The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 3, 1940



Site Ed. Note: Harry Bridges had become a controversial figure in American labor by 1934 when, as an Austrailian immigrant, he began leading organized strikes among longshoremen on the docks of San Francisco. Eventually in 1937 he formed the ILWU, the International Longshoreman's and Warehouseman's Union, and became the west coast director of the C.I.O. with which the ILWU was affiliated. After an effort to deport him in 1939 failed, the bill which Cash denounces as unconstitutional, was passed, not only by the House, but finally by the Senate. The President did not veto the law, as Cash advocated, but it became law and Bridges was ordered deported by the Attorney General under it despite findings by the Board of Immigration Appeals that Bridges had not been a member of or "affiliated" with a Communist organization, the gravamen of the bill. But Bridges' deportation was eventually reversed in 1945 by the United States Supreme Court in a 5-3 decision authored by Justice William O. Douglas in Bridges v. Wixon, 326 U.S. 135. The decision did not strike down the law, however, though a concurrence by Justice Murphy advocated finding the law unconstitutional as violative of freedom of speech and association. The majority did not reach that point, instead holding that as applied in this case, the term "affiliated" with a Communist organization had not been proven by Bridges' mere association with Communist organizations for lawful purposes, i.e., to promote collective bargaining through lawful means, with strikes called only as a last resort, as opposed to actively advocating the overthrow of the Government or similar activity. Bridges then became a citizen. The Government, however, was not content; he was prosecuted in 1950, convicted of perjury and sentenced to five years in prison for falsely claiming on his naturalization papers no membership in a Communist organization. Again, he went to the Supreme Court and again the Court ruled in his favor, overturning the conviction in 1953 in Bridges v. U.S., 346 US 209, on the basis that the prosecution was barred by a three-year statute of limitations. He was then re-indicted on similar charges, but a federal district court judge ruled that the Government failed to show he had been a member of a Communist organization or that he lied in his naturalization papers. The Government finally gave up its 16-plus year effort to deport him and in 1958 he was granted a passport. He continued to organize longshoremen in San Francisco through the early 1970's and died in San Francisco in 1990 at the age of 88. As Cash pointed out, the attempt at his ouster all along was the product of a too powerful shipping industry, discontent that it had to deal with the demands for better conditions and wages from the men breaking their backs daily on the docks to load the fat cats' holds full of fat riches, some of it at the time including oil bound for Japan aboard the marus, oil which supplied the Task Forces in early December, 1941.


President Should Use It To Destroy This Bill

Rumors have it now that the President will veto the bill to deport Harry Bridges, already passed by the House, if it is passed by the Senate.

These rumors do the President no service. For if the Senate is pretty certain that he is going to veto the measure, it is also pretty certain to pass it--by way of currying favor with the elements which are backing it.

But if the buck is passed to him the President should veto it, whatever the immediate political consequences.

The bill is equivalent to an act of attainder, specifically barred by the Constitution. A bill of attainder, when stripped down to essentials, is one which attempts to visit the consequences of treason--the loss of civil rights--upon a man without judicial trial.

We hold no brief for Bridges. He denies that he is a Communist, but he has certainly played ball with them. The shipowners of the Pacific Coast are primarily behind the move to get him, and they are actuated by entirely selfish motives. But it is undeniably true that he is a troublemaker, and that he might be dangerous in these times.

It is also true that to be a Communist or to play ball with Communists in these times smacks very closely of essential treason. But it is not treason as defined by the Constitution and cannot be until the Constitution is changed. And in any case whatever, it is the first principle of Americanism that no one shall be convicted of treason or any other crime, made to bear the consequences, without proper judicial trial.

If Bridges can be singled out by name and exiled for a crime which has not been proved, or for no proven crime at all, so can anybody in America, regardless of whether he is alien or citizen. It is better to suffer a million Bridgeses than to set a precedent like that.

The courts can probably be depended upon to stay the execution of this hysterical measure if it should become law, to kill it in the end. But a veto by the President would be extremely valuable now as a dramatic reassertion of the fact that we cannot save America by first destroying everything American.



Which Germany May Someday Find Turned Back

That the Nazis are uneasy before the fighting spirit of the English is indicated by the fact that Hitler's own organ, the Volkischer Beobachter, resorts to an attempt to terrify the English out of the idea of such resistance as Chamberlain outlined in his speech Sunday--a resistance from street to street and from house to house.

The Nazi rag is, as usual, full of moral indignation over the prospect. That, it roars, would be sniping, and sniping is criminal, and if England does anything of the kind, she will look a lot worse than Dunkerque when the Nazis are through with her.

In point of fact, of course, sniping by civilians is fully justified as against the Nazis. The men who make up these so-called armies are not soldiers but criminal bandits out to destroy civilization. And every man who participates in this conspiracy and this raid deserves death. If every prisoner on English soil were shot out of hand nobody would blame the English.

Moreover, Volkischer Beobachter should remember that the war is not won yet. Indeed, it is our own judgment that the real war is just beginning and that it will end only when Germany crawls on her knees to ask for peace. If so she may not expect to get off as she got off the last time, without herself suffering the sort of thing she delights to inflict upon others.


Stuart Cramer

He Built Well for the Mill Worker in Dixie

Stuart Warren Cramer had a number of claims to distinction. But one stands out above all the others.

He was in the strict sense a textile engineer in the South and not merely another builder of cotton mills. He is credited with building perhaps a third of all the mills in the section. And in the promotion of many of these he had an active hand. It was a work which in a section which has had a surplus of white labor ever since the Civil War, had its merits in any case.

But as he did it, he had a merit which has probably been matched by nobody in the Southern textile industries save perhaps D. A. Tompkins.

As everyone knows, the early Southern cotton mills were generally dark and poorly ventilated, their villages as drab as those which have been built in other parts of the world when the textile industry was just beginning. But Mr. Cramer recognized that that was poor human economy and poor business--that the South to be prosperous and great needed to build from happy and healthy workers.

The model village he built at Cramerton remains one of the best of its kind and set the standard for the rest of the South. There are model villages all over the South now and model mills well-lighted and ventilated. And for all of this, for selling the idea on a large-scale, he is, more than any other man, responsible.

It is a monument of the best sort. For it exhibits itself and will continue to exhibit itself in the well-being of many thousands of people.


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