The editorial on the action by the Federal government in sending troops to Little Rock, published on the front page of the Militant of September 20th, brings the dispute over this question into sharp focus.
This episode has posed the fundamental question point-blank: shall the struggle in the South be waged in abject dependence upon the government, or independently by the masses?
The entire Negro community of Little Rock, numbering 25,000, was poised and ready for action. Their eagerness to participate in the struggle at times overflowed in dramatic eruptions, as testified to by the Negro press. Moreover, this mass eagerness occurred within a favorable relationship of forces.
The Negro middle class leaders refused the masses any part in the struggle, demanding that they cease aspiring to act and to accept a passive role meekly. Having betrayed the masses’ desire for action, the leadership appealed instead to the government to solve the crisis.
The demand for Federal Troops to the South is revealed in action, not as an adjunct to but as a substitute for the organized action of the masses and is counterposed directly to it.
The editorial sees in this situation a “Valuable Precedent”— “For the use of federal troops in Little Rock constitutes a precedent for the Negro people that the capitalist politicians—much as they will squirm and try to weasel out of—will never be able