BY RAY PARSONS
DES MOINES, Iowa - The windows of the Pathfinder bookstore here were pelted with eggs late in the night April 10, the third such attack in a month.
The bookstore lends its space to the weekly Militant Labor Forum and provides office space for the Socialist Workers Party election campaign of Amanda Ulman, who has entered the race for mayor of Des Moines.
On April 12 supporters of Ulman's campaign and the Pathfinder bookstore organized a news conference to respond to the repeated acts of vandalism.
At the news conference Ulman explained that campaign supporters use the political books available at Pathfinder Bookstore to "win working people to the our program to fight the deepening capitalist economic crisis."
Ulman said, "This pattern of attack is meant to strike a blow at freedom of speech and to silence those who question or oppose U.S. government policy or who oppose the attacks of the bosses on workers' wages and working conditions. We will not be intimidated."
Ulman presented messages of support that had been received in response to the vandalism. Paul Ford, a leader of the Grinnell [College] Coalition in Defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, wrote, "The Pathfinder Bookstore must be supported by the local community of Des Moines. In the books it sells and the forums it hosts, it provides this community with the opportunity to take an alternative look at the way our political economy works and who it actually benefits.... We must, as a community, denounce these acts of vandalism."
Other messages were received from Mack Shelley, a professor at Iowa State University; Adam McManus, a member of the Iowa chapter of Anti-Racist Action; and Don Gruber, a member of Pastors for Peace.
Hazel Zimmerman, a leader of the defense committee that won the release in 1996 of Mark Curtis, a union activist and socialist imprisoned on frame up charges said, "If these disgusting acts of vandalism are meant to intimidate this distributor of books that abhor racism, promote the ideals of social justice and equal opportunity, support the family farmer, and the interests of the working class - then be assured that they will not succeed."
The April 13 Des Moines Register covered this response to the attack.
Ray Parsons is a member of the United Steelworkers of America.
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home