‘May Day Meetings in South in Spite of White Terror’ from the Daily Worker. Vol. 8 No. 109. May 6, 1931.

Cleveland, Ohio May Day, 1931.

In addition to Southern meetings, this Daily Worker article reports on Communist gathering for May Day, 1931 in St. Louis; Tacoma, Washing; Albany and Schenectady, New York; Trenton and Passaic, New Jersey; New Britain, Connecticut; Collinsville, Illinois; and Ironwood and Pontiac, Michigan.

‘May Day Meetings in South in Spite of White Terror’ from the Daily Worker. Vol. 8 No. 109. May 6, 1931.

ATLANTA, Ga., May s.—In spite of the terroristic tactics of police and mill owners, two successful meetings were held here. One was on April 30, by the League of Struggle for Negro Rights, and the other on May Day, called by the Communist Party. The distributions of leaflets made by the workers at night forced the city authorities to place a reserve squad of motorcycle police to patrol the city in an attempt to stop the leaflet distributions for May Day. Several workers of the Atlanta Woolen Mill were intimidated by the owners of the mill and grilled as to whether they were going to attend the meetings and where they were to be held. Despite this, however, tire meetings were held and called together by word of mouth. The workers were exceptionally enthusiastic and at each meeting they roared approval to sending telegrams to the Governor of Alabama, demanding the immediate release of the nine Negro boys. Much literature was sold and several workers joined the L.S.N.R. and the Party. Doran spoke at both meetings.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala, May 5. —Colored and white workers united in a demonstration here which had been declared illegal by the police. The meeting enthusiastically’ endorsed the Communist Party and the Trade Union Unity League program. A telegram was sent to the governor denouncing the frame-up of the nine Negro boys at Scottsboro.

ST. LOUIS, Mo., May 5. —Five hundred workers took part in the May Day demonstration here. In Granite City, Ill., a good meeting with 100 workers was held. The East St. Louis meeting was held despite police prohibition on halls. Five workers joined the Party here and fifteen joined at other meetings.

TACOMA, Wash., May 5.—A thousand attended the outdoor meeting held here on May 1. The speakers were McLeod for the International Labor Defense, McNeil for the Communist Party, Bourne for the Young Communist League, Fiomer for the Working Class Women and Huddart for the Unemployed Council. The workers were attentive, but not as enthusiastic as in previous meetings. The comrades here believe that it is because oppression is so bad, everybody is in a mood to do something instead of listening.

ALBANY, N.Y. May 5 -Fifteen hundred demonstrated in the open air meeting here May 1. Speakers were Johnson, chairman: Taylor for the Trade Union Unity League, Balter for the revolutionary press, Keller for the United Front May Day Committee, Pell for the Unemployed Council and Brand for the Communist Party of U.S.A. Two hundred demonstrated in Troy at the city hall. There was an evening meeting at the Sons of, Italy Hall in Schenectady.

Cleveland, Ohio May Day, 1931.

PASSAIC, N.J., May s.—The May Day demonstration was held at Hudson and Market Sts., with more than 1,300 participating. Five speakers, in addition to the general May Day campaign, urged the workers to vote Communist In the city elections on May 12. A parade, with a brass band leading, carried placards and banners, demanding unconditional release of the five textile workers the silk bosses are trying to frame in to the electric chair in Paterson. Two to three thousand took part in the parade, which led to the scene of a successful mass meeting.

TRENTON. N.J., May 5. -All factories here for months on part time gave orders to all workers on their lists to report for work May 1 or lose their “jobs.” In spite of this 1,200 demonstrated at City Hall Plaza. Many of them were workers who were notified as above and who nevertheless refused to work and came out on the Plaza May 1. The police tried to start trouble by dragging the first speaker from a balustrade. The crowd jeered the police. Several hundred marched singing from the city hall to the Communist Party headquarters. Speakers were Edward Gail, chairman: Jacob Lehman and Joseph Wiesniewski, both candidates on the Communist Party ticket for city commissioner. Lehman and Wiesniewski are fifth and sixth on the ballot and run under the slogan: “Against Hunger— For Real Unemployment Relief.” The election is May 12.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn., May 5. -A thousand came out in an open-air demonstration here May 1, A few gangsters and a group of boys of high school age tried to start trouble, but the speaker, Sadie Van Veen, knew how to rally and solidify the crowd against them, and the disturbers failed to accomplish anything. After the open-air meeting, at the call of the speaker, 300 fell in line to march to the Ukrainian Hall to continue at an indoor meeting. New Britain is a factory town with five plants producing tools and domestic utensils. All the workers are on part time and make less than $13 a week The factories run less than half capacity. The only relief to the unemployed given by the city is a package of food a week per family. The package has lard, flour, cabbage and canned food—insufficient to live on for a week. The factories here could be turned into munition plants over night.

COLLINSVILLE, Ill., May 5. —An enthusiastic May Day meeting held here at Miners Temple was the first in years. The workers applauded the speakers’ attack on the A. F. of L. fakers who are selling out the dress strike of 500 women workers. The strikers fight wage-cuts and call all to help them mass picket against the injunction.

PONTIAC, Mich., May 5. —Commencing with a parade of several hundred on Saginaw St. over a thousand workers demonstrated May Day near the court house. Speakers ware Billips of Detroit and Holder of Pontiac, A packed mass meeting at Wolverine Hall followed. Forty-two applications for the Unemployed Council were turned in. A resolution scoring the Scottsboro frame-up was adopted.

IRONWOOD, Mich., -May 5. Over 600 workers demonstrated at Farmers Market Square here against the steel trust speed-up and wage cuts and unemployment. They demanded unemployment relief. The workers’ response to the call for the meeting was so strong that the police gave up whatever idea they had for attacks. The speakers were O. Rahkonen, O. Salo, Irma Martin. They represented the Communist Party and the Young Communist League.

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://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/dailyworker/1931/v08-n109-NY-may-06-1931-DW-LOC.pdf

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