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Fourth International, May 1944


Warren K. Billings Urges Labor to Aid the Eighteen Class-War Prisoners and Their Families


From Fourth International, vol.5 No.5, May 1944, p.160.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


At a meeting in San Francisco on May 3, 1944, in behalf of the Civil Rights Defense Committee, Warren K. Billings, who was framed with Tom Mooney in 1916 and spent 23 years in jail, made the following appeal to labor:

“The best fighters for the working class have been subjected to frameups by the capitalist class and its agents. This is certainly true of the 18 in the Minneapolis Case. We can see clearly through that frameup.

“All these frameups follow a similar pattern. Just as in the case of Mooney and Billings, just as in the case of Sacco and Vanzetti and just as in the case of the seamen, King, Connor and Ramsay here on the West Coast, these men were not prosecuted for any crimes they have committed nor for any acts against the government but for their militant trade union activities. These men were leaders and members of militant trade unions. That is the real reason why they were framed. The prosecution of these 18 was a part of the drive by the enemies of organized labor to get rid of the most militant trade union elements in preparation for the war. Just as in the first World War the forces of organized capital were determined to frame up the most militant unionists like Mooney and myself here in California, so with the approach of the second World War they set out to frame up the Minneapolis Truckdriver leaders.

“This is an attack upon the entire labor movement and it must be met with the united action of all labor. That is why it is so important for every class-conscious worker to fight for the freedom of the 18 and for the repeal of the Smith ‘Gag’ Act.”

The Civil Rights Defense Committee needs funds to provide relief for the 18 prisoners, their wives and children while they are behind bars. Will you help them?

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