Voices from Russia

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Remembering Oliver Law, an American Communist Who Died Fighting Fascism in Spain

Anti-fascist volunteers in Spain; Commandante Law is on the extreme left.

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9 July 2017 marks 80 years since the death of Oliver Law, a communist, labour organiser, and the first Afro-American to lead an integrated military force in the country’s history. Law served in the US Army from 1919 to 1925; he joined the CPUSA in 1932. His communist activism and his political activities with International Labor Defense kept cops constantly on his coattails. In one incident, the Chicago Police Red Squad severely beat him. In another incident, cops arrested Law as he spoke at a demonstration in Chicago on 31 August 1935 against Italy’s occupation of Ethiopia during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. He organised mass protests against the occupation.

A year later, Law joined the joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, one of the thousands of international volunteers that travelled to Spain to fight against Spain’s dictator Francisco Franco and the rise of the fascist Nationalists. Fighting for the Republic in the Spanish Civil War, which occurred between July 1936 and April 1939, Law was commander of the entire Brigade for several days and commander of its Machine Gun Regiment for much longer. Law led the Brigade during the initial days of the Brunete Offensive, but on the fourth day of the campaign, he died of wounds suffered whilst leading an assault on Mosquito Ridge. Five decades after his death, Chicago Mayor Harold Washington recognised Law’s historic achievement by declaring 21 November 1987 as “Oliver Law and Abraham Lincoln Brigade Day”.

9 July 2017

TeleSur

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/analysis/Remembering-Oliver-Law-the-Black-Communist-Who-Died-Fighting-Fascism-in-Spain-20170709-0029.html

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