I was there when the reactionary “white terror” kicked in.
After the Kent State shootings, a New York City-wide demonstration had called for Wall Street on Friday-that was 40 years ago today, on Friday, May 8, 1970. I have no idea who called the demo, though it targeted the financial center of US capital and was around the three demands: US Out Of Southeast Asia, End Campus Complicity With The War Machine, and Free Bobby Seale And All Political Prisoners.
A small crew of us from NYU Uptown were there-I can’t swear to it, but I think it might have been Lon E. Bich and maybe Jim Bean. I remember the big banner for Bobby, and I remember how many high school kids seemed to be in the crowd of a couple thousand, crammed into the narrow streets of downtown Manhattan.
Suddenly, just before noon, as Wall Street types on lunch further crowded the area, there was a big stir about 20 feet from us. A tight column of dozens of guys wearing construction helmets with a couple American flags was wading through the crowd. Almost immediately it became clear that they were not just pushing protesters out of the way, but slugging them, beating them to the ground and kicking them. (Some Wall Streeters helped the injured. More joined the attacks.)