80th Anniversary of
Hands Off Russia Committee

By Angelo D'Angelo

On January 24, 1999 over 50 friends and supporters of the movement to help re-establish the USSR braved a thunderstorm and heavy rain to attend the 80th Anniversary of the "Hands Off Russia" Committees held at the Brecht Forum in New York City.

The hall was decorated with red banners proclaiming "Unity with Soviet Peoples in their struggle to restore Socialism" and huge Soviet Flags hung proudly from the ceiling.

The event was sponsored by U.S. Friends of Soviet People, which took the initiative in organizing the only such event in the USA. Guests were greeted as they entered the hall by the stirring sounds of the Red Army Chorus, and the singing of the World War II songs by the excellent voice of Alex Krasheninikov accompanied by accordionist Alex Parks. The scene was reminiscent of an earlier time when both Soviet and American forces united together to defeat Hitler's Fascism.

Master of Ceremonies, Stephen Paulmier, Co-Editor of the Marxist Quarterly "The Hammer" stood by the banner depicting V.I. Lenin, and the Hammer and Sickle with the words "Back To the Future... Restore the Soviet Union."

Two key note Eyewitness Report- Back talks were given by Alex Krasheninikov and by Bill Williams. Our guest Alex Krasheninikov, a former Soviet citizen from the Ukraine who witnessed the horrors of the Nazi occupation in 194l, spoke of economic collapse that the capitalist experiment has brought the people of the Ukraine, including members of his extended family. Comrade Williams spoke of the growing militancy of large sections of the working class, especially the coal miners. He also showed a video to the audience which contained interviews he had taken with workers throughout Russia.

Dr. Angelo D'Angelo, Assistant Director of the USFSP, congratulated the gathering on helping to make the day's event a success and spoke briefly on the history of the 1918 "Hands Off Russia" Committees, which gave material aid as well as solidarity to the young Soviet Republic when it was invaded by over 14 Western nations in 1919 to try to destroy the Bolshevik "Baby in the Cradle."

Messages of support and solidarity to the organizers of the 80th Anniversary celebrations were read from the presidium and included various Communist Parties within the former Soviet Union and around the world, and representatives from the Left and peoples organizations and publications in attendance, who also expressed solidarity, including Rasheed Atamalibevov, Editor of the Russian language newspaper "Russky Golos," published in NYC since 1917.

Other speakers included Eugene Goncharov, special correspondent and representative of "Krasnoyarskaya Gazeta," a voice of the Popular Patriotic Union of Russia, a broad coalition led by the Communist Party of [he Russian Federation; Dr. Kiloai-Klaus Von Kreiter, author of several books which deal with the aggressive nature of NATO and its threat to the peoples of the Soviet Union in their struggles to rebuild the USSR as a Socialist State.

Also speaking was Saad Kadhim, an Iraqi-American activist involved with ending the U.S.-imposed sanctions against the Iraqi people. He stressed that, since the demise of the USSR, the peoples of the world are now defenseless against the threats of U.S. imperialism.

Charles Keller, world-renowned artist and member of the Arts & Entertainment Club of the Communist Party, USA, spoke on Soviet Culture, especially during the early period of the USSR.

Lois Singer, Director of the U.S. Friends of Soviet People, urged the crowd to join the U.S. group officially by becoming a member and also to endorse the Call to convene an International Council for Friendship and Solidarity with Soviet People. She also urged other people's organizations to officially endorse the Call.

Several progressive poets, including long-time communist Bernard Livingston and social activist Pete Dolack, provided entertainment to those in attendance.

The atmosphere at the end of the program was spirited as the crowd, raising their fists, sang the Internationale together, with English, Russian and Spanish clearly heard in the audience.

Click here to return to USFSP index.