URGENT: Forum in NYC on Building a People’s Front against Fascism and War

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Building a People’s Front against Fascism and War

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Mike Kuhlenbeck
The Greanville Post

January 25, 2016

New York activists will engage on how to build a “People’s Front against Fascism and War” at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City on January 30 at 6:30 pm. The “Stop the Drive Toward Fascism and War” will be organized as a panel-led discussion about “economic crisis, police state repression, racism, anti-immigrant bigotry, Islamophobia, and war.” Revolutionary and progressive activists on this panel include forum organizer Caleb Maupin, George Greene, Christopher Rieth, Dakem Roberts and Paul Shepard.

Caleb Maupin is a radical New York-based journalist who contributes to RT, New Eastern Outlook and Press TV. Before that he studied political science and was involved in the planning stages of the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. He is the author of The Israel Lobby & The Financial Crisis: Satan at the Fountainhead (2015). He organized the forum with the hope that the event will move toward “creating some kind of solid, anti-war, progressive, democratic movement.”

Describing the troubling situation developing in Europe, where the demonic head of fascism has reared its ugly head, Maupin said:

“Capitalism is in a global crisis. It is causing a crisis of mass migration, where people from all across the world are fleeing their homes. It has created a low wage economy in the western countries, with a much lower standard of living for youth. It is unleashing a rise in police state repression, to contain the rage of the people.”

For the forum, Maupin drew inspiration from the People’s Front against fascism during the 1930s and 40s. The United Front, or “Popular Front,” was a strategy of organizing the working class around a common program of struggle against fascism, inspired by a 1935 speech by Bulgarian Communist leader Georgi Dimitrov to the Seventh Congress of the Communist International. Maupin considers the Front “one of the most important movements in history.”

In this country, it included the civil rights movement of the US South. The labor movement that won unemployment insurance and union rights. It included writers like Richard Wright and John Steinbeck. It included musicians like Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie. It was aligned, critically, with President Roosevelt. It was inspired by the Soviet Union. It was a huge, solid, cultural and political bloc again the KKK, the Silver Legion, and the other fascist groups.

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Internationally, it included the people who fought British Union of Fascists at the Battle of Cable Street, the international volunteers in Spain, the People’s Liberation Army in China, the French workers who occupied their factories, the anti-Nazi underground resistance groups in Germany, and so many others.

The Forum drew inspiration from the People’s Front against fascism during the 1930s and 40s. The United Front, or “Popular Front,” was a strategy of organizing the working class around a common program of struggle against fascism.

A whole global mobilization that included Communists, Social-Democrats, Liberals, and so many others against the fascist menace.

Opposition to fascism unleashed something even more powerful, a wave of democratic involvement and resistance to greed and repression.

Party of Communists USA co-founder George Greene will speak on behalf of the party, representing the New York branch. Greene has been a political activist since the Vietnam War days, “many years ago,” he said.

Greene said “we do not have fascism in the US today, but that there is a continuing drive towards war, austerity and against democratic rights.”

“Georgi Dimitrov, who developed the theory of the United and Popular Front against Fascism in the 1930s, pointed out that Hitler’s fascism in Germany was preceded by several right-wing governments and that if one did not fight against the preliminary measures that these governments took, one would not be in a position to wage a successful fight against fascism later. It is in this context that I think [this] forum is a worthwhile step in this fight.”

According to Maupin, the hope of the rich and powerful is to present “the extremist right-wing as the ‘revolutionaries,’” such as the case in Ukraine.

“The Kiev Junta that seized power in Euro-Maiden have only furthered austerity and spending cuts, but many of their supporters believed they were a way to resist the problems of the economic crisis.”

Maupin argues that groups like UKIP in Britain and the French National Front are “stealing the energy that should belong to leftist groups” and that the extreme right-wing has usurped political space.” He points out that most of the European “socialist” parties are cutting national spending and university campuses in the US are full of “leftist” and even “Marxist” professors who don’t even encourage their students to protest.

“This is a dangerous situation,” Maupin warned.

Paul Shepard is an activist from Cazenovia, New York, who is campaigning for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He graduated from Bard College in 2009 and has worked as a produce clerk, a library clerk, a cashier, a landscaper and a freelance writer.  His work has appeared in publications such as the Cazenovia Republican and PATCH.

“I’m looking forward to lively discussion about creeping fascism, the police state, racism, etc.” Shepard told The Greanville Post.

“In terms of police repression the Clinton machine is about as bad as Trump, I believe. It’s like Sen. [Lindsey] Graham said, Trump vs. Hillary is the choice between getting shot and getting poisoned.”

Shepard said he believes that billionaire Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is “an embodiment of Wall Street mentality” and that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is “completely controlled by moneyed interests.”

“I am speaking about why I support Bernie Sanders and part of the reason I think a lot of working people are backing Trump, and class conflict. I know there’s a lot of anti-Sanders sentiment so I’m going to take care to not be divisive and emphasize that I’m in solidarity.”

Other speakers include Dakem Roberts and Christopher Rieth. Roberts is the Provisional Officer of the New Afrikan Communist Party and longtime political activist who works as a community organizer at Resist Rikers. Rieth will represent the New Jersey branch of the Tax Wall Street Party, an anti-war political party that describes itself as “fighting program of economic reforms to build a new America.”

The public is invited to join this important discussion. The Manhattan Theatre Club, 311 43rd Street (near 8th Ave), Studio #4, 8th Floor.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MIKE KUHLENBECKMike Kuhlenbeck is a journalist, photographer, researcher and media critic based in Des Moines, Iowa. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors and the National Writers Union UAW Local 1981/AFL-CIO.

Kuhlenbeck works as a reporter for Iowa Free Press and as a freelance journalist. His work has appeared in publications such as The Des Moines Register, The Humanist, Z Magazine, Foreign Policy Journal, Eurasia Review, People’s World, The Palestine Chronicle, Paste, Little Village, Industrial Worker, Earth First! Journal, Intrepid Report and the National Writers Union newsletter.

His extensive and wide-ranging reportage has covered a myriad of subjects including news, politics, social issues, entertainment and local events. His work has been published nationally and internationally, and has been translated into numerous languages. His work has been cited by the Social Justice Journal, CopBlock.org, Axis of Logic, If Americans Knew, The Constantine Report, OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology, Isocracy.org, Zero Books, Global-Politics.eu and Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel. He has been working in the journalism field since 2006 as a writer, reporter, researcher and photographer. He has also worked for The Challenger, The Urban Vibe and The Grand Views, reaching thousands of readers during his tenure. His skills evolved when he enrolled at Grand View University, where he graduated with a BA in Journalism in 2011. During that time he worked in various capacities for the Grand Views and the literary journal Bifrost.

 

 

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