The Civil Rights Movement’s Forgotten Radicals

The gains of the Civil Rights Movement won’t be expanded through constitutional law, but solidarity and militant struggle.

by Rob Hunter

Early in Seeing Red, a 1983 documentary about the Communist Party USA during the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, Sylvia Woods, a retired black autoworker, is asked whether she was worried about becoming a member of an organization that explicitly challenged the country’s ruling institutions. She responds that she joined without fear, “because I was suffering from … discrimination — and the humiliation of discrimination.”

Like others interviewed in the film, Woods saw the radical left as the only political formation committed both to the full political and economic empowerment of individual Americans, and to challenging the institutions and power structures that disempowered them. Woods’s choice was clear: humiliation under a racist power structure, or dignity within the solidarity of a socialist movement.

Organized socialists were among the few political groups, North orSouth, who opposed segregation and Jim Crow in the decades preceding the Civil Rights Movement.



1981. Rock Until You Drop

 is the first album by band Raven, The album was the first of many heavy metal studio albums issued by British independent label Neat Records.  

Raven was a band with a very distinctive sound, as were most of the NWOBHM bands. The trio, fronted by the Gallagher brothers on guitar, bass and vocs, and with Rob “Wacko” Hunter pounding the skins, put out a wall of sound that most bands would envy. While the production quality would benefit from a facelift of sorts, this is a seminal album from early 80’s metal. This is music from back in the day when bands could be distinguished by the first few notes of music because they didn’t all sounds like clones. There isn’t a weak track on this album.

         Mark Gallagher     Rob Hunter      John Gallagher