Battle of the Bullhorn


Fifth Estate # 336, Spring, 1991

On Malcolm X Day, February 21, in Detroit, members of two rival leftist sects slugged it out for control of a microphone following an anti-war march organized as part of nationwide protests against the Gulf war.

The demonstration of 125 people was sponsored by a local anti-war coalition, but those calling the shots all seemed to be from the trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (SWP). The brawl occurred at the protest after-glow on the Wayne State University campus where about half the marchers gathered to discuss what to do next.

Members of the noxious sectlet, the Revolutionary Workers League RWL) entered the hall already fuming from being excluded from the speakers’ platform. Earlier, the tiny RWL faction had been rebuffed in an attempt to lead the march with their hideous and empty “Victory to Iraq” banners and chants.

Usually anyone with sense distances themselves from such embarrassments and avoids meetings dominated by authoritarian sects. Still, the prospect of gawking at this party tantrum was too fascinating to pass up.

The leftist factions vied for hot air supremacy. The two main combatants—the SWP with their sanctioned microphone, and the RWL with their upstart megaphone, soon squared off in an intense screaming match. Suddenly, one SWP member tried to rip the megaphone from a RWL woman’s hand and the mob fight was on. The ensuing shrieking, kicking and punching would have made the Marines proud. Only when the campus police stormed the room did these “revolutionaries” stop their slugfest and demonstrate the only unity of the afternoon by chanting “Cops out, Cops out!” No one was arrested, but the cops and building superintendent declared the meeting over.

Staring in disbelief, most of those who didn’t belong to either contending faction ducked out of the way, still clinging to the novel idea that peace begins with ourselves. Who needs a CIA or FBI when the Left has its own alphabet soup (SWP, RWL, RCP…) of drooling oppressors?

Do we really need any more clues on who not to listen to at peace rallies?

—Bill Blear

P.S. Worst Leftist Chant (Besides “Victory to Iraq!”): “Nationalize Texaco!”

Incidentally, the bullhorn battle erupted next to an ever-occupied TV lounge, which was merrily disrupted by a spontaneous picket line around the flashing screen.