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.

The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari

Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next

Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace

Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill

Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility

Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports

From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices

How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed

In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design

Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform

Who owns our land?
Guy Shrubsole gives some tips for finding out

Don’t delay – ditch coal
Take action this month with the Coal Action Network. By Anne Harris

Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen

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

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