- Published: 20 December 1976 20 December 1976
Pickets Hit Brooklyn Krugerrand Outlet
NEW YOKK CITY – "A&S sells the rand-gold from a racist land!"
These chants and signs greeted Christmas shoppers at the Abraham & Strauss store in downtown Brooklyn December 4.
A&S is selling the Krugerrand, South Africa's gold coin, as "an ounce of pure love" for you to give your loved one for Christmas. Almost all of this store's customers are black.
We set up a picket line in front of the two main entrances, chanting and distributing a leaflet calling the boycott. Most people who stopped to talk to us, and a lot did, were horrified.
They either turned around to go elsewhere or joined the picket line. One person who had come to collect money for retarded children joined us and was real loud in demanding that people boycott A&S.
Many of the people who did go in left after they understood what was going on. One woman said she intended never to shop at A&S again and was going to rip up her credit card. Two other women went in just to yell at management. All told we stopped at least 300 people from shopping at A&S.
One black dock worker who joined the picket line said, "Working people have to stick together over things like this. If we had our shit together on the docks we wouldn't be 1oading or unloading anything going to or coming from South Africa."
Two of the most vocal demonstrators were two young women who had just arrived from Soweto. Their presence made the send of solidarity much stronger and more meaningful.
The demonstration showed them that the struggle against racism is international, and that their own struggle hasn't ended just because they left South Africa.
After we handed out all the leaflets about 20 of us went up to the 8th floor where the coins are sold. For ten minutes we shouted that A&S is a racist store, that the people who bought the coins did so with blood-stained hands, and that black people were dying so A&S could sell the Krugerrand.
Then the brass showed up. One security man was so freaked that he called on his walkie-talkie for "some heavies". Two pip-squeak flunkies showed up who were shorter than Abe Beame.
Management told us that the Krugerrands were being sold by a separate concern that leases space from the store, and that A&S couldn't do a thing without talking to its lawyers.
One of us said, "Look, If this store Is losing money, if no one is buying any toys or furniture or anything, you'll yank the coins off the shelves. And let me tell you, we'll be out here until you do stop!" They said nothing.
The last thing we said before we left was, "The black community of Brooklyn will remember for a real long time that A&S had the opportunity to stop selling these coins and refused!'"
This picket was called on two days' notice. We'll be back every Saturday and as often as necessary to get rid of this disgusting symbol of racism and murder.
And we'll be bigger and louder each time we come back.