* Disclaimer: These excerpts were compiled from editorials Koji wrote for the Honolulu Record.
The early morning arrest of seven members of this community, including the editor of the RECORD, raises the curtain in Hawaii on the intensified campaign to stifle independent thinking and free speech, a suppression which is becoming more urgent in the whipped-up war program, highly profitable to the big employers but not popular with the great masses of people.
The attack upon the constitutional rights of the seven individuals who are charged under the notorious Smith Act of advocating certain ideas, but not of committing any overt act of crime, comes at the crucial moment of the sugar negotiations between Hawaii's Big Five and the ILWU. On Lanai, 750 workers are on strike, and have been now for more than half a year, and Hawaiian Pineapple Co. is letting a $25,000,000 crop rot to break the union.
One of the seven is the ILWU regional director. The others have been alleged by fingermen, stool pigeons and disgruntled former labor leaders to have influenced the policies of the union, a union in whose democracy its participating members take great pride.
As the longshoremen from Maui have already said, this is a move to discredit the ILWU which, nationally and locally, has not kowtowed to the war mobilization program that results in higher taxes and less pork chops, while destruction and death take place far from out shores to keep the pumps primed for the highly profitable war industry that benefits only big employers.
The arrest of the seven is said to fall into the "national pattern" by Justice Department, propagandists. It is significant that the top publicity man of the Justice Department was brought here to drum up the allegation of "conspiracy" and the teaching of the overthrow of the government by force and violence.
Such preparation of the propaganda barrage was necessary to strike fear into the people, even after all these years of red-baiting the labor movement, particularly the ILWU, in order to isolate the leadership of the union from the membership, and the union itself from the rest of the island community.
A large segment of the people who have had close association with the seven must realize from their own experiences, that the allegation of teaching the overthrow of the government by force and violence is fantastic. Subscribers to the RECORD have read views of the editor as expressed in the editorial column week after week for more than three years.
As in the "national pattern," the Justice Department asked for $75,000-$100,000 bail for each of the seven. U. S. Commissioner Steiner set bail at $75,000.
Judge Delbert E. Metzger brought down the individual bail to $5,000, saying that even this was "extremely high" for his court.
But the "national pattern" of whipping people into conformity, including the jurists, reached into the realm of the courts here. Even the abnormally high bail set by Judge Metzger was attacked.
Sen. Joseph C. O'Mahoney of the interior and insular affairs committee announced that this reduction of bail was outrageous arid that Judge Metzger would be removed immediately and replaced.
In the U. S. attorney's argument before Judge Metzger, attempt was made to link the seven to the 11 U. S. Communist leaders convicted under the Smith Act.
In this period of hysteria and fear, two Supreme Court justices dissented in the 6-2 decision. Justice William Douglas, who passed through here Wednesday, said, in part:
"Never until today has anyone seriously thought that the ancient law of conspiracy could constitutionally be used to turn speech into seditious conduct. Yet that is precisely what is suggested. I repeat we deal here with speech alone, not with speech plus acts of sabotage or unlawful conduct ... To make a lawful speech unlawful because two men conceive it, is to raise the law of conspiracy to appalling proportions. That course is to make a radical break with the past and to violate one of the cardinal principles of our constitutional scheme.
"The crime then depends not on what is taught but on the intent with which it is said. Once we start down that road WE ENTER TERRITORY DANGEROUS TO THE LIBERTIES OF EVERY CITIZEN." (Caps are ours.)
Justice Black wrote in his dissenting opinion:
"So long as this court exercises the power of judicial review of legislation, I cannot agree that the First Amendment permits us ' to sustain laws suppressing freedom of speech and press on the basis of Congress' or our own notions of mere 'reasonableness.' Such a doctrine waters down the First Amendment, so that it amounts to little more than an admonition to Congress.
"This Amendment, as construed, is not likely to protect any but those 'safe' or orthodox views which rarely need its protection."
What is this "national pattern"? Those who ride the bandwagon of the witchhunters say it is the arrest and incarceration of Communists, alleged Communists and non-conformists.
Let us look at the picture from the other side and ask a few questions:
"Why the arrests?" "What crime or crimes harmful to the populace have these people committed?" "What purpose and whom do the arrests serve?"
Actually, the "national pattern" today is the attack against trade unions, the buying off of some top leaders, attempting to crush militant unions that do not conform, loyalty purges, war scare to condition the people for continued mobilization, unprecedented profits for big industrialists and financiers whose key men run the government. We have big steals in war contracts, corruption and graft in government even involving the President's immediate staff—now the chairman of the National Democratic Party is implicated.
All these go on as the industrialists, who postponed a recession setting in two years ago by the war program, grab profits in the most ruthless manner. They dodge taxes, get plants built free with taxpayers' money and constantly fight to raise taxes of the low-income earners, 10,500,000 families of whom live, according to a recent government report, on less than $2,000 a year.
More and more people are beginning to realize that the war program is a phony, despite the increasing attempts to instill fear and timidity to voice their disapproval.
It is not succeeding too well. A big business magazine, U. S. News and World Report (Aug. 10) says:
"The scare technic worked overtime by high U. S. officials may be the wrong one. Idea is that the American people will insist upon being weak in a military way unless whipped up, kept in a state of fright and alarm. It's going to be difficult to keep people frightened year after year if no big war comes .... War alarms, sounded almost daily by high officials, are part of a planned propaganda offensive designed by the government's propaganda experts."
Closer to home the Hawaii Employers Council in a news release August 22, concluded:
"While there is every indication that this lull in the national economy is only temporary, special conditions in Hawaii make the outlook here more uncertain. Those special conditions are the unsettled state of labor relations (here)—and the DISCOURAGINGLY GREAT DEPENDENCE OF HAWAII'S NUMBER ONE INDUSTRY, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, ON THE CONTINUATION OF INTERNATIONAL TENSION IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC AND THE FAR EAST (Caps are our editorial emphasis)."
This is the situation today. Europe "drags its feet" in mobilization. Asians oppose white-man imperialism. At home the war economy does not have smooth sailing. Criticism is highly resented by the ruling elements of this country.
This is the reason for the incredible attempt by the Justice Department to put non-conforming ideas behind bars.
In Hawaii, this "pattern" is not new. Independent newspapers have been forced to fold up. Fred Makino of the Hawaii Herald once told the editor of the RECORD that he could not remember how many times he was jailed because of his outspoken editorial policy. Yasutaro Soga's Nippu Jiji was also attacked in its days of greater independence by instigation of Hawaii's big employers. Soga, Makino and others were put behind bars for supporting the 1909 Japanese sugar strike. Pablo Manlapit was sent away from these shores because of pro-labor activities.
Now, what has the RECORD done to bring similar attacks upon its editor? It is not a Big Five controlled newspaper. Last week, for instance, it reported that Davies & Co. is laying off its 25-year men, all of Japanese ancestry. No other newspaper has reported this major news in this community where job security is disdainfully ignored by big employers. The RECORD has criticized plantation conditions and has brought about improvements in housing on certain plantations. And the RECORD is the only newspaper that supports unions and the workers in the Territory.
The jailing of its editor will not suspend its publication. There will be others to carry on, and there being no monopoly of ideas, there are many more coming up who will see the injustices in these islands and raise their voices against them in order to improve conditions.
Since the arrest of the editor, now out on bail, the RECORD has been the recipient of numerous expressions of support from wide quarters that are indeed encouraging.
When a Federal jurist like Judge Metzger is threatened with loss of his job because of reducing bail, it is high time for people here to take keen interest in what is happening within our country.
Keep reading the RECORD and supporting it, for it is a newspaper for the broad masses of people, the small wage earner, who gets his views expressed.
And a word of warning reiterated. The present wave of imprisonment will not stop with a few; as Justice Douglas said, the Smith Act enforcement endangers the "liberties of every citizen." As in Thomas Jefferson's time when opposition to the notorious Alien and Sedition Acts caused their repeal by popular protest, the Smith Act must be repealed to protect the rights of the people.
In Nazi Germany, Jews pointed out Jews in the atmosphere fraught with fear. The end result—6,000,000 Jews exterminated, fingermen included.
Are the people in the U. S. for full and free discussion to keep the society from becoming stagnant? Or are they for slapping padlocks on ideas, which is impossible to do, as the Justice Department is trying to do?
The Salem witchhunt, the Alien and Sedition Acts and the Palmer raids of 1919 were all defeated. America must return to its senses to play a constructive role in the community of nations.
The hope lies in the people, here and on the Mainland. We have deep faith in them to struggle for progress. It is the duty of those who understand the situation, including those who have been silenced, to awaken the conscience of the whole populace.