Some thoughts on the Oklahoma bombing

Justin Schwartz jschwart at
Wed Apr 26 18:48:57 MDT 1995

You know, Scott, as long as we stay off the USSR we can agree on an awful
lot. I think your post on the fascist danger is quite good.

I hope I'm right that the danger of a fascist takeover of the government
is exceedingly small. But right wing violence is obviously rising and a
real threat--five members of my former outfit, the Communist Workers
Party, were murdered in front of video cameras by a coalition of Nazis and
Klansmen in Greensboro, NC in Nov. 1979. There is a good deal of evidence
of police collusion and some evidence of at least low-level collusion by
the FBI and the BATF. Moreover, our experience was that popular reaction
was that it was just a "shootout between extremist groups" and much of the
left at the time blamed us for being provocative. (The occasion was a
"Death to the Klan" rally.) PBS did a show, 88 Seconds in Greensboro, and
we did one (which has a lot of dated propaganda for the CWP, but which is
otherwise good) called Red November Black November. I think I can arrange
for copies to be made and mailed if people would be interested in using
them for educational purposes--I think the prive would be about $12.50
each, but I'd have to check.

An experience today I thought the people on this list would like to know
about: I wenbt downtown to leaflet a demo at the Federal Bldg in Columbus,
OH called by the AFL-CIO and its retirees group against the Contract. The
Central Ohio Progressive Network, a loose association of (at present)
mainly left and student groups is coordinating Columbus participation in a
statewide rally against the Contract called for Sat. 29 April, and I
wanted the union folks to know about it and and get a union speaker if I
could. The head of the local AFL-CIO aws there, standing beside a guy
carrying a large American flag, and when I handed him a flier he said,
what this Network? I told him what I just told you, and he said, and I
quote, "As long as it's not commies." I replied that it was open to anyone
generally on the right side and we hoped for union participation.

A friend of mine in DSA (see, Scott, "some of my best friends....") to
whom I recounted this tale said that he thought the AFL-CIO guy meant
members of the CPUSA--he works with DSA types anyway, my friend says. I
hope he and his union retirees don't freak out when the RCP shows up to
take advantage of the open mike. Still, I thought this an odd and
disconcerting reaction at this particular point. It's not as if there's a
Red Threat anymore.

As to fascism again, some years ago I read a book by a fellow named
Bertram Gross called Friendly Fascism (South End Press), in which
the author, a former New Dealer, if I recall correctly, tried to delinate
the outlines of an American fascism without jackboots or armbands. Does
anyone else know this book, and is it worth looking at again? I recall
liking it at the time. But it was shortly after Greensboro that I read it.
(Some years ago indeed!)

--Justin Schwartz

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