Ralph Graham

Race Terrorism on West Coast Goes Unchecked

(7 March 1945)

From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 11, 17 March 1945, pp. 1 & 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

LOS ANGELES, March 7 – Incited by reactionary organizations of the ruling class, and encouraged openly by some of Roosevelt’s “Democratic” henchmen in Congress, vigilante thugs are continuing to threaten and attack Japanese-Americans who have returned to the West Coast area from Roosevelt’s concentration camps.

What is plainly an organized campaign of terror is now in full swing. Its purpose is to drive from California those Japanese-Americans who have returned and to intimidate others from returning.

A staunch supporter of the Roosevelt administration, Rep. Johnson (Democrat) of Oklahoma, has set the fascist tone for this thuggery. Taking a page from Hitler’s book, he has proposed that Congress make an appropriation for the sterilization of all Japanese aliens held in U.S. concentration camps.

The suggestion of this stout defender of the “Four Freedoms” (including “Freedom from Fear”) became public Feb. 27 in Washington in testimony released by the House Appropriations Committee regarding plans for the Resettlement of enemy aliens.

Johnson told the Committee:

“I will say for the record – and I want to be sure it stays on the record – that we should make an appropriation to sterilize the whole outfit.”

Nazi Brand

Such are Roosevelt’s “democrats” who would have the American people believe they are fighting a war to wipe out Hitlerism and all its works. Johnson’s proposal bears the indelible imprint: “Made in Nazi Germany.” It can safely be said that Roosevelt will not repudiate Johnson and his dirty Nazi proposal. After all, he is on the best of terms with the Negro-baiting Congressmen and Senators of the “solid Democratic south.” He gets on with the anti-Japanese pogromists just as well.

Encouraged by the venomous filth spewed forth by pinchbeck “democrats” of Johnson’s ilk, the vigilantes have gone to their dirty , work again. Two more terroristic acts, additional to those I have already reported in The Militant, have occurred in this area.

On the night of Feb. 23 six rifle bullets, said to have Army markings, were fired into the home of J. Shiokari, former Japanese internee who returned recently to his alfalfa ranch home 14 miles north of Lancaster.

Gunman Attacks

“This is my home and somebody is trying to shoot me out of it,” Shiokari said in reporting the attack to the Sheriff's office. The Lancaster district in which Shiokari lives formerly had many ranches operated by Japanese before their internment. Wealthy white farmers and landowning interests had long coveted the Japanese lands and succeeded in taking over many of them when the owners were interned.

A further incident occurred Feb. 26 on a small farm occupied by Sam Uyeno and ten other Japanese about 25 miles from Visalia. Three shots from a high-powered rifle were fired into the farmhouse by “unknown” persons who decamped after setting fire to a nearby unoccupied building formerly owned by Prank Sakaguchi, another Japanese who is now interned at Poston, Arizona.

Just as in the case of the earlier attacks, none of the murderous gunmen have been arrested. The police have not even laid hands on any “suspects.” This may seem strange in view of the efficiency usually displayed by California police? The explanation is that the police, and all other local authorities, are in sympathy with the gunmen and their aims, and are in league with the reactionary interests which are promoting the campaign of terror,

It is noteworthy that the kept boss press of Los Angeles, which shrieks with rage and calls for police action whenever workers throw picket lines around struck plants, has published not a line of editorial protest, or made any demand for police action, against the thugs assailing Japanese-Americans and destroying their property. The “sacred rights of private property” – or of life itself – simply do not apply to this persecuted minority.

With the exception of the Trotskyists, no section of the organized labor movement has sprung to the defense of the Japanese-Americans, despite the fact that the labor movement itself has often in the past been victimized by just such vigilante terror as is now being employed against a defenseless group of innocent people. Neither the CIO nor the AFL in this area has even acknowledged the request of the Trotskyist candidate for Mayor, Myra Tanner Weiss, for a strong protest against these vile manifestations of reaction.

Peril to Labor

Among the reactionary organizations which incite, and probably have a hand in, the current terror drive, is the California Preservation Association, which was formed several weeks ago in Auburn under the sponsorship of Donner Post 1942, Veterans of Foreign Wars. Originally called the Placer County Anti-Japanese League, the organizers changed its name for one more innocent-sounding, in order to facilitate their nefarious work.

The organization has been conducting a virulent campaign against the Japanese-Americans and has succeeded in getting nearly every shop in Auburn to display a sign which says: “We do not solicit Japanese trade.”

Workers who may be inclined to treat lightly the danger which threatens from these reactionary organizations should remember that part of the Nazi activity in Germany was to get shopkeepers to display signs: “Jews Not Welcome Here.”

Last updated on 7 November 2018