May 15, 1933


400 Radicals Boo and Hiss When Communist
Calls the Artist 'Mister'
Mexican Says He Will Be Ready to Do More Than Paint for the Proletarian Revolution

Radical groups that assembled last night in Irving Plaza, East Fifteenth Street and Irving Place, to organize a "unified front committee" to protest against the veiling of the Diego Rivera murals in Radio City, booed and hissed one another before they united in a plan of action.
Speakers and sympathizers of the John Reed Club, a Communist organization that has long borne Rivera a grudge for selling his genius to capitalists who had the money to buy, started the uproar. They were in accord with a resolution protesting against "Rockefeller vandalism" but would not yield to a clause preventing "recrimination" as to "certain actions of Rivera or of any of the participating organizations included in the united front committee".

When Phil Bard of the John Reed club started to speak he made a point of referring to the mural painter as "Mr. Rivera".

"Shame" Cried at Speaker

"Shame!" cried the members of the Communist Opposition (the Lovestoneites), and the Trotskyites. "Call him comrade".
Rivera puffed nervously at his cigar and his feet tapped a jig.
"I'll make this concession", said the speaker stubbornly, "I'll refer to him as Diego Rivera".

Howls and hisses from the 400 men and women in the hall greeted the announcement. Someone cried "kick him out."

Peace of a sort, was restored. Ben Shahn, one of the artists who assisted Rivera at Radio City, announced that representatives of the fifteen organizations participating in the more or less united front would picket Radio City between 6 and 8 P. M. next Wednesday with banners and placards and that an open-air meeting would be held in Columbus Circle the same night.
Finally Rivera was called upon to speak. When he got up, so did everybody else, and he joined in singing the "Internationale".

Rivera in "Proletarian Army"

In Spanish, French and English he called on the workers of the world to unite and he smiled his satisfaction when he was applauded. He went on, in Spanish, to say that he was "nothing but a soldier of the proletarian army" and to remind the audience that they were present to "unite the ranks against fascism and against capitalist attacks".
"I am here," said the artist, "in the name of those who have worked with me day and night when we tried to speed up completion of our painting before it could be destroyed."

He went on to say that capitalist buildings here and in Mexico contained his works, but promised the audience that "if you will it and unite, the day will come when those buildings and all that is in them will belong to the workers."

"The painting which my comrades and I have painted represent only one thing," he said. "They represent the color, the banner of the proletariat; they represent the signal of the direction in which the proletariat must go."
"I beg of you to omit the name of Rivera from this fight, and when the day comes that something more than painting or talk is required--in that day, either with your good will or without it {if necessary), against it, Comrade Rivera will stand in his place along with the rest of the revolutionary workers."