Vito Marcantonio, the son of Italian immigrants, was born in East Harlem, New York City on 10th December, 1902. He attended De Witt Clinton High School where he came under the influence of Fiorello La Guardia: "He addressed the school assembly the same day when I made a speech. I shall never forget it. I spoke in favor of old-age pensions and social security. La Guardia made this the theme of his speech to the students."
Marcantonio was a successful student and despite his poor background eventually managed to enter New York University Law School. While at university Marcantonio became involved in politics. In 1924 he joined Fiorello La Guardia in supporting Robert La Follette, who was the presidential candidate of the Progressive Party. This resulted in La Guardia losing the Republican Party nomination. "The Democratic Party, as usual, sought to defeat him. La Guardia asked me to actively participate in that campaign, and together with a handful of our friends and neighbors in East Harlem, we conducted a successful campaign for him and for LaFollette in our congressional district."
In 1926 Marcantonio was admitted to the bar and worked as a lawyer in New York City and served as assistant United States district attorney (1930-31). In 1933 Marcantonio played an important role in the successful election campaign of Fiorello La Guardia as mayor of New York City. Seen as La Guardia's heir apparent, Marcantonio was elected to Congress in 1934 where he represented East Harlem's 20th District.
In Congress he argued against the policy of deporting people like Emma Goldman for their left-wing views: "I do not believe in the deportation of any man or woman because of the political principles that they hold. Irrespective of what a person advocates, he or she should not be molested, because our Government has been based upon the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of thought."
Marcantonio was accused of being a secret supporter of the American Communist Party. He replied: "I disagree with the Communists. I emphatically do not agree with them, but they have a perfect right to speak out and to advocate communism. I maintain that the moment we deprive those with whom we extremely disagree of their right to freedom of speech, the next thing that will happen is that our own right of freedom of speech will be taken away from us."
An outspoken politician with left-wing views, Marcantonio was defeated in 1936 but won the seat back in 1938 as the American Labor Party candidate. A strong supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, Marcantonio held the seat for the next twelve years. In Congress he argued that the "unemployed are victims of an unjust economic and social system which has failed." Marcantonio was also a strong supporter of African American Civil Rights.
As Gerald Meyer has pointed out: "In the House, Marcantonio distinguished himself as the major leader for civil rights legislation by sponsoring anti-lynching and anti-poll tax bills as well as the annual fight for the Fair Employment Practices Commission's appropriation. He served as de facto congressperson for Puerto Rico, insuring that it was not excluded from appropriations bills. He also submitted five bills calling for the independence of Puerto Rico (which he called "the greatest victim of United States imperialism") with an indemnity for the damage done to the island by the United States business interests which had replaced tens of thousands of small farms with sugar plantations."
Marcantonio was a fierce critic of Martin Dies and his Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) that was established in 1937. The main objective of the HUAC was the investigation of un-American and subversive activities. This included looking at the possibility that the American Communist Party had infiltrated the Federal Writers Project and other New Deal projects. In 1940 Marcantonio argued: "If communism is destroyed, I do not know what some of you will do. It has become the most convenient method by which you wrap yourselves in the American flag in order to cover up some of the greasy stains on the legislative toga. You can vote against the unemployed, you can vote against the W.P.A. workers, and you can emasculate the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States; you can try to destroy the National Labor Relations Law, the Magna Carta of American labor; you can vote against the farmer; and you can do all that with a great deal of impunity, because after you have done so you do not have to explain your vote.
Marcantonio was against United States involvement in the early stages of the Second World War because he believed it was "a war between two axes, the Wall Street-Downing Street Axis versus the Rome-Tokyo-Berlin Axis, contending for empire and for exploitation of more and more people." However, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor he played an active role in the American Committee for Russian War Relief. Along with Fiorello La Guardia, Charlie Chaplin, Wendell Willkie, Orson Welles, Rockwell Kent and Pearl Buck, Marcantonio campaigned during the summer of 1942 for the opening of a second-front in Europe.
In 1944 a New York State re-districting made possible a new attempt to defeat him by removing part of his old district and adding to the new 18th Congressional District. As Harpers Magazine pointed out: "The Twentieth Congressional District no longer exists. the New York Legislature, dominated by upstate Republicans who have nothing to fear from Marcantonio, has reapportioned the state and tried to gerrymander Marcantonio out of office. In the new Eighteenth District, he will still have most of his East Harlem Spaniards and Italians but life will be complicated by the addition of vast German and Irish hordes from the adjoining Yorkville area." Despite these attempts to remove him, he carried the district by a majority of 66,390.
In 1946, the media did everything it could to defeat Marcantonio and the American Labor Party in East Harlem. Despite the smear campaign he still won by 5,500 votes. As Sidney Shallet pointed out: "What matters to them is not whether Marcantonio is red, pink, black, blue or purple, but that he is 'their' Congressman a... tireless fighter for the man on the streets of East Harlem. He is willing to live in their slums, rub elbows with the best and the worst of them, work himself to the thin end of a frazzle for them. He spends his dough on them, takes up their battles against the landlords.... On occasions... the Congressman even has carried scuttles of coal personally to heatless tenements. Anyone who wants to see him... can do so."
Richard Rovere described the work of Marcantonio after his election: "The scene in the La Guardia Club after one o'clock on Sunday looks like nothing so much as a busy day in the clinic of a great city hospital. Marcantonio and three or four secretaries sit at desks on a platform in the front of the main hall. Before them on wooden camp chairs are about a hundred constituents, many of them cradling infants in their arms... as many as four hundred may come and go in an afternoon.... They speak in Spanish, Italian, English, and various mixtures of the three. Marcantonio can always answer in kind, throwing in a little Yiddish if the need arises. Mostly their problems concern money or jobs."
Along with his colleague, Leo Isacson, Marcantonio campaigned for equality in the armed forces. When Eugene Hoffman of Mitchigan argued against this move, Marcantonio pointed out: " The doctrine that has been advanced here by the gentleman from Michigan is a doctrine of insult to the various races that compose this great nation. When he speaks of an inferior race, what is it? When he speaks of a superior race, what is it? Contemporary history has demonstrated conclusively that only Nazis, those who imposed on this world the most barbarian rule ever conceived by man or devil, were capable of talking of superior races or inferior races or of denouncing the intermingling of races."
Marcantonio joined forces with Emanuel Celler to argue against the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency. "With all of the vast powers that are given this agency under the guise of research and study, you are subjecting labor unions and business firms to the will of the military. You are opening the door for the placing of these intelligence agents, supposed to deal with security pertaining to foreign as well as internal affairs, in the midst of labor organizations... I am sure if it were not for the cold war hysteria, very few Members of the Congress would vote for that provision. Certainly the majority would not vote to suspend the rules so that you must take this bill as it is without any opportunity for amendment, despite its serious implications against the security of the liberties of the American people."
On the morning of 20th July, 1948, Eugene Dennis, the general secretary of the American Communist Party and eleven other party leaders, including John Gates, William Z. Foster, Benjamin Davis, Robert G. Thompson, Gus Hall, Benjamin Davis, Henry M. Winston, and Gil Green were arrested and charged under the Alien Registration Act. This law, passed by Congress in 1940, made it illegal for anyone in the United States "to advocate, abet, or teach the desirability of overthrowing the government".
Vito Marcantonio decided to help with their political defence. During this period of McCarthyism, this was political suicide. As one political commentator pointed out: "Marcantonio's opposition in the 81st Congress to both major parties on such fundamental issues as foreign policy, labor relations and civil liberties had become so outstanding that extraordinary measures were taken to prevent his reelection. A three party coalition of the Democratic, Republican and Liberal parties, supported by every major newspaper in New York City, backed a single candidate against him." The New York Times ran a series of editorials on three successive days urging his defeat. Even so, Marcantonio still won over 40% of the votes in the 18th congressional district.
After his defeat he maintained his two neighborhood offices so the people of East Harlem could still visit him to gain help with their problems. Marcantonio remained one of the strongest opponents of Joe McCarthy and the Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and was legal counsel of civil rights activist, William Du Bois.
Marcantonio was also opposed to the Korean War: "Tragically, after 27 months of killing in Korea, with 119,000 American casualties, some of us accept the Korean conflict as we do the flowing of the Hudson River. After 14 months of talk at Panmunjom some have come to feel that this so-called police action or little war is something with which we can live. They have forgotten that war in our time is like cancer if it is not stopped it spreads. If this Korean war is not stopped now, it too will spread... The resolving of every other issue, civil rights, labor, civil liberties, agriculture, the economic well-being of the American people, depends on cease fire in Korea."
In 1952 Presidential Election Marcantonio supported Vincent Hallinan, the leader of the Progressive Party. "A vote for the Progressive Party in 1952... is a vote as valuable as that cast for the Liberty Party in 1840 against slavery, and for the Free Soil Party in 1848 and 1852 against extension of slavery. It is a vote similar to the one that made up the one million votes for Eugene V. Debs in 1920, which in turn led to the four million votes for LaFollette in 1924 and for victory for Roosevelt in 1932. Great causes were never won by sacrificing a real fight and substituting for it the seeming lesser evil."
In 1953 Marcantonio decided to resign from the American Labor Party and to campaign for his old seat as an independent: "I shall continue to strive as an independent for the things for which I have striven so hard. I shall continue to do so as an independent endeavoring for the political realignment which is inevitable. It is as inevitable as the failure of the Republican and Democrat foreign policy and the economy that is based upon it."
Vito Marcantonio, who practiced law until his death of a heart attack on 9th August, 1954. Probably the most left-wing person to hold a seat in Congress, over 20,000 people attended Marcantonio's funeral in New York City.
I do not believe in the deportation of any man or woman because of the political principles that they hold. Irrespective of what a person advocates, he or she should not be molested, because our Government has been based upon the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of thought.
I disagree with the Communists. I emphatically do not agree with them, but they have a perfect right to speak out and to advocate communism. I maintain that the moment we deprive those with whom we extremely disagree of their right to freedom of speech, the next thing that will happen is that our own right of freedom of speech will be taken away from us. Freedom of speech, if it means anything, means freedom of speech for everyone and not for only those who agree with us or who are in the majority. The founders of our Nation intended freedom of speech to mean freedom of speech for all, especially for the smaller minorities. They keenly felt the necessity for this protection. They had been persecuted by Tories and reactionaries. Then they were called "rebels" and hounded by bigots and suppressionists of that day. Today the brothers of the Tories of 1776 would abolish what the rebels of 1776 have given us - freedom of speech.
I say that I believe the Communists, the Socialists, the Republicans and the Democrats have a perfect right to advocate what they believe in, and that there should be no law depriving them of that right. This type of legislation (Kramer Bill) is not really aimed to protect our Government and its institutions, because it is not necessary and would be only cumulative legislation to achieve such a purpose, but it is aimed at depriving certain minorities of their rights to express themselves on the various economic and social questions confronting our country. It is aimed by many of its advocates to suppress protests on the part of the oppressed, forgotten men and women, and the unemployed. It is aimed at labor when labor becomes militant on the economic front.
I realize that there are some abuses of freedom of speech. Are those abuses of freedom of speech so numerous or so dangerous that they warrant a curtailment of freedom of speech? I ask you to bear in mind, to contrast, and to weigh the abuses that result from freedom of speech and the evils that result from a curtailment of freedom of speech. The evils resulting from the curtailment of freedom of speech far outweigh the abuses. This has been the experience of every democratic people throughout the world, and that is why laws such as the Kramer Bill [providing fine and imprisonment for anyone making or circulating an oral or written statement advocating the overthrow of the government by force or other unlawful means] are rare in democracies.
We remember the history of the Alien and Sedition Acts which the Federalists forced on this country. The abuses that resulted from that curtailment of freedom of speech were so enormous that they swept out of existence for all time a political party which was dominant.
This is no time to curtail freedom of speech. This is a period...when the greatest freedom of speech should prevail. Never before in the history of our country have economic and social questions so agitated our people. With the 12,000,000 unemployed, with thousands of farms being foreclosed, the situation demands not suppression in any form but the fullest and freest expression. Let us call a halt to the consideration of this type of legislation and let us turn our attention to adequate employment, direct and work relief, relief to the farmers, genuine social security - and fight the danger of war and reaction. Mr. Chairman, if there ever was a real subversive danger to these institutions, it does not come from the left, it does not come from the radicals, it does not come from the liberals; it comes from the right, from the extreme reactionaries.
The real danger to our cherished institutions comes from the organized reactionaries in America who are ready, even with violence, to overthrow our Government and establish a dictatorship of reaction in this country. Labor, the farmers, and the unemployed are liberty-loving Americans. They need freedom of speech; they need unlimited freedom of speech at this time more than ever before. When you curtail, under the guise of such legislation as this, the right of these groups to free speech, or the right of the minorities, even the radical minorities, to freedom of speech, you are playing directly into the hands of those reactionaries who would establish a dictatorship of reaction in this country.
The issue, as I see it, is not communism. It is not whether socialism is right or wrong. The issue here is not the correctness of any "ism." The issue is whether or not we should curtail freedom of speech.
Oh, it is perfectly easy to attack a dissident minority. The press applauds. In fact, "communism" has become very, very convenient for many, many Members of this House, and many people outside of it. If communism is destroyed, I do not know what some of you will do. It has become the most convenient method by which you wrap yourselves in the American flag in order to cover up some of the greasy stains on the legislative toga. You can vote against the unemployed, you can vote against the W.P.A. workers, and you can emasculate the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States; you can try to destroy the National Labor Relations Law, the Magna Carta of American labor; you can vote against the farmer; and you can do all that with a great deal of impunity, because after you have done so you do not have to explain your vote. You do not have to defend yourselves to the country and to the unemployed, to labor or to the farmer. All you have to do is stand up here and say, "I am opposed to communism. Let us destroy communism." What are you going to do when there is no more communism in this country?
Mr. Speaker, this resolution (for the continuation of the Dies Committee) presents a very serious issue. It presents the issue of guaranteeing the rights of dissident minorities. Destroy the constitutional rights of minorities, particularly the rights of those minorities that you so vociferously condemn, and you are marching... toward the destruction of democracy. This committee, under the guise of investigating subversive activities, has done its utmost to abolish democratic rights in the United States.
It has failed to distinguish between illegal activities and constitutional activities. It has sought to destroy the right to constitutional activities under the pretext of investigating illegal activities. The rights of minorities to freedom of press, speech, and petition have been endangered as never before by this committee. Oh, I know that when my friend the gentleman from Alabama gets up here he will say, "I subscribe to the doctrine of free speech." Let me say that what the Dies Committee has failed to recognize is the fundamental principle of application. There is a great deal of difference between mere subscription and application. I say that every dissident minority has the right to advocate, it has the right to organize, and it has the right to propagandize. The Dies Committee has failed to recognize the difference between subversive and constitutional.
Mr. Chairman, an analysis of the record will show that from the very inception of congressional debates on the various issues pertaining to our foreign policy I have consistently opposed all steps which I deemed to be steps in the direction of involving the United States in an imperialist war. I believed then, in 1939 and in 1940, that the war of 1939 and 1940, up to the 22nd day of June 1941, was a war between two axes, the Wall Street-Downing Street Axis versus the Rome-Tokyo-Berlin Axis, contending for empire and for exploitation of more and more people. I believed then that the war of 1939 and 1940 and up to June 1941 was an imperialist war. I still believe that the war of 1939 and 1940 and up to June 1941 was an imperialist war. However, I maintain that from the standpoint of defense of our Nation, the liberties, and the national interests of the people of the United States, the invasion of the Soviet Union by Hitler transformed that war which was predominantly imperialist into a war which is now essentially one of national defense. Therefore, in such a war of defense, all questions become subordinate to the interests of defense. Further, the people throughout the world and particularly in the United States have become, since June 22, 1941, more and more involved in a war of defense and thus guarantee a democratic peace after the military defeat of Hitlerism. A war of defense becomes a democratic war and insures thereby a defeat of imperialist purposes after the destruction of the common enemy, Hitler.
At no time during my consistent opposition to the imperialist war did I base my opposition on reasons of pacifism. I have at all times stated that if I had believed that the war then was a war of defense, that if the war then was a war for democracy, I would have voted not only for $16,000,000,000 or $65,000,000,000, but I was ready to vote the entire Treasury of the United States, not only for the prosecution of such a war, but also for active participation in such a war.
Why has the character of the war changed? What are the reasons which lead me to believe that a war which was predominantly imperialist has become essentially a war of national defense for the people of the United States?
The first reason is one of geography. A look at the map will demonstrate that a conquered Soviet Union would place a Nazi military bridgehead within rowboat distance of our own northwestern shores, Alaska. You cannot get away from that. Secondly in the world of 1940 and the early part of 1941 Hitler could not move against the Western Hemisphere. We were not in military danger as long as Hitler had on his eastern boundary a powerful, well-armed Soviet Union. The defense interests of the United States and the Soviet Union were interdependent. The existence of a Soviet Union depended on an unconquered United States. The existence of the United States depended on an unconquered Soviet Union. A Hitler conquest of either made a Hitler conquest of the other almost a certainty.
What is the record of the chairman and of this Dies committee in regard to our enemies from within and from without? A record of failure as to the conditions of Japanese espionage and sabotage in regard to Pearl Harbor; complete failure as to the Nazis; failure and callous indifference to the diabolical conspiracy against the country on the part of the 34 indicted domestic Fascists, their 41 organizations, and 42 publications...
There is a reason why Japanese agents and Nazi agents and domestic Fascists escaped the attention of Mr. Dies. It is an old, old story. It is the history of the tragedies of democracies that have fallen. The diversion of the attack from the real enemy by the creation of the Red scare. The war on the Communists, on labor, liberals, progressives, new dealers, and on the Soviet Union, the war against the war administration, now called by Mr. Dies bureaucracy, was what kept Mr. Dies and his committee "too busy."
War against the Communists who, as an integral part of 130,000,000 Americans, are fighting and working like all other Americans for victory against the enemy; war against the Soviet Union, to which the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Dies] dedicated his energies and his writings and his speeches; this was and is the policy of the Dies committee. But this, too, has been, and is, the war which Adolf Hitler has told the world that he is waging. Only the other day Hitler reiterated to the world, in a statement read by Goebbels, that he was fighting "to protect the European family of nations from the dangers of the East," and he continued to proclaim his "crusade against bolshevism." He used this anti-Bolshevik game to ride into power. Mussolini, too, raised the antiCommunist cry in his "march" on Rome in 1922. The Rome-tokyO-berlin Axis, which our enemies formed to conquer the world, was announced as a "crusade against communism." It called itself the antiComintern. The Lavals and the Petains used it in France. The antiCommunist slogan was and is Hitler's technique of conquest, conceived from the very inception of his plan for world conquest. The democracies that fell for it are no more divided by this slogan, and then conquered by Hitler.
Hitler and the other two members of the Axis are today again beating the drums of the antiCommunist theme in an effort to split the United Nations and to divide the people within the United Nations.
Thus, while Americans are gloriously fighting at Guadalcanal and North Africa and the Red Army is smashing the enemy at Stalingrad and Rostov, Hitler and Mr. Dies are still crusading against communism.
It was a sin of omission to have disregarded the danger of the antiCommunist line in time of peace. Then it was part of Hitler's preparation for a war of conquest. To adopt that same line within our own country now, while Hitler and his antiComintern Axis partners use it as a weapon of war against us, would be suicidal.
I support this resolution (for a 3 billion dollar loan to Great Britain). I support it because I believe that world peace is dependent upon the strengthening of unity among the Big Three. Unless we have that unity in pursuance of the fundamental policies and decisions laid down at Teheran and Yalta and Potsdam this world will once again be plunged into war. We cannot support the policy of unity among the Big Three and at the same time refuse to implement that unity with economic aid.
It is argued by some that the relationship among the Big Three has deteriorated. That is true. But the refusal of this loan would only increase the deterioration.
To grant this loan is in keeping with the foreign policy for which Franklin Roosevelt laid down his life....
The American people believe in world peace and know that the Roosevelt blueprint must be followed. That is why they have supported U.N.O., Bretton Woods, and today they are in full support of the policy of unity among the Big Three for world peace, despite the speeches made here by some of the opponents and proponents of this resolution. This is what is involved here.
I cannot help but deplore the appeals made for and against this resolution which are based on the contention that either defeat or passage of this loan will work to the advantage of the Soviet Union. These proponents of the loan who use attacks on the Soviet Union, and who advocate a cordon sanitaire against her, are negating the very principle for which this loan is made: world peace which can be guaranteed only by full collaboration among the Big Three Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States. The opponents who make the Soviet Union a target for their attacks on this loan have always opposed Big Three unity. The advocates of the loan who have today used the same line thus find themselves in accord with those who oppose the loan, and therefore give aid and comfort to those who are enemies not only of the loan, but enemies also of unity for world peace. Remember that this loan by itself does not insure world peace. We must return to the fundamentals of Roosevelt, the decisions of Teheran, of Yalta, and Potsdam. The Roosevelt doctrine for a lasting and democratic peace is based on the foundation of Big Three unity. The reason for my support of this loan is therefore based on the proposition that it be utilized in cementing the unity of these three nations, and not destroying it.
Consequently, England too must realize that the American people strongly condemn her policy of rugged imperialism in China, Africa, Indonesia, and in India. The performances of her Bevins and Churchills are not in keeping with the decisions of Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam. The British rape of Greek democracy, the attempt to make Italy a British Mediterranean colony, and the British insistence on refusing to Ireland her northern counties, and her ruthless activities in Palestine, violate the basic concepts of the policy of Big Three unity.
The scene in the La Guardia Club after one o'clock on Sunday looks like nothing so much as a busy day in the clinic of a great city hospital. Marcantonio and three or four secretaries sit at desks on a platform in the front of the main hall. Before them on wooden camp chairs are about a hundred constituents, many of them cradling infants in their arms... as many as four hundred may come and go in an afternoon.... They speak in Spanish, Italian, English, and various mixtures of the three. Marcantonio can always answer in kind, throwing in a little Yiddish if the need arises. Mostly their problems concern money or jobs. During the depression, the majority were relief applicants.
What matters to them is not whether Marcantonio is red, pink, black, blue or purple, but that he is 'their' Congressman a... tireless fighter for the man on the streets of East Harlem.
He is willing to live in their slums, rub elbows with the best and the worst of them, work himself to the thin end of a frazzle for them. He spends his dough on them, takes up their battles against the landlords... On occasions... the Congressman even has carried scuttles of coal personally to heatless tenements. Anyone who wants to see him...can do so.
The doctrine that has been advanced here by the gentleman from Michigan (Eugene Hoffman) is a doctrine of insult to the various races that compose this great nation. When he speaks of an inferior race, what is it? When he speaks of a superior race, what is it?
Contemporary history has demonstrated conclusively that only Nazis, those who imposed on this world the most barbarian rule ever conceived by man or devil, were capable of talking of superior races or inferior races or of denouncing the intermingling of races.
In the Bible it is said that God made man in his own image. That is the essence of all democracy. That is the essence of civilization as we know it and as we try in our small way to live it. That democratic principle was carried out in the Declaration of Independence when the men who conceived this Nation and this Republic and its democratic institutions said that all men are created equal....
They placed no exception in that Declaration of Independence, and it is only when men in this Nation have attempted to place exceptions in that proposition that democracy has been negated.
What is the proposition that is advanced by my colleague, the gentleman from New York (Leo Isacson) .... It is a very simple one. It is one that would apply the Christian doctrine, that Biblical doctrine, to the armed forces. It is one that would apply the fundamental doctrine of democracy of our Declaration of Independence to the armed forces of these United States. When bombs are dropped and bullets are exploded from guns they do not differentiate between white and black. They mow them down equally. When sacrifices are made for this country, there is no choice for either black or white, the sacrifices are made by both. Yet here you say that there must be discrimination and there must be denial of equality to those men whose skin happens to be black. America revolts against that.
Now, without having been given explanation of all of the provisions, I have been trying to find out something about this bill by reading the bill, as well as the report. Here are a few things that the Members of the House ought to know. 1 deal with section 4, on page 3:
"Sec. 4 (a) Any officer or employee of the Agency may be assigned or detailed for special instruction, research, or training, at or with domestic or foreign public or private institutions; trade, labor, agricultural, or scientific associations; courses or training programs under the National Military Establishment; or commercial firms."
What does this mean? With all of the vast powers that are given this agency under the guise of research and study, you are subjecting labor unions and business firms to the will of the military. You are opening the door for the placing of these intelligence agents, supposed to deal with security pertaining to foreign as well as internal affairs, in the midst of labor organizations.
You are opening the doors for the entrance of intelligence agents into labor organizations; yes, to spy on labor and carry out anti-labor activities. I am sure if it were not for the cold war hysteria, very few Members of the Congress would vote for that provision. Certainly the majority would not vote to suspend the rules so that you must take this bill as it is without any opportunity for amendment, despite its serious implications against the security of the liberties of the American people.
The gentleman from New York (Celler) has discussed the immigration provision of the bill. I simply want to add to his comments that this section will work out only in one way: That there will be admitted into this country former Fascists and Nazis, anti-labor people, pro-monarchists; people that a democracy such as ours would want to keep out. It is only natural that the followers of the Hapsburgs, Francos, and other Fascist scum will be the beneficiaries of this feature of the bill, which suspends the immigration laws and allows for permanent admission of 100 of them per year.
This was the first time I had had a chance to know Vito Marcantonio. Short in stature, he was fiery, aggressive, volatile. He had begun in politics as a protege of Fiorello La Guardia whom he resembled in many ways, later representing in Congress the same East Harlem district which had first elected the "Little Flower."
Marc, as he was known to tens of thousands, was a great vote-getter, and was defeated only when the three other parties in New York, the Democrats, Republicans and the Liberals, ganged up against him and the American Labor Party which he led at that point. He stood at the extreme Left in Congress and although often identified with Communist causes, he was universally respected for his ability, courage and principled stand. I was pleased that Marcantonio was impressed by my testimony. He also seemed to like me, perhaps because I too was short and some-what peppery. Unfortunately, I never saw him again; he died before I was released from prison.
A vote for the Progressive Party in 1952... is a vote as valuable as that cast for the Liberty Party in 1840 against slavery, and for the Free Soil Party in 1848 and 1852 against extension of slavery. It is a vote similar to the one that made up the one million votes for Eugene V. Debs in 1920, which in turn led to the four million votes for LaFollette in 1924 and for victory for Roosevelt in 1932. Great causes were never won by sacrificing a real fight and substituting for it the seeming lesser evil.