From the Hazleton, PA Standard-Speaker September 14, 2004
Fire Damages Socialist Workers’ Base
from the party called on the public to condemn the suspected arson attack
against their headquarters on
by Kent Jackson
Candidates from the Socialist
Workers Party called on the public to condemn an arson attack on their
“We want to send a message that
we’re not intimidated by this,” Tim Mailhot, a
“We began campaigning yesterday. We have the right to discuss the issues in front of us,” Mailhot said Monday.
After talking with police about
the fire, Mailhot said a brick attached to or wrapped
in flammable materials was thrown through the showroom window of the
Fire melted a plastic blind behind the window and slowly burned the window shelf.
A neighbor noticed a strange light in the window about 4:30 a.m. Saturday and summoned city firefighters, who extinguished the fire before it destroyed the headquarters or spread to an upstairs apartment where a family lives, Mailhot said.
On Monday, the headquarters was open but with a section roped off where the window shelf supports burned away and glass lay on the floor. Mailhot said workers would clean up after an insurance inspector saw the damage.
The room smelled of smoke. Soot spread over the white walls and speckled books on shelves of the headquarters, which also is the home of the Pathfinder Books store.
Brian Taylor, a
“This type of intimidation is designed to shut down the political space we all have,” he said.
Arrin Hawkins, the party’s vice presidential candidate, called on “defenders of political rights around the world” to protest the attack on the headquarters.
Party members asked the public to join them in calling on Hazleton Mayor Louis Barletta to swiftly apprehend and fully prosecute whoever started the fire.
They said they will solicit contributions to repair the fire damage and replace books.
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the
headquarters, the party members scheduled a meeting that
Monsignor Michael Delaney and the Rev. Douglas McKeeby spoke against the attacks on behalf of the Greater Hazleton Ministerium.
“What makes our nation great is we have the freedom of ideas,” McKeebey said. “We’re in a war on terrorism. We need to take serious these attacks.”