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Farrell Dobbs

Denounces Smith-Act Arrests

(26 July 1948)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 30, 26 July 1948, p. 1.
Transcription & Mark-up: Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The following press release was issued by Farrell Dobbs, SWP presidential candidate, after the FBI arrests of the leaders of the Communist Party.

“The indictment of the twelve Communist Party leaders under the notorious Smith ‘Gag’ Act is a monstrous blow against civil liberties, another step in the direction of establishing a police state and thought-control in this country,” Farrell Dobbs, presidential candidate of the Socialist Workers Party (Trotskyist), declared today.

Mr. Dobbs was himself among the first to be convicted under the Smith Act, together with 17 other leaders and members of the Socialist Workers Party and Teamsters Union 544, in the famous Minneapolis Labor Trial of 1941. Mr. Dobbs served a 16-month sentence in the federal penitentiary at Sandstone, Minnesota.

Mr. Dobbs’ statement continued: “The irreconcilable opposition of my party to the Stalinists does not blind us to the sinister threat in this new application of the Smith Act.

“The American Civil Liberties Union, the CIO, AFL and thousands of unions over the country protested the enactment of the Smith, Act and our conviction under this act. Our case was carried to the Supreme Court of the U.S. But the court refused to review the appeal apparently because it considered the case too ‘hot’ to handle since it was well known that President Roosevelt had himself ordered our indictment.

“The charge that Stalinist leaders were advocating the doctrines of Marx and Lenin is fantastic and false. The Stalinist leaders long ago abandoned the philosophy of Marxism. Their shift in position in 1945 after the expulsion of Browder, upon which the indictment is hinged, did not indicate a return to Marxism but was merely an adaptation to the new foreign policy of the Kremlin.

“The present prosecution is likewise the result of a recent reversal in attitude by Washington toward the Communist Party. The Federal Government was more than willing to accept the super-patriotic support of the CP during the war, their strikebreaking and their hounding of union militants.

“The Department of Justice was also more than willing to accept the support of the CP in railroading us to jail under the same Smith Act during the war. Despite the hypocrisy, deceit and treachery of the Stalinist leaders, we have no intention of imitating their unprincipled abandonment of civil rights and outrageous treachery toward us during the war.

“We consider it our duty to fight the present prosecution to the limit and to alert the entire labor movement to oppose it.

“I propose to make the issue of the administration attack on civil rights a major point in my campaign for the presidency.”

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