I have written a short book called “Hold the Line: Lessons of the Peekskill Riots”.
It is a new work examining the Peekskill Riots on their seventieth anniversary. It examines the political and social background to the events, the main characters involved and draws parallels with events in the present day United States such as Charlottesville as well as drawing parallels with the increase in oppression and the growth of the far right across the world. It includes a new interview with one of the last surviving eyewitnesses to the events.
Hold the Line is the story true of a pair of riots, of two violent assaults on the organised working class that happened around the little town of Peekskill in New York State in late summer 1949.
When a concert for The Civil Rights Congress was attacked and smashed by a mob, the workers of New York responded by re-staging the event under their own control. The response to this act of defiance was a second mass assault, one that was pre-planned and saw the rioters, the police and the local media working together to unleash a brutal and bloody vengeance on the concertgoers.
This book tells the true story of a society divided against itself by politicians who didn’t hesitate to use racism, fake news, paranoia and violence to stay in control.
In the world of President Trump, Charlottesville and the rise of the far right across the world the echoes of Peekskill are increasingly relevant and urgent.
The book is published by Red Words in the United Kingdom and distributed by Bookmarks – the Socialist Bookshop