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The Militant, 21 March 1949

New Police-State Bills Pushed
by Witch-Hunters

From The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 12, 21 March 1949, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Two new police-state and thought-control bills were introduced into Congress last week intended to intensify the government’s witch-hunt against all who oppose the bi-partisan imperialist war program.

Senator Mundt of South Dakota and Representative Nixon of California have offered a “revised” version of their bill before the last Congress that created such a storm of protest it was pigeonholed in the Senate after being passed by the House. Michigan’s Senator Ferguson, a mouthpiece of the auto corporations, has introduced his own bill along similar lines, but differing in minor details. Both bills are of Republican authorship, but the N.Y. Times reports, support for these bills “probably will be broadened soon to take in Democratic cosponsorship.”

Both bills would establish the principle of second-class political parties and second-class citizenship by requiring special conditions for the legal functioning of the Communist Party and “communist front” organizations and the activities of their members.

Each bill requires the registration of “Communist” organizations. The Communist Party would be compelled to list its members with the Attorney General and “front” organizations to list the names of their officers. Any written or printed matter from alleged “communist” organizations would be required to carry a label stating its “communist source.”

Both bills would make it a felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine and ten years imprisonment, for anyone in concert with others to “knowingly” commit “an act which would substantially contribute” to the establishment of a “totalitarian dictatorship” in this country. The bills falsely equate communism with “totalitarianism.” They do not mention the military and fascist forms of capitalist dictatorship.

Members of the Communist Party would be barred from any federal appointive post, and could run for elective office only on a clearly designated “Communist” ticket.

In one respect, however, the Mundt-Nixon bill pays greater lip-service to civil rights than the Truman administration does in its “loyalty” purge of government workers and public blacklist of “subversive” organizations issued by Attorney General Clark.

Under the present version of the Mund-Nixon bill no organization could be stigmatized as “subversive” until after a public hearing with the opportunity of cross-examination of witnesses. Any “subversive” findings of the Attorney General could be appealed to the courts. At present, government workers are fired without charges or hearing on unrevealed “evidence” and on mere suspicion of membership or “association” with “subversive” organizations. Organizations are listed as “subversive” by Clark without even the right of a hearing or the opportunity of defense.

Once the principle of compulsory “public disclosure” of the members of any political organization and the registration of any organization is legalized it would be but one step to similar discriminatory regulation of unions or any other organizations the government chooses to label “subversive.”

Many States as Well

Numerous state legislatures are acting on similar anti-democratic bills. The New York State legislature, for instance, is rushing through not less than five major thought-control bills. One, the Scanlan bill, would bar the Communist Party and “kindred organizations” from the state ballot. Others would bar “communists” from all schools and colleges and from holding any public job. The Illinois State Legislature is considering a bill to make membership in the Communist Party a felony.

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