PL History: Red-baiting, ROAR’s Rampage Can’t Stop Boston’s Anti-Racists

(Last issue’s article about the anti-racist struggle in Boston during the summer of 1975 recounted the battle of Carson Beach. PLP and the International Committee Against Racism (INCAR) once again successfully battled the segregationist thugs in ROAR and defeated a trap set by Boston’s cops, liberal politicians, the NAACP and an unholy alliance of nationalists and Trotskyists.)

The day after Carson Beach, rebellions erupted in several sections of Boston. Black workers and working-class youth, who had had their fill of racism and police terror, fought the cops with every weapon at their disposal. The cops responded by running amok in ghetto projects, breaking indiscriminately into homes and unleashing trained killer dogs on elderly people and children.

The rebellions were somewhat tainted with nationalism. A few black youths stoned cars carrying white passengers or otherwise attacked white people. Given the racist atrocities that had occurred every day in Boston for years, the absence until recently of a mass campaign against them and the rulers’ encouragement of nationalism, this mistake was not surprising. The bosses’ media portrayed the rebellion as “black mobs out to kill whitey.”

Meanwhile, ROAR escalated its fascist violence, conducting ferocious gang assaults against black workers several nights in a row. As usual, no ROAR members were arrested.

Some of the most serious physical and political attacks against BOSTON 75 took place during the week after the Carson Beach fight. The day after the beach incident, a small group of INCAR members were leaving a television studio interview, when about 40 ROAR thugs attacked with clubs and other weapons, including a machete. The thugs were led by Warren Zaniboni, a “South Boston Marshal,” whom Ted Kennedy would later dignify with an invitation to discuss busing. The anti-racists fought back valiantly. They made good their escape onto a city bus with the help of the white driver, who slammed the door in the fascists’ face and drove away. The INCAR members went to Boston City Hospital for treatment. While they were in the emergency room, the cops showed up with the ROAR goons and arrested the anti-racists for “assault with a dangerous weapon.”

Seeing that the combination of ROAR’s terror tactics and their own state power had still not succeeded in crushing the anti-racists, Boston’s rulers launched a political red-baiting campaign. Suffolk County District Attorney Byrne claimed that the violence at Carson Beach had been caused by “outside agitators,” who had come to Boston to start “racial disorders.” He named INCAR and PLP and said that 18 “special prosecutors” would work 24 hours a day to produce indictments in the case. Deputy Police Supt. John Doyle told the newspapers that INCAR members had thrown the first rocks at Carson Beach.

The lies went on and on.

However, the red-baiting proved a complete fiasco. The task force of “special prosecutors” vanished as suddenly as it had appeared, without producing a single prosecution. Boston’s workers didn’t fall for the red-baiting. The organized fascist forces failed to grow during the weeks after Carson Beach. Meanwhile, thousands of people throughout greater Boston continued to sign the INCAR petition.

BOSTON 75’s last major action was a demonstration planned for August 18th, when the volunteers intended to present INCAR’s petition, signed by 35,000 people, to a regularly-scheduled City Council meeting. CHALLENGE readers will remember that several Boston City Councilors proudly flaunted their ROAR membership.

Weeks earlier, INCAR had obtained a permit to march to City Hall. However, Mayor White and the cops had one more trick up their sleeves. Late on Friday afternoon, August 15th, three cops came to the INCAR office with a letter from the Traffic Commissioner revoking the permit for the Monday march. He offered no reason. The rulers obviously thought that this timing would prevent INCAR from organizing against the ban. The press announced that the march would not take place.

As usual, the bosses and their media mouthpieces had underestimated the resourcefulness and commitment of INCAR and PLP.

(Next: The August 18 march; INCAR and PLP prepare to demonstrate in South Boston on the first day of school.)

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