Felix Morrow

Speech at New York Rally for
Released Minneapolis Prisoners

(2 February 1945)

Source: The Militant, Vol. IX No. 6, 10 February 1945, p. 3.
Transcription/Editing/HTML Markup: 2018 by Einde O’Callaghan.
Copyleft: Felix Morrow Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2018. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

>We went to prison for a party in which we have supreme faith – a trade union which had every right to exist – and a principle of workers’ liberties which every militant worker could understand if only our voices could reach him. And we reached millions of such workers.

What is important is that several millions of workers learned to understand the principles involved in this case and learned what a threat to the labor movement is contained in the Smith Act and similar legislation. Those workers are ready for the next fight.

To those workers I want to state what may sound like a commonplace, and yet if every worker in this country understood it and acted upon it, there could be no Smith Acts and no anti-labor prosecutions. This thought is that had the whole labor movement firmly fought against the Smith Act, it could never have been passed.

Yes, the AFL and CIO were “on record” against it – they simply and perfunctorily recorded their dislike of the Smith Act. But – there was not a single mass meeting of the trade unions in any city against the Smith Bill. There was not even a single international union which bought radio time to broadcast against the Smith Bill.

Instead of continuing this list, let me just say – none of the things were done which the CIO has been doing this week in its fight to make Wallace the Secretary of Commerce. I don’t think it matters who is Secretary of Commerce – but that’s not my point. The point is that the outpouring of leaflets, radio time, mass meetings, delegations of labor to Capitol Hill, etc., which we have just seen for Wallace – none of this was forthcoming from the AFL and CIO national bodies during the time the Smith Bill was up before Congress. Not that the fight for Wallace is a model of how labor should fight for something it wants.

The fight against reaction must be waged by bringing together all workers and friends of civil liberties regardless of their political beliefs. This is the thought I want you to take back with you to your factories and unions – we can successfully fight reaction only if the great majority of the workers’ movement is really struggling against reaction. The workers’ movement must act against the politicians responsible for the Smith Act.


Last updated on: 18 October 2018


Last updated on: 18 October 2018