1949 l 1950
|homepage : Frank's blog 1950|
|* Disclaimer: These excerpts were compiled from editorials Frank Marshall Davis had written for the Honolulu Record.|
January 5, 1950: Mobilizing For Civil Rights
By now, you who read this column know that my greatest interest is civil rights. There is no problem facing America that takes precedence over the granting of full and complete equality to all Americans regardless of color, religion or national origin. This is an absolute must if our nation is to be successful in selling its democracy to a world which is three-fourths colored and fully aware that white supremacy is the prevailing American attitude.
On the all-important civil rights front, we have reached a period in which traditional rights guaranteed by the constitution must be defended while we push to obtain others that should have been ours long ago under the constitution. It is not surprising that an administration which fails to get full rights for all would cynically take away those existing rights which interfere with its program. Both actions are undemocratic.
Accordingly, I am as determined to retain those rights which have been the proud possession of all Americans since the birth of the Bill of Rights as I am to get the equality to which I am entitled in our democracy. Only by preserving the first can we obtain the second. The chief victims of Truman's loyalty order, Negroes and Jews, who fought militantly for full equality, were kicked out of their federal jobs and their fellow workers cowed and intimidated because they exercised their constitutional rights of freedom of speech, association and assembly. Because they stood up for their rights they were labelled "Communists" and fired.
As a matter of fact, J. A. Rogers, noted Negro historian and columnist for the Pittsburgh Courier, largest Negro newspaper, wrote recently that he doubted whether the long Foley Square trials in New York would have been held had the Communist party been anti-Negro like the Ku Klux Klan. And is it merely coincidence that the Communist party enjoyed its highest degree of respectability in America during World War II when its previously strong fight for the rights of Negroes, Jews and other minorities was soft-pedaled?
So important is the fight for civil rights that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, often blasted as "Communist" by John Rankin and other Dixie politicians, has called a National Civil Liberties Mobilization for Washington on Jan. 15 to 17. Its purpose is to force passage—now—of civil rights legislation.
In some 16 states, Negroes hold the balance of power in a close national election. President Truman talked a good civil rights program, won the overwhelming majority of the Negro vote, and was reelected in 1948. Those who voted for him on his civil rights platform are still waiting for Truman to keep his promises. As you know, when this legislation came up last year, the President fought vigorously for its passage by going to Florida on a fishing trip.
And so the NAACP, voicing the sentiments of its 500,000 members as well as all others who believe HI real democracy, has called this conference to force action by the 81st session of Congress which has just reconvened. Organizations throughout America have promised cooperation, for here is a program which needs the widest possible support and unity if it is to succeed.
As its official call, issued last Oct. 15, states: "It is now apparent that campaign pledges to pass effective civil rights legislation have been openly and flagrantly repudiated. If this legislation is to be enacted in the second session of the 81st Congress, the people of America must be mobilized as never before to this end.
"We call upon the American people to join in a crusade to remove the stigma of discrimination and segregation from our national life. To this end, we invite the cooperation of organized labor, religious bodies of all faiths, fraternal organizations, civic organizations and other organizations and individuals who believe in civil rights for all to join with us in demanding affirmative action by the 81st Congress."
It would be a good thing if Hawaii could have representation at the mobilization, for the passage of federal civil rights legislation would be of direct benefit to the majority of the Territory's population.
For instance, take the matter of employment. Despite Hawaii's much advertised democracy, there is discrimination on the job front, with non-haoles being barred from many top-paying positions despite their qualifications. A rigidly enforced fair employment practice law would do away with such discrimination, and this kind of law is high on the list of legislation demanded by the forthcoming mobilization.
It is a foregone conclusion that the mobilization will be Red-baited by those who consider full civil rights to be the exclusive property of white supremacists, but it will take more than mere words and name-calling to halt the mounting drive for the end of second class citizenship and the realization of full equality for all.
Jackie Robinson's Prediction
The National League's most valuable player, Jackie Robinson, recalled how he predicted to his wife immediately after the election that "not much would be done" to push for passage of civil rights legislation. "Lots of people make promises for lots of reasons," he observed.
January 12, 1950: Africa is Next Door
To the people of Hawaii, Africa is a far-away place, almost another world. And yet in many ways it is as close as your next door neighbor. The Dark Continent suffers from a severe case of the disease known as colonialism which Hawaii has in a much milder form. The sole hope of the dying empires of Western Europe is intensified exploitation and continued slavery of African workers through U. S. money and munitions. There are strikes in Africa against the same kinds of conditions that cause strikes in Hawaii.
Maybe you think of Africans as black savages, half-naked, dancing to the thump-thump of tom-toms in jungle clearings, if you think of them at all. You may have gotten your impressions through the propaganda of press, radio and films, intended to sell the world on the idea that Africans are inferior and backward. It comes from the same propaganda mill that sells Mainlanders the idea that Japanese and Chinese and Filipinos and other people of different cultures and colors are also inferior and backward. Clear away the vicious propaganda, and you find the 150,000,000 Africans want peace, land, economic security, education, better health facilities, self-government and an end to domination by the white nations of the world. Their goals are the same as those of the people of Asia—a fact clearly demonstrated when the first All-Asiatic Conference was held at New Delhi, India a little over two years ago with) a large delegation from Africa. Since then India has arranged a student exchange with various sections of Africa.
World War II stepped up the global drive for independence. After V-J Day, it was obvious that the era of colonies and empire had come to an end. The day of slavery for the colored peoples of Asia and Africa was over. India has her independence; the Chinese people have wrecked the diabolical alliance of the Kuomintang with the moneyed interests of Britain and America. Indonesia, Malaya and Viet-Nam will be satisfied with nothing less than full independence; the Philippines are a sovereign nation.
The empires of Western Europe are fighting as never before to retain a stranglehold on Africa. It is essential for the success of any war with Russia. Yet freedom for Africa is vital to freedom for all Asia; England, France and The Netherlands can get the wealth and raw materials to carry on warfare against liberation of their Asiatic colonies as long as they can exploit Africa. American Big Business prospers by controlling the imperialist cliques of Western Europe; the Atlantic Pact throws our armed might behind the empires as they attempt to crush independence movements within the colonies. And all of this continuation of virtual slavery is justified under the guise of a holy war to contain "Russian communism."
At the same time, the fire of liberation burns brighter among Africans with each success of Asiatic people to obtain self-government—thus further indicating the real closeness of Asia and Africa. And England, France, Belgium and the others are worried. So they bring out the usual cry of communism—sometimes with unexpected results.
For instance, the 2.000,000 whites who rule South Africa have 147 members of parliament but permit only three for the 8,000,000 Negroes—and these three must be white. Last year the Negroes elected two representatives. Both are Communists. According to the Rev. R. W. Stopford, an educational leader in Africa, the natives are attracted by the fact that Russia has virtually abolished illiteracy and has ended discrimination against [sic] colored peoples.
France in particular, is troubled by the rapidly growing African Democratic Union, which already has 1,000,000 members pledged to fight for liberation. Britain is keeping her eyes on the Gold Coast and the rising demands for self-government. England's imperialists fear that if things get out of hand, there will be repercussions in all of West Africa and particularly in Nigeria where there is a strong Nationalist movement. In Eastern and Central Africa, anti-European tension is so great that Sir Percy Sillitoe, Britain's chief secret service man, has been flown there from London.
In Nigeria, on the West Coast, African coal miners have been on strike with several dozen killed by the goon squads of the operators. They struck for a living wage and to end the cruelty of the bosses, in other parts of Africa there is forced labor. And the profits often find their way into the pockets of American financiers. In Nigeria, for instance, the average pay of workers is $60 a year. Lever Brothers, the soap kings, did a gross business in 1948 of $260,000,000 through the subsidiary, United Africa Co., operating mainly in Nigeria.
What I have said merely skims the surface of conditions in Africa, yet it should show a little of what is going on there. And it also indicates that the people in Africa are on the march, and that they are no different from the plain people of Asia and our own Hawaii. They are, like the Asiatics, sick of what they term "white imperialism" and will be satisfied with nothing short of an opportunity to work out their own destinies in any way that they see fit.
January 19, 1950: A Constitution for Hawaii
Hawaii has a chance to correct some of the evils from which it has long suffered by electing delegates to the constitutional convention pledged to write a document that will be for the benefit of all the people instead of a select few.
Since I have chosen Hawaii as my home, I have a personal interest in the kind of constitution we get. That goes for all for us. We've had little say-so before; we can speak up now.
It is time to recall the wise words of Abraham Lincoln in an 1856 speech as quoted in "Lincoln Collector: The Story of Oliver R. Barrett's Great Lincoln Collection," published by Harcourt, Brace:
"Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of posterity to breed tyrants; and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future, some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but the rich men, or none but white men, or none but Anglo-Saxons, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence, and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began—so that truth and justice and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man hereafter would dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built."
First of all, let us bring the Bill of Rights back to life in our constitution. It has been a casualty of the cold war, yet it is as important today as it was when it was first framed. For, to paraphrase Lincoln, we have come to the evil day when none but the supporters of our bipartisan foreign policy are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is not the kind of democracy Washington and Jefferson built in the young days of our nation; it is a dictatorship of thought absolutely repugnant to our national traditions. Let Hawaii lead the way back to Americanism. I agree with Sen. Herbert K. H. Lee's proposed section, as outlined in the daily press, banning discrimination and segregation. It reads:
"No person shall be subjected to any discrimination or segregation because of race, color, ancestry, national origin, creed, religion or personal beliefs, by any firm, corporation, association, organization or institution or by the state or any agency or subdivision of the state in the exercise of any civil, military, political or economic right." And yet this stand, strong and straightforward as it is, could become a museum piece as have sections of the federal constitution, without the passage of supporting legislation providing stiff penalties for violations. I should like to see such things as a fair employment practices law which would not only end the restricting of certain jobs to haoles even though non-haoles have equal or better qualifications, but also put a stop to the dual standard of wages by which haoles and non-haoles performing identical work have different rates of pay.
Further, I would like to see a civil rights law with strong teeth, which would make it illegal and costly to bar anybody from a public place purely on the grounds of race or color. Along with this, we need to abolish restricted residential districts which set up and maintain strict racial lines.
Provision should be made for breaking up the big estates which control so much of this territory and force Hawaii to depend upon a sugar and pineapple economy. Small, independent farmers need to have access to land at a reasonable fee so that they can engage in diversified farming and thus make the people less at the mercy of the shipping industry and importing monopolies for food. For we have reached a period in our historywhen not only political and social rights need to be spelled out, but economic rights as well. President Roosevelt recognized, this fact when he announced his eight point Economic Bill of Bights: The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries, or shops or farms or mines of the nation.
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food, and clothing and recreation.
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.
The right of every business man, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home and abroad.
The right of every family to a decent home.
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.
The right to a good education. These are some of the things that must be uppermost in the minds of those we elect to frame our new constitution. This is 1950. We can get a constitution that fits the needs of the people today and in the future which can be a model for the Mainland. Or we can let ourselves be given a document that attempts to bolster the outmoded and dying colonialism of those in economic control of Hawaii. Which shall it be?
January 26, 1950: Free Enterprise or Socialism?
Before too long, our nation will have to decide whether we shall have free enterprise or socialism. At present we have neither.
I thought of this as I read last week that Rep. Wright Patman of Texas, chairman of the house small business committee, will make a report to Congress on monopoly saying in part:
"If monopoly continues at the present rate, either the giant corporations will control all our markets, the greatest share of our wealth, and eventually, our government, or the government will be forced to intervene with some form of direct regulation of business.
"Either choice is inimical to those who believe In the American system of democratic government and free enterprise."
This statement would have sounded better if it had been made a half-century ago, for the things about which Patman warns have long been accomplished facts.
About the only free enterprise we have left is carefully guarded under lock and key in the display rooms of the Smithsonian Institution.
Tentacles of Big Business
And yet those who speak most endearingly of free enterprise, as if it were sacred and a divine right, are those who have crucified it and are trying to put it into the grave.
For instance, Alfred Sloan of General Motors announced that his gigantic company made a profit last year of $600,000,000, more than any other corporation in history. Over the years, General Motors has swallowed up or knocked out car manufacturer after car manufacturer so that today less than a handful of competitors remains. Free enterprise, eh?
Obviously, a business that can show a profit if one year of $600,000,000 is in a position to control government. When we remember that the directors and major stockholders of one industry also shape the policies of banks and other huge corporations, it is easy to see that the tentacles of Big Business control just about everything they think they need to insure continued profits.
That is why Patman's statement is in the nature of a scientist in 1950 forecasting the invention of the airplane. The control of our wealth and government by the giant corporations and the flight of aircraft are accomplished facts.
For many years now we have been living under the virtual dictatorship of Big Business which all but drove us to ruin in 1929. Itself headed for the grave, Big Business was given a new lease on life with the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. An angry and hungry America was ready to turn to anybody who promised a way out of the wilderness of hard times.
Roosevelt's Biggest Enemies
By curbing the excesses of the giant corporations that had led to the economic crisis, Roosevelt was able to save the system from complete collapse. And yet the moneyed men who were bailed out by the New Deal program were our late President's biggest enemies. They have refused to see that in order to preserve their hides, they had to hand out a few drops of gravy to the common man.
This bolstering of a sick economy ended at the outset of World War II. Multi-billion-dollar expenditures for the means of killing fellow humans brought added profits and Big Business emerged stronger than ever before in history after V-J Day. What's more, there were fewer industries for mergers had fattened the already giant monopolies.
For instance, by 1947 there were 45 corporations with assets of a billion dollars or more, compared with 20 in the boom year of 1929. The senate small business committee at the end of the war revealed that 250 corporations owned two-thirds of all manufacturing facilities, and that by the middle of 1945 the 63 largest manufacturing corporations had more working capital than all manufacturing corporations combined in 1939.
With this added weight to throw around, and a President willing to do their bidding after the death of Roosevelt, our giant corporations have had things pretty much their own way. Government policy is fixed in Wall Street and transmitted through the corporation executives who have been appointed by Truman to high federal office. OPA was killed, the Marshall Plan launched and the nation placed on the brink of war economy— so that such firms as General Motors could make $600,000,000 profit while unemployment skyrocketed.
Backbone of Free Enterprise Broken
In this control by monopoly, the small businessman, the backbone of free enterprise, has been a casualty. He cannot compete against the tremendous financial reserves of the huge monopolies, and thus we find more and more forced into bankruptcy or absorbed by the monopolies. Those small businessmen who supported the Marshall Plan have been unable to get but a pittance of orders, for here it's the Big Boys Who, through their contacts with official Washington, walk off with the fat contracts.
Of course, in order to fool the public, the federal government makes a show now and then of prosecuting some of the giant trusts, but such cases often drag through the years and then die of old age or else, when there is a conviction, the penalty amounts to little more than an apologetic slap on the wrist. The full fury of the federal government is unleashed against those who have no power in Washington.
As for free enterprise, it doesn't live here any more. At the same time we have manufactured a national horror of socialism. Meanwhile, the dictatorship of the monopolies is driving us down the road to ruin.
And so, with still rising unemployment and a mounting depression, the time draws nearer when we will have to decide to oust the monopolies and restore a competing system of free enterprise, or let the government own and operate our major industries.
February 2, 1950: Why Negro History Week?
This is the 24th year that Negro History Week has been observed throughout America. If you saw the Jan. 2 issue of Life magazine, the special edition devoted to "American Life and Times, 1900-1950," you can understand why such a week is necessary.
One-tenth of the American population is Negro. The first Negro sailed to America as a pilot with Christopher Columbus In 1492. Contributions by Negroes in all fields have enriched American civilization and progress throughout the first half of this century, but if you judged by the special issue of Life you would get the idea our nation is populated almost exclusively by white folk.
In this special issue of Life, which is read by millions each week, there is a picture of Negroes shooting craps on the Boonville-New York Ferry (which reinforces the usual stereotypes), and a composograph shows a court scene from the notorious Kip Rhinelander divorce case of the 1920s. That's all.
Life, owned by the millionaire publisher, Henry Luce, continues the. conspiracy of silence against Negro achievements first entered into 300 years ago when slave trading became a big business. In an effort to blast down this Jericho of ignorance, Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926 became a modern Joshua blowing the horn of Negro History each February during the week of Lincoln's birthday.
Sets Pattern for Other People
What has happened to America's biggest minority has set the pattern for treatment of other ethnic groups. The plot to show the inferiority of non-white peoples victimizes not only Negroes but Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos and the rest.
For instance, when I was in the seventh grade back in Kansas, I remember vividly a course called "American Beginnings In Europe." I learned about the English, French, Germans, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians and the others from Western and Southern Europe who helped build America, but not one word was taught in public school about Negroes.
I learned about the so-called "Yellow Peril." Chinese and Japanese were painted to me as people who, because of their "inherent inferiority," could not be "assimilated" by "western civilization" and therefore they should be barred from America. They weren't like Negroes, I was taught, who had shown "real aptitude for the white man's civilization." The implication was that I should consider myself "above" Orientals.
It dawned on me one day, that White America was looking down on everybody who wasn't white, and that for self-preservation, all the colored peoples ought to reject this propaganda, get acquainted, and find a way of working together to throw off the world yoke of white supremacy. When I met my first Filipinos in Chicago and learned that in the field of employment, they often had a harder time than Negroes, I was completely convinced of the righteousness of my conclusion.
Conspiracy of Silence Everywhere
During the militant days of the CIO, organized labor began pointing out that this false attitude of superiority towards minorities helped nobody but the bosses, and that one of the best ways to respect non-whites was to learn something about them, their backgrounds and contributions to civilization. As a result, many unions held Negro History Week programs.
There are probably few people in Hawaii who know much about the history of Negroes in America, Europe and Africa. The conspiracy of silence extends everywhere. What we do have are the stereotypes cunningly preserved for the purpose of separating or keeping apart the victims of discrimination, whether these victims are religious or ethnic or labor groups. As, for instance, my original impressions of Orientals and what are probably many Oriental impressions of Negroes.
About all you find in the history books used in schools is that Negroes came here as slaves in 1619, were the cause of the Civil War, and have been a problem to America. Maybe one or two, like Booker T. Washington, will be mentioned by name. To give more consideration might tend to break down the doctrine of white supremacy, and then how could the economic dictators maintain control if they could no longer play one group against another in the best divide-and-rule tradition?
Facts Hidden From History Books
So if you learn that the first American woman to win recognition as a poet was a Negro, Phillis Wheatley; or that the first to die in the historic Boston Massacre which started the Revolutionary War was a Negro, Crispus Attucks; or that a Negro woman Deborah Gannett, was one of the 4,000 Negro soldiers fighting under General Washington; or that a Negro named Benjamin Banneker did the bulk of the surveying to lay out the city of Washington; or that a Negro inventor, Jan Matzeliger, was responsible for shoemaking machinery; or that a Negro ex-slave, Dr. George Washington Carver, is considered by many as America's greatest agricultural chemist; or that a Negro doctor, Charles Drew, is responsible for the development of the blood banks which proved so valuable in World War II, you'll have to look farther than the history books in ordinary use.
You're also not likely to read ordinarily that such world-renowned writers as Pushkin of Russia, the Dumas of France and Robert Browning of England were Negroes, or that certain of the royal families of Europe were part Negro, or that many old paintings of black folk have been discovered throughout Europe. The fact that Hannibal led a black army on Rome some 20 centuries ago is also glossed over. Yet these are events selected at random that have occurred and history cannot be wiped out. It is the purpose of Negro History Week to remind America that there are no inferior peoples.
When this lesson has sunk in and the necessity for such an observance is no more, we will then be well on the way to realizing the century of the common man.
February 9: 1950: Onward with the Hydrogen Bomb
As a nation, we mince gingerly from crisis to crisis, like an old woman using stepping stones to cross a muddy street. At the same time we glance back over our shoulders in sharp terror, as if we feared momentarily that we might be seized and held captive by that awful monster Peace.
Never before in history has there been a nation that proclaimed more loudly its love of peace and yet used its might to lash peace from the door.
When we dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima, we believed the world was ours. Having defeated the Axis powers on the battlefront, we were ready to show the Russians who was boss of this world.
There were quite a few Americans who thought all along that Hitler was right and that we should have been fighting Stalin in the first place.
Instead of beating our swords into ploughshares, we began whipping our uranium into atom bombs. It was a technique thought up by the dividend diplomats placed in Washington by special arrangement with Big Business. Some of the impatient go-getters were of a mind to drop a few on Moscow now and get it over with.
Rapid Manufacture of Crises
But the American people weren't ready for such drastic measures. Fresh in our minds was the fact that Russia had lost an estimated 20,000,000 people fighting the Nazis, that vast industrial areas of her land had been laid waste, and that it had taken the combined efforts of our nation and the Soviet Union working closely together to curb the greatest threat to civilization the world had ever known.
Temporarily balked but not defeated, our dividend diplomats, with the willing hands of President Truman, went into the crisis-making business. If Molotov coughed, it threatened our "security" in Iran. If Vishinsky laughed, we were "endangered" in Korea. By laying down the proper propaganda barrage, we were soon able to by-pass the United Nations and island-hop our way from the Truman Doctrine to Greece and Turkey to the Atlantic Pact. We manufacture crises so rapidly that a new one is shoved in front of us before we can examine yesterday's or the one rushed in this morning.
We have done these things, we said, rattling our atom bombs, because we love peace.
But we, too, love peace, said the men in the Kremlin. Your productive capacity was unscathed and came out of the war greater than ever before in the whole history of mankind. It will take us years to restore the losses sustained by Russian industry from the German blitz; Let's get together, talk this thing but and settle our differences amicably so that we can all go about the business of making the world safe forever from another war. Peace we want above all else, said Uncle Joe in messages to America.
Real Peace Is "Expensive Luxury"
While the hopes of our people rose at these words, our dividend diplomats recoiled in horror. If the ideological conflict between our side and the Soviets was brought to an end, what would happen to our giant corporations getting fat contracts to make materials of war and products for the anti-Communists of Europe? With no brink-of-war economy, how could General Motors make $600,000,000 in one year in the face of rising unemployment? What would our generals and admirals think? No, real peace is an expensive luxury that the big stockholders and professional soldiers can't afford.
So, trembling with fear, our dividend diplomats told us that we cannot trust the Russians when they speak of peace. Since the men in the Kremlin are Communists, they do not mean peace when they say peace because it is a typical Communist technique to fool people by always saying one thing when another is meant. So let us not be taken in. If they talk of peace, they really mean they want war. Therefore, we must redouble our efforts to face this new threat. Of course, if Moscow comes right out and says it wants war, that will not be double-talk. In that case they would be so confident of winning that they might attack by midnight. So let's keep prepared and shake our atoms even more.
Then one day President Truman announced that the Russians had the atomic bomb. Our dividend diplomats wrung their hands but the people breathed more easily. If both sides had it, the chances of a hot war were quite remote. Neither would start anything for fear of retaliation by the other. Maybe there would be peace at last.
But ours is a resourceful land. Unless we have a threat better than the other fellow's, the crisis making business might go bankrupt, thus forcing us to cut our war budget, and you know what that would do to the incomes of the poor millionaires. Therefore, we will create a hydrogen bomb to shake at Russia, and then we can keep on making shiny new crises on a mass production basis. After all, there's always the chance that the American people will agree to war—for the sake of peace, of course!—while we have an H-bomb and before the Soviets can make one of their own.
But if the Soviets steal enough secrets (by reading What Every Young Nuclear Physicist Should Know) and get an H-bomb at the same time or even before we test ours, we shall have reached another stalemate, and the boys will have to think up a weapon guaranteed to destroy everything—that is, everything, not marked with the Stars and Stripes—in one global explosion.
Peace, it's wonderful! But let's stay out of its slimy clutches!
February 16, 1950: Pattern for Subversion
When Judge Medina sentenced the defense lawyers for contempt, following the conviction of the Communist leaders in New York last year, I said in the RECORD that this was a dangerous device at the disposal of any prejudiced court to intimidate the entire legal profession. It was a technique which could be used not only against counsel for Communists - real or fancied—but attorneys representing members of any minority group.
Shortly afterward, the trial of Harry Bridges opened in California and, as you know, a page was borrowed from the Foley Square proceedings and the lawyers for Bridges have been cited for contempt, their sentences to begin at the conclusion of the case.
With these two precedents established, a New Jersey judge has gone a step farther. He has denied six Negroes the right to be defended in court by counsel of their own choosing.
The case is that of the Trenton Six, the facts of which should be familiar to RECORD readers. Because they were Negroes, they were arrested, tortured into confessing, and sentenced to die for the murder of a storekeeper which it would have been impossible for them to have committed. They were saved from a legal lynching only by the intervention of the Civil Rights Congress which carried their appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court and had the verdict set aside.
Judge Takes Away Right
CRC provided new counsel in the retrial to replace the court-appointed lawyers who had made only a half-hearted defense. The CRC attorneys are O. John Rogge, former assistant attorney general of the U. S.; Emanuel H. Bloch and William L. Patterson, CRC executive secretary.
But Mercer County Judge Charles P. Hutchinson, whose conduct of the first trial was called "tainted with error" by the state supreme court, has refused to allow these attorneys to represent the defendants. He has done this in the face of the fact that five of the six have signed statements asking to be defended only by Rogge, Bloch and Patterson.
Our laws state that a person has a right to be represented in court by counsel of his own choosing. It is this right which Judge Hutchinson seeks arbitrarily and ruthlessly to take away. An injunction to restrain him has been asked in Federal Court.
Meanwhile, the new trial, scheduled for February 6, has been indefinitely postponed. The six frame-up victims are still in jail.
These three cases have one big fact in common: the defendants are all members of minority groups. The Communist party is a minority group in America; Harry Bridges is head of the ILWU, also a minority group; the Trenton Six are members of the nation's biggest ethnic minority, the Negro people.
Action of the judges in these three cases, if not checked by an aroused American public, means that the time is almost at hand when no member of a minority group can be sure of being adequately defended in a case where hysteria has been whipped up against him. The judge would have the option of either refusing to allow the defendants to select adequate counsel, or of jailing the lawyer along with his client. Either way, it is dictatorship and a complete subversion of democracy.
In the Name of Democracy
The sixth amendment to the federal constitution guarantees to each the right of a fair trial and the assistance of counsel. This amendment has not been repealed. So long as it is a part of the highest law of the land, we must insist on its observance.
Yet those who are busiest undermining democracy do so in the name of democracy. Today American democracy has completely conflicting sets of meanings. The judges in all three cases mentioned here would consider it an insult if their Americanism was questioned.
Speaking of Americanism and its varied interpretations let me tell you about an incident which happened last month in New York, at the Second Annual Awards dinner of the Sports Magazine, held at the Hotel Astor. Jackie Robinson and Ray "Sugar" Robinson were present as guests of honor.
Handshakes and a Roundhouse
One of the speakers was Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers who gave Jackie his chance in the big leagues. Rickey appealed for racial equality, mentioned that the Negro had proven his ability in all fields of sports and said that the time is rapidly approaching when nobody would think of the racial question in America.
As the last speaker, Rickey was receiving handshakes when an irate white guest pushed forward and exclaimed:
"As an American I want to tell you that was the worst speech I ever heard." He then shoved Rickey with both hands and aimed a roundhouse right at the surprised baseball magnate's jaw. Rickey drew back and the blow bounced harmlessly off his chest. The assailant then hurried away without his identity becoming known.
The point of this story is that here were two men, both claiming equal pride in their Americanism. Obviously, both can't be right. But it is such distorted conceptions of Americanism as that of Rickey's assailant that have been given aid and comfort by the actions of many public officials, including certain judges. They are the real threats to genuine democracy.
February 23, 1950: Reinecke Aids the Racists
It was a sad surprise to read Dr. John Reinecke's letter in last week's RECORD about my column on Negro History Week: No matter what his intent, his ideas ally him with the most vicious enemies of Negroes and other minority groups. In that letter he joins forces with the white supremacists who, for economic reasons, have perpetuated a conspiracy intended to maintain the exploitation of non-white peoples.
I do not say this was conscious on Dr. Reinecke's part. The effect, however, is the same. The victim is just as dead when killed accidentally on a foggy night by a motorist as when ambushed and murdered by an assassin.
Dr. Reinecke says that to some American Negroes, "nobodies like Crispus Attacks are made heroes." This insistence on either ignoring key Negro figures entirely or else dismissing them as "nobodies" is one of the major devices for continuing the myth of Negro inferiority. As an antidote for this poison, Negroes have for 24 years observed Negro History Week.
Belittling Outgrowth of Slave Trade
This complete neglect or belittling of Negro historical figures has its roots in the slave trade. When slavery was introduced into America on a wide scale in 1619 and developed into a big business bringing in millions of dollars in annual profits, it was necessary to find a way of reconciling this evil with the tenets of Christianity which considered all men as brothers.
So the spokesmen for the slave traders invented the myth of African inferiority. Black people were sub-human, had no history, no culture, no civilization, they said, and thus it was really a blessing for them to come in contact with the white man's civilization and Christianity. They ignored completely the highly developed cultures of Africa, the ancient empires and huge walled cities of Benin, Zeg Zeg, Zimawe and the rest. Dr. Reinecke should read "The Myth of the Negro Past" by Dr. Melville Merskovits and "African Heroes and Heroines" by Dr. Carter G. Woodson.
After the Civil War, the whites, who had been taught their own superiority, were thrown into economic competition with the ex-slaves for jobs. In order to keep black and white workers fighting each other instead of uniting to better their mutual conditions, the doctrine of black inferiority was even more rigidly followed. The Ku Klux Klan came into existence. Negro labor was used as a threat against white labor by employers to keep wages low and profits high. Remember the huge fortunes built up in the latter half of the past century? The technique was the same as that of the slavery era—insisting that the Negro had no historical background, ignoring the facts and belittling as "nobodies" those who could not be completely ignored. And this is the vicious anti-democratic doctrine which Dr. Reinecke supports.
What determines whether a personage is "nobody" or "somebody?" Physical possessions? Skin color? His contribution to the society in which he lives? Specifically, why is Crispus Attucks a "nobody" in Dr. Reinecke's eyes? Is it because a high priest of white supremacy has said so?
Attucks Is a Symbol
True, Crispus Attucks did not own land and slaves (was it necessary to hold other humans in bondage to be "somebody"?) as did many of the white heroes of the Revolutionary period. In fact, Crispus Attucks, being black, suffered from even more prejudice and restrictions and denial of opportunity than the Negroes of today. Actually, he was a seaman whose ship was in port at the time. But that is not the point.
The point is that on this historic day, Attucks learned of the proposed demonstration against British oppression and voluntarily joined with the demonstrators. He stood in the forefront of those who wanted freedom. He was the first to die—not the second or the twelfth, but the first—in the Boston Massacre which, historians say, launched the struggle that meant American liberation. There is a monument in Boston erected to the memory of these martyrs. In the list of engraved names, that of Crispus Attacks leads all the rest.
Attucks is a symbol of the oft-forgotten fact that Negroes" have shed their blood in all of America's struggles for liberty. To belittle him is to insult all Negroes and friends of freedom, and to give aid and comfort to those forces determined to continue Negro oppression.
Dr. Reinecke also disputes my mention of Hannibal and his black army. He again supports the white supremacy historians who, for reasons already mentioned, would have us believe that no event in ancient history involved anybody who had ethnic kinship with the "inferior" peoples from whom the slaves were taken.
A historical figure might be 10 shades darker than midnight and have thick lips, a broad nose and kinky hair (which describes many of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt) but if he cannot be ignored or belittled, then he is a "white" African. Ironically enough, here in America, if the slightest trace of African ancestry can be found in a person with blond hair and blue eyes, then that person is a "Negro."
Color Prejudice Recent Development
And yet old chronicles and archeological [sic] discoveries prove that black Africans were common in Spain and the rest of Europe centuries before Caesar. Alexander had black troops; Homer writes of a black general, friend of Ulysses, in the Trojan war.
Race and color prejudice are recent developments in history; formerly we had religious and national prejudices. Anthropologists say mankind can be divided only arbitrarily and for convenience into white, yellow and black races, which overlap; and that color, hair, skeletal structure, etc., were determined by climate, geography, soil, environment, etc., working over long periods of years.
Did North Africans, the majority of whom are "blacker" than most American Negroes, suddenly become "white Africans" under Hannibal for the convenience of white supremacy historians 2,000 years later?
In view of these facts, which should be known to a man of Dr. Reinecke's scholastic achievement, why does he reject logic and science for Dixiecrat doctrines designed to keep Negroes in an inferior position? If he is as great a liberal as his reputation indicates, why is it he does not join in the fight against the publicists for white supremacy who are the bitter enemies of genuine democracy?
March 2, 1950: Left of Center
Like Franklin D. Roosevelt, I am proud of being left of center in the best American tradition. Because I reject thought control and witchhunts as a subversion of democracy, and since I have the unpopular idea that our Constitution means what it says, certain people consider me a "dangerous radical" who must be "closely watched."
And yet my strongest utterances sound like the timid talk of a colorfast conservative when I read the words and public speeches of many of our most beloved Americans.
Never have I dreamed of going as far left as Abraham Lincoln, founder of the Republican party, who at his first inaugural said:
"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or, their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it."
And if that is not enough to label Lincoln, ' consider what else he said in the same inaugural address:
"If, by mere force of numbers, a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution—certainly would if such right were a vital one."
Preferred Dangerous Liberty
In a letter to Col. Smith in 1787, Thomas Jefferson said: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
Speaking of Sharp's Rebellion, Jefferson stated: "I prefer dangerous liberty rather than quiet servitude. It prevents the degeneracy of government and nourishes a general attention to public affairs. I hold that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world, as storms in the physical." But we have descended to such a low level in our history that a person becomes cannon fodder for the un-American committees merely by repeating the words of Lincoln and Jefferson. Unless your thoughts are stamped in big letters: "Approved today in Washington," you are an "enemy of democracy."
This is so because, as Woodrow Wilson said: "The masters of the government of the United States are the combined capitalists and manufacturers of the United States.
"The government, which was designed for the people, has gotten into the hands of bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy."
It has been put even more bluntly. Speaking to, the American Legion National Convention in 1935, Gov. Earle of Pennsylvania declared:
"I warn you that our civilization is in danger if we heed the deceptive cries of special privilege, if we permit our men of great wealth to send us on a wild goose chase after so-called radicals while they continue to plunder the people .... We are constantly told of the evils of Socialism and Communism. The label is applied to every man, woman and child who dares to say a word which does not have the approval of Wall Street."
Little that I say has the approval of Big Business. As I said at the start, I am left of center. It is the only course open to me if I, as a non-haole, want equality with white America.
If I were conservative, that would mean automatically that I think we have gone too far in trying to break the yoke of color bondage and that I am in favor of greater discrimination against me, not less.
Branded a "Danger To Democracy"
If I were a middle-of-the-roader, that would mean I am quite satisfied with things as they are, that while I did not want to return to the day of fewer citizenship rights, also neither would I want to crack any more barriers. In other words, I would be quite content with the status quo.
But since I am left of center, that means that I reject completely the idea of white supremacy and second-class citizenship for non-haole peoples. It means that I want full civil rights, equal job opportunities and the other rights guaranteed by the Constitution but denied by officials sworn to uphold it. Yet, if I insist on democracy, I am branded a "danger to democracy."
Speaking of the plight of the colored Americans eight years after Pearl Harbor, Columnist Joseph D. Bibb wrote recently in the Pittsburgh Courier, the nation's largest Negro newspaper:
"Mobs in big Northern cities encircle and contain him in the ghettoes. He cannot obtain a decent home. He has been separated from his job. If he complains, he is branded as a Red engaged in subversive operations . . . Eight years after Pearl Harbor, if a colored American groans and wails against his burdens, and strains at his yoke, they brand him as an agent of Moscow."
But I, personally, have no intention of being silenced by a label. I do not intend to be frightened into submission to the status quo. So long as I feel that I am right, I shall continue to lift my voice. As the famous poet, James Russell Lowell, put it: "They are slaves who fear to speak For the fallen and the weak; They are slaves who will not choose Hatred, scoffing and abuse Rather than in silence shrink From the truth they needs must think:
They are slaves who dare not be in the right with two or three."
March 9, 1950: A Japanese American Judge
In an editorial entitled "Race Is Not a Proper Qualification for a Judge" appearing March 1, the Star-Bulletin took issue with the Japanese American Citizens' League which asked that an American of Japanese ancestry be appointed to fill the pending vacancy on the Hawaii circuit bench.
According to the afternoon daily, this smacks of "making race a qualification for judgeship." The editorial goes on: "To set not because the "most fundamental principles of Americanism" are not observed and because race has been consistently set up as "a qualification for a judge" that Mike Masaoka of the JACL has called upon Washington to correct this condition? People of Japanese ancestry are the largest single element in Hawaii's polyglot population. Among them are many lawyers. Yet not one has been appointed to the bench in Hawaii. Have the judges been selected purely because of their qualifications? If so, the conclusion is inescapable that there are no AJAs capable of serving on the bench, thus proving the "inferiority" o the Oriental to whites.
But if the AJAs are not "just naturally inferior," among the lawyers there must have been a few whose qualifications for judgeship equalled those of haoles who were appointed to the bench. That being so, why has none been selected? Could it be solely because they belonged to a different race?
This talk of "selection on qualification" in this instance is merely a way of maintaining discrimination. If the "theory of government as expressed in the Constitution" had been lived up to, there would be no need for asking that discrimination against qualified Japanese Americans be ended. Instead, there would be JA judges on the Hawaiian bench.
Those who accept the argument offered by the Star-Bulletin do a disservice to democracy and block the progress of non-haole peoples in their fight for full equality.
After all, who decides the question of qualifications in Washington? Japanese Americans who, as a national minority, have little influence in the federal government? Or the majority of haoles who control the government but who can see little merit in anything non-haole and who make concessions mainly for political reasons?
Position of Minorities Similar
The fact is, with our present nationwide attitudes on color and race, even the most qualified members of minority groups will seldom receive due recognition without pressure. When there is an end to race and color discrimination, then we can talk about recognition purely on the basis of ability. But so long as a capable person is overlooked purely because he is of a different race or religion and therefore a "nobody," then it is up to those who want democracy to insist that a member of a minority group be given the recognition that otherwise might be denied.
I cannot emphasize too strongly the similarities between the status of the Negro people and the AJAs and other ethnic minorities. Discrimination against one sets the pattern for discrimination against all. The experiences of one group in the common fight against white supremacy should be understood by others; all should join hands in any move to eradicate this evil.
Today there are three Negro federal judges, appointed by Washington. This is comparatively recent, despite the fact that, for decades there have been outstanding Negro lawyers blessed with judicial talent. But these three were named to the federal court only when Negroes became more insistent and organized in their demands for recognition in this field. It was the result of continued and mounting pressure.
Wide Support for the naming of a qualified AJA to the bench in Hawaii would be bound to impress Washington. It would be not only an expression of practical democracy, but would certainly build goodwill for the political group responsible for this forward step.
Because I am a member, of a group that for more than 300 years has suffered discrimination in America, and know what it means, I'm back of this fight by the JACL for an end to discrimination in this field. I want to see every color barrier smashed, and I hope that supporters of a Japanese American judge for the circuit court in Hawaii will not be silenced by the Star-Bulletin position on this burning issue.
Note To Dr. Reinecke
Dr. John Reinecke's letter in last week's RECORD merely proves how deep are the roots of of [sic] white supremacy even in some of those who have the greatest reputations as liberals. Only a white supremacist would presume that he could look down from a lofty perch and decide Just who should be considered as heroes and who was to be classed as "nobodies" by a group struggling to burst the tight bonds of discrimination and second class citizenship. What but a faith in and acceptance of the myths designed to maintain the belief of Negro inferiority would cause Dr. Reinecke to belittle and discard the data presented by J. A. Rogers, who has spent his life traveling throughout the world doing research and gathering documentary evidence to back up his disclosures?
Just why does Dr. Reinecke consider his judgment superior, to that of Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, a Negro long ranked as one of the world's greatest scholars and historians and who two years ago was honored, by a national magazine as one of the nation's greatest living Americans? Why does Dr. Reinecke prefer the views of anti-Negro historians about Hannibal and his army to the logic and the historical writings of the non-prejudiced? Why, except for his support of the doctrine of white supremacy?
March 16, 1950: More CIO Bankruptcy
New evidence is piling up to prove conclusively that the CIO top leadership is rapidly deserting the fight for minority rights and is ganging up with reaction to work against the best interests of working people.
The ouster of those unions who still believe in democracy cannot be viewed as something separate and isolated, but fits into the whole ugly picture of the sell-out by the Murray-Reuther gang who are the dictators of the CIO.
For years the CIO has stood out front among those groups demanding civil rights and full equality for all Americans regardless of creed or color or national origin. Today there is still lip service, but you must judge by deeds, not words.
Recently, Negro newspapers throughout the Mainland carried a news article which began:
"Have CIO and other labor leaders made 'another' backdoor deal to bypass civil rights legislation in this session of Congress?
Civil Rights Not Mentioned
"That is the burning question arising from the big southern 'harmony' conference here several days ago. This was the biggest Dixie turnout since the national elections, and the after-thought of what transpired there is shocking to some Negroes both in and out of the labor movement.
"Representatives of the CIO, AFL and Railway Labor unions journeyed south with top administration leaders in an effort to garner support for the administration's program in this session of Congress. But if these champions of the 'laboring masses' went south to woo Dixie support for the Truman program, they made it clear that they did not include civil rights in their demands."
Sharing the platform with the Dixiecrats were Jack Kroll, CIO political action head; Joseph Keenan, APL official and C. T. Anderson of the Railway Labor Political League. Not one of them spoke one word for civil rights, says the article, and it continues:
"The CIO in particular has been exceedingly vocal in the North over the past years, and in the union's younger days it blazed a trail through the south. However, suspicions of a 'new attitude' began to arise when Negro papers reported the CIO Textile Workers convention some three years ago. At that convention, the union's president, Emile Rieve, reportedly blocked a resolution favorable to civil rights. He was quoted as saying the resolution might offend some members of the union. Rieve is one of the CIO's top policy makers today."
Equal Rights Indivisible
I might add that three years ago was when the CIO began giving support to the Truman Doctrine and its meddling in the internal affairs of Greece and Turkey. The outgrowth of the Truman Doctrine is the ClO-backed Atlantic Pact and its support for imperialism and denial of equality to the millions of Asian and African colonial subjects. In other words, you can't suppress equal rights abroad and support equal rights at home. And thus the CIO has sacrificed the fight for civil liberties in America.
There's still more evidence. The CIO recently ousted the United Public Workers. President Abram Flaxer said his union was kicked out partly because of its fight against segregation in the federal government, partly because the UPW opposed certain administration issues, and partly because it has embarrassed the National CIO by challenging certain of its actions.
For example, UPW criticized National CIO for supporting John Sparkman of Alabama for senator, even though Sparkman campaigned on a white supremacy issue and is an ardent foe of civil rights. The National CIO also backed Virgil Chapman of Kentucky, although this senator favors the Taft-Hartley law.
Top Brass Morally Corrupt
I might add that the fight against discrimination is dear to the heart of UPW. One-third of its entire membership is Negro.
Here in Hawaii, the vast majority are also non-haole. But winning full equality for non-whites is no longer of real importance to the National CIO leadership.
In fact, the Murray-Reuther-Rieve gang is so morally corrupt that it accepted the invitation of the American Legion to attend the recent "All-American Conference" in New York to form a "united front against Communism." Six widely known liberal national organizations were honored by not being invited: The American Civil Rights Union, Americans for Democratic Action, American Jewish Congress, American Veterans Committee, National Urban League and the National Council of Negro Women. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was invited but declined in a letter which blasted the national jim crow policy of the American Legion.
But not so the National CIO: And if anybody still doubts the bankruptcy of its leadership, let him read the remarks of James B. Carey, secretary-treasurer of the CIO, who declared he was ready to join hands "even with fascists" in the fight against communism.
That's the ugly picture of the once-militant labor organization now grown weak, flabby and corrupt. Until the National CIO leadership can be brought back to the straight road of sound trade unionism, it will be a sign of intellectual cleanliness to be among those unions ousted from the CIO.
March 23, 1950: “Congress Considers “Communist Control”
If Senators Mundt and Ferguson and Congressman Nixon had ever fought for enactment into law of Truman's civil rights program, if they had backed a strong FEPC act or any other legislation ending the second-class status of non-haoles, or if they had thrown their strength on behalf of labor against the Taft-Hartley law I would not be nearly so suspicious of their new bills aimed at "communism."
As it is, their so-called "Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950," now before both branches of Congress, means that they are setting up a weapon that can be used to cripple and completely halt the fight of unions for higher wages and better working conditions, and can abruptly end the campaign of minority groups against discrimination.
In fact, the proposed legislation, known in the Senate as S2311 and in the House as HR7595, is so dangerous to our traditional democratic processes that such an organization as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, known for its anti-Communist policy, has warned:
"If these bills become law, organizations such as ours will be prevented from carrying on a fight to win full rights for the Negro people."
How the Act Works
Just what does this act do that makes it such a personal threat to you and me and to our democracy in general?
It empowers the President to appoint a three-man Subversive Activities Control Board with virtually unlimited dictatorial power. They will determine whether an organization is a "Communist political organization" or a "Communist front" group. All members of the first group would be forced to register, and all officers of the second. Failure to comply would mean heavy fines and jail terms.
One of the standards for Judging whether an organization is a "Communist front" is "the extent to which the positions taken do not deviate from those of any Communist political organization, Communist foreign government, or the world Communist movement."
Translating this into our personal experiences, this "means that any labor union could be called a "Communist front" if it asked for higher wages since the Communist party is on record for pay hikes. Any group seeking cheaper rents, low-cost housing or federal aid to health could be so labelled since the Communist party backs those programs. Any organization opposing the Marshall plan and the Atlantic pact could be smeared for similar reasons. It would be possible to include such groups as the American Civil Liberties . Union and Americans for Democratic Action, for already the cry is growing in certain quarters that they are "too Red."
Just what would a "Communist" or a "Communist front" group be? It would be what the three dictators said it was, and the attorney general would be ordered by law to see that the label stuck. An individual or an organization with a long history of vigorous Redbaiting could not save himself if the Board said otherwise, for the argument is widely advanced that remain Communists are so deceitful they will assume the disguise of the most ardent foes of communism if, by so doing, they can remain free to continue their undercover activities.
That is why such an organization as the NAACP sees this proposed legislation as a clear and present danger to the fight for civil rights. Despite the consistent anti-Communist utterances of its top officials, the NAACP continues to press for full and equal citizenship for non-haoles and for the rights of labor. Therefore, to the foes of progress who are backing this reactionary legislation and who would control its administration, the NAACP is a "Communist front" and has been thus labelled by some congressmen and government officials.
In other words, it would no longer be possible for any group to demand reforms for fear of being smeared by the three dictators. This smearing would bring immediate economic reprisals against its officers and members, the majority of whom would lose their means of income. And if any dared to protest weakly as individuals, what would there be to prevent that person from being declared a secret Communist under this act and being jailed and fined for failure to register as such?
That is what we face if this legislation is passed by Congress. We would become a nation of frightened puppets, facing the concentration camp for asking for more pay or an end to race, color and religious discrimination.
If that's the way you want it, keep quiet about these bills. But if you believe, like me, that it is your right and your duty to light for real democracy and complete equality, then you will let your voice be heard in Washington by cable, letter or postcard.
Speak up now, while you still can.
Total sales of retail radio and household appliance dealers were a record $352 million in December, $44 million more than the previous high registered in November, 1948.
Egg prices are down about 40 per cent since last fall's peak.
March 30, 1950: Witch-Hunt over the Convention
Last week delegates to the state constitutional convention were chosen to sit virtually under the ominous dark shadow of the coming investigation of communism in the Territory by the House Committee on un-American Activities.
Advance publicity has been careful to deny that, the probe would influence the deliberations of the convention, but the facts decree otherwise. It is even possible that the awareness of the investigation caused some voters not to back the most progressive candidates.
As it is, the convention will be dominated by spokesmen for the big interests. It is said that the entire constitution has been written and is merely awaiting the rubber stamp of the delegates. The fear was expressed that if some of the most vocal spokesmen for the plain people had been elected, they would have been able to slow down or even block the steamroller.
Nevertheless, there are a few who will be able to oppose strongly any cut and dried set of laws for the anticipated State of Hawaii. How effective they will be depends in large measure upon the sound of witch-hunting coming from the un-American hearings.
Will Take Real Courage
In such an atmosphere, I have an idea that a delegate will think twice before he goes on record with a proposal that can be labelled "socialistic" or "communistic" by the powerful vested interests. For if an idea is too progressive, what is there to prevent its author from being tapped on the shoulder and presented with a subpoena to appear before the un-Americans? It will take real courage to buck this implied intimidation of the hearing.
I am curious to see whether the convention will make a realistic approach to the land problem. In recent weeks I have talked with many people in rural Oahu. To the vast majority the most urgent question is that of land. They want to be able to buy outright small farms where they can build a house, grow their food and become self-sustaining.
They have told me bitterly that they have been crushed by the big estates who peddle only leaseholds or small parcels at prices only those in the higher income brackets can afford. And if, by chance, they are able to buy, zoning laws necessitate building a house beyond their means. To the majority, the situation is hopeless.
It is possible today for a landowner to stake out. a horse or a cow on unused acres and thereby have such plots classed as "grazing land" for tax purposes. Since taxes on grazing land are low and a definite amount of money must be raised annually through taxation, a disproportionate burden is forced on the ordinary guy who can't afford it, while the owners of unused land get by with murder. A suggested remedy is to so revise the tax schedule that the land misers will find it more profitable to sell than to hold on. This is a solution that many believe should be thoroughly explored by the coming convention.
Diversified Farming Discouraged
Personally, I favor breaking up the big estates by law. It is to the best interests of the people of Hawaii to bring an end to an economy ruled by pineapple and sugar cane. If Hawaii is going to become a state, it must stop being a colony.
The present leasehold system is a hangover from feudalism. It permits the sugar and pineapple interests to maintain their dictatorship of the island economy and by preventing any real attempt at diversified farming, forces a dependence for food upon the Matson shipping interests, " also controlled by the plantations.
Through leaseholds, the estates are able to collect in annual rentals many times the real value of the land from homeowners—and still own it. Furthermore, it permits restricted haole residential areas in a community which loves to boast about its democracy.
And yet, whoever makes an honest and fighting attempt to modernize the land laws will be stepping directly on the toes of the economic dictators of the Territory and faces the prospect of being labelled "Socialist" or ''Communist" within earshot of the witch-hunters. On the other hand, unless there is a sound remedy, the hunger of the people will grow and one day may burst into flame.
There are many other pressing problems which need to be dealt with in the constitutional convention, such as unemployment, welfare, civil liberties, elections, the tax structure, etc. You may be sure that these issues will not be dealt with in the best interests of the plain people if they are left exclusively to the spokesmen for the Big Five.
The delegates would have a man-sized job even under the most favorable conditions. With a witch-hunt next door, the task is Herculean.
April 6, 1950: Bridges Conviction
I am not at all surprised at the conviction of Harry Bridges. Disappointed, yes, but not surprised. With the political atmosphere prevailing in my country today, I believe that President Truman or even Alfred Sloan of General Motors would be convicted of being Soviet spies if a way could be found to bring them to trial. And if Senator McCarthy keeps up his attacks, even that might happen.
From the accounts in the local daily press, Judge Harris gave a surprisingly fair charge to the jury. In this, he partially redeemed himself for certain earlier tactics which put the whole defense in a bad light. But by the time the court charged the jury, the real damage had already been done. The one bright spot is that the jurors deliberated from Friday until Tuesday before reaching a verdict. Even the growing roar of the witch-hunters did not intimidate them into a speedy decision of guilt. In calmer times, I believe they would have freed Bridges, Schmidt and Robertson.
Real Liberal Justices Gone
From where I sit, the defense lawyers merit high praise for their conduct of the case. In a way, it was better that the old warhorse of West Coast labor attorneys, Richard Gladstein, was not involved, for the trial must have proved a postgraduate education to Hallinan and MacInnis, and Gladstein already has his degree.
Naturally, the verdict will be appealed. Once again the Bridges case seems headed for the U. S. Supreme Court. What will happen there is anybody's guess. It is not now the kind of court that in the past has given Bridges his freedom. Gone are the real liberals who mirrored the progressive political thinking of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Their places have been filled by little men whom Truman wanted to reward.
As everybody knows, the law is what the majority of the Supreme Court says it is Congress and the President can work as one in pushing through legislation, but if the high court says it is unconstitutional, out it goes. This can be both good and bad, but it definitely makes for uncertainty. What is constitutional today may be illegal tomorrow, and vice versa. It all depends upon whether the justices are liberal or, conservative. Although the opinion may be written in correct legal terms, the deciding factor often is not cold law but personal prejudices. It is unfortunate that 150,000,000 people should be ruled by the whims of nine men—especially when the majority of the nine seem to be looking backward instead of forward.
There Is Hope
This new conviction comes at a time when the ILWU is virtually out of the CIO, which means that, unlike in the past, Bridges will not have the expressed support of this segment of organized labor. In fact, certain of the CIO inner circle are undoubtedly as happy at the conviction as the big employers. There will be nowhere near the previous unity in trade union circles to combat this conviction.
These are the hard and brutal facts of life in a day when anti-Red hysteria is increasing instead of abating, when even the most violent and active anti-Communists in the State Department can be embarrassed and must take time out to fight against charges that they are "tools of Moscow" or else face the anger of the American public—the public they have helped frighten into growing wrath.
This means that the time has come when nobody can sit back and depend upon his neighbor to fight for justice. The cause is not hopeless. Those who believe that Harry Bridges is a good trade union leader and who think it would be a serious blow to organised [sic] labor if he were deported, must back the ILWU leader to the limit. That should include every member of the union, their families and all the working people of Hawaii, who have profited by the strong light for labor and the common man waged by the ILWU.
Show Widest Support
It should be obvious that certain people will stop at nothing in an effort to "get" Bridges and thus take away his leadership and influence. They would love nothing better than to see the ILWU demoralized by this conviction.
But that must not be. The need for solidarity is greater now than ever before—and with this solidarity must come positive action designed to get the widest kind of backing for Bridges, along with Schmidt and Robertson, so that when the case does go before the nation's highest tribunal, the nine justices will know that these top ILWU officials have the people behind them.
April 13, 1950: John Wood of Georgia
I am sorry, in a way, that Chairman John Wood did not accompany the un-American Activities Committee to the Hawaiian hearings. I had wanted to get a close-up view of this staunch advocate of white supremacy who is trying to force his conception of Americanism upon our nation and Territory.
For three and a half years, from 1931 to 1934, I lived in Georgia, the home state of John Wood.
I edited a newspaper in Atlanta. I had a chance to see for myself the things that had been told to me about Dixie race hate. I left Georgia with the determination never to voluntarily return to that cesspool of white supremacy as long as I lived.
My paper carried stories of lynchings, murders by hair-trigger cops, executions in the state prison of kids 14 years old, assaults and beatings — solely because of the color of the victims' skins. I was in Georgia when a national YWCA official bled to death on a highway following an auto accident because a white ambulance wouldn't carry her to a hospital, forcing her to wait until a Negro ambulance could be brought from 60 miles away. I resolved that I would never rest until I had done everything to the limit of my ability to end discrimination based on skin color.
Since 1934, the world has gone through the blood and sweat and tears of World War II. As a nation, we fought to wipe out the belief of inferior and superior peoples, which was the root of fascist ideology. But after V-J Day, when the boys came back home, they found these beliefs were still dominating the activities of the people in John Wood's state.
In the summer of 1946, two Negro couples were lynched near Monroe, Ga., the most infamous atrocity of its kind during the past decade in America, but to date not one person has been arrested. In 1948 a Negro farmer named Isaiah Nixon was shot and killed for daring to vote in the Democratic primary election at Alston, Ga. His mother, wife and six children were forced to flee to save themselves.
At the present time, Rosa Lee Ingram, mother of 14 children, is serving a life sentence in a Georgia prison, along with two of her sons, for the self-defense slaying of a white sharecropper. They were sentenced to death but were spared only because of the fight put up by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. And only a few months ago, Samuel Roper resigned as head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to succeed the late Imperial Wizard Samuel Green as head of the Association of Georgia Klans.
These are only a few of the bigger outrages, of the major examples of un-American activities directed primarily, at 15,000,000 Negro Americans and, through them, at all other non-white, minorities, and Jews. Although it may vary in intensity, discrimination against Negroes sets the pattern for discrimination against Orientals and Spanish-speaking Americans.
Not to this day have I heard Chairman John Wood utter one word of criticism against the atrocities which have long made his state of Georgia a prime example of un-Americanism. One is forced to conclude that murder and terror based on skin color are quite all right with John Wood and that you become un-American only when you fight against racism and for equality for all. Like many other Negroes, I hoped, when the committee was formed back in 1938, that it would investigate mob violence, denial of the ballot, restrictive residential agreements and the ghetto, job discrimination and the many other evils which my people consider the acme of un-Americanism. But we were soon disillusioned.
The first mention of Negroes by the new committee was when Chairman Martin Dies of Texas branded two of the best-known and beloved Negro leaders as "Communists." They were Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune, NYA official, friend of Eleanor Roosevelt; who is considered the nation's foremost Negro woman, and Dean William Pickens, then NAACP field secretary, who is today a key official in the bond sales division of the U. S. Treasury Department. They were given the Red label by Dies because they refused to accept anything less than first-class citizenship and full equality for all.
This pattern, set by Dies, has not changed. The result has been that Negroes generally, are against the committee. They have stated they have no intention of cooperating until the committee decides to launch a full scale investigation into the Klan and similar organizations and the common, daily practices of jim crow and discrimination. But so long as a white supremacist dominates and heads the committee, there seems little chance of this happening. First it was Dies of Texas, then it was John Rankin of Mississippi and now John Wood of Georgia. In between, it was J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey, but was that any improvement? We should have a committee with a program for investigating all forms of un-American activities (and when that happens I will be happy to cooperate in every way I know) or else it should be abolished. Anything else is a travesty on democracy.
April 20, 1950: Un-American Questions
Several interesting questions have been raised as a result of the un-American hearings. A big one is this: When does a "Communist meeting" stop being a "Communist meeting"? You will recall that Lloyd M.Stebbings, confessed informer for intelligence officers, testified that he attended "Communist Party meetings" in an upstairs back room, over a Nuuanu St. book store. Among those he said attended was Louise (Loujo) Hollingsworth, a Star-Bulletin reporter.
This might have gone into the records as a "Communist meeting" and those in attendance labeled as party members had not Mrs. Hollingsworth told the committee under oath that she was there to attend a cocktail party at the opening of the store and that she didn't recall seeing Mr. Stebbings present.
Since Mrs. Hollingsworth is an employe of the Star-Bulletin, one of the big supporters of the un-American probe and a power in the community, I have not heard this event referred to again as a "Communist meeting." One assumes that any meeting which does not have a person such as Mrs. Hollingsworth present can be listed as a Communist meeting by the committee and lesser persons present in attendance must take the consequences. I wonder how many of the "Communist meetings" referred to by the blabber boys would have been merely union meetings had the right people been on hand?
Did Rep. Walter "Forget"?
Question No. 2: Why did Acting Chairman Francis Walter tell Mrs. Esther Bristow that producing HCLC records before the committee was "privileged" and such information could not be used outside the hearing?
According to Judge John Albert Matthewman, Section 3486 of Title 18 of the U. S. code states that testimony given in such a hearing may not be used in any criminal proceeding in any court except in a prosecution for perjury, but specifically adds "an official paper or record produced is not within the said privilege."
Did Rep. Walter, a competent lawyer, "forget" this catch in the U. S. code in his enthusiasm in trying to get Mrs. Bristow to bring in the records?
Was HCLC, only organization in Hawaii fighting primarily for the preservation and extension of civil rights, placed on White Supremacist Tom Clark's subversive list because it, like the ILWU, fights for the plain people and therefore incurred the enmity of the Big Five? Just who got HCLC declared "subversive" so it would be fair game for the un-American investigation, planned a considerable length of time ago?
Question No. 3: How much respect have the blabber boys won in the community by then well-rehearsed revelations before the committee? Even the Star-Bulletin was unflattering in its editorial of Thursday, April 13, in which they were described as "two types: Simple and gullible, not knowing 'beans' about the Communist Party as one naive witness testified; or ambitious and egotistic, dreaming vague, rosy dreams of quick advancement to high position."
The Lesson of Harry Bridges
Question No. 4: Since the issuance of subpoenas indicated that the committee had decided, prior to the hearings, just who was to be put on the spot, what recourse, other than a refusal to testify, did the intended victims have?
Of course they could have sold out their associates and saved their skins, but crawling on your belly before the un-Americans is too high a price for an honest man to pay.
If an important victim denied he was a Communist after being fingered by a blabber boy, he would face trial for perjury if the un-Americans decided he was worth jailing. Remember what happened to Harry Bridges? In the political atmosphere of today, an individual who never to his knowledge, even talked with a Communist, can be built into the leadership of a Soviet spy ring through the testimony of lying witnesses.
If a victim said he was a Communist (and a person, to make such an admission today to a committee would have to be either a fool or a masochist) he would be expected to sing out the names of other Communists. If he failed to do so on the ground that he couldn't remember, his memory would be "refreshed" and if he still failed to identify any of them, he would undoubtedly be prosecuted for perjury. The same procedure would hold true if he said he was once a Communist but is no longer a member.
They Broke No Law
Since the First Amendment has been all but eliminated from the Constitution, the only defense is the Fifth Amendment which gives a witness the right to refuse to testify against himself. But if the committee has its way, this also will be removed from the Bill of Rights.
Question No. 5: Just what laws have those accused of Communism violated? I listened and read in vain, to see if they were being charged with even a mild misdemeanor. If they broke no law, why spend taxpayers' money for a probe of this kind? All I could see was that the Communist Party is charged with being a subversive organization, but even with the immunity which the blabber boys had, not one victim was accused of even the tiniest illegal act.
It is not unlawful as yet, to be a member of the Communist Party. If the conviction of the 11 is upheld and the Smith Act declared constitutional, then, for all practical purposes, the party will be outlawed. But at the moment, the only penalty for Communist Party membership is in the social and economic fields. By its tactics of newspaper publicity, the committee can invoke community punishment on people who cannot be legally touched.
April 27, 1950: How to Become Un-American
For the first time in its 12-year history, I had a chance to see the un-American committee in action. And while, under Walter, it wore kid gloves, its hands were actually as dirty as its record had led many Americans to believe. To me, the un-American committee is still un-American.
Ignoring white supremacists, hate groups, authors of two standards of pay for haoles and non-haoles, supporters of restrictive residential agreements, etc., the committee works on the assumption that only those persons classed as "Communists" are un-American.
To be classed as a Communist, all you need to do is battle for civil rights, fight for higher wages and improved working conditions, or insist on your traditional American right of criticizing what you don't like about government policies or Big Business. In the process, you naturally step on somebody's toes.
Has "Influence" Money
That somebody is a guy who gets bigger profits when a trade union is weak and divided, or when he has two standards of pay, or when he can keep people scrapping among themselves on the foolish, basis of race or religion or national origin. Being strong economically because of these huge profits, he has the money to influence and control, some political parties and many politicians. Since he heeds to maintain the status quo or else halt social progress in order to keep his profits high, he looks for a way of stopping those who oppose his selfishness. Today his big weapon is the Red scare, and the members of the un-American committee are his trusted hatchet men.
Those who had their toes stepped on had selected the "Communists" before the Hawaiian hearing began, and the blabber-boys had been lined up to do the fingering. The stage was set and those chosen to be axed were named in the daily press. Under this spotlight of publicity, the victims were paraded before the un-Americans, who sat with, the sharp blades of contempt of Congress and perjury poised in the air. The alternative was to crawl on your belly in the dust, whining: "I ain't no Communist, boss, but I know who is" and then sing out names and places.
I do not know how much of the "testimony" accepted by the press and un-Americans as fact was actually true. I do not know how many of those fingered as "Communists" are members of that organization. But I do know that some of those named by the blabber, boys have stated publicly and have signed affidavits to the effect that they are not Communists. But even if everyone named is a member of the Communist Party, that is his right under our federal constitution.
They Had Common Interests
From all I read and heard of the hearings, what those named as "Communists" had in common was the desire to build a strong and militant trade union, to end discrimination and a refusal to join the loud chorus of Red-baiters. Therefore, to the twisted thinking of the committee and its sponsors, these people were "un-American" and "dangerous." Nothing in the whole hearings illustrated this way of thinking as clearly as the concluding testimony of Attorney Ed Berman as carried in the daily press.
Wrapping himself in the spotless armour of the American flag, Berman pictured himself as a latter-day St. George, who used the trusty sword of pure patriotism to save two fair damsels from the filthy leftist dragon.
Killed Same Dragon Twice
When the "dirty Reds" wanted the Hawaiian Association for Civic Unity to back legislation for a Hawaii fair employment practices committee to end job discrimination, St. George Berman boasted that he drew his sword and, dashing in, helped slay the leftist dragon. The HACU also got killed, but the damsel undoubtedly breathed her last knowing that her honor was unsullied, and probably died grateful that she had been saved from a fate worse than death. Then there was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, an organization created for the sole purpose of getting civil rights for everybody. By his own admission, St. George Berman did not join to aid the fight against discrimination. Oh, no! Word got to him that the same leftist dragon was snorting fire in the NAACP, so he grabbed his sword and rushed gallantly in, slashing. away until the dragon was dead — thus assuring St. George Berman a unique spot in history as the man who killed the same dragon twice.
He had to slaughter the damsel again to get at the dragon — but surely the NAACP realized it was such a noble death!
May 4, 1950: Democrats Uphold Democracy
I sat at Kalakaua Intermediate School Sunday when a minority in the Territorial convention said, in effect, that since the Democratic Party had chosen to remain democratic, it could not continue in the deliberations.
It was most fitting that those who showed their dislike for one American tradition should have quit the convention when the majority voted to uphold still another fundamental American tradition, the tradition that a man is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
No Proof But Hearsay
The right-wing minority would have violated this tradition by kicking out some 15 duly elected delegates who had merely been accused as Communists by irresponsible blabber boys wearing the cloak of immunity while testifying before the discredited un-American committee. It is yet to be proven that these 15 delegates are members of the Communist party and therefore ineligible to be members of the Democratic party. Until there is proof instead of the hearsay of irresponsible blabber boys, these 15 are due the rights and privileges of any other delegate.
Could it be that the minority confused the Democratic convention with the statehood convention when the American ideal of fair play was kicked overboard along with Delegate Frank Silva?
In many ways, the Sunday walk-out was a replica of the 1948 National Democratic convention when a number of Southern delegates got tired of democracy. Like their local counterparts, the Dixie boys were opposed to granting just rights to certain people. At Philadelphia, it was Negroes; in Honolulu, it was those accused as Communists. The thinking is the same.
Air Has Been Cleared
While I cannot condone the warped thinking of the local right-wing which seeks to make a farce of the traditions of democracy, there is no doubt that the air has been cleared. Also, it has served to force the middle-of-the-roaders into a decision. They can no longer rest on the fence with their mug on one side and then wump on the other, for the fence was torn down Sunday when the right-wingers walked out. They had to at last decide whether they would fall into the rightists' camp or go along with the left.
For the regular Democratic party in Hawaii is now a party of the left in the same way that nationally, it was a party of the left under the late great Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was proud of being left of center. It is only since the death of Roosevelt that the National Democratic party has shifted back towards the right. And yet, in order to win the 1948 general elections, the voters had to be sold on the idea that his successors were carrying on in the great Roosevelt leftist tradition.
The Roosevelt left had its base in the labor movement, and in planning a concrete program to aid the poor and downtrodden. The Democratic, party under Roosevelt was the spokesman for the little man, not the economic dictators of Wall Street. Here in Hawaii, the Democratic party can become the political arm of the working man and woman, of the unemployed, of the landless, who have a right to a greater share in the good things of this Territory. That so many of the agents for the vested interests walked out Sunday was good for the party.
Like Dixiecrats of 1948
I cannot believe that the National Democratic party will establish the precedent of dipping into local politics or of repudiating the regular party which held its convention in accordance with official rules and regulations. By definition, the minority, who walked put do not represent the majority of the members of the Democratic party of Hawaii. The local right-wingers are in virtually the same position as the Dixiecrats in 1948.
What is needed now is for the Democratic party, since the dissident elements have withdrawn, to present the kind of program that will bring the plain people of the Territory flocking to its banners. It has the potential; all it needs is hard work and vision and it win take its rightful place in the hearts of the people.
May 11, 1950: Democrats and ILWU
Some of those who played follow the leader and took the long walk out of the Territorial Democratic convention at Kalakaua school have by now reconsidered their hasty action. For it has become daily more evident that the only persons to profit by this split were the Republicans and the vested interests.
As a matter of fact, those who led the walk-out behaved like tools of the Republicans and vested interests rather than Democrats. A reasonable person could easily conclude that these leaders are opposed to a vigorous two-party system in Hawaii and entered the Democratic ranks either to use it as a Republican appendage or else to wreck it entirely.
It is common knowledge that only during recent years have the Democrats as a party, been an important factor in island politics. Some individuals have been elected as Democrats, but their victories have been, in the main a tribute to their personal popularity rather than, to party strength. At the same time, certain of. these were obligated to Republican leaders for the success they did enjoy.
Needs Labor Participation
After long years of existence primarily as a paper party, why did the Democrats emerge as a real organization with a say-so in the Hawaiian political arena? The answer in the Territory is the same as the answer to continued Democratic successes on the Mainland: the direct participation of organized labor.
There are those who may not like this fact, but nevertheless, it is big and real. The power of the Democratic party in Hawaii orates from the entry of the ILWU into its ranks. Kick out the ILWU and the Territorial Democratic party will again become weak and senile. Of course that would please the Republicans, the vested interests and their servants wearing the clothing of Democrats, but not those who consider the welfare of the party and see in it the political voice of the common man.
Since the election of Roosevelt in 1932, the National Democratic party has been the ideological arm of the little guy. The labor movement flourished and grew strong under the New Deal; working people, farmers and minority groups elected Roosevelt to four terms as President because he spoke for them.
Truman could not have been elected in 1948 without labor support. He is President now only because he made definite promises to the little guy and got the backing of the majority of trade unionists.
A Strong or Weak Party?
But here we come to a difference between the labor support of the Democrats on the Mainland and in Hawaii. In the continental U. S., the right-wing unions, who are by far the majority, are the backbone of the Democratic party. In Hawaii, the labor movement is overwhelmingly ILWU and therefore is not right-wing. Hawaiian Democratic leaders, nevertheless, must have labor backing to succeed and they may as well face the fact that this backing has to be mainly ILWU.
What it boils down to is this: Cooperate with the ILWU and have a strong Democratic party, or fight the ILWU and have a weak, divided party which can do nothing but give aid and comfort to the Republicans, the vested interests and their tools registered as Democrats.
Let us say, for the sake of argument, that the minority rebel faction wins recognition by the national headquarters as the "true" Democrats of Hawaii. Just what would you have, other than paper recognition? Where would they get mass support? Would they not be in the same position as the Territorial Democratic party of a few years ago, which had a charter but little influence at the polls? Or is that the way the rebel leaders want it?
Decision Must Be Made Here
If the rebels desired mass support, they would be forced to do business with the ILWU, and we would be back where we were. For the hard, cold fact is, that no matter which way you turn, if a strong Democratic party is the object, then the ILWU is right in the center of the, picture. The rebels can close their eyes, but the ILWU is still there.
And so we see that nothing can actually be decided anywhere other than in Hawaii. The problem is whether the Democratic party is to become powerful or return to its days of weakness. If it is to be strong, then the rebels are going to have to do business with the ILWU, whether they like it or not.
But if they want a weak party, keep out organized labor.
May 18, 1950: Our New “Democratic” Partner
I was brought up with a healthy respect for the word, democracy. And yet I have constantly found it used with the utmost cynicism on the home front; this loose usage has undoubtedly prepared the way for careless handling internationally.
Thus we have the amazing spectacle of the foreign ministers of the United States, Great Britain and France formally, announcing that Western Germany is being brought in as a full fledged partner in the alliance of the "western democracies" against Russia.
If there had been a sincere effort to democratize Western Germany, I would feel much better about it. But it is a known fact that many honest American officials have quit their posts in disgust over the way in which Western Germany is being handed back to the Nazis. O. John Rogge, assistant U. S. attorney general, who was sent there for the specific purpose of exposing the Nazi industrialists, was kicked out of his job when he publicly showed their kinship with Wall Street.
Offered As a Sop
Our denazification program was one of the big jokes of the 20th century. Apparently, it was offered as a sop to an American public still outraged by the horrors of the mass tortures at Dachau and Buchenwald, of the attempt to exterminate the whole Jewish people.
But the public has gradually forgotten in five years. And as the memory of these atrocities faded, so did our denazification. Stalin has been built up as a greater menace than Hitler and tears have been shed over the "poor Nazis" who murdered tens of millions of human beings. Jail doors have been opened and Nazi leaders have been almost invited to take up business at the old stand. The big industrialists who financed Hitler have been handed back their factories and the old school ties with Wall Street are almost as strong as they ever were.
It is the Germany of the master race theory, not a people cleansed of the lust for blood and power, that we have welcomed with open arms. Hitler and Goebbels have gone but their ideas remain. The fascists we sought to exterminate in World War II as "the greatest threat to mankind the globe has ever known," are now our partners. We have said, in effect, that the billions of dollars spent and the millions of young men and women killed in battle were, after all, only the by-products of a lovers quarrel so, what d'you say we kiss and make up? This alliance with a revived Nazi Germany may please such persons as John Rankin of Mississippi and John Wood of Georgia, two past and present chairmen of the un-American committee whose ideas on race parallel those of Adolf Hitler, but it should have the vigorous opposition of every American who has respect for the traditions of democracy.
Upholders of Master Race Theory
If Germany is to become our partner, let us insist that she get the cleansing promised but never seriously undertaken. As a member of one of the many ethnic and cultural groups looked down upon by the Nazis as "inferior," I have a personal reason for objecting to an alliance which automatically serves to strengthen our Gerald L. K. Smiths and the unholy crew of white Gentile supremacists who view this development as a green light for the brewing of their hate potions. Obviously, our own democracy also can stand considerable cleansing.
While neither Britain nor France is as bad as Western Germany, there is still plenty wrong.
Both nations, with U. S. cash, maintain a throttling grip on the peoples of Asia and Africa in a day of dying imperialism. In a way, they are upholding the master race theory of the Nazis and our own Rankins and Woods.
And yet it is only a question of time before Asiatics and Africans throw off the yoke of oppression and stand free of "democratic" France and Britain. The French actions in Indo-China are an object lesson in how not to win the friendship of Oriental peoples.
Give Me the "Real Stuff"
Australia, with its "white only" policy, and South Africa, with its fascist oppression of Indians and native Africans; two key sections of the British empire, can hardly be classed as examples of democracy in action. And yet the official British attitude toward the growing independence movements in Nigeria, the Gold Coast, Uganda and other colonial areas is tempered in: large measure" by the Nazi-like doctrines of the Malan government in South Africa.
Nothing thus far has shaken my faith in and respect for democracy. But it's merely that I'm getting so I know the real stuff when I see it. But if what is being peddled today is democracy, make mine root beer.
May 25, 1950: Dixie in Honolulu
Apparently there are policemen who mistake Honolulu for Birmingham or Atlanta. I do not know whether they have been influenced by the ravings of Congressman John Rankin and the other Dixiecrats, or whether they came by their racism in some other fashion, but it exists. Some officers work on the assumption that Negroes were created to be insulted and beaten.
At least that is the attitude taken by many cops, when they operate on Smith Street. These spiritual kinsmen of the Ku Klux Klan seem to have the opinion that patrolling this area carries with it an automatic license to use their fists and boots on any Negro whose appearance they don't like.
A Negro on Smith Street seems to be fair game for the police department. He is likely to be stopped, searched, insulted and arrested — like in Dixie — for no reason other than that he is a Negro. If he protests rough handling, he may be beaten up on the spot and then given the works after he is lugged to the police station. He is then charged with "resisting arrest." That, too, is a practice common to the South.
Refuses To Be Cowed
This has been happening with increasing frequency. Last week it happened to Pittsburgh Lampley. Not long ago he had another run-in with the cops and was freed by a fair-minded judge. Because he refuses to be cowed and holds the belief that he is entitled to the same rights as any other American, the cops have been laying for him. So they got him and gave him the works.
Pittsburgh Lampley is a. trainer of boxers and a skilled worker. And yet, if he were known as a gambler or pimp or dope peddler, I would be equally opposed to the display of unwarranted brutality brought on by the anti-Negro prejudices of certain policemen.
Officers have a right to protect themselves against desperate characters or to subdue unwilling persons being placed under legitimate arrest. But nowhere in America does an officer have the right to attack anybody because he doesn't like his looks or race, or sadistically beat up a prisoner at the jail.
Under American jurisprudence, a defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. That goes for murderers, rapists, gamblers, pimps, prostitutes or anybody charged with the most atrocious crime. But when police whip prisoners, these police are acting as judge, jury, prosecutor and the dispensers of punishment before the victim is even booked for a violation of the law.
Same Right of Protection for All
In other words, arresting officers have no right to wantonly whip anybody they arrest, no matter what the reputation or apparent guilt of the prisoner. The most notorious underworld character of the Smith Street area has the same right to freedom from bodily harm as a bank president given a ticket for a minor traffic violation. The fact that an arrest is made on Smith Street or of a Negro does not mean that these rights are automatically suspended.
As a matter of fact, the Mainland belief in Negro inferiority is what created Smith Street anyway. Because America, which calls itself the "champion of democracy," has decided that Negroes are inferior, they have been repressed.
For the most part, they live in segregated ghettoes for which they must pay exorbitant rents for inferior accommodations and are denied equal educational and job opportunities. Shaped by an unfriendly environment in a land where the dollar is king, many have been forced, like the Italian boy in Willard Motley's great novel, "Knock On Any Door," into underworld activities to get the cash to buy the products which tempt them through press, radio and movies.
I do not condone the, illegal activities of Smith Street, but I understand them. I say that we cannot condemn Smith Street without condemning the conditions of segregation and discrimination and denial of equal opportunity, both in education and jobs, which have caused many Negroes to become part of the underworld. Further, the Mainland racist feelings transplanted to Hawaii (of which police brutality is a part) are what caused the Segregated Smith Street section in the first place. Any sociologist worth his salt can verify this.
Wipe Out Dixie Police Methods
I have heard that certain powerful elements in: the Territory want to discourage Negroes from settling in Hawaii and would like to drive out most of those already here. Although this has been denied, the increasing discrimination and Dixie police methods indicate otherwise.
If there is such a plan, it won't succeed. Negroes have as much right to live in Hawaii as does anyone else, and there are many who don't intend to be kicked around.
Pittsburgh Lampley, for instance.
Fortunately, there are many police officers who believe in equality and most will have none of these Dixie attitudes. There are courts and many right-thinking people, both haole and non-haole, who have the same opinion.
If Hawaii is going to maintain its reputation for good relationships between peoples and races, it will have to wipe out its Dixie police methods. And the time to do it is now.
June 1, 1950: The Plot Against Democracy
In years to come — if we survive the threat of atomic annihilation — I believe historians will spend lots of time searching diligently for the brains behind the plot to subvert democracy as evidenced through the actions of Congress.
It is inconceivable to a logical person that our duly elected officials should blunder, with such perfect consistency, into a pattern designed to kill off democracy. There must be a mastermind back of it all, who has the genius to sell the nation the myth that Americanism is being protected while it is hacked to pieces bit by bit.
We say we are fighting a cold war on a global scale against an ideology we want to crush. With every means at our command short of armed conflict, we are supposedly trying to convince the rest of the world that our way of life is best.
Actions That Alienate People From Us
And yet, while we spend billions of dollars and tell the rest of humanity that its salvation lies only in allying itself with us, we act in such a way as to alienate most of the peoples of the world and drive them toward communism.
The latest exhibit in an already overwhelming pile of evidence showing the rape of our democracy is the recent Senate action on the Fair Employment Practices Commission measure. Both Republicans and Democrats, in order to get votes, have promised passage of this and other civil rights laws. But when the bill came up in the Senate, not enough votes could be mustered to invoke cloture and thus bring the matter to a vote by cutting off the Dixiecrat filibuster. So this key piece of social legislation designed to strengthen democracy, goes back on the shelf.
The FEPC is intended to abolish discrimination in employment on the basis of color, religion or national origin. This is fundamental for a land that shouts its belief in equality.
Its passage would have tremendous propaganda value for use in a world where two-thirds of the population is non-white, and among people we are trying to lure away from the doctrines of Karl Marx.
Discrimination against and exploitation of minority groups in America is well known throughout the globe. The colored peoples of Asia, whom we are trying to lure to our side, have had bitter personal experiences with the British, Dutch and French and have watched closely the sorry spectacle of U. S. segregation.
White supremacy still rules. How can we get Burma, India, Malaya and the others to side with us when we indicate, as in the FEPC matter, that we are still committed to the doctrine of white supremacy? They have watched our Congress appropriate billions of dollars to aid the imperialistic nations of Europe maintain their virtual slavery of colored colonials in Asia and Africa, They reason — and rightfully — that an administration that can get the Marshall Plan and Atlantic Pact through Congress is also able to get civil rights legislation enacted — if it wants to.
According to latest census bureau figures, the nation's non-white population totals 15,017,000. Nearly all of these are Negroes, but the figure includes other peoples such as American Indians and "Asiatics," with most of. the latter living in Hawaii. These 15,017,000 are the persons who would benefit mainly by passage of an FEPC.
What FEPC Would Mean Locally
Locally, a federal FEPC properly enforced would mean the end of restricting certain jobs to haoles and barring Asians and Polynesians from positions they are capable of filling. It could also bring an end to the double pay standard for similar work so prevalent in the Territory.
Further, a strong FEPC would do much to end those conditions which have resulted in the creation of the Smith Street ghetto. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that. Negroes, traditionally the last to be hired and the first to be fired, find job opportunities extremely restricted and often are forced to turn, to illegal activities or starve. The white supremacy attitudes that push many Negroes into the underworld are then reinforced by this vicious circle, and we have such results as the brutal beating of Pittsburgh Lampley, purely because he is a Negro.
Also we have the shocking attitudes of such publications as the Star-Bulletin which, in reporting that eight persons conferred with Police Chief Dan Liu on the Lampley case, stated in the concluding paragraph, that "Negroes have repeatedly told the Star-Bulletin that some members of their race deliberately try to stir up trouble by creating incidents of apparent race discrimination."
I submit that this statement is another part of the whole plot against democracy. The implica tion is that Lampley planned to get himself kicked and beaten while handcuffed. For what? So he could have bruises to nurse?
Many persons have the same idea as the Star-Bulletin's unnamed and probably fictitious Negroes. To them, discrimination does not exist. Those who find discrimination a reality are merely trying to "stir up trouble" — and this attitude has helped to immobilize the people and thus prevent any overwhelming backing for the passage of FEPC and other civil rights legislation. And so Congress is permitted to carry through its program of subverting democracy.
The mastermind behind the plot to kill off democracy ought to be happy. The plan is working perfectly.
June 8, 1950: One and 15,000,000
Last week Drew Pearson in his column told how the Dixie members of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, came personally to the aid of a sick Negro messenger. They saw to it that he remained on the payroll and that he was given financial aid while confined to Freedmen's hospital in Washington. This was done, Pearson pointed out, on the quiet with all publicity shunned. The columnist found out above it only accidentally. I am glad to hear of this act of kindness.
I am always happy at any practical demonstration of human decency. But I will be even more joyful when these same Southern congressmen remember that this Negro messenger has nearly 15,000,000 racial brothers and sisters who ask; not for funds when sick, but the passage of laws which give them the citizenship rights promised by the constitution.
This is a point of view that is often hard to explain those who have never suffered personally from color discrimination; to whom jim-crow is merely academic.
Where the Test Comes
If you do not swoon with delight when one individual is chosen for brotherly treatment by the same people who kick his brothers and sisters around, you are looked upon as an unappreciative scoundrel and a professional troublemaker.
However, being a realist, I must risk not only those but far worse names. For the real test of democracy and brotherhood is not what a person in power may do for an individual he happens to know and like, but his attitude toward the unidentified millions who are impersonal statistics.
Even the worst race-baiters in Congress such as Rankin, Ellender and the now deceased Tillman Vardaman, Bilbo and the rest have had at least one Negro whom they personally befriended. I have thought that maybe it was a way of salving their consciences for their official acts of hate.
"But You're Different . . ." It's easy for an individual to maintain his prejudices toward a group while unbending toward a specific person. They use the pat little-formula, "But you're different from the rest of the ——" (kindly fill in Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Negroes, Jews, Catholics, Italians, etc.) This formula put in operation, they go on liking Sam, Luigi, Pablo or whoever-it-is while hating all his brothers and sisters. And so, while I feel good about the way the Dixie Congressmen came to the aid of the sick
Negro messenger, I'd feel 15,000,000 times better if they'd come to the aid of the FEPC, the anti-poll tax bill, anti-lynching legislation and the rest of the key measures in Truman's civil rights program.
At the same time, I am aware that in some areas prejudice is lessening — not because of the professional politicians but in spite of them. I have faith in the fundamental fairness of the American people. In view of the propaganda gushing forth continuously from press, radio and films, I am amazed that there is not more racism than there is.
Integration Benefits All
Take Chicago, for example. Prior to World War II, there were not more than 200 people of Japanese ancestry in this vast metropolitan area. Certain powerful interests tried to turn the Pacific conflict into a race war and filled the air with propaganda intended to inflame the Mainland against Japanese purely because of their color. And yet, when the relocation program for those in concentration camps got started, over 20,000 Nisei and alien Japanese came to Chicago and settled there with a minimum of friction, despite the prejudice aroused against them.
Negroes are beginning to enter some of the same Dixie universities attended by haoles and I have not yet heard of a classroom riot. It is a known fact that the white students in certain other southern educational institutions stand ready to welcome Negroes, but.cannot do so because of state laws and the politicians.
Here in Honolulu, I am extremely delighted when I see colored and white uniformed servicemen buddying around. This is a far cry from the strict segregation which ruled the armed forces a decade ago. Integration is coming, despite the racism of many in command, and everybody benefits.
I repeat that I have faith in the fundamental fairness of the American people. I believe that if left alone, if we were not under the influence of the constant divisive propaganda spread by those who rnake personal gains when fellow humans hate and fear each other because of color, religion or national origin, we Negroes, haoles, Hawaiians, Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Jews, Catholics and all the others who make up this great nation of ours would live happily together. That is why I cannot go overboard on this lone act of kindness by the southern solons. They are the same powerful politicians who make a farce of democracy and brotherhood for America's more than 15,000,000 non-white citizens by their bitter and uncompromising opposition to the civil rights program. Kindness to one person, as sweet as it may be, cannot compensate for their prejudice toward 15,000,000 others.
June 15, 1950: The Master Plot
The announcement that contempt citations would be asked in Congress for 35 "unfriendly" witnesses arid Attorney Myer Symonds is a logical next step for reaction following the sentencing of the defense attorneys in the trial of the 11 Communist leaders in New York and more recently, Harry Bridges' counsel in California.
What it means is that this new concept of punishing the lawyer along with his client is becoming an accepted practice in the determined drive to silence those who refuse to bow to the ideas of whoever happens to be in control of the government at the moment. It is a move designed to strike fear into the heart of any attorney who dares represent a defendant who runs afoul of America's thought police.
Quite properly, the National Lawyers' Guild has filed a protest with key Congressmen asking that the citation requests be denied since the Hawaii defendants were perfectly within their constitutional rights in refusing to answer questions on the ground of self-incrimination. In other words, Congress is being asked to uphold the Fifth Amendment.
How the Way Was Paved
To put it more bluntly, will those in power now throw out the Fifth Amendment as they have the First? Just how far will they go in destroying the Constitution under the pretext of saving it?
I submit that this prevailing practice of taking away the rights of those accused as Communists would not be attempted if we as a nation, had not sat idly by while similar procedures were followed in the past. The way was paved when the South was allowed, to take away the rights of Negroes won in the Civil War and during the Reconstruction period, and when more recently, the West Coast was allowed to take away the rights of those of Japanese extraction during World War II.
With this sordid history behind us, it is a simple matter to take away the rights of those with unpopular political ideas who have the same low status as the Negro in Dixie or the Japanese during the recent global conflict. If this proves anything, it proves that civil rights are indivisible. Had it not been for the disinterest of non-Negroes, the civil rights of Negroes could not have been violated, particularly in the South; had it not been for the indifference of non-Japanese, the rights of the West-Coast Japanese could not have been violated; if it were not for the lack of interest of those who have no ideological interest in communism, the rights of those merely accused as Communists could not be violated; if the prevailing inertia of the American people continues, it is only a question of time before the civil rights of Baptists or redheads will also be violated, if it suits the purpose of whoever happens to be in power. You can't divide up civil rights and say that some people may have them and some can't and still expect to retain them.
Bank On Continued Public Disinterest
The New York trials of the 11 Communist leaders, the Harry Bridges trial, the contempt action against the Hawaii 36 are but steps in a definite program which could mean jail within two years for those who dare to read progressive publications, and this includes the HONOLULU RECORD. The plotters are banking on the continued disinterest of the American public in their master drive to kill off all independent and progressive thought within our nation.
It is a matter of public record that on Thursday, January 12, this year, one Raymond P. Whearty, acting assistant attorney general, revealed to the House Subcommittee on Appropriations that the Department of Justice is planning the arrest and trial of 21,105 persons who — now get this — appear to be acting in concert with Russian interests." This program, Whearty said, is expected to "come up about the fiscal year 1951."
Rep. John J. Rooney of New York was chairman of this subcommittee. Let me quote further from Whearty's testimony:
"There is a program of extensive suits to prosecute members of the Communist party who can be shown to be sympathetic and appreciative of its views. We prosecute them as individuals under the Smith Act. I will call your attention to the fact that in New York the defendants in the Communist trials have been directed to file their briefs before the Circuit Court of Appeals by May 1.
"I feel that if the case is decided in the lower court, it will be in the Supreme Court by next fall. If the government is sustained in the Supreme Court, it will be about the fiscal year 1951 when that program will come up.
To Get Non-Conformists
"The bulk of the cases involve subversive activity as applied to individuals or organizations. By that I mean persons who are active members of the Communist party and similar organizations, or who appear to be acting in concert with Russian interests."
This should be plain enough for all to see. By the justice department's own admission, they are not after Communists only but anybody who happens to object to the policies at the moment of those in power. That would mean anybody who spoke for peace or who opposed the Atlantic Pact or who asked for a raise in pay. This could be interpreted as "appearing to act in concert with Russian interests." They plan to do this even without the passage of the Mundt-Ferguson bill.
And if they can make charges stick against the 21,105 victims, then they will mop up on anybody else who has not been intimidated and who insists on the traditional right to express an opinion contrary to those sanctioned by the thought police. In other words, you! This timetable for American fascism can be destroyed if the people throw off their indifference and decide they will permit no further infringement upon their democratic rights as Americans. Let the people speak!
June 22, 1950: Christ in 1950
For centuries the church has wielded tremendous influence in America. Although some religious leaders have chosen to serve the moneyed interests rather than the plain people and have subverted Christianity toward such ends, it is good to know that today there are strong voices raised in clear opposition to the reckless, and reactionary policies that are making a grim joke of our democratic traditions.
Such a voice is that of The Churchman, leading Protestant magazine, which in the issue of May 15 lambasted the conviction of George Marshall as "a dangerous threat to the constitutional rights of the American people." George Marshall was head of the National Federation for Constitutional liberties. His militant fight for federal civil rights legislation, the ousting of Sen. Bilbo and against frameups and police brutality caused his organization to be investigated by the notorious un-American committee. He was cited for contempt because he refused to turn over financial records and contributors' lists to the committee. Convicted, he appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court which denied a re-hearing. Just recently Marshall began serving a three-month jail sentence.
Protest Now Before Too Late
Commented The Churchman editorial: "Every student of Christian history knows what such thought-repression means and what it may lead to. Progressive churchmen and church groups should speak now in protest against the inquisitorial methods of congressional committees or else a considerably larger number of groups — church organizations included — may soon be facing the shook treatment Mr. Marshall and his fellow victims are now receiving.
"Any committee of congress which does not otherwise have the right to obtain financial records and lists of contributors of an organization can do so merely by having one of its members, create 'evidence' under the cloak of congressional immunity. And now that the McCarthy madness has afflicted Washington, any organization, including the church, advocating the slightest improvement, or differing to any degree with the political philosophy of those presently in office, is in danger of the same outrageous treatment."
Meeting in Boston, also in May, the American Baptist convention passed a resolution urging an end to "un-American practices of character assassination and the dangerous doctrine of guilt by association during the Communist hysteria."
Alternative To Cold War
And in Chicago on May 29-30, a national Mid-Century Conference for Peace was held at the St. James Methodist church. Co-chairmen were Miss Emily Greene Balch, noted novelist and honorary chairman of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and Bishop W. J. Walls of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church. Bishop Walls, incidentally appeared last year before a congressional committee, in strong opposition to the Atlantic Pact.
This conference, called and supported by religious leaders throughout America, had as its theme "peace is possible" and broke down into four work seminars to study "peaceful alternatives to the cold war."
It seems that this is the way that church leaders should act instead of working as religious office boys for Big Business. The New Testament is written evidence that Jesus worked for the interest of the common man, something few pastors dare to do either in Hawaii or on the Mainland. Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, a Baptist leader and president of Morehouse college in Atlanta, phrased it well in a recent column in the Pittsburgh Courier when he said:
"Jesus got into trouble because he was queer. He was to a great extent a non-conformist. He entered the ministry at 30 declaring that the spirit of the Lord was upon him and that he had been commissioned by God to do something to elevate the 'little man.'
"Big Folks" Crucified Jesus
"When one becomes a non-conformist it is the 'good' people with whom he clashes. It was the leading people of society who condemned Jesus and nailed him to a cross. "He got along well with the common people. If Jesus had not clashed with the 'big folks' he would not have been crucified.
"The scribes and Pharisees called him a heretic. To the Sadducees, Jesus was a menace. The Roman officials didn't like him. For one thing, Jesus had too many followers. Governments are likely to fear a man who has a large following, especially among the 'masses.' The Roman government, accused him of treason.
"These respectable people got together and crucified Jesus."
Too many of those making a living out of Christianity are an insult to the memory of Jesus Christ. Those unwilling to take the side of the little guy and face crucifixion, if need be, for bucking the so called "best people" who control the government and our economy are merely professional hypocrites. Fortunately for the future of our nation, all are not of that degraded stripe.
June 29, 1950: Dailies and the Racists
If I had not already had personal experiences here with discrimination, the recent articles and editorials in the two general dailies would have completely disillusioned me as regards local claims of real democracy.
While there is a slow but gradual improvement in the public attitude toward ethnic minority groups throughout the Mainland, in Honolulu the reverse is true. There mistake was made of bullying a man who will fight back.. Naturally, the two dovetail.
What's Behind Brutality and Segregation
There is considerable evidence to support the belief; that certain powerful forces would like to rid Hawaii of all but a very few Negroes.
The Pleasanton Hotel, reputedly on the advice of the police department, now bans Negro guests. It has been "suggested" to certain taverns, now serving both Negroes and haoles, that they bar one or the other. Officers assigned to the Smith Street beat have indicated they have orders from higher-ups to be tough on Negroes in this miniature ghetto. To top it all, there was the Star-Bulletin editorial of June 20 which said that if they didn't like this treatment, they could get out of Honolulu.
The arrest and Beating of Lampley has served to bring much of this into the open. Naturally, the police department is determined to back up its men. It is undoubtedly realized that a mistake was made in bullying and beating a man of good reputation who insists on fighting back. The obvious strategy therefore would be to make the public believe that any Negro on Smith Street is a "hoodlum" or a "police character" and thus justify any measures taken against them. This, I believe, is the thinking behind the Star-Bulletin and Advertiser editorials.
At the same time, the Advertiser is conscious of Hawaii's reputation for democracy and good relationships between the races. It is irked — not because of brutality toward Negroes — but because it is properly identified as racism arid bad publicity has, as a result, been printed on the Mainland showing that Hawaii is not quite the paradise that the press agents say.
What Are the Police Actually Doing?
Here is, I think, a major weakness in the attempt of both dailies to identify everybody on Smith Street with vice. If this block-long area between Pauahi and Beretania is headquarters for "pimping, dope peddling, prostitution and bootlegging," why aren't the offenders in jail? The police should know the "regulars" in this section, their habits and occupations. If they deal in vice, why are they permitted to continue their illicit activities?
Could it be that there is collusion between lawbreakers and the police? Could it be that there is a definite plan by high officials to centralize vice on Smith Street, thus making it possible to publicly identify pimps, dope peddlers, etc., with Negroes and making it easy for the racists to eventually drive most Negroes from the Territory on the ground that we are "unfit"' to live here? It is a fact that police brutality has not been directed against those accused of vice. Bullying and arrests have been made for spitting on the sidewalk, not moving on when ordered to do so, for throwing chicken bones in the street, for jay-walking, etc. — all minor matters.
Lampley was jailed and beaten, not for pimping or dope peddling; but for disorderly conduct when he questioned the right of an officer to make him move off the street. Lampley has never been identified with vice. Like other victims of police bullying, he has a reputation for respectability.
Why Some Oppose Negroes Living Here
There are, as I see it, two reasons for not wanting many Negroes living permanently in. Hawaii, One is the traditional prejudice of many haoles, who have been taught from early youth to hate Negroes and who have not changed. The other is the fact that Negroes, despite more than 300 years of disgraceful treatment in America, have maintained a persistent militancy against prejudice which has not been silenced by lynchings and riots and which has forced the federal
If enough lived in Hawaii, they would be almost certain to identify themselves with the non-haoles and thus strengthen the fight against the various forms of island discrimination. By airing these things, it is possible that some lasting good may come out of the Lampley case.
At least we know the attitudes of the daily press, that neither the Star-Bulletin nor the Advertiser are as liberal as they claim; by now certain people should know that the Negro is not going to be kicked around without fighting back, and that he can be quite vocal about his rights, even though he numbers only a few hundred in Hawaii.
July 6, 1950: I am Selfish
A few days ago I was asked: '"Why do you bother with what happens to other people? You get along all right. Why put yourself on the spot by trying to be a champion for a lot of guys who probably don't appreciate it anyway?"
I think the answer lies in a poll of some 300 young Japanese students recently conducted by the Japan International Christian University Foundation, Inc.
Brought to the U. S. to learn about democracy, these students were asked what feature of American life impressed them most unfavorably. With monotonous regularity, these young people; studying at 167 colleges and universities in 37 states, replied in their questionnaires: "Prejudice against the Negro" and "racial prejudice."
Can Also Happen To Me
Just so long as it is possible for outsiders to come to my native land to learn about democracy and find that it doesn't exist for some people who have a different skin color, just so long will be "bothered" with what happens to other people. For what happens to other people can also happen to me as long as we have race prejudice.
After all, my "getting along all right" has definite limitations. I merely have a larger goldfish bowl which permits me to swim in a wider area, but eventually I run up against the confining sides of racism.
Marian Andersen, called the greatest contralto in the world, jammed into the glass walls of; her goldfish bowl several years ago when she was barred from singing in Constitution Hall in Washington. Dr. Ralph Bunche, Palestine mediator and UN official, turned down a flattering position of the U. S. State Department because he did not like the little goldfish bowl to which he would live to the nation's capital. Joe Louis recently cut short a Brazilian tour because of the goldfish bowl exported there from the United States.
Why Oppose Prejudice?
These Negroes are three of the .most famous people in the world, yet not even they are immune from racial prejudice. If it can happen to them what chance have I or any other Negro for complete equality as an American and as a human being so long as racism continues to exist?
I realized long ago that so long as there is prejudice against Negroes there will be prejudice against other groups and that where there is prejudice against other minorities there is also prejudice against Aframericans. That is why I am bitterly and unalterably opposed to prejudice against Jews, Latin-Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos and the many other ethnic and national groups which go to make up the population of the islands.
I cannot repeat too often that had there not been a long general acceptance of anti-Negro prejudice, there could not have been the general acceptance of the prejudiced treatment of the Nisei on the West Coast during World War II, nor a paralyzing Hawaii waterfront strike, of non-haole longshoremen seeking wages closer to those paid to haole West Coast stevedores.
How the Battle Can Be Won
When a Puerto Rican, or a Hawaiian, or a Japanese, or a Jew, or a Negro hits out only at the prejudice against his specific minority, he plays directly into the hands of the racists by isolating his struggle for equality from that of the other victims of prejudice. No minority group can eliminate racism by itself. But by working together, the battle can be won.
As for anybody "appreciating" my ''trying to be a champion," that is immaterial. I "put myself on the spot" for the most selfish of reasons. I know that when somebody else gets kicked around, I could easily be next. Purely for my own self-protection, I want to stop this sorry business as soon as it starts.
Naturally, that makes me, in some circles, a "chronic malcontent." Undoubtedly,' I shall be a chronic malcontent just so long as we have chronic racism. It’s impossible for me to live content with race prejudice. I have been living with it all my life, and still I don't like it. Nor do I like the idea of those who make little or no effort to end prejudice telling me whom I can accept as an ally in the continuing struggle against discrimination. Let's dwell for a moment on the "Pittsburgh" Lampley case. The Advertiser and Star-Bulletin, that talk so loudly about democracy and feeding out "subversives," editorially sided with tie police department racists who beat up Lampley purely because he was a Negro.
Who Came To Lampley's Defense?
Of all the organizations in the Territory, what group came to the aid of Lampley and joined forces with Negroes who spontaneously had started raising a Lampley defense fund? None other than the Hawaii Civil Liberties. Committee, listed as "subversive" by Tom Clark and which was a victim of the recent un-American hearings. What other group passed a resolution condemning the bullying and brutality directed by Honolulu police toward Negroes? The Marine Cooks and Stewards, listed as a "Communist union" by the CIO.
That is why the anti-Red hysteria fails to make sense to me and millions of other Negroes who have seen those individuals and groups listed as "Red" and "subversive" take the lead in the fight against racism when the "respectable people" remained silent.
As it was phrased by Mrs. Mary Church Terrell, Baptist leader and one of America's most beloved Negro woman who has refused to give in to the Red hysteria:
"I would welcome the devil himself and shake his hand if he came and offered to join forces in my fight against American race prejudice.