Monthly Archives: November 1973

1973.11.01: Slave Revolts (Red Tide)

Red Tide, Vol. 3, No. 1 [Issue #11]
November 1973

Black History Series No. 7
History of An Unfree People
Slave Revolts
[By Michael Letwin]

We concluded the last black history article by stating that the “Uncle Tom” and “Black Sambo” stereotypes that slaveowners and even many historians attribute to the black slave are untrue characterizations designed to justify slavery.


Resistance to slavery was a way of life for most slaves. Unfortunately, these acts normally involved individual acts of slaves, such as self-mutilation to avoid work, acts of arson and destruction of the master’s property and crops, killing the master, feigning sickness, and the highest form: escape.

This does not mean that very few people participated in these activities, but rather that they were not coordinated at the same time.


There were, however, a number of slave revolts in which many people did participate at the same time. Perhaps the most famous of these revolts, which go back as far as slavery in America, is the Denmark Vesey rebellion of 1822 in Charleston.

Although this rebellion was nipped in the bud, it was found that there were a large number of people involved in the planning. This would-be rebellion took place in the city.


Its counterpart on the plantation is exemplified by the Nat Turner rebellion of 1831. In the Turner rebellion, slaves from several plantations in a part of Virginia banded together under the leadership of Turner, a relatively educated slave, and proceeded to take over the county.

By the time hundreds of soldiers and vigilantes were able to defeat the rebellion, about 60 white slave owners and their families had been killed. In this rebellion, slaves made a point of killing only those whites who owned slaves.


Another, more unique, revolt was that which took place on the ship “Amistad” in 1839, where recently captured slaves from Africa were able to mutiny against the crew that was taking them to their final destination of slavery in the Caribbean. This was an attempt to get back to Africa.

All of these rebellions (and space permits these few out of hundreds of incidents to be discussed here) are ample indication that slaves, though not on the whole successfully, did not in fact accept the conditions under which the southern ruling class forced them to live and to work.

But even this fact has been disputed by many apologists for slavery, or just outright racists. They say that these stupid, ignorant slaves were stirred to action by white northern abolitionists (those who fought to end slavery) as if the slaves themselves were not capable of realizing their own oppression and acting against it.


Black slaves did indeed resist slavery in great numbers and in doing this set an example for black people today to resist the living conditions of the ghetto and the working conditions of the factory.



1973.11.01: Indians Picket McGovern (Red Tide)


Red Tide, Vol. 3, No. 1 [Issue #11]
November 1973

Indians Picket McGovern
[By Michael Letwin]

On Friday, Sept. 14th, members of the American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) with some of its supporters picked outside a Beverly Hills home where George McGovern was speaking at a fund raising party for the Democratic Party.

The following is a statement that A.I.M. made to explain their appearance:

“The Democratic Party Platform of 1968 reads[,] ‘The American Indian has the oldest claim on our national conscience.’ The Republican Party Platform read, ‘The plight of the American Indians and the Eskimos is a national disgrace.’

“We are here today to assert that claim to put this disgrace before the conscience of this nation.

“In spite of the soothing words of promise found in the platforms of the two major parties since 1872, both have continually pursued a policy of bipartisan exploitation and genocide against the Indian people. Tonight the California Democratic Party is gathering to ‘celebrate the American Way and demonstrate their belief in a way to take government out of the hands of big money and special interest groups and return it to the public sector where it belongs.’ For 700,000 Americans ‘the American way’ has been poverty, the highest suicide rate, sub-standard medical facilities on the reservation and the highest rate of infant mortality in the U.S.

“The Indian peoples who have tried to function through the white man’s system since the entire reorganization act of 1934 and who have seen their land taken from them and their hopes destroyed, saw the first real effort in years to return power over their lives to the ‘public sector where it belongs’ begin in Wounded Knee on February 27th, 1973 in South Dakota.

“Hundreds upon hundreds of Indians representing more than 75 different tribes supported the just demands of the Oglala Sioux people on the Pine Ridge Reservation and they did so heroically at the risk of their lives knowing that they were facing the possibility of spending the rest of their lives in jail if they survived the liberation of Wounded Knee.

“This struggle was carried on in the ancient traditions of movements for liberation as fought for by Crazy Horse years before in South Dakota, by Indians in Bolivia and by the Vietnamese people.

“Those who support just struggles for liberation have turned their back on the struggle of the American Indian people. SENATOR GEORGE MCGOVERN, for example, called on President Nixon to participate in a military action against women, men and children residing at Wounded Knee. At the same time he called for a halt to all such operations against people of Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam.

“If for thinking Democrats the American Indian has the oldest claim on the national conscience, those of you who are gathering here this evening will find a way to meet your obligation. More than 300 Americans, most of them Indians, are facing jail terms ranging up to 175 years each for the liberation of land which according to law belongs to the Indian People. In the white man’s court with the white man’s jury and the white man’s laws the Indian people have little chance if they are forced to stand alone. To you, the concerned sector of the Democratic Party we assert our claim.”

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See:]


1973.11.01: Coup in Chile (Red Tide)

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See:]

Red Tide, Vol. 3, No. 1 [Issue # 11]
November 1973

Coup in Chile
[By Michael Letwin]

Since the coup on September 11, at least 20,000 people have been murdered in Chile. General Pinochet has outlawed all political parties except those which support the government, and the military dictatorship is in the process of murdering thousands of workers who were working for socialism, and jailing thousands more.


In 1970, a “Marxist”‘ Salvador Allende, was elected president of Chile, representing a coalition culled “Popular Unity.” Allende stated that he would carry out radical reform, and that in the end, he would bring about socialism.

The first and most radical step that Allende took was the nationalization of the (primarily U.S. owned) businesses such as Anaconda, Kennecott Copper and numerous other foreign corporate interests. These firms had been making enormous profits and paying the workers starvation wages. After the nationalizations, the firms affected attempted find ways of getting rid of Allende to protect their profits.


This was disclosed when IT&T failed to shred incriminating evidence before it fell into the hands of columnist Jack Anderson. When the Allende Government seized IT&T’s subsidiary, the Chilean Telephone Company (Chiltelco) in October 1971, additional evidence was discovered in the flies.

As early as February 1970, more than six months before the popular vote for president, IT&T cabled instructions lo Chiltelco to compile a list of the leading U.S. corporations in Chile, so that they could band together to defeat Allende. It was also found that IT&T offered the CIA $1 million to help get rid of Allende. This was all uncovered in U.S. Congressional hearings.

IT&T and its cohorts were able to influence the US. Government to block loans to the Popular Unity Government. Kennecott Copper, one of the nationalized firms, waged a fight in courtrooms around the world to impound the shipments of copper that were coming from “their” mines. In response, Canadian and Dutch banks suspended all credit to Chile in October of 1971.


What all of this amounted to was a U.S.-sponsored blockade similar to that which was placed on Cuba since the early 1960s. Chile was unable to purchase food, medicine, equipment, and spare parts for machinery that had been bought prior to the Allende regime from the U.S.

Because of the economic blockade, designed to ruin Chile’s economy and bring Allende’s downfall, inflation rose to 300% and Chile was unable to pay $700 million it had promised to pay for the nationalized U.S. corporations.


The only government agency in Chile to receive any sort of financial aid was the military, which was completely independent of the Allende regime, and which the U.S. hoped would turn on that regime, reversing the reforms which had been brought about.


It is interesting that the press in this country, especially since Allende’s fall, has blamed the disastrous economic situation in Chile on the Popular Unity Government. In fact, many of the economic problems were part of a plan by the U.S. Government and business to sabotage the economy of Chile.

However, the U.S. involvement  in Chile was only half the problem. The other was the Allende government itself, although not in the way that U.S. corporations or press would characterize it.


Allende never understood some basic facts. Socialism is not simply a society in which the president claims to be a socialist. Rather it is a completely different system where the working class as a whole democratically runs all aspects of society.

In Chile, Allende was attempting to get the army and the rest the government to come to the side of the workers, or at least remain neutral. No army is ever neutral. They line up lo defend a certain type of economic and political system.

Allende continually made concessions to the army officers, the rich, and small scale owners (truck owners, shop keepers, etc.), He gave the army total political freedom. He told workers not to take over factories. He placed army officers in positions in the government. He helped disarm the workers. He never seemed to realize that one day, he and the army have to have it out. He did nothing to prepare himself or the people of Chile for such In event.


The army was just waiting for the right chance to launch a right wing attack. Allende, forgetting that people with money and power never give up without a fight, could not defend his government nor could the working people of Chile defend themselves.

While the military carried out executions of workers in the streets with U.S. arms, and the air force cordoned off whole working class sections of Chile and destroyed them with U.S. planes, the working people had nothing to defend themselves with. This was so because Allende had told people to keep faith in Chile’s “neutral” army, that there was no need to arm themselves.

This reaction too, was not reported accurately in the press in this country, and one must listen to those who were in Chile at the time to really understand the effect of Allende’s mistakes, and of the U.S. government’s sabotage.

Thousands upon thousands of workers and peasants who supported the gains of the Allende regime have been murdered by the troops of the Pinochet government. Jeff Boltz, an American who was in Chile at the time of the coup, reported at UCLA on Sept. 27th that “the machine guns of the military didn’t stop all night in the summary executions.”


What is clear is that the U.S. role in Chile was more than just the sabotage of the economy. Assistant Secretary of State Jack Kubisch had originally informed members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the U,S, received warning of the coup the night before its execution. This warning, according to the September 13th Washington Post, was passed on to “the highest level” in Washington, and a decision was made not to warn Allende.

It is not hard to imagine why the U.S. Government would want to get rid of the Allende Government.

And of course there were editorials such as those in the L.A, Times of September 12th, claiming that because Allende was a “Marxist,” he could not hold the economy together, and this caused his own downfall.

And in relation to the possibility (or rather inevitability) of U.S. involvement they say: “We assume it didn’t happen.” How logical! Perhaps the Times just doesn’t remember Vietnam, Korea, the Bay of Pigs in Cuba, to name a few, where the U.S. Government secretly intervened in foreign nations to protect U.S. business.

The events in Chile were made possible by the combined efforts of the U.S. Government and the illusions of the Allende regime. Though there can be no doubt but that the U.S. did its best to bring the present military coup to power, Allende and his policies of limited reforms, instead of total revolution, made it possible for the reaction to succeed, and that while we must point out that the U.S. policies are typical of a government that works in the interests of big business, socialism, a society in which the working people are in power, can only come about by a revolution which makes it impossible for a counterrevolution to succeed.


1973.11.01: Indian Leader Murdered (Red Tide)

Red Tide, Vol. III, No. 1 [Issue #11]
November 1973

Indian Leader Murdered
[By Michael Letwin]

“There has now been more violence, more killings, more beatings, more deaths, more threats, since the Wounded Knee occupation on the Pine Ridge Reservation than during the whole siege of Wounded Knee.”

So said Russell Means, national leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in a press conference on October 19. The conference was called in response to the assassination of Pedro Bissonette by Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Police, two nights before on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Bissonette was a leader of the Independent Oglala Sioux Nation, formed during the Wounded Knee occupation, an officer of the Oglala Civil Rights Committee, and member of the American Indian Movement. He was also one of the seven major defendants in the government prosecution of about 600 people for the occupation of Wounded Knee earlier this year.

The Assassination

A woman who witnessed the shooting, said Means, claimed that Bissonette was “shot in the chest and while he was down, was shot six more times in the chest with a 5 inch by 5 inch pattern.”

Attorneys for the American Indian Movement who viewed the body before the Bureau of Indian Affairs secretly moved it out of the state of South Dakota against the family’s wishes, said that the shots were fired at such close range that there were powder burns on the body. (Powder burns occur only when a person is shot within about a two-foot range.)

Pedro was murdered by the federally paid police while driving on his way to visit his mother. The BIA has already lied. They have claimed that Bissonette was only shot once, in some sort of self-defense, and that the body was being “examined” by the BIA pathologists.

Chief Witness for the Defense

Bissonette was also one of the key witnesses of the defense, not only because he was Oglala and from Pine Ridge Reservation, but because he was a member of the Civil Rights Committee who invited the American Indian Movement to Wounded Knee on the basis of the 1868 Sioux Treaty.

Dual System of Justice

Means said that non-Indian people working with the Wounded Knee defense, many of whom were involved with civil rights struggles in the South and the Chicano areas of Texas, have observed that the racism and the dual system of justice under which the Indian people live is worse in South Dakota than anywhere else they have seen.

For instance, the federal authorities have refused to investigate the killing of people on the Pine Ridge Reservation, including the shooting of a nine-year-old girl Mary Ann Little Bear, who had her eye shot out, while 20 people signed statements to that effect.

Government Plan

Russell Means continued, “We believe that it’s a conspiracy by the federal government in collusion with state and local governments around the country, specifically in the State of South Dakota, to continue to break the back of the American Indian Movement. As L. Patrick Gray stated in testimony before Congress, the White House had definitely ordered the FBI to disrupt and destroy the American Indian Movement.”

1973.11.01: Rebuttal to Letter [About Mayor Tom Bradley] (Red Tide)

Rebuttal to letter

Red Tide, Vol. 3, No. 1 [Issue #11]
November 1973

Rebuttal to Letter [About Mayor Tom Bradley]
[By Michael Letwin]

Dear Susan,

Though we disagree with your criticisms of our positions, we thank you for taking the time to write them to us.

We do not feel that our accusations against [Mayor Tom] Bradley were unjustified, although we realize that we did not explain them as well as we should have.

We were NOT accusing Bradley of being a militant, but rather were trying to point out, as you correctly did, that he is anything but that. Bradley has a long history of being reactionary and defending the injustices of the social-economic system that any militant would be proud to fight.

As far back as 1940, when he was president of the “Negro club” at UCLA, he was defending these injustices. For example on Dec. 6 of that year, two black students, Garland Emery and Martha Gordan[,] appeared before the Student Council and charged that they were being discriminated against by the University for being black. They sought actions from the Council, and so the testimony began. However in the middle of the testimony, an onlooker, Thomas Bradley, rose and launched an attack on the two blacks. He accused them of discrediting their race by “Linking it with Communist elements on campus,” and [added that,] “Negroes at UCLA do not need your subversive support.” (Source: The Bradley Truth Kit).

Even on this type of elementary fight for justice, Bradley defended the system.

In terms of law and order, Bradley served (and we mean served) the ruling circles of LA on the LAPD for 21 years[,] calling it “The finest in the nation.” We see nothing fine about a force which serves as an occupation army in the black and Chicano communities in LA and which has historically been used to break strikes and to defeat the struggles of people in fights for their rights. Such a situation took place in 1965 when the LAPD helped crush the revolt in Watts, where many sections of the black community refused to submit to the despicable housing, low wages, racist and repressive schools and police brutality that still exits today.

The LAPD took part in the attack on the “Chicano Moratorium” in August of 1970[,] where they arrested thousands of demonstrators and murdered (by mistake, of course) Ruben Salazar, a respected member of the Chicano community, and a reporter for the LA Times.

There are many more examples of this type of police repression toward mass demonstrations, not to mention individuals in poor and working class communities. We do not know of any situation where the police have attacked or killed[,] “by mistake” or otherwise[,] a rich head of a corporation, or someone living in Bel Air or Beverly Hills. This happens all the time in black and brown communities of LA. This is why (to put it simply) we call the police servants of the rich. The police keep working people in line so that the profits of the rich stay high.

They are also part of the system that Bradley praises.

Your “solution” of disciplining kids “before they get to high school”is not what we consider a real solution, but rather the kind of “solution” that Bradley would suggest. We have said many times that the causes of school violence are the rotten conditions in the concerned communities, [such as] police victimization, not to mention the schools themselves. The immediate solution must be to organize the gangs into forces that can fight the system [that] has created these problems.

However Bradley opposes this kind of activity also, and he has said so, especially when criticizing the student walkouts against the [Vietnam] War or other more local issues. Bradley was opposed to any “escalation of this kind of activity, ultimately ending in anarchy,” and [says,] “[w]hen a riot occurs, the only way to deal with it is to move in immediately with the police and whatever force may be necessary.” (Bradley Truth Kit).

Who supports Bradley? We don’t have a list, and if anyone does we would like to see it. But we do know for instance that Max Palevsky, a rich LA executive, famous for his support of other “liberal” candidates such as McGovern, supported Bradley with a lot more than words.

We all know from experience (especially after Watergate) the kinds of corporations[,] such as IT&T, etc.[,] that support candidates for office.

Next you mention apathy. The cause of apathy is not a mysterious subject, nor is natural to human behavior[,] as some cynics or apologists for the present society would have us believe. Apathy is the product of powerlessness, something that exists both in school and outside of school.

Apathy in schools exists because students know that they have no way of exercising their will, and that student government has no power to speak of, while the little that it does have is used to sell out the struggles of students for power. Student “suggestions” mean nothing without having the power to enforce them.

In society outside of school, the situation is much the same. The vast majority of working people[,] who in fact make society run, have no power over what they produce, or what happens to the products or who gets the profits, etc. We have no direct or immediate control over the domestic or foreign policy of the government. Apathy will only disappear when people realize that power should belong to the people who produce, not to the small group of rich people who own and control things today.

I have a feeling I could ramble on forever, but in conclusion I should say that in the future we will try to make ourselves clearer, for the fact that you could misunderstand our meaning on so many points indicates that something must be changed.

The Red Tide Staff

1973.11.01: Fight the Board Rules (Red Tide)

Fight the Board Rules (Red Tide).jgp

Red Tide, Vol. 3, No. 1 [Issue #11]
November 1973

[By Michael Letwin]

On Thursday, the 6th of September, the Board of Education in L.A. passed Board Rule 1268, which severely restricts the right of students and teachers to hear speakers of their choice on campus. These rules leave up to the principal to determine whether the subject has “educational value” and whether the speaker is “competent.”

The rule applies to three categories of speakers: those who address classes, clubs or assemblies.


These rules were passed in response to the incident last year in which Jane Fonda denounced the War in S.E. Asia at University High, after students fought a long hard fight against the Administration and the Board to hear her.

Now the Board wants to make sure that speakers who they do not “approve” of cannot speak again on campus, regardless of the wishes and of both students and teachers to hear every and any speaker that they wish.


Board member Dr. Newman didn’t “see anything horrible” about the measure and called it a necessary rule tightening to help the administration.

Richard Ferraro (another Board member) defended the measure throughout the meeting, stating that a principal is responsible by law for what happens on campus, and should therefore have a degree of control. He pointed out that a principal could, for example, after the criteria are met, prevent the appearance of a speaker known to voice “untruths”, such as “marijuana is not harmful.”

The rules also state that a principal’s regulations on speakers “need not be limited to” the criteria already cited. After the criteria are met, the principal may grant permission to speak, the rule reads.


Not surprisingly, the Board’s only student member (who was non-voting), Mike Parlie, ASB president of El Camino Real Hi, supported the action, and justified this by saying that if anything goes wrong “the principal will get the axe.” This is typical of “student leaders” who kiss up to administrators in order to win their favor.


Why is it that the Board feels so strongly about restricting certain types of speakers from campus? The Superintendent of Schools Johnston claimed on Wednesday the 12th of September, at a meeting at the Board of Education, that the rules were there only to insure that “both sides of any issue are heard.”

If this were so, the rules would say just that, that both sides of any issue should be guaranteed the right to be heard. Instead the the rules set up all kinds of restrictions on the type of subject and speaker that can be heard.

This claim of “both sides” in itself is ludicrous, as any quick examination of a school textbook will reveal that, on any issue you can think of, the book will defend the views of the government and of the status quo (see the article on school texts in this issue).


Of course, included both the old guidelines and in the new ones is this statement of “caution.” “Care should be exercised to avoid extending invitations to speakers whose aim is to destroy the very institutions which give them the protection of free and open expression.”

These rules can only be fought by example, and for this reason we intend to line up a series of speakers to discuss such subjects as Watergate, U.S. involvement in Chile, African Liberation, The Equal Rights Amendment, and many other topics that are relevant to all of us. It is the job of all who believe in real democracy to help in this fight.

Copies of Rule 1268 can be obtained either from the Board or from the RED TIDE. We can also be contacted about getting speakers for your campus.

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See:]