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Farrell Dobbs

Dobbs Calls on Wallace to Back 18

(6 September 1948)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 36, 6 September 1948, p. 1.
Transcription & Mark-up: Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Farrell Dobbs released to the press the following letter, which he had sent to Henry Wallace concerning the campaign for a presidential pardon for the Minneapolis Case defendants, the first victims of the undemocratic Smith “Gag” Act.

Dear Mr. Wallace:

In response to a question by Norman Thomas, Socialist Party presidential candidate during the Progressive Party Convention in Philadelphia, you stated that you would support the restoration of civil rights to the 18 defendants in the Minneapolis Labor Case. These 18 members of the Socialist Workers Party and Minneapolis Truckdrivers Local 544-CIO were the first victims of the Smith Gag Act.

You immediately stated your opposition to the second important set of indictments under that vicious Act, the indictment of the 12 Communist Party leaders.

On August 14 the Civil Rights Defense Committee addressed a letter to all presidential candidates asking them to state their position on the pardon petition of the 18. To date, no reply has been received from you on this matter.

It is common knowledge that the Communist Party leaders have sabotaged from the first any efforts to assist the defense in the Minneapolis case, because of their hatred of Trotskyism. Their followers blocked the efforts of some delegates at the Progressive Party convention to put your party on record in favor of pardon for the 18.

In view of the charges made that the Communist Party followers determine the policies of the Progressive Party and in view of your statement to the press in Philadelphia, it would appear imperative that you make your position absolutely plain on this question.

The Minneapolis Case is a vital test of civil liberties. It set the precedent whereby the 12 CP leaders have been indicted; Over 500 CIO, AFL and Independent unions representing over 5 million workers have endorsed the CRDC campaign on behalf of the 18.

You have frequently criticized President Truman for his do-nothing attitude on important questions of civil liberties. Here is one case where he can act to rectify an injustice. It is all the more necessary that you state your position since this frameup and railroading to prison of the 18 occurred while you were Vice President under the Roosevelt administration.


Very truly yours,
Farrell Dobbs,
Socialist Workers Party candidate
for President of the U.S.

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