Workers Vanguard No. 109 (14 May 1976)
Shocked WL Supporters Pull Off Ex-National Secretary
Fred Mazelis Assaults Spartacist Militant in Cleveland
At a Cleveland shopping center last week, Fred Mazelis, former national secretary of the disintegrating Workers League (WL), physically assaulted a WV salesman. While WL thuggery is far from unprecedented, the frenzied attack so startled several of Mazelis' shocked supporters standing nearby that they rushed forward to restrain him and drag him away.
Mazelis initially appeared reasonable enough and bought a copy of WV. But when asked why he was no longer WL head and why the WL had changed its leadership so often in the past couple of years, Mazelis denounced the Spartacist supporter for starting a "non-political" argument.
Responding to another question, Mazelis defended the WL's political support to the petty-bourgeois nationalist MPLA. But when pressed about the MPLA's strike-breaking activities, Mazelis without warning put down his bundle of Bulletins, grabbed the SLer by the throat and began hitting him in the face. The SLer struck back effectively in self-defense and three WLers intervened to stop Mazelis' unprovoked attack. Mazelis began shouting to his comrades, “No, no! This is important!” Clearly beside himself, he told the SLer: “We kicked your ass in Los Angeles too.... This is just the beginning!”
Workers League gangster violence within the workers movement erupted several times recently in Los Angeles. On March I the WL held a meeting at Cal. State L.A. to publicize its shameful campaign to smear leaders of the reformist Socialist Workers Party as "accomplices of the GPU" in the Stalinists’ assassination of Trotsky. When members of the Spartacus Youth League appeared at this “public” meeting, they were physically threatened and one was assaulted and choked. A supporter of the WL's Young Socialists told a campus employee to have the university police eject the SYLers on the grounds that not all of them were students.
The next week, when the same presentation was made at UCLA, an enraged David North, current WL national secretary, attacked a photographer and ripped her camera out of her hands.
Then two weeks later at a March 21 meeting of TUALP, the WL's fake trade-union front, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Spartacist supporters were excluded, as were members of the Militant Caucus of AFSCME Local 2070, a class-struggle opposition within the public employees union. When one Militant Caucus member insisted on his right to attend, he was set upon by WL goons and struck in the face. As before, the WL enlisted the aid of the Convention Center management to expel the SL and Militant Caucus members, and the Los Angeles Police Department was called in to lend a hand.
These Stalinist hooligan tactics are completely alien to the Trotskyism which the WL pretends to uphold. They are the tactics of an impotent, paranoid sect which cannot defend its politics and is terrified of losing control of its membership. Labor militants and supporters of all left-wing political tendencies, must defend the principle of workers democracy by repudiating the Workers League's despicable gangsterism and expunging such practices from the workers movement.