Sept. 3, 1970

A four-page pull-out guide produced by the alternative newspaper Philadelphia Plain Dealer to the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention Plenary (RPCC) held in Philadelphia, Pa. Sept. 4-7 organized under the auspices of the Black Panther Party.

Contains the agenda, workshop information, maps of the city and convention proceedings, a guide to legal issues, a list of information centers and friendly nearby restaurants.

The Plenary of the RPCC was generally deemed a success by the 10,000 participants, but a coordinated effort to deny a venue for the convention itself held in Nov. 1970 in Washington, D.C. ultimately doomed the effort to adopt a unified platform for revolutionary groups.

Southern Regional Headquarters Black Panther Party on venue for planned revolutionary convention – Sept. 1970

A two-sided informational flyer put out by the Southern Regional headquarters of the Black Panther Party located in Washington, D.C. early in the battle (probably late Sept. 1970) over obtaining a venue for the planned Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention.

The reverse side of the flyer appeals for logistical support for the planned convention.

The Armory Board would turn down the Panthers, citing the need for the armory in the event the National Guard was called up to quell Panther violence.

The Panthers would also be turned down by the University of Maryland and would be rejected by Howard and American Universities as well. Howard demanded a large upfront cash payment bond far exceeding the resources of the Panthers.

The Panthers ultimately cobbled together churches and other facilities and held a semblance of a convention attended by a few thousand with workshops and the drafting of different parts of a revolutionary constitution, but a venue was never found for the requisite mass meetings.

D.C. Black Panther Party free children’s breakfast program – Oct. 1970

Although the D.C.  chapter only formed a few months previously, this flyer announces the opening of a second location for the Black Panther Party free breakfast for children program. One at their Community Center at 1932 17th Street NW and the other at 2804 14th Street NW.

Black Panther Party calls for rally at Malcolm X Park – Oct. 1970

The Black Panther Party calls for a rally at Malcolm X Park protesting the failure of the D.C. Armory Board to permit the Panthers to use the facility for the planned Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention. The Panthers would also be rejected by the University of Maryland, Howard University and American University before cobbling together several church venues and a private school. However none of the facilities had the capacity to host the necessary mass meetings and the attempted convention ultimately did not achieve its goals.

Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention bumper sticker – Nov. 1970

A bumper sticker for the Black Panther Party—sponsored  Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in Washington, D.C. to be held November 27-29 1970 at an as yet unidentified location does not have a credit line but was probably the Panthers..

A suitable venue was never found with the D.C. Armory Board, Howard University and the University of Maryland rejecting the group, among others.

The convention was cobbled together at various churches through the city, but was unable to hold a mass gathering of the several thousand who arrived in the city.

As a result of having no venue, there was no vote or amendments or discussion of the results of the Philadelphia plenary session held in September or the workshops held in Washington, D.C.

Black Panthers call for D.C. Revolutionary Convention – Nov. 1970

The Ministry of Information for the Black Panther Party issues a call for a Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in Washington, D.C. to be held November 27-29 1970 at an as yet unidentified location.

This 11 x 17 pamphlet contained a long treatise on the way forward for revolutionaries. Unfortunately several pages are missing from this copy.

However, enough remains that lays out a critique of Marxism in the U.S. that can be identified with the Eldridge Cleaver trend within the party.

The tract posits that the lumpen proletariat (long-term unemployed, petty criminals) are the revolutionary class in the United States and specifically criticizes predominantly white left-wing groups that upheld the working class.

RPCC women’s workshop issues statement of solidarity with Panthers – Nov. 1970

The women’s workshop of the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention issues a statement of solidarity with the Black Panther Party during the Nov. 27-29 convention.

The Jewish Urban Guerrilla and the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention – Nov. 1970

The Jews for Urban Justice put out a flyer In November 1970 for a series of workshops held simultaneously with the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in Washington, D.C. posing the question, “Is it possible to be a revolutionary, support the Panthers, and still be a Jew?” among other topics.

The group was formed in the summer of 1968 to oppose anti-black racism from white Jewish landlords and business owners.

The JUJ was a key organizer of a Freedom Sedar that drew over 800 diverse people in 1969 and participated in the Poor People’s Campaign, welfare rights and the Delano grape boycott, among other activities. Its most prominent member was Arthur Waskow, a founder of the Institute for Policy Studies and a long-time left-wing activist.

Angela Answers 13 Questions – Circa Nov. 1970

A four-page tabloid-size pamphlet produced by the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Committees to Free Angela Davis reprints a Joe Walker interview with Davis conducted for Muhammad Speaks—the newspaper of the Nation of Islam.

It was the first wide-ranging interview conducted with the open Communist Party member Davis following her October 13, 1970 arrest for “aggravated kidnapping and first degree murder” for the attempted escape of Jonathan Jackson and two other prisoners in California during which they were killed along with a judge they had kidnapped.

Prosecutors alleged she provided the weapons used by the prisoners in the attempted escape. A nationwide “Free Angela” movement followed.

She was acquitted in a high profile June 1972 trial and continues to be active in social justice causes.

D.C. Patriot Party distributes ‘Free Bobby Seale’ flyer – 1971

A flyer published by the Patriot Party, a white left-wing revolutionary organization aligned with the Black Panther Party, that was distributed in the greater Washington, D.C. area in 1971 and calls for freedom for Bobby Seale, a Panther leader.

The Patriot Party organized in the Washington, D.C. area 1970-71 out of the Panther office and their Community Center focusing are far southeast Washington where working class whites still lived and the inner suburbs of Prince George’s County.

The Patriots struggled in the D.C. as Arthur Turco, one of the leaders of the national organization, was indicted in May 1970 for ordering the killing of Baltimore Black Panther suspected of being an informant. The indictment of Turco and a number of Baltimore Panthers consumed much of the effort by Patriot organizers in the Washington area.

The organization was not related to the later right wing organization of the same name.

Call for an anti-Klan rally in Maryland – 1971

A flyer for an anti-Klan demonstration sponsored by Youth Against War and Fascism (YAWF) in Rising Sun, Maryland June 19, 1971. About two miles outside of town, a counter-demonstration of about 50 organized by YAWF picketed the Klan picnic held prior to their scheduled night rally and cross burning. The demonstration was held on a ten foot strip of land between the road and George Boyle farm fence on Sylmar Road. The state had erected “no parking” signs only days before and stationed state troopers nearby. Demonstrators were forced to have several vans drive back and forth along the narrow road in the event of trouble.

The only incident occurred when a young Klansman spit across the fence at demonstrators. The night rally brought Robert Shelton, Imperial Wizard of the United Klans of America, to the farm for hate speeches and their cross burning before a crowd of several hundred.

Fight the Energy Freeze: Jan – 1974

The D.C. branch of the African Liberation Support Committee puts its turn toward Marxism into practice as it issues a flyer January 26, 1974 calling for a meeting at Pride, Inc. to fight the energy crisis.

Baraka’s vision for Congress of Afrikan People – Mar. 1974

Imamu Amiri Baraka writes a short analysis of the situation facing black revolutionaries that is delivered to the Congress of Afrikan People (CAP) in March 1974 and represents the transformation of the organization from a pan-Africanist, black nationalist organization to a Marxist-Leninist.

Baraka’s gives his analysis of the current situation and lays out a political program and organizational program to further the cause of black liberation.

Specifically he calls for expanding CAP cadre and working within the African Liberation Support Committee and the broader National Black Political Assembly.

CAP would ultimately re-name itself the Revolutionary Communist League (Marxist-Leninist-Mao Tse-tung Thought), later merging into the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist) before that group split. Part of the League joined the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

African liberation activist D.C. newspaper – May 1974

The Washington, D.C. chapter of the African Liberation Support Committee (ALSC) briefly published a tabloid newspaper in 1974 called Finally Got the News named after the film of the same name that depicted the League of Revolutionary Black Workers struggle in Detroit.

The large African Liberation Day rally in 1972 was the driver behind forming the national ALSC composed mainly of pan-Africanists and black nationalists.

By 1973 a split was developing within the ALSC over working with white organizations that supported African liberation as urged by some leaders of the movements in Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.

Read the local Finally Got the News May 1974 issue to understand the shift in emphasis to the black working class along with supporting African liberation.

Call to march against white supremacy in Boston – 1974

The Emergency Committee for a National Mobilization Against Racism issues a call to march in Boston Dec. 14, 1974 after white mobs hurled racial epithets and attacked school buses carrying black children at the South Boston High School.

Four buses left Washington, D.C. carrying about 180 people while dozens more made the drive up the east coast to join an estimated 15,000 demonstrators who ranged from pacifists to Marxist poet Amiri Baraka.

Comedian and activist Dick Gregory told the crowd, “Let’s not fool ourselves, the schools in South Boston are just as bad as the schools in Roxbury. What we really want is an end to bad schooling.”

Congress of Afrikan People Unity & Struggle newspaper: 1976

The May 1976 issue of Unity and Struggle—the newspaper of the Congress of Afrikan People (CAP) led by Imamu Amiri Baraka.

CAP was at this point a Marxist-Leninist organization that followed the positions of the People’s Republic of China, including accepting the so-called three-worlds theory where the U.S. and the Soviet Union were equal enemies of people world-wide.

As one of three marches on African Liberation Day in 1976, the African Liberation Support Committee marched from the White House to Malcolm X Park. By this point in time the ALSC had come to be dominated by organizations and individuals learning toward Maoism, including CAP and  Baraka.

CAP would ultimately re-name itself the Revolutionary Communist League (Marxist-Leninist-Mao Tse-tung Thought), later merging into the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist) before that group split. Part of the League joined the Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Communists

The Communist Party’s Third Period

The Communist Party in the U.S. was the leading activist organization in the country from its formation in 1919 into the 1950s when it fell victim to an anti-communist crusade and internal divisions that decimated the organization.

It was supplanted by activist civil rights organizations like SCLC, CORE and later SNCC and the Students for Democratic Society and other “New Left” organizations in the 1960s. The Third Period was an analysis adopted by the Communist International (Comintern) at its Sixth World Congress, held in Moscow in the summer of 1928. The Comintern’s made an economic and political analysis of world capitalism that divided recent history into three periods.

The “First Period” that followed World War I was defined by a revolutionary upsurge that saw a brief seizure of power by the working class in Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Iran and failed revolutionary attempts in Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Bessarabia, Georgia, Estonia and Belgium.

The “Second Period” saw capitalist consolidation for most of the decade of the 1920s.

The “Third Period,” according to the Comintern’s analysis began from 1928 onward and was to be a time of widespread economic collapse and mass working class radicalization. This economic and political discord would again make the time ripe for proletarian revolution if militant policies were rigidly maintained by communist vanguard parties, the Comintern believed.

The analysis initially seemed accurate as the Great Depression swept Western economies.

Communist policies during the Third Period were marked by a denunciation of reformism and political organizations espousing which was seen as an impediment to the movement’s revolutionary objectives. While the analysis was accurate in understanding the coming crisis of capitalism, revolution did not occur in any Western countries.

The errors in understanding conditions led the Comintern to believe that the 1932 Bonus March in the U.S., with thousands of veterans gathering in the nation’s capital, was a revolutionary situation.

The rise of the Nazi Party to power in Germany in 1933 and destruction of the largest organized communist movement in the West there shocked the Comintern into re-assessing the tactics of the Third Period.

From 1934, new alliances began to be formed under the aegis of the so-called “Popular Front” against fascism. The Popular Front policy was formalized as the official policy of the world communist movement by the Seventh World Congress of the Comintern in 1935. Third period documents available:

Stop lynching; demand death penalty – 1931

A flyer advertising a December 29, 1931 Washington, D.C. meeting sponsored by communist aligned groups to protest recent lynchings is shown above.

The flyer demands the death penalty for the murderers of Matthew Williams in Salisbury, Maryland and Sam Jackson and George Banks in Lewisburg, West Virginia.

The League of Struggle for Negro Rights, the International Labor Defense and the Scottsboro Defense Committee were all communist-led organizations.

Toward a Soviet America by William Z Foster – 1932

This book documents the rise of socialism in the Soviet Union, the crisis facing capitalism, the need for revolution, and a vision of what a socialist society would be like in the United States. The book also attacks social-democrats and liberals calling them “Social Fascists” because they seek to give the masses concessions in order to calm them and prevent communist revolution. It is probably the best-known book published by the Communist Party, USA. Foster organized the packing house workers along industrial lines during World War I and led the failed steel strike of 1919 that also organized workers along industrial lines. It would be another 20 years before Foster’s industrial strategy was successful. He served as chair of the Communist Party USA from 1924-34 and from 1945-57.

Highway of Hunger: The Story of America’s Homeless Youth by Dave Doren – 1933

This pamphlet portrays a bleak future for youth whether they are the children of unemployed or college graduates—unless a revolution led by the Communist Party prevails. Doran joined the Young Communist League in 1930 and went to the Deep South to build up membership of the YCL among the unemployed.

In Scottsboro, Alabama, he was beaten up after he became involved in the campaign to free the “Scottsboro Boys.” In 1931 he joined the Communist Party USA and worked as a trade union organizer with agricultural workers in Alabama, textile workers in North Carolina) and coal miners in Pennsylvania).

By 1936 he was the party’s director of trade union activities. He joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight fascism in Spain. After showing heroism in a number of battles, he was promoted to political commissioner for a battalion.

He was believed to be captured and executed on April 2, 1938 in Gandesa, during the Retreats phase of the Spanish Civil War.

Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International and Draft Resolution of the 8th Convention of the Communist Party, USA – Mar. 1934

These were two documents produced at the end of the third period and reiterate the premises of the 1928 analysis with few changes. In practice, the formation of a united front against fascism began to be implemented in 1934 but these documents had not caught up to the times. Following the Nazi seizure of power in Germany in 1933 and the subsequent crushing of the Communist Party in Germany—the largest in the West—caused Soviet leader Josef Stain to rethink whether a revolutionary situation, in fact, had developed. He came to the conclusion that the greatest danger lay in the development of fascism in the advanced capitalist countries and began urging an anti-fascist alliance with sections of the capitalists that were opposed to fascism. It was widely called the “Popular Front.”

Virginia communists denounce Heller bill – 1940

The Virginia Communist Party issues a lengthy statement March 11, 1940  condemning the General Assembly for passing the so-called Heller Bill that would deny public facilities to communists or others.

Specifically, the bill would have instructed “custodians of all public buildings in Virginia” to deny the use of such buildings to anyone who “advocate, advise or teach the doctrine that the government of the United States or the Commonwealth of Virginia, or any political subdivision thereof should be overthrown or overturned by force violence or any unlawful means.”

After it passed the state senate without fanfare, a campaign was launmched to defeat the bill in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Delegate Francis Pickins Miller of Fairfax called it “a departure from the policies this state has cherished for three centuries” and declared it would “create a new public officer in Virginia, the custodian of dangerous thoughts.”

Gov. James Price ultimately vetoed the bill in a victory for the communists and civil liberties advocates.

The “Popular Front” briefly dissolved from 1939-41 after the Soviet Union reached a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany giving more impetus to anti-communist legislation, including the Smith Act which was enacted into law by Congress in 1940.

Liquidation of the U.S. Communist Party

After pursuing the Popular Front strategy for 10 years, CPUSA chair Earl Browder formulated a new analysis after the Teheran conference in 1943 between Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Josef Stalin.

The Teheran conference cemented the World War II alliance between England, the United States and the Soviet Union and Browder believed that a permanent truce had been arranged between the anti-fascist capitalists and the communists. He proposed liquidating the U.S. Communist Party and replacing it with a Communist Political Association that would act as a kind of “left wing” of both the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Only a few U.S. communists in leadership positions opposed the change; notably William Z. Foster, the former chair; Anna Damon, executive secretary of the International Labor Defense and Sam Darcy, a communist leader who led the 1930 unemployed march in New York and played a key role in the West Coast Longshore strike of 1934.

A Communist Party convention in 1944 completed the transformation. After World War II ended, it became clear that the United States and the Soviet Union would be in competition although it was not yet clear that a complete break would occur.

A letter was circulated among high party officials in Moscow denouncing Browder’s move to dissolve the party. It was partially based on Foster’s opposition to Browder’s move. French communist leader Jacques Duclos put his name to the letter and released it publicly.

The CPUSA was reconstituted and Browder expelled. However, there was little time for the party to come to terms with the easy acceptance of Browder’s liquidation of the organization before the Cold War and anti-communist hysteria swept the US in the late 1940s.

Many later analysts believe this left the communists unprepared for the onslaught they would face and in the end, leave them marginalized.

Popular Front documents available:

Invitation to Join the Communist Party by Robert Minor – 1943

The pamphlet wraps itself in the American flag and closely hues the Popular Front thesis. There is no real mention of revolution or socialism and the tract puts forward several important, but ultimately reformist demands.

Liquidation of the Communist Party documents available:

Shall the Communist Party Change Its Name? – Essays by Earl Browder, Eugene Dennis, Roy Hudson and John Williamson – Feb. 1944

Party chair Earl Browder and other U.S. communist leaders argue that the Communist Party should turn itself into a communist political association–essentially a left-wing caucus within the Democratic and Republican parties. No longer will candidates run on the Communist Party ballot line and the organization will open itself up to non-communists.

Communist Political Association – Oct. 1944

After the U.S. Communist Party is dissolved and replaced by the Communist Political Association, the new Maryland group unabashedly pushes Franklin Roosevelt for President while putting forward an eight-point political program that it asks congressional candidates from both parties to embrace.

U.S. Communist Party during the 2nd Red Scare

After World War II, the former allies of the U.S. and the Soviet Union quickly became in competition with each other, particularly after the U.S. promulgated the Marshall Plan designed to rebuild Western Europe along a capitalist economy.

The most provocative part of the plan offered the same type of aid to some Eastern European countries that it had earlier agreed would be in the Soviet sphere of influence.

Once the dividing line became clear, both Republican and Democrats took aim at the U.S. Communist Party with a series of laws and propaganda designed to discredit the party. Where once the party had been a very junior partner in the Roosevelt New Deal, it now had a target on its back. Dozens were jailed, hundreds lost their jobs and countless more who were not communists at all had their reputations besmirched. Eleven unions were forced out of the mainstream labor movement that represented about 3.5 million members.

Many have charged that the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg was primarily designed to send a message to communists and supporters in the U.S.

Those that remained in the party or continued to work with communists often found themselves marginalized and ineffective.

Marie Richardson flyer – Dec. 1951

As the Second Red Scare moved into full swing, authorities brought felony charges against Marie Richardson Harris for lying on a federal job application. The federal government alleged she was a member of the Communist Party. Harris held the Library of Congress job for 2-3 months and handled no classified information.

However, she had been the first black woman to hold a full-time union position in a national union (United Federal Workers) and was executive secretary of the local National Negro Congress.

She served 4 ½ years in prison.

The case of Marie Richardson Harris: The victim of a modern witch-hunt – 1952

The Committee to Defend Marie Richardson Harris publishes an 8-page description of the case and appeals for help defending Ms. Harris who was sentenced to prison for failing to disclose communist affiliations on a government job application.

As the Second Red Scare moved into full swing, authorities brought felony charges against Marie Richardson Harris for lying on a federal job application. The federal government alleged she was a member of the Communist Party. Harris held the Library of Congress job for 2-3 months and handled no classified information. However, she had been the first black woman to hold a full-time union position in a national union (United Federal Workers) and was executive secretary of the local National Negro Congress. She served 4 ½ years in prison.

Her defense committee had a fundraiser broken up by D.C. police and itself was later designated as a subversive organization by the U.S. government.

Maryland Civil Rights Congress calls for Rosenberg clemency – 1953 ca.

The newly formed affiliate of the Civil Rights Congress issues a press release calling on Maryland Gov. Theodore McKeldin to urge clemency and President Dwight Eisenhower to grant clemency to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg following the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear their case.

The Rosenbergs were convicted of passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union during the second Red Scare  and executed in 1953 despite a world-wide campaign for clemency..

NLRB non-communist affidavit – circa 1955

The Taft-Harley Act passed in 1948 prohibited members of the Communist Party from holding labor union office if the union were to use provisions of the National Labor Relations Act.

It required officers to sign a “non-communist affidavit” in order for the union to be eligible for National Labor Relations Board services and the use of the law in disputes with employers. The unions of the American Federation of Labor quickly agreed to this, but the Congress of Industrial Organizations briefly resisted and tried to use non-compliance with signing the affidavit as a direct action way of neutralizing other anti-labor provisions in the Taft-Hartley Act such as prohibition on secondary boycotts, sympathy strikes, authorization for states to enact so-called “right to work” laws, among others.

The refusal to sign quickly collapsed as major unions such as the United Auto Workers signed and anti-communist fervor swept the U.S. It wasn’t long before the CIO expelled or forced out 11 major national unions for alleged communist-domination and all the remaining union leaders signed the affidavits.

Many mark the decline of the labor movement to the Taft Harley Act and the inability of labor to wage effective resistance.

The New Communist Movement

The student upsurge in the mid and late 1960s produced a number of groups that styled themselves as anti-revisionist–those who rejected the Soviet Union’s state as going against Marxist-Leninist principles and headed toward restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union.

At one time the largest of these groups, the Revolutionary Union that subsequently evolved into the Revolutionary Communist Party sunk roots into the working class, established a student group and other organizations in other strata of society, did work among artists, poets and singers and mimicked in many ways the U.S. Communist Party of the Third Period.

New Communist Movement documents

Mother Jones collective exposes alleged police agent – 1970 ca.

The Mother Jones Collective in Baltimore, a Marxist-Leninist formation that grew out of the student movement, puts out a flyer describing a suspected police agent named John Shaw circa 1970.

The Mother Jones collective along with the Mother Bloor collective in Maryland were typical formations that grew out of the student movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s that laid some of the basis for the new communist movement of the 1970s.

The Mother Jones collective held Marxist-Leninist study sessions, developed communist work at factories, shipyards other places of employment in Baltimore, held rallies and demonstrations and defended the Baltimore Black Panther office among other activities.

Call for an anti-imperialist contingent in national antiwar march – May 1972

A flyer by the Attica Brigade, a youth group associated with the Maoist Revolutionary Union calls on people to join an anti-imperialist contingent in a larger march on Washington, D.C. to oppose the Vietnam War May 21, 1972.

While speeches took place before a crowd of 10-15,000 on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, several thousand in the anti-imperialist contingent tossed rocks, bottles and other projectiles while police responded with clubs and tear gas.

D.C. police chief Jerry Wilson was hit six times with objects including a wooden stick that caused blood to run down his face.

Wilson was quoted, “They usually run when I walk toward them. This time they threw bigger rocks.”

A dozen police officers were injured and 178 protesters were arrested during the confrontation.

Baraka’s vision for Congress of Afrikan People – Mar. 1974

Imamu Amiri Baraka writes a short analysis of the situation facing black revolutionaries that is delivered to the Congress of Afrikan People (CAP) in March 1974 and represents the transformation of the organization from a pan-Africanist, black nationalist organization to a Marxist-Leninist.

Baraka’s gives his analysis of the current situation and lays out a political program and organizational program to further the cause of black liberation.

Specifically he calls for expanding CAP cadre and working within the African Liberation Support Committee and the broader National Black Political Assembly.

CAP would ultimately re-name itself the Revolutionary Communist League (Marxist-Leninist-Mao Tse-tung Thought), later merging into the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist) before that group split. Part of the League joined the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Congress of Afrikan People Unity & Struggle newspaper – 1976

The May 1976 issue of Unity and Struggle—the newspaper of the Congress of Afrikan People (CAP) led by Imamu Amiri Baraka.

CAP was at this point a Marxist-Leninist organization that followed the positions of the People’s Republic of China, including accepting the so-called three-worlds theory where the U.S. and the Soviet Union were equal enemies of people world-wide.

As one of three marches on African Liberation Day in 1976, the African Liberation Support Committee marched from the White House to Malcolm X Park. By this point in time the ALSC had come to be dominated by organizations and individuals learning toward Maoism, including CAP and  Baraka.

CAP would ultimately re-name itself the Revolutionary Communist League (Marxist-Leninist-Mao Tse-tung Thought), later merging into the League of Revolutionary Struggle (Marxist-Leninist) before that group split. Part of the League joined the Freedom Road Socialist Organization

We’ve Carried the Rich for 200 Years – 1976

As the 200th birthday of the United States approached in 1976, the Revolutionary Communist Party had a different vision of what that meant and organized a protest during the bicentennial celebration in Philadelphia.

About 3,000 marched through the streets of the city chanting revolutionary slogans and carrying banners—many from factories and plants from around the country. It was the last worker-based demonstration organized by the group, although it carried out a protest against revisionism in the communist movement attended by several hundred during the U.S. visit of Chinese premier Deng Xiaoping in Washington, D.C. in 1979 that resulted in the arrest of dozens and the exile of its leader Bob Avakian for many years.

Other significant demonstrations by the group include May Day events and antiwar demonstrations during both Iraq wars.

D.C. Area Miscellaneous

D.C. Newsreel benefit – 1969

A flyer from the radical Washington Newsreel promotes the organization and a fundraiser scheduled for April 4, 1969 and announces that films will start to be made in the D.C. area within the next two months.

Newsreel were radical filmmakers that joined together in New York in 1968 and a few months later spread to San Francisco. Distribution centers were eventually set up in many cities around the country, including Washington, D.C.

Local filmmakers also began to join the effort.

In the era before Youtube, DVDs and streaming, Newsreel was a way for radical independent film makers to explore subjects and themes not covered by mainstream filmmakers or news outlets and gain audiences.

California Newsreel is the direct successor to this effort and continues to operate today.

D.C. Newsreel lists available films – circa 1970

A circa 1970 flyer from the radical Washington Newsreel describes the films that are available to rent.

Newsreel were radical filmmakiers that joined together in New York in 1968 and a few months later spread to San Francisco. Distribution centers were eventually set up in many cities around the country, including Washington, D.C.

Local filmmakers also began to join the effort.

In the era before Youtube, DVDs and streaming, Newsreel was a way for radical independent film makers to explore subjects and themes not covered by mainstream filmmakers or news outlets and gain audiences.

Some of the early films included:

Black Panther; Mayday; High School, San Francisco State Strike; Army Film; People’s Park, Yippie; People’s War; Day of Plane Hunting; Isle of Youth; and  La Jolie Moi de Mai (My Beautiful May).

The Jewish Urban Guerrilla and the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention – Nov. 1970

The Jews for Urban Justice put out a flyer In November 1970 for a series of workshops held simultaneously with the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in Washington, D.C. posing the question, “Is it possible to be a revolutionary, support the Panthers, and still be a Jew?” among other topics.

The group was formed in the summer of 1968 to oppose anti-black racism from white Jewish landlords and business owners.

The JUJ was a key organizer of a Freedom Sedar that drew over 800 diverse people in 1969 and participated in the Poor People’s Campaign, welfare rights and the Delano grape boycott, among other activities. Its most prominent member was Arthur Waskow, a founder of the Institute for Policy Studies and a long-time left-wing activist.

Fight Against Fascism

Invitation to Join the Communist Party by Robert Minor – 1943

The pamphlet wraps itself in the American flag and closely hues the Popular Front thesis of the Communist Party. There is no real mention of revolution or socialism and the tract puts forward several important, but ultimately reformist demands.

Immigrant Rights

No documents at this time

LBGT

No documents at this time

Labor Movement

NLRB non-communist affidavit – circa 1955

The Taft-Harley Act passed in 1948 prohibited members of the Communist Party from holding labor union office if the union were to use provisions of the National Labor Relations Act.

It required officers to sign a “non-communist affidavit” in order for the union to be eligible for National Labor Relations Board services and the use of the law in disputes with employers. The unions of the American Federation of Labor quickly agreed to this, but the Congress of Industrial Organizations briefly resisted and tried to use non-compliance with signing the affidavit as a direct action way of neutralizing other anti-labor provisions in the Taft-Hartley Act such as prohibition on secondary boycotts, sympathy strikes, authorization for states to enact so-called “right to work” laws, among others.

The refusal to sign quickly collapsed as major unions such as the United Auto Workers signed and anti-communist fervor swept the U.S. It wasn’t long before the CIO expelled or forced out 11 major national unions for alleged communist-domination and all the remaining union leaders signed the affidavits.

Many mark the decline of the labor movement to the Taft Harley Act and the inability of labor to wage effective resistance.

First issue of University of Maryland AFSCME newsletter – Sep. 1973

The first issue of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1072’s AFSCME in Action newsletter from September 1973.

The union represented about 1300 University of Maryland College Park campus workers but did not have collective bargaining rights at that time.

The issue covers campus layoffs, racial discrimination, a rival employee association, the union picnic, safety, a call to impeach Nixon and other issues.

The local president was Gladys Jefferson. Saul Schneiderman’s name appears in the newsletter as one of the contacts. He would later take a job at the Library of Congress and go on to become AFSMCE president at that location.

WMATA & union letters ordering striking workers back to work – May 1974

Shortly after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA also known as Metro) took over four privately owned bus companies in addition to the task of building a subway, the contract between Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 and the new public company expired.

The union called a strike on May 1, 1974 after the contract expired, negotiations stalled and Metro had not specifically agreed to arbitration as provided for in the expiring labor contract and the Interstate Compact that created Metro. The union argued that the clause in the expiring contract permitted a legal strike when the company refused to arbitrate. A federal judge disagreed and fined the union $50,000 per day (later reduced to $25,000) until workers returned to work.

Attached are back-to-work letters from the union and the company after workers continued the strike after the judge’s order.

Arbitration award on Metro strike discipline – 1978

The Washington Metro system had been beset by three wildcat strikes and a work-to-the rule within a four-year period. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority sought to discipline workers who led and participated in the July 1978 strike over the refusal to pay a cost-of-living increase provided for in the labor agreement.

Workers eventually won the dispute, but over a 100 were disciplined for the strike and eight were fired for their roles in the work stoppage. An arbitrator ruled on four fired defendants finding that discipline was warranted but that the terminations should be reduced to suspensions, largely because Metro had not disciplined employees for prior strikes or job actions.

The finding also affirmed that strikes are illegal under the Interstate Compact that created Metro that provides for “final and binding arbitration of all disputes.”

Marijuana

No documents at this time

Miscellaneous

Patriot Party 10-Point Program – Oct. 1969

The 10-point program of the Patriot Party, a white left-wing revolutionary organization aligned with the Black Panther Party, was published in October 1969..

The Patriot Party was initially formed as the Young Patriots Organization in Chicago and later expanded nationwide as the Patriot Party. It was one of the component organizations of Black Panther Fred Hampton’s Rainbow Coalition in Chicago.

They rejected white supremacy but wore a confederate flag patch on their shirts.

They organized in the Washington, D.C. area 1970-71 out of the Panther office and the Panther’s Community Center focusing on far southeast Washington where working class whites still lived and the inner suburbs of Prince George’s County.

The Poor Revolutionist – 1969 ca.

This Christian tract by Chick publications was widely distributed at anti-Vietnam War rallies in the late 1960s and early 1970s in an attempt to turn young people away from activism.

In the booklet, the good Christian dies for his beliefs while the revolutionaries perish in battle or after being betrayed when the revolution succeeds. The revolutionaries go to hell and the good Christian goes to heaven.

The overall theme is that it is useless to struggle for a better life on Earth and that people should instead simply accept their fate and God.

National Liberation and Anti-Imperialism

(for Indochina War, see Vietnam War)

Civil Rights Congress calls on U.S. president to denounce South African apartheid system – 1952

The Civil Rights Congress initiates a petition to President Harry Truman in 1952 calling on him to denounce apartheid in South Africa and uphold the right of all nations to self-determination, among other demands.

Among the signers were Washington, D.C. residents Ms. Adam S. Butcher, Dr. HJ. A. Callis, United Cafeteria Workers Business Manager Oliver T. Palmer and civil rights luminary Mary Church Terrell. Dr. John E. T. Camper, a former Progressive Party candidate for Congress in Maryland also signed.

Among the national luminaries were NAACP founder W. E. B. DuBois; Ewart Guinier, former official in the United Public Workers and father of Lani Guinier, actor Sidney Portier and actor, singer and rights activist Paul Robeson.

Committee of Returned Volunteers statement of purpose – Apr. 1969

The Committee of Returned Volunteers, composed of former Peace Corps and other volunteer service members who served overseas, publishes a packet that contains a statement of purpose in a packet distributed circa April 1969.

Also included in the packed is the question of whether the Peace Corps is developing an alternative path of development or an accomplice in exploitation and also contains an analysis of Peru and a critical analysis of the Hickenlooper amendment and its  possible application in Peru.

Founded in 1966, the Committee of Returned Volunteers (CRV) was an organization of people who have worked in voluntary service programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and in the United States.

The group‘s thinking evolved into an anti-imperialist perspective and  concentrated its efforts on liberation of Third World countries and U.S. policy towards those countries.

Fundraiser for the Venceremos Brigade – Mar. 1974

The local branch of the Venceremos Brigade, an organization that promotes education and understanding of communist-led Cuba, calls for a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. March 15, 1974.

The Brigade sent groups of young people to Cuba to work and learn side-by-side with ordinary Cubans beginning in 1969.

Robert Simpson, an original and contemporary Spark contributor, was one of those who traveled to Cuba with the Brigade in 1974j.

Note that the post office box is the same as that of the historical Washington Area Spark and that the flyer was printed by Insurgent Printing—a left-wing printing press at 10th & K Streets NW that published many flyers, leaflets and newsletters in the Washington, D.C. area during the early and mid 1970s.

African liberation activist D.C. newspaper – 1974

The Washington, D.C. chapter of the African Liberation Support Committee (ALSC) briefly published a tabloid newspaper in 1974 called Finally Got the News named after the film of the same name that depicted the League of Revolutionary Black Workers struggle in Detroit.

The large African Liberation Day rally in 1972 was the driver behind forming the national ALSC composed mainly of pan-Africanists and black nationalists.

By 1973 a split was developing within the ALSC over working with white organizations that supported African liberation as urged by some leaders of the movements in Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.

Read the local Finally Got the News May 1974 issue to understand the shift in emphasis to the black working class along with supporting African liberation.

Celebrate the Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution: 1974

A flyer advertising a New Year’s Eve party to be held Dec. 31, 1974 in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the Venceremos Brigade and the D.C. Chile Coalition.

The Venceremos Brigade is a long-standing U.S. group founded in 1969 supporting the Cuban revolution of 1959. It sponsors Americans, particularly students, on trips to Cuba to promote understanding and solidarity.

The D.C. Chile Coalition was formed after the U.S. backed coup that overthrew the popular government of Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. The group sponsored a number of demonstrations and events supporting opponents of the coup, particularly 1974-75.

Prison Rights

No documents at this time

Slave Resistance/Revolts/Military Action

No documents at this time

Socialism

“The Swimmers,” by John Reed – 1910

The piece was published in The Forum, 1910. John Silas “Jack” Reed (October 22, 1887 – October 17, 1920) was an American journalist, poet, and socialist activist, best remembered for Ten Days That Shook the World, his first-hand account of the Bolshevik Revolution. He married the writer and feminist Louise Bryant in 1916. Reed died of typhus in Russia in 1920. The film Reds focused on his life. This short story is his first commercially published work, although two earlier pieces were published in college magazines. Reed was a member of the swim team at Harvard University.

Students

Highway of Hunger: The Story of America’s Homeless Youth – 1933

This pamphlet portrays a bleak future for youth whether they are the children of unemployed or college graduates—unless a revolution led by the Communist Party prevails. Doran joined the Young Communist League in 1930 and went to the Deep South to build up membership of the YCL among the unemployed. In Scottsboro, Alabama, he was beaten up after he became involved in the campaign to free the “Scottsboro Boys.”

In 1931 he joined the Communist Party USA and worked as a trade union organizer with agricultural workers in Alabama, textile workers in North Carolina) and coal miners in Pennsylvania). By 1936 he was the party’s director of trade union activities.

He joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight fascism in Spain. After showing heroism in a number of battles, he was promoted to political commissioner for a battalion.

He was believed to be captured and executed on April 2, 1938 in Gandesa, during the Retreats phase of the Spanish Civil War.

Students for a Democratic Society Bulletin – Feb. 1965

This issue of the SDS newsletter contains the flyer for the first mass march on Washington, D.C. against the Vietnam War scheduled for April 17, 1965. It is located on page 13. A surprising 25,000 or more attended the march and rally.

Also of interest to Maryland readers is the article by Bob Moore, then active in the U-JOIN project (Union for Jobs or Income Now). Moore would later go on to lead the organizing effort for hospital workers in the city and become president of the Local 1199 affiliate in the city.

SDS calls for march against Viet War – 1965

The national office of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) issues a call for a march on Washington, D.C. to be held Nov. 27, 1965 in one of the early national demonstrations against the war in Vietnam.

In this flyer, SDS begins to make a break with those calling for negotiations by stating,

“We must not deceive ourselves: a negotiated agreement cannot guarantee democracy. Only the Vietnamese have the right of nationhood to make their government democratic or not, free or not, neutral or not. It is not America’s role to deny them the chance to be what they make of themselves.”

Nearly 50,000 attended this demonstration—double the number that came the previous spring in the first major antiwar march on Washington.

U. of Md. SDS contemplates the upcoming Democratic Convention – Mar. 1968

The University of Maryland College Park Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) holds a talk on campus by Lee Webb of the Institute for Policy Studies about the upcoming Aug. 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

Washington Regional SDS recruiting flye – Fall 1968

The Washington Regional SDS office produced this two-sided flyer both as political analysis and a recruiting tool after the Aug. 1968 Democratic Convention that resulted in police violence against the 10,000 demonstrators that had assembled to protest the war and continuing oppression of black people.

The flyer contains an illustration of the city of Chicago as a fortress with Mayor Richard J. Daley, national guardsmen and other figures.

The flyer makes the case that change will not come through peace candidates like Eugene McCarthy and that the repression in Chicago takes the “movement” to a new level.

SDS rally against 30 percent UMD tuition increase: Oct. 1968

The University of Maryland College Park Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) issues a flyer calling for a rally October 7, 1968 in front of McKelden Library against a 30 percent tuition increase approved by the Board of Regents.

The flyer blasts Gov. Spiro Agnew for raising taxes on working people and freezing the wages of state employees while proposing to cut the taxes of landlords

They also decried the spending of money on a new administration building on the flagship campus while the historically black campuses of the UMD system received no construction funds.

SDS demands:

  1. No tuition or fee increase
  2. End the freeze on state employees’ wages
    1. Admit thousands of black and white working class students with subsidies if necessary
    2. Hire enough teachers to reduce the student/faculty ratio by 50 percent.
    3. Upgrade the black campuses in the university system

Eldridge Cleaver speech flyer at American University – Oct. 1968

Black Panther Party Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver, presidential candidate on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket and author of Soul on Ice is invited to speak on the American University campus in Washington, D.C. 

The Panthers would establish a small chapter in the city in 1970 and prominent leaders, including David Hilliard, Huey Newton, Elbert “Big Man” Howard, Donald Cox, Eldridge Cleaver, and Kathleen Cleaver all made public appearances in the city.

UMD SDS calls for student strike against Viet War and election – Nov. 1968

The University of Maryland College Park Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) calls for a student strike and demonstrations coinciding with the national presidential election in 1968.

The strike was intended to protest the Vietnam War and the choices of candidates in the election.

The Maryland SDS action was part of a nationwide call for a student strike. The strike failed and attendance at the antiwar demonstrations held across the country was poor. However, a year-and-a-half later, students at 500 campuses across the country including the University of Maryland went on strike after President Richard Nixon announced the invasion of Cambodia and the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University.

Coolidge student march against the war flyer – 1969

A flyer advertises a demonstration held during the Vietnam Moratorium by black students at Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C. October 15, 1969.

Over 100 students from Coolidge High School sought to enter the White House grounds with a black pinewood coffin containing letters from students asking President Nixon to end the war. Refused entry by White House guards, the students pressed forward anyway. Park and metropolitan police bolstered the guards and arrested three students and one passerby. 500 bystanders gathered around the confrontation angrily shouting at police to let the arrested students go.

Black Panthers seek to recruit D.C. white student allies – Dec. 1969

During the Black Panther recruiting drive in December 1969 led by Jim Williams, the group also sought to set up an affiliated chapter of the National Committee to Combat Fascism (NCCF).

The flyer publicizes a number of events designed to familiarize area students with the Panthers and to recruit members to the NCCF chapter.

The tour came shortly after the Chicago police murder of Fred Hampton on Dec. 4thand this event is addressed on the reverse side of the flyer.

The NCCF only functioned for a short time, but the Panthers established a full-fledged chapter at their announcement of the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention at the Lincoln Memorial in June 1970.

UMD Statement on the arrest of the Skinner 87 – Mar. 1970

The University of Maryland College Park issues a statement on the arrest of 87 students March 24, 1970 who were protesting the dismissal of two popular professors.

Two professors, Peter Goldstone and Richard Roeloff, were denied a renewal of their contracts. Several hundred students seized Skinner Hall March 23 for 13 hours before police were called to arrest the demonstrators

Students briefly occupied three buildings on campus again on April 6th, including Skinner Hall, McKeldin Library and the South Administration Building. 

The protest was largely forgotten when the campus erupted May 1, 1970 in protests against President Richard Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia and the subsequent shooting deaths of 4 students at Kent State University by the Ohio Guard.

Martial law order by National Guard at UMD – May 1970

A photograph of a May 15, 1970 order by Maryland National Guard commander Major Gen. Edwin Warfield III imposing a curfew at the University of Maryland College Park, banning the sale and possession of gasoline and banning gatherings on campus of more than 100 people.

It marked the second time the National Guard occupied the campus during the 1970 student strike against the U.S. expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia and the killings of students at Kent State University.

When the Guard arrived on campus the evening of May 14th, the most bitter and prolonged fighting between students and police and National Guard occurred.

Shortly after this order, 25 students were banned from campus by Warfield at the request of university officials.

Students repeatedly defied the National Guard order and held rallies and marches of several thousand on May 18th, 20thand 22nd.

The National Guard would occupy the campus again during anti-Vietnam War protests in 1971 and 1972.

Remember the Augusta Six – May 1970

A rally is called at the University of Maryland College Park May 20, 1970 to honor the six slain black men in Augusta, Ga. who were shot to death by police—most apparently in the back—while they were protesting the violent death of a 16-year-old that was in police custody.

The campus was under martial law at the time following two weeks of confrontations between students and National Guard and police. Gatherings were prohibited. This is likely why the flyer is unsigned. The first demand of the 1970 student strike was the ending of repression of black people.

Flyer announces formation of DRUM at College Park: 1970

The first flyer issued by the newly constituted Democratic Radical Union of Maryland (DRUM) announces its formation in late May 1970  out of the 1970 student strike coalition at College Park.

The May 1970 student strike was the first mass protest at the College Park campus and included occupation of buildings, the seizure of U.S. Route 1, confrontations with police and National Guard and a student strike that was part of a nationwide student strike against the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia and the shooting deaths of four student protesters at Kent State University in Ohio.

DRUM filled a year-long void caused by the splintering of the Students for Democratic Society (SDS) in the summer of 1969.

DRUM published The Radical Guide to the University of Maryland and the Route One Gazette and held a number of meetings and protests on and off the campus.

The spring 1971 antiwar protests on the campus that resulted in a Maryland National Guard occupation of the campus for the second straight year were largely guided by these activists.

Radical Guide to the University of Maryland – Aug. 1970

The University of Maryland was relatively quiet during the late 1960s when turmoil swept campuses around the country over the Vietnam War and black liberation.

However, the campus exploded in 1970—first with the university’s mass arrests of students protesting the firing of two popular professors and later with massive antiwar demonstrations and resulting confrontations that ended in the campus being occupied by the National Guard.

The Guide was written and published by the Democratic Radical Union of Maryland (DRUM), a short-lived campus successor to the Students for Democratic Society (SDS).

It recounts the demonstrations of during the Spring of 1970 and puts forward the views of the students on important issues of the day.

U. of Md. ‘wanted poster’ of undercover police – 1970 ca.

The first in a series of “wanted” posters put out anonymously on the University of Maryland campus of police agents and informers following the student strike of 1970.

This one features alleged state police officers John Paul Cook and Bob Wacker.

U. of Md. ‘wanted poster’ of undercover police (2) – 1970 ca.

The second in a series of “wanted” posters put out anonymously on the University of Maryland campus of police agents and informers following the student strike of 1970.

This one features alleged state police officer or informer Jim Lair.

U. of Md. ‘wanted poster’ of police/FBI informant (3) – 1970 ca.

The third in a series of “wanted” posters put out anonymously on the University of Maryland College Park campus of police agents and informers following the student strike of 1970.

This one features alleged police/FBI informant Thomas Hyde.

Mother Bloor collective warns U. of Md. students of drug raids – Apr. 1971

Mother Bloor, a Marxist-Leninist study group based at the University of Maryland College Park  that briefly formed its own organization, warns of the possibility of a police raid on the campus looking for drugs April 30-May 2, 1971.

No raids apparently took place, though the campus would be wracked by another year of anti-Vietnam War demonstrations that brought the National Guard back to occupy the campus for a second year.

Mother Bloor (1970-71), named after an early U.S. Communist Party labor leader, was formed in large by University of Maryland College Park activists around the same time as Mother Jones, a similar group in Baltimore named after another labor leader.

Both groups acted as communist political groups but ended up taking different directions. Most members of Mother Bloor affiliated with the Workers World Party—a split off from the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party in the 1959–while most Mother Jones members affiliated with the Revolutionary Union—a Maoist group with roots in San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1960s.

U. of Md. students produce a guide to Mayday civil disobedience – 1971

The University of Maryland Mayday contingent produced a guide to the Mayday 1971 anti-Vietnam War demonstrations that were intended to shut down the government by using civil disobedience to block traffic in Washington, D.C.

Call for an anti-imperialist contingent in national antiwar march – May 1972

A flyer by the Attica Brigade, a youth group associated with the Maoist Revolutionary Union calls on people to join an anti-imperialist contingent in a larger march on Washington, D.C. to oppose the Vietnam War May 21, 1972.

While speeches took place before a crowd of 10-15,000 on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, several thousand in the anti-imperialist contingent tossed rocks, bottles and other projectiles while police responded with clubs and tear gas.

D.C. police chief Jerry Wilson was hit six times with objects including a wooden stick that caused blood to run down his face.

Wilson was quoted, “They usually run when I walk toward them. This time they threw bigger rocks.”

A dozen police officers were injured and 178 protesters were arrested during the confrontation.

U. of Md. students protest arrests – Fall, 1972

A newly formed Md./D.C. Committee to Oppose Political Repression issues a flyer protesting the arrest of three University of Maryland students arrested during a May 10, 1972 antiwar demonstration on the campus where police engaged in well-documented police brutality against one of those arrested.

Freedom Party marches on Rockville, Md. – Nov. 1972

The Montgomery County Freedom Party sponsors an anti-Vietnam War demonstration November 8, 1972 where about 75 people marched to the military recruiting station in downtown Rockville, Md.

The Freedom Party was one of dozens of local groups that sprang up around the country on college campuses to fill the void caused by the collapse of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the summer of 1969.

It was one of the few local demonstrations against the Vietnam War in Montgomery County where the focus was usually on Washington, D.C.

The Freedom Party left its mark on the Rockville campus of Montgomery College from the fall semester of 1971 through the spring semester of 1973, publishing Spark newspaper, sponsoring a series of speakers and holding protests. At one point they held a majority of seats in the student government.

Weather Underground FBI Wanted Poster  – 1972

While never specifically espousing an anarchist philosophy, the Weather Underground’s political beliefs and actions mirrored some of the characteristics of anarchism. The group formed as a result in a split of the mass student-based organization Students for a Democratic Society in 1969. The Weathermen, as they were originally known, carried out their first major action later in the year—The Days of Rage in Chicago’s streets October 8-11th. Several hundred hard-core activists battled Chicago police over three days under the slogan “Bring the War Home.”

A major focus of the demonstration was the trial of the Chicago 8—antiwar leaders of various philosophies charged with fomenting a riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention. The clashes with police ended with six Weathermen wounded by police gunfire, 287 arrested and a number of other injured. The police suffered several dozen injuries—none serious.

Many of those charged failed to appear in court resulting in most of the wanted profiles on the linked document.

The Weather Underground went on to conduct a symbolic bombing campaign of government, industrial or other political targets until 1977 when the group essentially disbanded.

A few members went on to participate in the May 19thCommunist Organization joint action with the Black Liberation Army of a 1981 robbery of a Brinks truck in New Jersey that resulted in the death of a guard and two police officers. Suspects were arrested over a five-year period and sentenced to long prison terms.

Transit in the D.C. Area

WMATA & union letters ordering striking workers back to work – May 1974

Shortly after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA also known as Metro) took over four privately owned bus companies in addition to the task of building a subway, the contract between Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 and the new public company expired.

The union called a strike on May 1, 1974 after the contract expired, negotiations stalled and Metro had not specifically agreed to arbitration as provided for in the expiring labor contract and the Interstate Compact that created Metro. The union argued that the clause in the expiring contract permitted a legal strike when the company refused to arbitrate. A federal judge disagreed and fined the union $50,000 per day (later reduced to $25,000) until workers returned to work.

Attached are back-to-work letters from the union and the company after workers continued the strike after the judge’s order.

Arbitration award on Metro strike discipline – 1978

The Washington Metro system had been beset by three wildcat strikes and a work-to-the rule within a four-year period.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority sought to discipline workers who led and participated in the July 1978 strike over the refusal to pay a cost-of-living increase provided for in the labor agreement.

Workers eventually won the dispute, but over a 100 were disciplined for the strike and eight were fired for their roles in the work stoppage. An arbitrator ruled on four fired defendants finding that discipline was warranted but that the terminations should be reduced to suspensions, largely because Metro had not disciplined employees for prior strikes or job actions.

The finding also affirmed that strikes are illegal under the Interstate Compact that created Metro that provides for “final and binding arbitration of all disputes.”

U.S. National Domestic Politics and Issues

American Independent Party candidate for President George Wallace handbill – Nov. 1968

A handbill passed out at polling places in Maryland November 5, 1968 for white supremacist candidate for president George Wallace who was running as a third-party candidate on the American Independent Party ticket.

Wallace hoped to garner enough electoral votes to throw the election into the House of Representatives where he could be a kingmaker and bargain to preserve white supremacy in the south. He won five southern states, but Richard M. Nixon won enough electoral votes to win the presidency.

Wallace ran behind both Nixon and Humbert Humphrey in Maryland in 1968, gaining about 170,000 votes to the other two nominees who each received about 470,000.

Unemployed

Highway of Hunger: The Story of America’s Homeless Youth – 1933

This pamphlet portrays a bleak future for youth whether they are the children of unemployed or college graduates—unless a revolution led by the Communist Party prevails. Doran joined the Young Communist League in 1930 and went to the Deep South to build up membership of the YCL among the unemployed. In Scottsboro, Alabama, he was beaten up after he became involved in the campaign to free the “Scottsboro Boys.”

In 1931 he joined the Communist Party USA and worked as a trade union organizer with agricultural workers in Alabama, textile workers in North Carolina) and coal miners in Pennsylvania).

By 1936 he was the party’s director of trade union activities. He joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight fascism in Spain. After showing heroism in a number of battles, he was promoted to political commissioner for a battalion.

He was believed to be captured and executed on April 2, 1938 in Gandesa, during the Retreats phase of the Spanish Civil War.

Students for a Democratic Society Bulletin – Feb. 1965

This issue of the national SDS newsletter contains the flyer for the first mass march on Washington, D.C. against the Vietnam War scheduled for April 17, 1965. It is located on page 13.

Also of interest to Maryland readers is the article by Bob Moore, then active in the U-JOIN project (Union for Jobs or Income Now). Moore would later go on to lead the organizing effort for hospital workers in the city and become president of the Local 1199 affiliate in the city (page 7).

Veterans 

VVAW comes to Washington July 1-4 1974 – June 1974

Vietnam Veterans Against the War was formed in 1967 and grew quickly to thousands of members nationwide. It carried out a number of high-profile demonstrations and actions including the April 1971 protests where veterans threw their combat medals, ribbons and other related items onto the U.S. Capitol grounds in protest of the Vietnam War.

The 1974 demonstration in Washington, D.C. was the last major protest organized by the group before it fractured in an internal struggle over the future of the organization. It still continues to operate today, carrying out awareness of veterans’ issues and focusing on medical treatment of veterans.

Vietnam War

Students for a Democratic Society Bulletin – Feb. 1965

This issue of the SDS national newsletter contains the flyer for the first mass march on Washington, D.C. against the Vietnam War scheduled for April 17, 1965. It is located on page 13.

Also of interest to Maryland readers is the article by Bob Moore, then active in the U-JOIN project (Union for Jobs or Income Now). Moore would later go on to lead the organizing effort for hospital workers in the city and become president of the Local 1199 affiliate in the city.

SDS calls for march against Viet War – 1965

The national office of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) issues a call for a march on Washington, D.C. to be held Nov. 27, 1965 in one of the early national demonstrations against the war in Vietnam.

In this flyer, SDS begins to make a break with those calling for negotiations by stating,

“We must not deceive ourselves: a negotiated agreement cannot guarantee democracy. Only the Vietnamese have the right of nationhood to make their government democratic or not, free or not, neutral or not. It is not America’s role to deny them the chance to be what they make of themselves.”

Nearly 50,000 attended this demonstration—double the number that came the previous spring in the first major antiwar march on Washington.

Hey, Hey, LBJ; How many kids did you kill today? – circa 1967

The National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (Viet Cong) produced this small (approximately 3” x 4.5”) flyer for U.S. troops serving in Vietnam circa 1967 (The Manilla conference referred to was in Sept. 1966).

The flyer tells the truth about the chant that greeted President Lyndon Johnson and Vice-President Hubert Humphrey whenever they visited a U.S. city.

In Washington, D.C., about two-dozen members mobilized by SDS and other groups based at 3 Thomas Circle gathered on a Sunday morning early in 1968.

As the Presidential limousine and accompanying secret service cars pulled up to the National City Christian Church located across the Circle, the demonstrators began chanting, “Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” while moving toward the church.

The secret service quickly hustled President Lyndon Johnson and his wife inside the church and protest ended shortly afterward.

Those who woke up early and gathered at the SDS offices in Washington that morning probably wondered what the point of it all was when the small protest was over within two minutes.

But George Reedy, Johnson’s press secretary at the time, recalled in a 1997 interview with the Los Angeles Times, “It bothered the hell out of him to see the students chanting, ‘Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?'”

Spring Mobilization rally at Lincoln Temple – Mar. 1967

A flyer from the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam calling for an anti-Vietnam War rally at the Lincoln Temple church March 31, 1967.

The church rally was intended to spur participation in the planned mass march in New York City on April 15th.

Several hundred thousand marched from Central Park to the United Nations on April 15thled by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. They were joined by another 100,000 led by Coretta Scott King in San Francisco.

The mass marches April 15thwere the first large-scale demonstrations against the war.

Antiwar walk with Stokely Carmichael flyer – May 1967

The Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam sponsors a rally and a march to the White House to be led by former Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) chair Stokely Carmichael May 16-17, 1967.

Carmichael spoke at Lincoln Memorial Temple on May 16thwhere he told the half black, half white crowd that he was going to “build a war resistance movement or die trying.”

He urged the crowd to make “heroes” of war resisters “and we are going to start with Mr. Muhammad Ali.”

Anti-napalm poster – circa 1967

An 8 ½ x 14 poster depiction of a Vietnamese women and her child holding what appears to be a dead child and weeping over her dead husband with the word “Napalm” emblazed across the page circa 1967.

Produced by the “Committee for the right to vote in Selma, Saigon, Santo Domingo and Washington — Revolutionary Arts Cooperative.”

No further information available on the group or the specific circumstances behind the production of the poster.

The Americans are Coming – circa 1967

An 8 ½ x 11 version of poster art by Tomi Ungerer created circa 1967 depicting a Vietnamese version of Paul Revere’s ride that underscores the role the U.S. played in Vietnam.

The poster was widely circulated throughout the United States and became a popular symbol that America was on the wrong side in Vietnam.

Peace March Marathon – Aug. – Oct., 1967

A 4-page. 8 ½ x 14 inch pamphlet describes a coast-to-coast “Peace Torch Marathon” where a flame originally lit in the Japanese City of Hiroshima was flown to San Francisco on August 17, 1967 where runners began carrying the torch across the country, arriving in Washington, D.C. on October 21st at a massive anti-Vietnam War rally.

The torch casing was made of U.S. munitions that had been dropped on North Vietnam. Hiroshima was one of only two cities attacked with nuclear weapons. Nagasaki was the other and both were bombed by the U.S. at the end of the second World War.

The pamphlet contains a schedule of cities that the torch will pass through. In urban areas volunteers walked one mile each before handing off the torch while in rural areas runners covered 10 miles before passing it on.

Support the Ft. Hood 3 who refused orders to Vietnam – 1967

The Fort Hood 3 Defense Committee holds a rally at St. Stephens Church October 16, 1967 and a subsequent picket at the White House  to support three soldiers who refused orders to go to Vietnam in 1966.

The three—David Samas, 20, a Lithuanian/Italian from Chicago; James Johnson, 20 black from East Harlem, N.Y.; and Dennis Mora, 25, a Puerto Rican from Spanish Harlem, N.Y.—were given a month leave from Ft. Hood, Tx. and told to report to Vietnam. 

Instead they held a press conference announcing their refusal to report to Vietnam. The antiwar movement rallied to their defense, but they were sentenced to long prison terms and dishonorably discharged. Mora received a three year prison term while Samas and Johnson received five years.

The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately refused to hear their case which rested on the argument the the Vietnam War was illegal.

Appeal for funds for the March on the Pentagon – Oct. 1967

The Washington Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam makes a last minute appeal for funds in order to stage the March on the Pentagon scheduled nine days later.

March on the Pentagon – Oct. 1967

The Washington Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam publishes this two-sided mailer/flyer promoting the national march on the Pentagon to be held October 21, 1967.

It was the largest anti-Vietnam War demonstration in Washington, D.C. up until that point in time, drawing about 100,000 people, including liberals, Poet Allen Ginsburg leading an attempted levitation of the Pentagon, Progressive Labor Party charging the doors and briefly breaching them, pacifists conducting a sit-in, Yippies and others conducting a “piss-in,” along with dozens of other stripes of the peace movement.

It came during the time when Gen. William Westmoreland, who already commanded over 500,000 troops in Vietnam, requested 200,000 more. The rising antiwar movement and the stubbornness of the North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front resistance convinced President t Lyndon Johnson to refuse the request and ultimately decide not to seek re-election.

Call for women to oppose Viet War – Nov. 1967

87-year-old Jeanette Rankin issues a call for women to come to Washington, D.C. January 15, 1968 at the opening session of Congress to oppose the Vietnam War.

Rankin was a former congressional representative from Montana who was the first woman elected to Congress and voted against U.S. entry into both World War I and World War II.

More than 5,000 women heeded the call and marched from Union Station and rallied on a cold, snowy day in front of the U.S. Capitol building.

Rankin served two terms in Congress, being elected in 1916 and again in 1940. The protest marked the beginning of an antiwar organization of women that named itself the Jeanette Rankin Brigade.

The Washington Area Resistance Freakout – Dec. 1967

The Vietnam-era draft resistance group sponsored an event at Washington’s Ambassador Theater (formerly Knickerbocker) before holding a protest on Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s lawn–1967.

The group staged several high profile demonstrations in support of those who refused induction into the armed services  in the Washington, D.C. area.

Don Luce to speak at Montgomery Blair H.S. – Jan. 1968

A flyer for a January 7, 1968 talk by Donald S. Luce, a former International Volunteer Service worker in Vietnam, at Montgomery Blair High School.

Luce turned against the war while serving in Vietnam and worked afterward to educate the American public that the U.S. could not win the Vietnam War.

Graham Martin, the ambassador during those final days before Saigon fell in 1975, testified on Jan. 27, 1976. He assured Congress that the collapse of the South Vietnamese government had nothing to do with the policies of Saigon or Washington but was caused “by one of the best propaganda and pressure organizations the world has ever seen,” largely organized by the Indochina Resource Center and “the multi-faceted activities of Mr. Don Luce.”

D.C. call to demonstrate at the Democratic Convention – 1968

The Washington Mobilization for Peace calls on opponents of the Vietnam War to travel to Chicago for the August 1968 Democratic Convention saying,

“Our purpose is not to disrupt the convention but to demonstrate on behalf of central issues:

*Immediate withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam

*An end to the oppression of black and poor people at home”

The demonstrators were denied permits by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and the 10,000 protesters often clashed with the 23,000 police and National Guardsmen in front of television cameras.

A flyer protesting HUAC hearings in D.C. – 1968

A September 1968 flyer advertising protests at the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings in Washington, D.C. into the clashes at the 1968 Democratic Convention. The flyer is unsigned, but lists the alternative newspaper Washington Free Press as a contact on the reverse side. At the hearing, prominent Yippie Abbie Hoffman was arrested for wearing an American flag shirt while his compatriot Jerry Rubin was hustled out of the hearing when he showed up bare-chested with an ammunition bandolier and a toy M-16 rifle [see Rubin and Hoffman]. Rubin and other Yippies tried to stand in silent protest of the “unfair treatment” they received at the hands of the committee.

UMD SDS calls for student strike against Viet War and election – Nov. 1968

The University of Maryland College Park Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) calls for a student strike and demonstrations coinciding with the national presidential election in 1968.

The strike was intended to protest the Vietnam War and the choices of candidates in the election.

The Maryland SDS action was part of a nationwide call for a student strike. The strike failed and attendance at the antiwar demonstrations held across the country was poor. However, a year-and-a-half later, students at 500 campuses across the country including the University of Maryland went on strike after President Richard Nixon announced the invasion of Cambodia and the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University.

Call to demonstrate at Nixon’s Inauguration – 1969

The National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam issues a call to demonstrate at the Inauguration of Richard Nixon as President in January 1969.

The 15,000 that assembled held a counter-inaugural march that went the reverse of the official route the day before Nixon’s festivities. Protesters threw horse manure at Vice President-elect Spiro Agnew’s guests dressed in their evening finery. A pig named Ms. Pigasus, who was to be In-Hog-Urated, escaped on the Monument grounds.

A counter-inaugural ball was held in a circus tent near the Washington Monument grounds and thousands lined Nixon’s official parade route greeting him with boos, some of whom threw rocks, bottles, tomatoes and other debris at his limousine as it passed. 

Afterwards hundreds battled police into the night and what had been a despondent antiwar movement with Nixon’s election was reinvigorated. 

Agnew reception protest flyer – 1969

An unsigned flyer advertises a protest against vice-president elect Spiro Agnew January 19, 1969.

The protesters staged a counter-inaugural parade and were headed toward a counter inaugural ball to be held in a large tent near the Washington Monument when they stopped to gather on the Mall side of the Smithsonian to protest the Agnew reception. As Agnew’s guests arrived in their finery, protesters picked up horse manure from U.S. Park Police horses and hurled it at the reception guests as they made their way down a long red carpet toward the Museum.

Police responded with a furious attempt to drive back the protesters, who in turn fought back against the police. This unscheduled protest was over within 30 minutes.

The following day protesters lined President Richard Nixon’s Inaugural parade route and threw rocks, vegetables, several smoke bombs and wads of paper at his limousine as it passed, later clashing with police.

Coretta Scott King to lead D.C. Vietnam Moratorium – Oct. 1969

The D.C. actions of the first Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam October 15, 1969, featuring Coretta Scott King, are advertised in this leaflet. King held a candle and led a night march from the Washington Monument grounds to the White House. A crowd estimated at 15-20,000 participated in the Washington, D.C. demonstration.

The moratorium was a soft approach to a nationwide strike against the war in Vietnam and involved upwards of two million people across the U.S. A second moratorium was held a month later.

Coolidge student march against the war flyer – Oct. 1969

A flyer advertises a demonstration held during the Vietnam Moratorium by black students at Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C. October 15, 1969.

Over 100 students from Coolidge High School sought to enter the White House grounds with a black pinewood coffin containing letters from students asking President Nixon to end the war. Refused entry by White House guards, the students pressed forward anyway. Park and metropolitan police bolstered the guards and arrested three students and one passerby. 500 bystanders gathered around the confrontation angrily shouting at police to let the arrested students go.

Professionals for Peace Moratorium flyer – Oct. 1969

A flyer for a rally during the October 15, 1969 Vietnam Moratorium sponsored by Professionals for Peace and endorsed by Business Executives Move for Vietnam Peace.

The rally drew upwards of 2,000 professionals and office workers in business attire to Farragut Square in Washington, D.C. to hear former Alaska Sen. Ernest Gruening tell the crowd that, “There is no reason whatever for Congress to vote to continue this madness.”

March on the South Vietnamese embassy – Nov. 1969

The front side of an anonymous flyer calling for a march on the South Vietnamese Embassy November 14, 1969.

The event occurred the day before the massive 2nd moratorium march on Washington and was called to support the rebels in South Vietnam that the US government was fighting.

An epic clash between 15-20,000 protesters and police broke out when the unauthorized march was attempted and police moved to halt it.

Residents, hotel guests and workers in the area were all swept up into the battle that featured rocks and bottles by the protesters and clubs, tear gas and guns by the police.

Call for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops – Nov. 1969

A flyer from the Washington, D.C. chapter of the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam calling for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops and a mass demonstration to be held in the nation’s capital November 15, 1969.

A host of other demands were also made, including self-determination for black America, an end to racism and poverty, free speech for GIs, self-government for the District of Columbia, the freeing of political prisoners and an end to the draft.

A feature of the demonstration was a two-day procession preceding the main march where individuals paraded single-file from Arlington National Cemetery, past the White House where each individual stopped and called out the name of a slain U.S. soldier, and then continued on to the U.S. Capitol.

A two-day nationwide work stoppage was called for Nov. 14-15 by the Vietnam Moratorium Committee. A previous Moratorium in October had an estimated two million people participate across the country.

Upwards of 500,000 attended the Nov. 15thmarch—the largest of the Vietnam War era up to that point in time.

The Day After (TDA) Watergate protest flyer – 1970

A flyer advertises for a The Day After demonstration to protest the pending verdicts of the Chicago 8—defendants charged with fomenting disturbances at the 1968 Democratic Convention by their speech.

The 600-1000 demonstrators who gathered would later march on the Watergate home of Attorney General John Mitchell (People’s Tour of the Watergate) where they clashed with police in some of the bitterest street fighting in D.C. of the anti-Vietnam War period. Fighting broke out between police who used batons and tear gas and protesters who used rocks, bottles and sticks. 145 people were arrested during the hours-long confrontation that followed the initial halt of the march. The 145 were later awarded damages after a lawsuit.

The demonstration was organized weeks in advance with leaflets advertising “The Day After (TDA)” the verdict with a time and place to gather.  The TDA was used multiple times over the next few years as a way to spread the word about an action in the pre-internet era.

This flyer should be viewed in conjunction with a related flyer below.

A flyer containing a map called a “Tour Guide” for the Watergate The Day After demonstration  – 1970

A “tour guide” map of a planned demonstration to follow the verdict in the Chicago 7 (formerly Chicago 8) trial produced in February 1970. The creators are not known.

The defendants were charged with fomenting disturbances at the 1968 Democratic Convention.

The 600-1000 demonstrators who gathered would later march on the Watergate home of Attorney General John Mitchell (People’s Tour of the Watergate) where they clashed with police in some of the bitterest street fighting in D.C. of the anti-Vietnam War period.

Fighting broke out between police who used batons and tear gas and protesters who used rocks, bottles and sticks. 145 people were arrested during the hours-long confrontation that followed the initial halt of the march. The 145 were later awarded damages after a lawsuit. The demonstration was organized weeks in advance with leaflets advertising “The Day After (TDA)” the verdict with a time and place to gather.  The TDA was used multiple times over the next few years as a way to spread the word about an action in the pre-internet era.

This flyer should be viewed in conjunction with a related flyer above.

Martial law order by National Guard at UMD – May 1970

A photograph of a May 15, 1970 order by Maryland National Guard commander Major Gen. Edwin Warfield III imposing a curfew at the University of Maryland College Park, banning the sale and possession of gasoline and banning gatherings on campus of more than 100 people.

It marked the second time the National Guard occupied the campus during the 1970 student strike against the U.S. expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia and the killings of students at Kent State University.

When the Guard arrived on campus the evening of May 14th, the most bitter and prolonged fighting between students and police and National Guard occurred.

Shortly after this order, 25 students were banned from campus by Warfield at the request of university officials.

Students repeatedly defied the National Guard order and held rallies and marches of several thousand on May 18th, 20thand 22nd.

The National Guard would occupy the campus again during anti-Vietnam War protests in 1971 and 1972.

The people have stopped Ky – Oct 1970

An October 1970 flyer calling for a celebration of the decision by South Vietnamese Vice President Nguyen Can Ky to cancel his appearance at a March for Victory scheduled by right-wing Rev. Carl McIntyre. 

The celebration on the streets of Georgetown turned into a confrontation between those who occupied Wisconsin Ave. and M Street in that section of town and D.C. police. More than 300 were arrested during the disturbances.

The next day McIntyre led a crowd of about 5,000 in a pro-Vietnam War demonstration that heard Ky address them via telephone. About 500 counter-demonstrators waved Viet Cong flags.

We stopped him [Ky] once and we’ll do it again – Nov. 1970

After cancelling an October appearance in the United States, South Vietnamese Vice President Nguyen Can Ky embarked on a two-week tour of the U.S. in November and one of his stops brought him to Washington, D.C. on November 25th, 1970.

The flyer advertises for Nov. 25th, but this was later updated. It was put out by the local Youth International Party (YIP) or Yippies. The Student Mobilization Committeee, a group influenced by the Trotskist Socialist Workers Party, put out a separate leaflet (unavailable).

About 100 people picketed the National Press Building while Ky spoke inside. Two were arrested on minor charges.

Ky was greeted by demonstrations at nearly every city he visited, some much larger than the Washington, D.C. protest.

Mayday Tactical Manual – 1971

The Mayday 1971 tactical manual provided guidance to individuals and collectives seeking to join in the effort to non-violently shut down the federal government in Washington, D.C. in protest of the ongoing Vietnam War May 3rd through 5th.

For about 5 hours on Monday, May 3, 1971 demonstrators used non-violent civil disobedience attempting to shut down the U.S. government in protest of the Vietnam War by blocking intersections and bridges throughout Washington, D.C.

Frustrated by the slow progress in clearing demonstrators, police suspended civil liberties sometime around 5:30 a.m. and locked up anyone who vaguely resembled a protestor. Around 7,000 were arrested.

On May 4th and 5th, police employed mass arrests outside the Justice Department and at the U.S. Capitol.

In all, more than 12,000 people were arrested in the largest mass arrest in U.S. history. The total surpassed the previous record of over 7,000 arrested during the disturbances in Washington, D.C. after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Charges were later dropped against nearly everyone involved and thousands later received compensation from the government for their arrest.

U. of Md. students produce a guide to Mayday civil disobedience – 1971

The University of Maryland Mayday contingent produced a guide to the Mayday 1971 anti-Vietnam War demonstrations that were intended to shut down the government by using civil disobedience to block traffic in Washington, D.C.

Youth Against War and Fascism calls for anti-imperialist contingent in national antiwar march – 1972

A flyer by Youth Against War and Fascism (YAWF), a youth group affiliated with the Workers World Party,  calls on people to join an anti-imperialist contingent in a larger march on Washington, D.C. to oppose the Vietnam War May 21, 1972.

While speeches took place at the U.S. Capitol to an assembled crowd of about 15,000, another 3-4,000 battled police at the foot of the U.S. Capitol. YAWF, along with the Attica Brigade, were the primary sponsors of the confrontation.

D.C. police chief Jerry Wilson was hit six times with rocks and a large stick and had blood running down his head from a number of cuts in one of the more intense clashes in Washington of the Vietnam War era.

Wilson was quoted, “They usually run when I walk toward them. This time they threw bigger rocks.”

A dozen police officers were injured and 178 protesters were arrested during the confrontation.

The Attica Brigade issues a call for an anti-imperialist contingent in national antiwar march – 1972

A flyer by the Attica Brigade, a youth group associated with the Maoist Revolutionary Union calls on people to join an anti-imperialist contingent in a larger march on Washington, D.C. to oppose the Vietnam War May 21, 1972.

While speeches took place before a crowd of 10-15,000 on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, several thousand in the anti-imperialist contingent tossed rocks, bottles and other projectiles while police responded with clubs and tear gas.

D.C. police chief Jerry Wilson was hit six times with objects including a wooden stick that caused blood to run down his face.

Wilson was quoted, “They usually run when I walk toward them. This time they threw bigger rocks.”

A dozen police officers were injured and 178 protesters were arrested during the confrontation.

Hiroshima Day commemoration – 1972

The Washington Area Peace Action Coalition flyer advertising Hiroshima Day events and calling for a planning meeting of interested groups. The flyer compares the Vietnam War to Hiroshima. Hiroshima Day annually marks the 1945 bombing of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. using atomic bombs. The U.S. remains the only country that has used atomic weapons against an enemy–killing an estimated 200,000 Japanese, most of whom were civilians.

Women’s Rights

Call for women to oppose Viet War – Nov.1967

87-year-old Jeanette Rankin issues a call for women to come to Washington, D.C. January 15, 1968 at the opening session of Congress to oppose the Vietnam War.

Rankin was a former congressional representative from Montana who was the first woman elected to Congress and voted against U.S. entry into both World War I and World War II.

More than 5,000 women heeded the call and marched from Union Station and rallied on a cold, snowy day in front of the U.S. Capitol building.

Rankin served two terms in Congress, being elected in 1916 and again in 1940. The protest marked the beginning of an antiwar organization of women that named itself the Jeanette Rankin Brigade.

Local Periodicals:

Washington Area Spark

The Montgomery Spark, The Montgomery County Spark, The Washington Area Spark and its successor publication On The Move published from 1971-75. Beginning as a radical student newspaper at Montgomery College, it morphed into a “movement” newspaper, then to a working class-based paper and finally as a publication dominated by the Revolutionary Union.

Historical Washington Area Spark (complete set)

Vol. 1 No. 1 – October 5, 1971

Vol. 1 No. 2 – October 25, 1971

Vol. 1 No. 3 – November 19, 1971

Vol. 1 No. 4 – December 10, 1971

Vol. 1 No. 5 – February 29, 1972

Vol. 1 No. 6 – April 15, 1972

Vol. 2 No. 1 – September 6, 1972

Vol. 2 No. 2 – October 4, 1972

Vol. 2 No. 3 – October 31, 1972

Vol. 2 No. 4 – November 19, 1972

Vol. 2 No. 5 – December 20, 1972

Vol. 2 No. 6 – January 20, 1973

Vol. 2 No. 7 – February 21, 1973

Vol. 2 No. 8 – March 14, 1973

Vol. 2 No. 9 – May 11, 1973

Vol. 2 No. 10 – June 12, 1973

Vol. 2 No. 11 – July 11, 1973

Vol. 2 No. 12 – August 17, 1973

Vol. 3 No. 1 – October 11, 1973

Vol. 3 No. 2 – November 24, 1973

On The Move (complete set):

Vol. 1 No. 1 – April-May, 1974

Vol. 1 No. 2 – August, 1974

Vol. 1, No. 3, November, 1974

Vol. 1 No. 4 – December, 1974

Vol. 1 No. 5 – January, 1975

Other local alternative newspapers and newsletters

AFSCME in Action

The first issue of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1072’s AFSCME in Action newsletter from September 1973.

The union represented about 1300 University of Maryland College Park campus workers but did not have collective bargaining rights at that time.

The issue covers campus layoffs, racial discrimination, a rival employee association, the union picnic, safety, a call to impeach Nixon and other issues.

Vol. 1 No. 1 – Sep. 1973

Finally Got the News

Published by the Washington, D.C. African Liberation Support Committee. This issue reflects the group’s turn toward the working class and Marxism-Leninism.

Vol. 1 No. 5 – May 1974

Red Earth

The last issue of Washington, D.C.-based Red Earth alternative newspaper published as a mini-manual of urban guerilla warfare circa June 1970. The politics of the paper are closely aligned with the Weathermen (later Weather Underground).

Included is a statement from the Weathermen after the bombing of the New York City police headquarters that occurred on June 9, 1970.

The 20-page tabloid also covers arms, logistics, tactics, 7 sins that a guerrilla can commit, popular support and recruitment.

The paper was apparently laid-out as a 16-page paper, but expanded to 20 pages with the inclusion of an unnumbered 4-page insert in the center of the tabloid.

No Volume or Issue number – June 1970

Third World

Third World was an independent Washington, D.C. area periodical tabloid dedicated to black liberation that began publishing in September 1969 and continued through the early 1970s.

The paper concentrated on news of black liberation, pan-Africanism and providing news stories and interviews related to black political thought. It also published poems, photographs and other artwork and reviewed performances of black artists.

The paper was financed through both sales (25 cents per copy) and advertisements, although donations played a major role. 

Distributions was through both street sellers who were usually children who kept a portion of the sales money, subscriptions and through retail outlets. The paper’s goal was 24 issues per year, but it does not seem like that frequency was met.

Vol. 2 No. 1 – Oct. 1970

Vol. 2 No. 6 – Apr. 1971

University of Maryland SDS Spark

The University of Maryland College Park Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) published a newsletter 1967-68 that inspired the later Montgomery College Spark, some of whom had attended UMD SDS meetings.

In August 1967, the UMD SDS began publishing a daily edition of a newsletter named Spark directed toward the delegates to a National Student Association (NSA) convention that was being held on campus shortly after the revelations that NSA had been partially funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

We currently have one issue:

Aug. 23, 1967

Thereafter, the Spark became a semi-regular SDS publication on campus. We have four issues:

Sept. 1967 ca.

Nov. 28, 1967

Jan. 15, 1968

May 7, 1968

In addition, the UMD SDS published an internal newsletter called Snark. We have two issues:

Vol. 2 No. 1 – Jan. 24, 1968

Vol. 2 No. 2 – Mar. 1, 1968

University of Maryland Route One Gazette

After the Students for Democratic Society splintered in the Fall of 1969 and the student strike of 1970, left-wing UMD students formed the Democratic Radical Union of Maryland (DRUM) to take the place of SDS. It lasted through the school year of 1970-71. They published The Radical Guide to the University of Maryland and the Route One Gazette:

Vol. 2 No. 1 – Winter 1971


Voice from the Mother Country

A staff split at the Quicksilver Times alternative newspaper resulted in about half the staff leaving to publish one issue of Voice from the Mother Country in April 1970. They took over the Quicksilver offices at 1932 17th Street NW that later in the year became the Community Center of the Black Panther Party.

The start-up paper was effectively ended by an FBI raid on May 7, 1970 that was ostensibly looking for former DC Regional SDS leader Cathy Wilkerson who at the time was a fugitive member of the Weather Underground Organization. Two of the staff members of the Voice were arrested on weapons charges.

Vol. 1 No. 1 – April 1970 – Note pages 3 and 4 are damaged

Local high school publications

Truth

A newsletter named “Truth” by and for high school students is produced in connection with the University of Maryland Students for a Democratic Society chapter in October 1967.

The newsletter had little local high school news but instead covered political topics.

It would be the first of a number of attempts to do outreach to high schools in the greater Washington, D.C. area by SDS

Vol. 1 No. 1 – October 1967

Outcry

The only issue published of a Springbrook High School student-produced newsletter where students signed their names to the articles and challenged the administration to discipline them.

Spark contributors Robert “Bob” Simpson and Craig Simpson are among the authors. Articles critique high school suppression of expression, the dress code, the 1968 elections, school presentation of drug information and a call for a student bill of rights.

The newsletter was published with assistance of the Washington Free Community. Springbrook H. S. is located in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Vol. 1 No. 1 – January 12, 1969

Resistance

Resistance was produced by and for greater Washington, D.C. area high school students with the assistance of members of the Democratic Radical Union of Maryland (DRUM)—a successor organization to the Students for Democratic Society on the College Park campus.

Articles cover the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention, reports from Northwestern, Blair and Oxen Hill High Schools, a critique of the Montgomery County student smoking policy, an essay on discrimination and sexism against high school women, an anti-ROTC article, and draft counseling.

Vol. 1 No. 2 – October 1970

National or International Periodicals:

Finally Got the News

Published by the national African Liberation Support Committee based in Washington, D.C. Similar to the local ALSC, this newsletter also reflects a turn toward the working class and Marxism-Leninism.

Vol. 1 No. 2 – December 1974

Poll Tax Repealer

The Poll Tax Repealer was the national newsletter of the National Committee to Abolish the Poll Tax.

The national campaign against the poll tax began in the early 1940s and continued through the end of the decade. The campaign had some success at the local level as some states repealed their poll tax, including Georgia in 1945.

The civil rights movement wasn’t successful at ending the tax until the 24thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1964. Poll taxes in state elections were outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966

Vol. 2 No. 2 – March 1943

SDS Bulletin

The national internal newsletter of the Students for Democratic Society published in the early years of the group’s existence. 

Vol. 3 No. 5 – February 1965

Unity & Struggle

The national newspaper of the Congress of Afrikan People which had moved from a pan-Africanist perspective toward Marxism-Leninism. The group was led by the poet and black activist Imamu Amiri Baraka.

Vol. 5 No. 5 – May 1976

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