lBrC ogo & links

Spotlight masathead


Column, November 3, 1932, Page 2

What We Think

          By this time it is well understood that the right of freedom of speech is as obsolete as Thomas Jefferson's doctrine that a people, having formed a government, have the right to change it by revolution. This is true whether it be the case of Moscow, Warsaw, Vienna, Berlin, Washington, D. C., or New York City. Freedom of speech does not exist except for those already in power. Attack on the government is called counter-revolution in Russian, in Germany it is Hitlerism, Fascism or Socialism, in the United States it is called Socialism or Communism.

          But the mere opposition of the government in control adding restriction upon restriction to complaints–does not settle the issue. Minorities though these dissenting voices be, they are the voice of the people. A majority acquiesces to a foregone conclusion. Only a minority has the courage to protest.

          As the burden of grievances grows, the ranks of the minority are swelled. Driven to the point of starvation, the coal-diggers of Kanawha County, West Virginia, last July organized a "Hunger March" on to the capital at Charleston. Organized labor in Illinois faces a bitter fight to maintain even a "starvation wage"–let alone a subsistence one. Rumors of hunger marches of unemployed men and women in England were at first few and scattered. Today 10,000 unemployed. are in London–symbols of protest that the government cannot suppress.

          Our present day system has added a malicious growth to its organism. Elements, of reaction are wielding an important influence in our life. In Wisconsin, a Mr. Chapple having aided in throwing out the LaFollete family from state politics–would now wish to see a system bordering on militarism take over the state. It is well to note here, that Mr. Chapple has especially directed his venom at the University of Wisconsin which he termed the "hot-bed of radicalism". Unfortunately there are many Mr. Chapples in the state and the curtain now rings down on the interlude when the University was spoken of as the great liberal American school.

          If reaction has been malicious here, it has been more that cruel abroad. It has taken on such racial prejudices that have lead to persecution. Last week's New York Times carried several articles concerning anti-semitic attacks on Jewish students in the Universities of Vienna and Warsaw. Fascism is the most malignant form of reaction because it enlists the youth of the nation to the narrowest kind of a philosophy. The forces of reaction and progress fight a bitter combat in modern life, Until one vanquishes the other–and we hope the force of progress will be triumphant–denial of the right of freedom of speech will not help solve the problem. It will either drive if underground or cause it to take more drastic measures to attain its goal.

Carrie Glasser



Return to Spotlight Page || Home Page

May 20, 2004