Monthly Archives: February 1974


1974.02.23: Victory to the Miners (IS Flyer)

1974.02.23 Victory to the Miners

1974.02.01: History of An Unfree People: Black History Series No. 8: Abolitionists (Red Tide)


Red Tide, Vol. 3, No. 2 [Issue #12]
February 1974

History of An Unfree People: Black History Series No. 8: Abolitionists
[By Michael Letwin]

Who fought to free black slaves? George Washington? Thomas Jefferson? Abe Lincoln? If we choose to believe what our textbooks say, then we would accept them answers.

In reality, however, those who fought for an end to slavery were working people in the North, individual abolitionists such as John Brown and women’s liberationists such as Susan B. Anthony. Most heroic were black slaves themselves.

It was these groups of people who[,] for years before the Civil War, fought to free black people from slavery.


Working class people in the North had several reasons for fighting slavery. One was that since they themselves were exploited by their employers by being paid less than the value of the products they produced, workers fought against their conditions of life[,] which was and still is, wage slavery. They had to work for someone else who would get rich off the workers’ labor in order for the bosses to get rich. If they did not work in this way, they and their families would not be able to survive.

Many Northern workers saw that black slavery was an even lower form of life than is wage slavery. Being against both forms of slavery, the workers’ movements of the day were dead set against black slavery.

Workers had another reason to be against slavery. As long as there were slaves, white workers could be treated worse because the bosses could often threaten to use real slave labor instead of theirs. Workers in those days were fighting against conditions under which they found themselves, and these included working 12-16 hours a day, and getting paid so little that they could almost never afford to feed a family. They were told that if they protested these conditions, the bosses would fire them and get slave labor in their place.


Another group that fought against slavery were the ancestors of today’s women’s liberation movement. Such women as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, Sojourner Truth and others, who were fighting for women’s rights at the time, also were among the most courageous fighters for black freedom. As women, they were fighting for equal pay with men (a right which has not yet been won for most women), the right to vote, and similar issues. They saw that their own oppression as women was similar to that of black slaves; both were (and in most cases still are) treated as economic and pleasure objects of rich white men. These women went on speaking tours with abolitionist men such as William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, a militant black runaway slave.


Perhaps one of the staunchest non-black freedom fighters for an end to slavery was John Brown. On October 18, 1859, Brown led a group of followers in an attack on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in an attempt to get arms for black slaves. The U.S. Army sent in a detachment led by no less than then-Colonel Robert E. Lee, who thwarted their attempt, and who saw to it that Brown and his followers were hung.

[Brown] was an example of a person who put his actions where his words were, and who laid down his life for freedom.

And, of course, most heroic in their opposition to slavery were black slaves themselves, who fought both as individuals and in groups to gain freedom (see article in last issue). Examples of these are Nat Turner[,] who led a slave rebellion in 1831, and Harriet Tubman[,] who led slaves out of slavery.


What about the “fathers” of this country? Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and others? Glad you asked! Men like Washington and Jefferson were rich because of the black slaves that they owned and the wealth that these slaves produced. To the extent that [some] of them were against slavery morally, it certainly did not stop them from owning and exploiting black slaves.

Lincoln? Well he had a lot of things to say about slavery, among them that if he could hold the union together without freeing the slaves, he would do so. And he tried. Though the Civil War started in 1861, Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation” was not issued until 1863!

This is, to put it mildly, a far cry from the story that our history textbooks tell us about who fought slavery in this country.


The people who were really against slavery fought against it, and this is a lesson about freedom from all kinds of slavery that must be learned.

*Feminism: The Essential Writings, Schneir
*American Negro Slave Revolts, Aptheker
*Free Soil, Free Land, Free Men, Foner

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


1974.02.01: Nixon: Same Song & Dance (Red Tide)

Nixon Same

Red Tide, Vol. 3, No. 2 [Issue #12]
February 1974

Nixon: Same Song & Dance
[By Michael Letwin]

The prevailing mood in regards to Nixon these days seems to be that he should be impeached if he refuses to resign.


The reasons for these types of fairly drastic action are numerous and clear. Whether or not Nixon has been proved guilty in the courts of each and every charge against him, from bribes from the dairy industry to “accidental” tape erasures of subpoenaed tapes, he has without a doubt lost the confidence of most Americans.


Nixon’s most atrocious crime, that of the illegal and near-genocidal bombings and [w]ar in Southeast Asia, which amounts to no less than mass murder on a scale comparable to that of the Nazis, is an undisputed fact. So are the many wage freezes, welfare and health cutbacks that have hurt working and poor people so much during his term of office. Unfortunately, these are not the issues [that] are being raised usually in the mass media. All of these actions, especially the “campaign of dirty tricks” and the Watergate cover-ups[,] have caused a widespread disillusionment and cynicism not only with the Nixon administration and the Republican party, but also with the Democrats and the political system and politicians generally.


And rightfully so! This kind of corruption is not limited to those in the present administration or party. There was an equally destructive war in Southeast Asia before Nixon was in office. In fact, all the dirty tricks that have been used by the Republicans against the Democrats in last election have been used on a much more vicious scale by all administrations against the leftwing movements, workers, minority and women’s liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s, just to mention the more recent examples.

An example of this is the recently disclosed memo from J. Edgar Hoover to the FBI declaring war on groups and individuals “who spout revolution and unlawfully challenge society to obtain their demands.” This was in May of 1968, under Johnson’s Democratic administration.

Many people are realizing that instead of just a few individuals, we have a corrupt political system.

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

1974.02.01: Red Tide Completes Third Year

[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. 2 [Issue #12]
February 1974

Red Tide Completes Third Year
[By Michael Letwin]

A few of us who are working on the Red Tide now have worked on the paper and its activities for the past three years, the length of the paper’s existence. Some of us are now graduating from high school, and there are people who are still going to be in school tn take our places.


The fact that there are people to carry on the paper’s work makes us feel good. The Red Tide has been in the lead of or involved in the fight for students’ rights, the women’s liberation movement, black liberation movement and the anti-war movement (to name a few) in the high schools of Los Angeles.

We are proud of the fact that we have won fights in certain schools, at least so that students now have the right to distribute printed materials, to bring outside controversial speakers to their schools, to hold meetings, and to do a number of other things that are indispensable in organizing people, and that are part of basic democratic rights.


We are also proud of the fact that we have carried on a certain amount of education directed to and written by students concerning issues from a local school level to an international level. We feel that in a society where all major means of communication and media are controlled by big business, our contribution to alternative education has been small but important.


We have obviously not succeeded in everything we have desired to do. The rights which we have fought for on L.A. school campuses are more than not nonexistent on most campuses, and in the absence of a strong student movement, they are being pushed back daily by administrations, all of whom wish to crush free and open activity, knowing full well that once educated and active, students may not stand for the schools or the society under which we live.

An example of this is Locke High School in Watts, where students are still denied, to this very day, the right to distribute material on campus by the principal, Hobbs.

To a much lesser extent, the rights that students at University High School in West L.A. have won after years of struggle, including sit-ins, demonstrations, petitions and all! the rest, are often violated by the administration there, which thinks that students will do nothing to guard their rights. We believe that, at some point, students will prove them wrong.

We have failed as well on a number of other things, among them to build a stable student movement, and on a different level level, to get the paper itself on a regular basis.

On the whole however, we believe that the Red Tide has led the most effective student struggle in the past number of years, and that we can continue to do so the students who are willing to carry on its work are joined others so that the fights can be won. The above statement is not a eulogy. It is a call to action.


We are in an unfortunate situation today where society, and schools with it, are back into the apathetic slumber of the ’50’s and early ‘60’s. Those were not the “good old days”. They were days in which people were really willing to take whatever shit those in power were dishing out to them. They were days in which people refused fight back. There is nothing heroic about that.

We want to make an effort to return, in some ways, to a situation that developed in the later parts of ’60s where people did fight back.


To continue the struggles of students, and the alternative education that necessarily goes with that, we need participation. We want people who are willing to fight again. Concretely, this means that we need people who are willing to devote a good deal of their time to educate students about what is really going on, and who will attempt to get us all to do something about it. We need help from all angles: writing, drawing, talking, thinking, and fighting.

All who are willing to join us in this effort, write to us today or talk to a staff member if you know one. We will continue. –JOIN US!–

The RED TIDE Staff

P.S. We are putting our names in the Red Tide because we want people to know who we are, so we can discuss the paper with you.

1974.02.01: Board Lies About Rights (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. 3 [Issue #12]
February 1974

Board Lies About Rights
[By Michael Letwin]

Sometimes, we just have to sit back and laugh for just because we know that censorship exists in schools in L.A. doesn’t mean that the Board of Education doesn’t know better. Or so reports the Valley Section of the LA Times, on November 11. 1973.


This bit of news came up when a journalism teacher, Mike Weiner, at Canoga Park High complained to the Board that, “In many school newspapers, students are not allowed to criticize the hamburgers in the school cafeteria or to lobby for an open campus or even to mention that their school may have a problem with drugs or vandalism.”

In response, Associate Superintendent of Schools Halverson said that he doesn’t believe that any teacher has ever been harassed or in danger cf losing their job for not censoring material in a school paper. But Halverson also stated that the high school newspaper is a classroom only affair, and is not in existence fur students to express themselves.


More astoundingly, however, Halverson said that students have access to outside and underground newspapers and speakers which he said aren’t under the control of the principal!

Well, all we can say is that if Halverson really believes this, he must be blind, deal, and/or generally incompetent, because anyone who has follow ed the struggles of students against administrations in the past knows that we had to fight! to have speakers and material of our choice on campus, without administration censorship.

Was there not a fight when students at University High in West LA. wanted the right to hear Jane Fonda on campus last school year? Or today at Locke High School in Watts, where several students are fighting the principal in order to have the right to distribute the RED TIDE on their campus? (See article in this issue)

The Board has not even taken action in support of students when events such as these have occurred. instead they have always stood up for their administrators who, don’t forget, never censor such things!

We don’t know how the Board and its cronies are able to make up such liberal sounding lies, but we do know that they are not true and that the only way that students have ever been able to win these kinds of rights is by a direct and open fight with the administration at their schools, and in many cases with the Board itself, that has not at this time ceased.

1974.02.01: Support the Farmworkers Don’t Buy Gallo – Boycott Sav-On (Red Tide)

Support the Farmworkers

Red Tide, Vol. 3, No. 2 [Issue #12]
February 1974

Support the Farmworkers
Don’t Buy Gallo – Boycott Sav-On
[By Michael Letwin]

Once again the United Farm Workers union is asking people to boycott grapes, head lettuce and Gallo Wine in order to force these and other growers of vegetables and fruits to sign contracts with the Union. There is also a boycott at the moment of all Sav-On stores to try to get them to stop carrying Gallo Wine.

The Farmworkers have been fighting the growers for many years now in order to gain decent wages and working conditions. The average farmworker family must live on about $2700 a year. Compare this to what your family makes or what your friends live on.


More recently, the leadership of another union, the Teamsters, has joined the growers in trying to smash the Farmworkers, both by refusing to allow the Farmworkers Union to sign contracts with the growers that would guarantee higher wages, and decent working conditions such as water and toilets in the fields, and also by hiring other workers to beat up, and in some cases actually kill, Farmworker pickets who are on strike (two pickets were killed last summer). Although most Teamster Union members don’t approve of what their leadership is doing in trying to destroy the Farmworkers Union, these actions are having a disastrous effect on the chances of the Farmworkers to gain these basic needs.


The Farmworkers must be supported in their fight because they, like all people, are entitled to the basic living conditions that all of us want. Their union is doing the basic kind of organizing that most unions carried out 30 or 40 years ago[,] in a time when there were no such things as the United Farmworkers of America (UFWA). Now that farmworkers have organized themselves, it is up to us to make sure that they win.


One thing that is often misunderstood about the situation in the fields is the myth that they are owned by farms the size “Green Acres” or “Lassie.” This is simply not true. The “ma and pa” small farms of several decades ago are for the most part gone. They were driven out of business a long time ago by the big agriculturalists. So who now owns the fields that are being struck by the UFWA? Well, for example, in 1959 (according to U.S. census) the three largest farmers in the San Joaquin Valley of California (which is where a lot of the striking is taking place) were Kern County Land Co., Standard Oil and Southern Pacific Railroad. A far cry from “Old MacDonald’s.”


The Farmworkers Union has asked everyone to refuse to buy head lettuce, grapes, [and] Gallo Wine, and to refuse to shop at stores where they are picketing, which at the moment is Sav-On stores, whom they are trying to get to stop carrying Gallo Wine, whose workers are on strike in order to unionize.


For example, a number of students and others in West L.A. are picketing the Sav-On at the corner of National and Sepulveda. This is taking place on Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon. They have been asking people not to shop at Sav-On stores until they stop carrying Gallo Wine, just one company that has refused lo allow farmworkers to unionize with the UFWA.

So far, these actions have been very successful. Many people who would normally shop at this store decide to shop elsewhere when they see or talk to the pickets. At this store[,] many pickets have turned away as many as 20-30 people a day. This adds up to a lot of business for Sav-On that is lost.

People at all schools can be involved with this also. There are Sav-Ons and other stores that need pickets all over the city, and students can play an active role in the victory of the Farmworkers over these vicious businesses,

If you can, then join the students who are picketing at the above times. The more people there are, the more effective we can be. If you go to schools far from there, and want to work the Farmworkers Union in your area, then write to us, or call the Farm workers Union at 381-1136.

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