Pete: The Story of Peter V. Cacchione, New York's First Communist Councilman

By Simon W. Gerson | Go to book overview

When the news finally came through, Pete insisted over Dorothy's objections, that he had to leave the house to thank his campaigners. Pete wanted to go to downtown Brooklyn, to the central headquarters, but Dorothy was adamant. They compromised, and Pete was driven to a nearby branch campaign headquarters in Coney Island where Pete spoke for three minutes to a cheering audience that jammed the little hall.

Meanwhile, the main headquarters was a joyous bedlam. Campaign workers poured in from outlying sections. Telephones rang incessantly and regular relays of messengers appeared with telegrams, some from Pete's Bonus March pals. Later, his mother came in from Sayre to join in her son's triumph. But Pete's father was missing. He had died just two months before Pete was elected. Pete's mother brought with her the Sayre Evening News with the headline: SAYREITE FIRST U.S. COMMUNIST TO WIN MAJOR ELECTIVE POST.


23
Why Pete Won: Reflections

PETE had a lot to do between the day he was declared elected and his first meeting of the newly-elected City Council in January. Meanwhile there was some time for reflection on the results by Pete and his comrades. How did it come about that Pete was the first person to be elected on a Communist ticket in a great metropolis?

Pete was a unique human being, but he would be the last to say that his victory was a one-man feat. True, he and his Brooklyn comrades and sympathizers had worked diligently and self-sacrificingly in the breadand-butter struggles of their fellow workers and neighbors. They had led or supported union organizing drives, relief demonstrations, rent strikes and scores of other day-to-day struggles. Pete had always been available to his neighbors, whether to walk a picket line, greet them on a joyous occasion or demand immediate cash relief for a needy family. And on the larger questions of the day: the struggle against Franco in Spain and the

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