Monday, July 10, 2017

Today -100: July 10, 1917: We regard as enemies those who advocate the abolition of our government

Anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman are convicted of conspiracy to obstruct the draft, sentenced to 2 years and $10,000 fines, after which they will be subject to deportation. The judge tells them, “In this country of ours, we regard as enemies those who advocate the abolition of our government, and those who counsel disobedience of our laws by those of minds less strong.”

Numerous lefty newspapers, including The Masses, The Appeal to Reason, The American Socialist, etc., have been banned from the US mails under the Espionage Act, which declares “nonmailable” any publication affecting military performance or obstructing recruiting (by, say, opposing conscription) or other vaguely defined offenses. Other publications have been held up while the government decides whether they’re kosher. All of which is intended to have a wider chilling effect, as is the refusal of Post Office Solicitor William Lamar to give reasons when banning things. The August issue of The Masses, he said, was banned because of its “entire tone and spirit.” You can evaluate its entire tone and spirit for yourself here. Here’s a cartoon from the issue:

That’s “Labor” and “Democracy” chained to the cannon.

Harry Auren (or possibly Aurin), whoever that is, is sentenced to 30 days (or possibly 90 days) for disorderly conduct for distributing a circular which quotes the Declaration of Independence “with uneven emphasis,” whatever that means. A State Supreme Court justice will release him, saying there is a right to criticize the government and laws.

Secretary of War Newton Baker orders soldiers not to attack anti-conscription (or other) meetings... while in uniform.

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