The Charlotte News

Friday, in October 18, 1940



Site Ed. Note: "Ready for Use" mentions the Strecker case, Kessler v. Strecker, (1939) 307 U.S. 22, in which the Supreme Court held that the Immigration and Naturalization Service exceeded its authority under a 1918 law, 8 U.S.C. 137(a)-(e), subsequently repealed in 1952, permitting the deportation of aliens who had membership in the Communist Party which, immediately after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the law deemed to be an organization advocating the violent and immediate overthrow of the Government of the United States. The reason for the decision was that Strecker, a Polish immigrant, though he had been a member of the Communist Party, had severed his membership shortly prior to his arrest under the warrant of deportation, and that the law did not apply to membership "at any time" in the past but only at the present time, and permitted a finding of fact by the Secretary of Labor that the person was not deportable because he neither believed in nor taught the principles of the Communist Party regarding the violent and immediate overthrow of the Government.

The editorial's quoted language is from the Alien Registration Act of 1940, still on the books though the particular language in question appears no longer to be part of it. Present federal law, however, still codifies in 18 U.S.C. 2385 the type of language quoted below in the editorial but as a general criminal provision applicable to anyone, alien or citizen, but with a maximum prison term of twenty years.


An Echo*

This May Be Defense but We Suspect It Isn't

President Roosevelt yesterday informed Congress that he had allocated a million dollars of a $200,000,000 defense fund authorized by Congress for blanket purposes, to the development of additional power at the International Rapids of the St. Lawrence River.

We hesitate to leap to conclusions about that too hastily and too positively. Maybe the scheme has got something to do immediately and directly with defense. Maybe the Canadian Government asked for this development for good and valid reasons.

But we are unable to imagine what these reasons could be, or to see what this expenditure of one million smackers, which must ultimately come from the taxpayers' pockets, has to do with defense. We have a feeling that this development probably will require several years at least, whereas our defense problem now is one of getting things done which can be done rapidly.

And we remember all too clearly that five or six years ago there was a great controversy over precisely this matter. The President negotiated a treaty with Canada to make the St. Lawrence a highway for ocean going ships and to develop power at the International Rapids. The Senate rejected it.

Maybe, as we say, the development has something to do with defense that we don't understand. But the President's record certainly doesn't set him above the suspicion that he is using the defense emergency as an excuse to assume a power already specifically denied him by Congress.


Tenth Season

Local Orchestra Has Grown Through Lean and Hard Years

Tonight at 8:30 the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra begins its tenth season with its fiftieth performance.

That would be cause for congratulation to Mr. De Roxio and the local people who have backed under any circumstances. But it is much greater cause for congratulation when we recall the circumstances which have existed.

The attempt to set up a Symphony Orchestra in Charlotte at all was a brave undertaking. To be candid about it, the city's general record of indifference to the arts was calculated to make all but the most hopeful consider it a futile task from the start. But to undertaking it just when the great Depression was beginning--that was a business for stout hearts indeed.

But undertaken it was, and it has been carried on through continual growth in ten years which have never been prosperous and which have often been black--in years when there was no lose money around and when nobody felt sure of the future.

We shall not pretend to believe that it has become a great orchestra. It would be astounding if it had. For it has continually had to labor under great handicaps. Its funds have been and remain meagre. It has had to rely on musicians who labored purely for love. It has had to practice in cramped quarters and to perform, as it performs tonight, in a building which is fine for cattle shows and wrestling matches but which leaves a good deal to be desired as a concert hall.

For all that it has become a highly creditable orchestra, and one which seems to be pretty solidly established as a part of the city's life.



Gastonia Gazette Celebrates Sixtieth Anniversary

The Gastonia Gazette is out with a 132-page edition celebrating its 60th anniversary, which would do credit to far larger papers in for larger towns. In its printing, its editing and its pictures, the job is admirably done.

Gastonia was incorporated as a town in 1877. The county was created in 1846, having been a part of Lincoln, and before that of Tryon, up until that time. In the beginning Dallas was the capital. But by 1911 the textile city had grown so much that its title to be the capital was quite clear and the county seat was formally established there in that year.

The Gazette came into existence in 1880, a little four-page sheet such as was common in villages in the time. This paper has been in continuous publication ever since and is now one of the most prepossessing examples of a daily published in towns of the same class in the country.

The edition recites, as a matter of course, the great development of the cotton mill industry in the town and county from small beginnings until there are now 104 mills within the Gaston borders. But it also turns up a great deal of interesting and often amusing stuff about the people that figure prominently in the life of the community.

The Gazette deserves to be congratulated on a swell job.


Ready for Use

Laws To Get at Reds and Bund Have Already Passed

Apparently the machinery for carrying out Governor Hoey's demand for the outlawing of the Communist Party and the German-American Bond is already in existence.

It seems to be the general impression that the only ground for action against them lies in a somewhat vague decision of the Supreme Court in 1919, which in any case would apply only to the aliens among them and which was in part at least overturned by the more recent decision in the Strecker case.

But it turns out that Congress has done more against them than to enact an apparently mild law requiring them to register the names of all their members with the Attorney-General. Hidden away in the Alien Registration Act is a provision, applying to aliens and citizens alike, which--

... imposes a maximum prison term of ten years and a maximum fine of $10,000 on anybody who (1) advocates or teaches "the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing and destroying any governments in the United States by force or violence"; (2) "publishes, edits, sells, distributes or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating or advising" the foregoing; or (3) organizes, helps to organize, or joins in a society, group, or assembly of persons to teach, advocate, or encourage" overthrow of the Government by force or violence.

The same penalty is extended to anybody who advises in any manner, causes or distributes literature advising, or causing insubordination or refusal of duty in the military and naval services.

The Communists and the Bund have of course taken of late to disavowing force or any thought of it in their statements intended for public consumption. Both of them indeed are now engaged in trying to camouflage themselves as Hundred Per Cent American organizations passionately devoted to democracy hoping by that pretense to escape eradication. The Bund at least is actively making up to the Ku Klux Klan for precisely that purpose.

But in reality they are, of course, violent, revolutionary organizations which dream of the same sort of coup d'etat, as those pulled by the Reds in Russia and the Nazis in Germany, and both are actively engaged in trying to undermine the faith of the people in this Government to the end of opening the way for the use of force and violence.

Moreover, both are engaged in turning out great quantities of printed material designed to further all these purposes, and both circulate this material among the military and naval forces of the country.

More still, they have got themselves so thoroughly on record in the past that there should be no difficulty in establishing these facts in court.

The wisdom of jailing the membership of these two outfits will still trouble advocates of civil liberties who recall how the Bill of Rights was mauled in the last war. But if the thing is to be done, then the machinery seems to stand ready.

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