‘Nicaragua Protest Meet in Wall St. Attacked’ from The Daily Worker. Vol. 5 No. 157. July 4, 1928.

In response to the 1928 sending of thousands of U.S. marines and Sandino’s uprising in Nicaragua, the Communist Party held a mass protest in Wall St. on July 3 which was violently attacked. A number of leading Party members, including Rebecca Grecht, Robert Minor, Harry Gannes, Kate Gitlow, Max Shachtman, and Nat Kaplan were arrested. Photos from Labor Defender.

‘Nicaragua Protest Meet in Wall St. Attacked’ from The Daily Worker. Vol. 5 No. 157. July 4, 1928.

Many Injured in Police Assault, Fourteen Jailed. Minor, Schachtman, and Grecht Are Arrested

Charging into the crowd with clubs flying and fists swinging at faces, police yesterday afternoon attacked a demonstration of about 1,000 workers at Wall and Broad Sts. which demanded that American marines be immediately withdrawn from Nicaragua.

The demonstration, which was arranged by the All-American Anti-Imperialist League, began at 12:30 with the raising of placards by a group of Young Pioneers directly in front of the banking house of J.P. Morgan & Co., near the New York Stock Exchange.

Police Charge

Hardly had the crowd of workers gathered around an automobile from the top of which speakers began to address them when 14 detectives of the Wall St. and Madison Lane squads and 30 patrolmen of the Old Slip Station descended upon them. The policemen, brandishing their clubs, and the plain clothes men making liberal use of their fists, kicking and slugging the workers and began tearing up the placards which bore such slogans as “Defeat Wall Street’s War Against Nicaragua,” “Millions of Unemployed While the Funds of the United States Go for Conquest in Nicaragua,” and “Why Not Relieve the Farmer Instead of Supporting the Banker?”

On the same comer a preacher was giving a “Bible talk.” The police did not molest the preacher.

Slug Speakers

Robert Wolf, poet and novelist, got up on top of the automobile and began speaking. A policeman immediately threw him down.

Robert Minor, editor of The DAILY WORKER and Communist candidate for U.S. Senator, mounted the roof of the automobile. Minor was pulled from the top of the car by two policemen and thrown to the pavement, where he was kicked and slugged. Speaker after speaker, undaunted by the assault, arose to tell the workers of the role played by Wall St. in murdering the natives of Nicaragua and to demand the immediate withdrawal of American marines. All were thrown down, slugged and placed under arrest.

Harriet Silverman, secretary of the New York branch of the All-America Anti-Imperialist League, was viciously hit in the face and a large cut made over her right eye from which the blood streamed freely. Another worker, Nathan Kaplan was dragged into the Old Slip police station and there slugged in the face by Policeman John Keegan and two plain clothes detectives. In hitting Kaplan in the mouth, Keegan’s fist collided with the worker’s teeth and his finger was cut. Keegan declared later in court that Kaplan had “bitten” him.

Those arrested were hurried off to South St. police station. The crowd of workers followed and were joined by dock workers and a meeting was improvised at the edge of the river.  Again the police appeared on the scene and resumed their previous slugging tactics, finally dispersing the workers. A total of 14 were arrested.

The police showed not even the pretense of courtesy towards women, slugging and arresting Kate Gitlow secretary of the United Council of Working Class Women and one of the veterans of the American labor movement; Rebecca Grecht, election campaign manager of District 2, Workers (Communist) Party; Sophie Melman, of the Young Workers League and Fannie Toohey, in addition to Harriet Siverman.

Others Jailed

Robert Minor, Max Shachtman editor of the Labor Defender; D Benjamin, assistant director of the Workers School; George Powers, secretary of the Architectural Bronze and Structural Workers Union; Phil Frankfeld, of the Young Workers League; Robert Wolf, Manuel George. Nathan Kaplan and Harry Gannes were locked up in the second precinct police station.

Those arrested were officially charged with “obstructing traffic, making speeches to incite riot and insulting an officer.” The New York Section of the International Labor Defense furnished $500 bail for the release of Minor. He refused bail, saying that he would remain with his comrades. Later, after being instructed by Workers Party headquarters to accept the bail in order that he might be able to get out this edition of The DAILY WORKER. Minor accepted bail and was released.

The prisoners made the corridors of the police station ring in singing the “International.”

All those arrested were scheduled to come up for a hearing in the Night Court last night. Jacques Buitenkant, attorney representing the International Labor Defense, appeared in court for them.

The Daily Worker began in 1924 and was published in New York City by the Communist Party US and its predecessor organizations. Among the most long-lasting and important left publications in US history, it had a circulation of 35,000 at its peak. The Daily Worker came from The Ohio Socialist, published by the Left Wing-dominated Socialist Party of Ohio in Cleveland from 1917 to November 1919, when it became became The Toiler, paper of the Communist Labor Party. In December 1921 the above-ground Workers Party of America merged the Toiler with the paper Workers Council to found The Worker, which became The Daily Worker beginning January 13, 1924.

Access to PDF of full issue: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020097/1928-07-04/ed-1/seq-1/

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