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« All atwitter | Main | Seeing stars »

Jul 27, 2007

Comments

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Bubba

Somehow, I get the feeling that we will hear other information from the 4PM news conference that was not included in the editorial.....er, press release above.

Joe Killian

The city's explanation for this, for what it's worth:

1) According to a city ordinance passed two years ago these sorts of applications have to be approved 60 days in advance. This group submitted their application less than a month before the event was to take place.

2) The group failed to show proof of insurance for the event, as mandated by ordinance.

3) The group did not have provisions for health and sanitation (read: port-a-potties) that would be necessary for so large a crowd in this area.

4) People in the surrounding area weren't consulted about or informed of the event ahead of time.

Also, Ben Brown from the city says if this is an event that's been happening in Greensboro for ten years and has been of this size and complexity for ten years they must have done it illegally for the last two years. The city hasn't recieved an application for any such event for at least two years.

Possible the press release didn't necessarily mean "ten consecutive years" when they said this was the 10th year the event was held.

David Wharton

So, a group with Revolutionary Communist Party links wants to hold a rally at a public housing project in Greensboro, and "people in the surrounding area weren't consulted about or informed of the event ahead of time."

Is it just me, or is there something familiar about this scenario?

Bubba

"Is it just me, or is there something familiar about this scenario?"

It's definitely not just you. And it's VERY familiar.

According to Joe Killian's post, my first comment was right on target.

Joe Killian

This is just the explanation of the city, who has to issue permits for this kind of thing. These facts (if they are facts and not being grossly misrepresented by the city) were not represented in the press release. Decide for yourself which explanation for the cancellation makes more sense.

Chewie

The Communist Workers Party, now defunct, was a separate group from the Revolutionary Communist Party, to the point of contentious rivalry. So no, other than lumping groups of people together based on your lack of knowledge of them, I don't think your comparison moves the chains, David.

benholder

the groups have this in common: they really don't do shit for the poor.

David Wharton

The press release gave me the strong impression that the event was aimed not so much at addressing the immediate problems of the people in Hampton Homes as in pushing a national and international political agenda.

Which is I guess what Ben said.

Fred Gregory

Well said Ben !

Chewie

"In the summer and fall of 1979, local law enforcement was becoming increasingly concerned about the RCP and communist groups in general. However, many (“Major E.R. Wynn and several other officers” in the GPD) either did not understand or did not think relevant the differences and conflicts between the RCP and WVO, instead lumping them together as “Communists” who were, in Det. Jerry Cooper’s words, “giving us problems.” This made it possible to overstate the threat they posed by attaching any activities or violent rhetoric of any of the communist groups to all of them.

Statements and testimony from police officers and FBI repeatedly refer to a pattern of violent tendencies and criminal behavior on the part of Communists in general and the WVO in particular. However, when pressed for details, law enforcement officers and agents cite the same three incidents. Sometime during the summer of 1979, members of the RCP allegedly interrupted a class to hand out literature and vandalized property on the UNCG campus by splashing red paint on dumpsters. In July 1979, a skirmish between Hampton Homes residents and police attempting to break up a noisy block party sparked outcry from the RCP, who distributed leaflets and posters alleging police brutality. On Oct. 11, the RCP held a rally in Hampton Homes around the alleged police brutality incident, a rally that erupted with rock-throwing at the GPD. Finally, on Oct. 16, a clash between competing groups of leafletters from the WVO and RCP escalated into a fistfight at the White Oak plant. At least one WVO member was taken to the hospital and released. GPD responded to the scene, but neither side of the fight wished to bring charges. However, the brawl at the mill gates worried Cone management, who called Special Investigations, which Cooper attributed to the fact that there was “an on-going investigation on the RCP because they had been causing problems.”"

-- GTRC Final Report Chapter 5, "Greensboro Police Department and the 'Communist problem'"

Chewie

"Attempts to publicize the march met with obstacles. Sometime after the RCP and GPD clash in Hampton Homes, the WVO claimed they began to encounter hostility when they passed out leaflets in the neighborhood, because residents evidently were angry about the trouble there and also confused about the difference between the RCP and WVO. The WVO began distributing a leaflet that discussed their differences with the RCP and the platform of the WVO, and at the bottom advertised that, “Right now we are organizing a statewide campaign to Smash the Klan. On Saturday Nov. 3, 1979, the Anti Klan march will come right through your community.” We have not seen evidence of how many homes to which this particular leaflet was distributed, if any, but it suggests there were discussions with at least some local residents about the planned march to come through their neighborhood. WVO members Dale Sampson, Willena Cannon and Joyce Johnson all say they personally participated in leafleting the neighborhoods where the march was planned. Yet some former residents of Morningside maintain that they did not know an anti-Klan march was planned in their backyard.
...
The Nazis and Klan seemed to be as confused as the local police about the difference between the RCP and the WVO, and may have attributed what were considered to be “offenses” against the Klan committed by one to the other. The front page of the August 1979 edition of the Nazi newsletter, The New Order, carried a photo from China Grove of armed Nazis and Klansmen said to be “holding the line against the Reds.” The caption incorrectly identifies the protestors who “attacked” the meeting as the Revolutionary Communist Party.
...
At about this time in late September, Klansman Eddie Dawson claimed he went to see GPD Detective Jerry Cooper for the first time and expressed interest in disrupting RCP meetings. On Sept. 23, 1979, FBI Special Agent Bogaty received a phone call from Eddie Dawson, a former informant, who asked if there was any difference between the RCP and WVO."

-- GTRC Final Report Chapter 6, "Intelligence gathering and planning for the anti-Klan campaign"

John D. Young

The New Communist Movement that developed in the 1970's and 1980's is covered in detail by Max Elbaum in "Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radical turn to Lenin, Mao and Che." Both the RCP and the CWP had a founding party congress in the 1970's and both named themselves to be the one true revolutionary communist vanguard party in the US. If you are the one true Leninist/Maoist revolutionary vanguard it is hard then to coexist with anyone making the same claim. It takes a long scoring sheet to keep up with where these two groups stood (and changed) on Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev's 1956 speech, Mao, Pol Pot, the Cultural Revolution, the gang of four, Cuba, perestroika, Tienanmen Square, party building, democratic centralism, etc. etc. (A similar dispute between the People's Front of Judea and the Judean People's Front is well documented in Monty Python's Life of Brian.)

Elbaum on page 281 and 282 said:

"The Communist Workers Party participated in (Jesse) Jackson's 1984 campaign but by this time had turned it main attention to a full-scale internal overhaul. The CWP had previously advocated an intransigent and extremely "left" version of Marxism-Leninism, but by 1984 it had become clear even to the cadre who had formulated this viewpoint that revolution was nowhere near imminent. This naturally led to a re-evaluation of strategy -- but General Secretary Jerry Tung went further to propose a shift in CWP's basic ideology."

"Tung called on party cadre to study the work of "futurists" such as Alvin Toffler (The Third Wave) and John Naisbitt (Megatrends) as well as theorists of corporate organizations such at ITT conglomerate Chair Harold Geneen. Claiming that many businessmen now recognized the irreversible crisis of capitalism, he proposed substituting the framework of the "whole people" for the "working class and oppressed nationalities." To make this broader appeal effective, the term communist was to be dropped and democratic centralism replaced by a looser organizational structure. Tung asserted that it was time to shed the view that revolution required forcible overthrow of the state and establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat: "Our (new) strategy is the parliamentary, electoral approach, for peaceful transition to socialism through local power." On this basis, Tung proposed that CWP transform itself into a new kind of organization able to attract large numbers of people, expressing confidence in rapid growth because of the quality of CWP's existing cadre core.

Tung's proposals were a hybrid of on-target criticisms of antirevisionists orthodoxy, longstanding social democratic positions, and provocative interpretations of new technological and economic realities. Though most members initially followed his lead, CWP made no attempt to involve anyone beyond it own cadre of close sympathizers in its transformation. The group re-emerged in 1985 as the New Democratic Movement and recruited a few individuals who had been on CWP's periphery, but it was unable to gather any sustained momentum. In fact, in the absence of strong central leadership and tight discipline its cadre core gradually began to go in different directions. .... Soon the group was fading badly. Though no formal decision to dissolve was ever taken, by the late 1980s CWP/NDM had ceased to exist."

Bubba

"The press release gave me the strong impression that the event was aimed not so much at addressing the immediate problems of the people in Hampton Homes as in pushing a national and international political agenda."

Indeed.

The chains never move for those whose dogma requires they be set in concrete.

Roch101

The organizers of this event claim that the 60-day requirement is applied unfairly. They cite the recent Joey Cheek celebration and Chris Daughtry downtown concert as public events that did not apply for permission 60 days in advance. Is this true? N&R, how about an examination of whether or not the city's permitting process is being applied evenly?

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