4 September

Paul Robeson he's the man _ That faced the Ku Klux Klan _ On Hollow Grove's golfing ground _ His words come sounding _ And all around him there _ To jump and clap and cheer _ I sent the best I had, the best I had _ My thirty thousand _ Woody Guthrie, my thirty thousand

September 4, 2009
2 min read

The anti-communist and racist Peekskill riots took place today in 1949 in Van Cortlandtville, Westchester County, New York.

They were sparked by a concert by socialist Paul Robeson, which had already been postponed once before for fear of stirring unrest. Between 20,000 and 30,000 people came to the rescheduled concert. While the concert itself was peaceful, mainly due to thousands of union members and soldiers volunteering to provide security, the aftermath left 145 people injured.

‘Let me tell you the story of a line that was held

And many men and women whose courage we know well

As they held the line at Peekskill on that lone September day

We will hold the line forever ’til the people have their way.

Spoken (Howard Fast):

My name is Howard Fast. I’m here to tell you the story of Peekskill. You see, there are actually two Peekskills. Two concerts. Two fascist attacks. And I was at both. You won’t get the true story from the daily press or the radio, so we’re putting it on record for you now. Here are the facts … The Klan elements in Westchester county threatened violence. Police protection was asked. Four deputies showed up to watch 700 so-called veterans attack the early picnickers. These 700 hoodlums closed the only exits, and for three hours they were kept from killing the women and children by a brave group of 39 men and boys, negro and white. Before the police came, the mob had smashed the rented chairs and burned our music, while they shouted anti-negro and anti-semitic epithets, and boasted that they would finish Hitler’s job.’

Lyrics as recorded by Howard Fast, narrator: Peter Seeger

September 7, 1949, released as Charter C502A/C502B, reprinted in Songs For Political Action (accompanying book), Bear Family Records, page 174


✹ Try our new pay-as-you-feel subscription — you choose how much to pay.

Short story: Syrenka
A short story by Kirsten Irving

Utopia: Industrial Workers Taking the Wheel
Hilary Wainwright reflects on an attempt by British workers to produce a democratically determined alternative plan for their industry – and its lessons for today

Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant

Bike courier Maggie Dewhurst takes on the gig economy… and wins
We spoke to Mags about why she’s ‘biting the hand that feeds her’

Utopia: Daring to dream
Imagining a better world is the first step towards creating one. Ruth Potts introduces our special utopian issue

Utopia: Room for all
Nadhira Halim and Andy Edwards report on the range of creative responses to the housing crisis that are providing secure, affordable housing across the UK

A better Brexit
The left should not tail-end the establishment Bremoaners, argues Michael Calderbank

News from movements around the world
Compiled by James O’Nions

Podemos: In the Name of the People
'The emergence as a potential party of government is testament both to the richness of Spanish radical culture and the inventiveness of activists such as Errejón' - Jacob Mukherjee reviews Errejón and Mouffe's latest release

Survival Shake! – creative ways to resist the system
Social justice campaigner Sakina Sheikh describes a project to embolden young people through the arts

‘We don’t want to be an afterthought’: inside Momentum Kids
If Momentum is going to meet the challenge of being fully inclusive, a space must be provided for parents, mothers, carers, grandparents and children, write Jessie Hoskin and Natasha Josette

The Kurdish revolution – a report from Rojava
Peter Loo is supporting revolutionary social change in Northern Syria.

How to make your own media
Lorna Stephenson and Adam Cantwell-Corn on running a local media co-op

Book Review: The EU: an Obituary
Tim Holmes takes a look at John Gillingham's polemical history of the EU

Book Review: The End of Jewish Modernity
Author Daniel Lazar reviews Enzo Traverso's The End of Jewish Modernity

Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
Ida-Sofie Picard introduces Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants – as told to Jenny Nelson

Book review: Angry White People: Coming Face to Face With the British Far-Right
Hilary Aked gets close up with the British far right in Hsiao-Hung Pai's latest release

University should not be a debt factory
Sheldon Ridley spoke to students taking part in their first national demonstration.

Book Review: The Day the Music Died – a Memoir
Sheila Rowbotham reviews the memoirs of BBC director and producer, Tony Garnett.

Power Games: A Political History
Malcolm Maclean reviews Jules Boykoff's Power Games: A Political History

Book Review: Sex, Needs and Queer Culture: from liberation to the post-gay
Aiming to re-evaluate the radicalism and efficacy of queer counterculture and rebellion - April Park takes us through David Alderson's new work.

A book review every day until Christmas at Red Pepper
Red Pepper will be publishing a new book review each day until Christmas

Book Review: Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics
'In spite of the odds Corbyn is still standing' - Alex Doherty reviews Seymour's analysis of the rise of Corbyn

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
'A small manifesto for black liberation through socialist revolution' - Graham Campbell reviews Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's 'From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation'

The Fashion Revolution: Turn to the left
Bryony Moore profiles Stitched Up, a non-profit group reimagining the future of fashion

The abolition of Art History A-Level will exacerbate social inequality
This is a massive blow to the rights of ordinary kids to have the same opportunities as their more privileged peers. Danielle Child reports.

Mass civil disobedience in Sudan
A three-day general strike has brought Sudan to a stand still as people mobilise against the government and inequality. Jenny Nelson writes.

Mustang film review: Three fingers to Erdogan
Laura Nicholson reviews Mustang, Deniz Gamze Erguven’s unashamedly feminist film critique of Turkey’s creeping conservatism

What if the workers were in control?
Hilary Wainwright reflects on an attempt by British workers to produce a democratically determined alternative plan for their industry

Airport expansion is a racist policy
Climate change is a colonial crisis, writes Jo Ram