By ERNIE GOTTA
“Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer, We’ll keep the red flag flying here.”
Dozens of people turned out in two locations this past week following an incident in Stamford, Conn., when a disgruntled right winger attacked Socialist Resurgence’s weekly pop-up revolutionary bookstore. Solidarity was shown by the Internationalist Group, International Workers Unity-Fourth International, Western Connecticut DSA, the Socialist Rifle Association, Justice for Steven Barrier activists, police brutality activists, union members from UFCW and Unite Here, professors, and university students.
Following the dust-up, instead of retreating, Socialist Resurgence in Connecticut opened up a second location on Monday, Aug. 31, in New London, the city with the fastest growing wealth gap in Connecticut. The southeastern part of the state is becoming a growing up hub of activity for Socialist Resurgence. Days prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in March, a movie showing the Battle of Chile attracted a filled room in the local library. Since then members have participated in Black Lives Matter demonstrations and shown solidarity with union nurses and technicians at Backus Hospital fighting for PPE and a good contract.
Over $80 worth of literature was sold in four hours, including classics by Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, and the principal founder of Trotskyism in the U.S., James P. Cannon. Erwin Freed, a writer for the Socialist Resurgence website, said, “We had a great day in New London. We sold out of Cannon’s book “Socialism on Trial” and signed up a bunch of people interested in our weekly introduction to socialism class series.”
Labor Muralist, Kent State activist, and veteran socialist Mike Alewitz, whose “Red Square” gallery/studio/museum in New London attracted many lefty art lovers prior to the COVID crisis, stopped by in support. You can take a virtual tour of his banners and art in “Red Square” on September 9.
On Sept. 4, Socialist Resurgence returned to Stamford, where they were greeted by members of the Internationalist Group, carrying signs that read “Protest attack on democratic right to distribute leftist literature!” and “Solidarity against rightist attack!” This answer to Socialist Resurgence’s call for solidarity to defend the right to distribute socialist literature was really appreciated and was a clear example of the type of solidarity the working-class movement needs.
Similarly, Roberto Platzer of the International Workers Unity-Fourth International made the trip from New York City to express his organization’s solidarity. The turnout was fantastic as different groups of socialists and community activists mingled together to discuss politics.
After four hours, the bookstore needed to be restocked. Titles like Lise Vogel’s “Marxism and the Oppression of Women: Toward a Unitary Theory,” Leon Trotsky’s “The Revolution Betrayed,” James P. Cannon’s “America’s Road to Socialism,” “Malcolm X Speaks,” and Lenin’s “What is to be Done?” were popular. High school students bought trans liberation buttons. Over $100 in literature was sold.
Several college students from the University of Connecticut, adjacent to the pop-up bookstore, saw Socialist Resurgence’s article about the attack posted on Western Connecticut DSA’s Facebook page and came out in solidarity. One student bought a copy of Rosa Luxemburg’s “Reform or Revolution.” Justice for Steven Barrier Activists turned out in solidarity; a couple of weeks earlier, they had witnessed the Stamford police attack their demonstration in the same location as the bookstore.
Socialist Resurgence wants to extend our deepest thanks to all who showed up in support. Dan Piper, Socialist Resurgence’s candidate for State Rep in Hartford, summed it up best in his post on Facebook: “Nothing warms my heart like genuine working-class solidarity at times like these. I can’t express the kind of gratitude I feel. It really gives me confidence in our movement and our class.”
Photo-illustrations by General Strike Graphics.