Garrett Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Emanuel Garrett

Text of Garrett’s Speech Hitting Post Office Ban

(April 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 14, 5 April 1943, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

I have the honor to bring to this meeting and to the fight The Militant is carrying on, the fraternal greetings and solidarity of our paper, Labor Action, and our party, the Workers Party. (See page 1.)

FUNDAMENTALLY, we oppose this arbitrary attack on the rights of The Militant because it is an attack on a basic democratic right – the right of free press – for which labor has fought tenaciously throughout its existence as an organized movement.

An attack on this particular right – the right of free press – is an attack on all democratic rights. What does the right of assembly mean if there is no right of free press, if there is no free press which can call people to assemble?

What does the right of free speech mean if you cannot speak through the columns of a paper and reach the ears of people who cannot be reached by voice alone?

What does the right to organize mean if you do not enjoy the right to publish a press which, as any child knows, is indispensable for the creation, maintenance and development of organization?

And finally what does the right to read mean – that right for which men have shed heroes’ blood from the days of feudalism down to the present day – if you are told what you can read and what you may not read?

We oppose the attack on The Militant because it is a labor paper, an integral part of the labor movement, and an attack on any part of the labor movement is an attack on the labor movement and the working class as a whole, and on every section of it.

We oppose the attack on The Militant because it is so obviously being persecuted for its refusal to knuckle under to the imperialist war and the imperialist war machine; for its fight against the vicious anti-labor campaign that reaction has been carrying on and is relentlessly continuing under cover of “patriotism.”?

If this attack is left unanswered, it means that everyone else in the labor movement who, like ourselves, opposes this war as an imperialist war, is subject to the same persecution and gag.

And we have, of course, what might be called our own reason for attacking the persecution of The Militant, for being in complete solidarity with The Militant, what you might call our own private reason. Our paper, Labor Action, has been subjected to the same outrageous Post Office attack as The Militant. Week in, week out, without any official reason being given, Labor Action has been arbitrarily held up in the Post Office and its mailing to subscribers delayed – all this, I repeat, without any reason being given.

As many of you know, at about exactly the same time as the Post Office informed The Militant it was deprived of second-class rights, Labor Action was notified that it would be mailed without delay as before. We are, however, not deceived, or lulled into a false feeling of security, by this apparent duality of policy in the Post Office, and no one else should be. It is obvious that the reactionaries are making The Militant a test case. If they succeed in keeping The Militant out of the mails, if they win their court case, that will be the signal for them to attack all along the line, with Labor Action next on the list.

All these reasons, and many others that might be cited, dictate to us the clear and unambiguous course that must be followed by the entire labor movement and by everyone to whom the term “progressive” is not an empty word.

That course is 100 per cent solidarity with The Militant in its fight. That course is 100 per cent hostility to the reactionary plans and procedure of the Post Office and the Roosevelt Administration and war machine that stand behind it.

If we fail in this, we help by our negligence to pave the road for reaction.

If we join hands firmly on the side of The Militant, if we fight unitedly and aggressively, and if we win our fight, as we can, we shall have helped pave the road for new victories by-the working class and its revolutionary vanguard!

Emanuel Garrett Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 21 May 2015