We Condemn Thugs’ Attack on People’s Forum, and Police Complicity / by the Communist Party of Maine

The Communist Party of Maine, affiliated with the CPUSA, expresses outrage at the thuggish and illegal attack on The People’s Forum that took place in New York on June 3. A group of far-right vandals carried out the attack. They included antivaxxers and known Cuban and Venezuelan anti-communists. They verbally harassed and physically assaulted the Forum’s staff for over an hour, apparently with the assistance of New York City police officers. 

The People’s Forum

The People’s Forum (TPF), founded in 2018, is a combination library, bookstore, and meeting place. Organizers and staff there say they are advancing the struggle for dignity of workers worldwide, building domestic and international links among progressive organizations, and spreading truth in opposition to the lies produced by warmongering Democratic and Republican politicians. The Forum has weathered earlier attacks, both digital and physical, from right-wing extremists. But this one occurred at an important moment for TPF.

Some background: President Joe Biden arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday to attend the Ninth Summit of the Americas. There, according to spokespersons, he will attend to the concerns of Latin American leaders. Crucially, however, the Biden administration did not invite the presidents of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.  Each of these socialist countries has been the victim of disastrous and even deadly U. S. – imposed economic sanctions and blockades. The Presidents of Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, Honduras, and many Caribbean countries objected to the disinvitations. They responded by boycotting the current version of the Summit of the Americas.

People’s Summit For Democracy

Disarray in Los Angeles provoked the formation of an alternative summit called the People’s Summit for Democracy. Participants included the “ALBA Movimiemtos” coalition, the Los Angeles Tenants Union, the anti-war ANSWER Coalition, and unions such as the American Federation of Teachers Local 1521. Crucially, the People’s Forum was prominent in organizing the People’s Summit for Democracy. In view of the timing, the assault on The Forum’s Manhattan space may have been more than coincidental.

We denounce the attack on the TPF for its overtones of McCarthyism. We of the CPUSA have memories of bullying and thought-control: from 1937-1940 the FBI surveilled a Party bookshop in Baltimore, in the 1940s police raided our Party’s bookstore in Oklahoma City, and in 1962 the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan fire-bombed a CPUSA bookstore in Baltimore.

We insist:

That advocates of common decency, constitutional rights and democracy defend the People’s Forum.

That police in New York and elsewhere not infringe on dissent nor collude with thugs, political and otherwise. 

That democratic forces and partisans of truth unite against repression. 

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