I VOTE MY CONSCIENCE: Debates, Speeches, and Writings of Vito Marcantonio

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Acknowledgements & New Introduction to I Vote My Conscience

1: Vito Marcantonio - Congressman (English)

1: Vito Marcantonio, Congresista (Español)

2: The Seventy-fourth Congress 1935-1936

3: The Seventy-sixth Congress 1939-1940

4: The Seventy-seventh Congress 1941-1942

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5: The Seventy-eighth Congress 1943-1944

6: The Seventy-ninth Congress 1945-1946

7: The Eightieth Congress 1947-1948

8: The Eighty-first Congress 1949-1950

9: Puerto Rico y los puertorriqueños 1935-1950 (Español)

9: Puerto Rico and Its People 1935-1950 (English)

10: Lawyer for Civil Liberties

Vito Marcantonio: Bibliography

Annette T. Rubinstein: Author, Educator, Activist

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81st CONGRESS 1949-1950


"A very serious blow to the pocketbooks of the longshoremen"

"The issue is that of arming a committee of this House to investigate organized labor."

Against limiting immigration from the West Indies to 100 a year: on an amendment to the Walter-McCarran Immigration Act

Support of an amendment to end segregation in public institutions in the District of Columbia

Against the Central Intelligence Agency bill and the proposal that Congress approve it without knowing all its provisions

On rent control: "There exist eleven provisions under which a landlord can obtain rent increases; this adds the twelfth."

"Who is this man, Francisco Franca, in whose name we betray our international honor?"

The real meaning of E.C.A., the Marshall Plan and the Atlantic Pact

Pledges for the repeal of Taft-Hartley "are being washed out through a series of diabolical deals and compromises"

"These amendments ... constitute Taft-Hartley all over again."

Housing: "the problem that worries almost half of America day and night... is given one one-thousandth of Federal expenditures."

The "callous attitude" of a report on the airplane accident off San Juan in which 54 men, women and children were killed

An amendment to a public housing bill: "Housing with discrimination negates the stated objective of this bill."

In support of an anti-poll tax bill

Against the Mutual Defense Assistance Act: "We are asked ... to close our eyes to the lessons of history ... to forget everything that brought about the last World War."

On the second anniversary of the death of Fiorello H. LaGuardia

His bill to appropriate $1,314,000,000 for research in polio and treatment of its victims

American policy in Germany: "We have made a farce out of de-naziflcation ... the de-cartelization program was never implemented."

On the steelworkers' strike demands: "Noncontributory pension plans are fine for executives. They are 'revolutionary' for workers"

"An outrageous example of police intimidation" in Puerto Rico

"Truman can pass or kill F.E.P.C."

The employers, the Taft-Hartley law and the President vs the coal miners

Against an appropriation bill: "Are we not doing the same in Korea as we did in China, aiding tyranny and corruption?"

For F.E.P.C.: "There can be no freedom unless it is implemented with the economic ability to maintain freedom."

For F.E.P.C.: "I am intolerant I am intolerant of inequality."

On the "tyranny" of F.E.P.C.: "If discrimination is freedom, then certainly we are perverting the definition of freedom"

In support of an amendment that Congress go on record against the partition of Ireland

On H.R. 7674, a bill for a Puerto Rican Constitution: "its purpose is to perpetuate the present system of colonialism."

"We are simply asking that ... the practice of segregation cease on the part of" agencies operating the government of the District of Columbia

Against a bill giving the Secretary of State "absolute discretion" to discharge civil service employees in his department

To prohibit segregation in educational institutions receiving Federal aid

On civil rights: "I know it is annoying to you when I offer these amendments... but I am going to keep on... as long as I am here"

Explaining his right to vote for an anti-segregation amendment to a bill he is voting against

"Opposition in the island to H.R. 7674 is profound and widespread": an appeal to hold hearings in Puerto Rico on the bill for a Constitution

"Without independence I see no solution" to the economic and political problems of the Puerto Rican people

On his opposition to the Korean war: ". . . alone, perhaps, but living with my conscience"

The broken promise to Puerto Rico "is in line with ... the broken promise on peace ... civil rights ... repeal of Taft-Hartley"

Against a new version of the 1939 "concentration camp" bill: "Defense of tyranny abroad means reaction at home."

On the right to use the Fifth Amendment: an argument upheld by the Supreme Court five years later

Opposing contempt citations "against the workers in Hawaii": a short history of labor organization there

On the Subversive Activities Control bill: "Under the guise of protecting the American Government . . you subvert . . its Constitution."

"The Coast Guard has ... given ... employers the perfect weapon for returning the dread blacklist to employment at sea."

'These are the fruits of the Truman Doctrine. But the Greek people will not eat those fruits."

For a "cease fire on both sides" in Korea, and for "honest negotiations for ... peace."



February 21, 1949

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed significant that the very first piece of labor legislation that comes before the Eighty-first Congress, a Congress which was elected as the friend of labor, happens to be a bill which takes thousands and thousands of American workers -- longshoremen -- from under the protection of the Fair Labor Standards Act. We have here a situation again where propaganda ... is being utilized against the best interests of men who work in what undoubtedly is the most hazardous occupation in this country.

We have heard the term "overtime on overtime," and we have had it repeated here time and time again. If ever there were a misnomer and a distortion of the real situation this is it; we are not dealing with overtime on overtime. We are not dealing with overtime at all.

The average longshoreman is paid under contract a stipulated rate of pay for work between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Then there is an additional rate which is not an overtime [rate] at all, but is rather a penalty for time that the longshoreman works after the hour of 5 p.m.

This is not something new. It has existed all the way back to 1872. The reason for this penalty pay is the hazardous conditions under which a longshoreman has to work after dark in either loading or unloading a ship.

There is no light. He is deep down in the hold of the ship. The result has been that the casualties have been enormous, and because of the danger of night work there has always been penalty pay. It is this penalty pay which the proponents of this bill, and stevedore and shipping companies, are trying to sell the country as overtime pay. It is not.

The Wage and Hour Administration has had this question before it and no one can deny that the Wage and Hour Administrator has warned the companies that this is not overtime pay; that it is a penalty pay, and pursuant to the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, legal overtime pay can be computed only on one basis -- that is, on the basis of weighing the average of both the regular day and night rates. That is exactly how the Supreme Court has interpreted the Fair Labor Standards Act.

So, now, after the Supreme Court ... has decided this matter, and stated that the companies have been improperly making huge sums by robbing these men -- a condition which was corrected by the Supreme Court decision -- these companies come to Congress, the Eighty-first Congress, for relief. And, mind you, under a suspension procedure [which permits bills to be presented out of regular order] we have this legislation which deals a very serious blow to the pocketbooks of the longshoremen of this country before us.



February 21, 1949

[Immediately after the bill which Congressman Marcantonio opposed in the preceding speech had passed, he again took the floor to argue against a resolution renewing the power of the House Labor Committee to subpoena labor leaders for an investigation of labor unions.]

Mr. Speaker, I cannot refrain from making a comment, which I think is relevant to the resolution before us, on what occurred a moment ago on the bill that came from the Committee on Labor which excludes longshoremen from the Fair Labor Standards Act. A point of no quorum was strategically made ... for the sole purpose of making it impossible to obtain an automatic roll call.

I just wonder why Democrats do not want to go on record on a labor proposition after they have beaten their breasts in the last campaign telling organized labor how much they are going to fight for it on the floor of this House ....

With regard to the pending resolution, it is nothing new. We had this same resolution in 1947 at the very beginning of the Eightieth Congress, that you gentlemen of the Democratic Party so vociferously condemned and which I condemned too. The difference between you and me is that I do not want to repeat what that Congress did, but you are repeating what the Eightieth Congress did and you are repeating it with this particular resolution.

Mr. Speaker, this resolution gives the power of subpoena to the Committee on Labor. Do not tell me you need the power of subpoena for a study. The power to subpoena is the power to destroy.

Why does the Committee on Labor need the power to subpoena? We must examine the resolution in the light of the experience of the last 2 years. The Committee on Labor during the last 2 years used this power of subpoena to do what? We have seen one-man committees making reports condemning labor organizations throughout the length and breadth of this land. We have seen leaders of labor unions yanked down here to Washington under subpoena in the middle of a strike for the purpose of crippling that strike, for the purpose of crippling the legitimate activities of a union.

Oh, you are going to say there is a change in personnel. I do not think that change means much in the light of the fact that this Labor Committee had passed here today a bill taking the longshoremen out from under the protection of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The issue is fundamental. The issue is that of arming a committee of this House to investigate organized labor and to give that committee the power to subpoena. I opposed that in 1947. In the campaign of 1948 I condemned the Eightieth Congress for doing that. I am going to continue to oppose it and stand by what I said to organized labor in the campaign of 1948. The question that now remains is whether or not you are going to stand by your statements that you made to the working people in the campaign of 1948.



March 1, 1949

[In the following argument Congressman Marcantonio supported an amendment to the Walter-McCarran Immigration Bill, introduced by Congressman Powell. This amendment would have prevented the bill from lowering the quota for admission of immigrants from the British West Indies. Opponents of the amendment had argued that the unamended bill would create "an equality" between the people of the British West Indies and the peoples of the Asian-Pacific triangle.]

Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from New York [Mr. Powell] has stated the case on behalf of his amendment .... The people from the West Indies have been migrating to the United States by simply qualifying as to health and public-charge provisions of the immigration law. Their entrance into the United States has been chargeable to the quota of Great Britain, which is approximately 66,000 a year. This has been the situation under the Immigration Act of 1924, and the result has been that thousands of Negroes from the West Indies have been immigrating to the United States. The language of the bill on page 11 definitely puts a halt to this immigration, and limits the immigration from the West Indies to 100 annually. This is rank discrimination against immigration of Negroes from the West Indies.

The gentleman from New York [Mr. Powell] has told you of the achievements of these people in our city. They have made fine citizens. Now in a bill in which you say you are adjusting the inequalities that exist against people in the Asia-Pacific triangle, under the pretext of an equality which is false, you say to the Negro people of the British West Indies, "no longer will we permit thousands of you to enter, but only 100 of you a year can come to these United States." This is not equality. It is foul discrimination sold to this Congress with devious, sanctimonious, and hypocritical double talk about equality. You can double talk about equality all you want, but you will not convince the American people that equality means the revision of standards downward or the limitation of the existing rights of any people. Equality is achieved by revising upward and equalizing upward [the rights] of those groups that are far below the standard. Here you are revising downward and you are practically abolishing immigration from a country without reason.

The language of equality that you use here is artificial; it is strained, and it is a clear distortion to bring about what certain elements within the State Department, and elements right here in the House, want, and that is to prohibit the entrance of Negroes into the United States.



March 2, 1949

The Powell amendment [ending segregation in schools, hospitals, etc., in Washington, D. C.] now will determine whether or not a majority of the Members of the Eighty-first Congress meant what they said last October. If we vote down the Powell amendment then what was said last October was merely campaign oratory and never intended to be effected. The issue here is twofold. First is the issue of the sincerity of this Congress on the question of civil rights; and, second, the basic issue of democracy. There can be no democracy as long as there is discrimination. There can be no democracy as long as there is segregation. There can be no democracy as long as equality in education is denied, as long as equality in facilities is denied, as long as equality in employment is denied. There can be no democracy, particularly when that denial is based on race, color, or creed.

We have had this debate time and time again. It is not a debate from which conscientious Members of the House should shrink. It is an issue which every Member of this House should meet, particularly in the light of the people's decision on this issue in the last elections.

Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. Rankin] talks about race riots. Race riots are not caused by democracy; the conditions that cause race riots are cured by an application of democracy. This amendment would apply democracy in the Capital of these United States. The District of Columbia is not Tupelo, Miss.; the District of Columbia is the Capital of all of the people of the United States.

Are we asking too much in the year 1949 -- following the election of 1948 when the people spoke out in favor of civil rights -- to ask that now we carry out the mandate of the people and bring democracy, the benefits of democracy, to the Negro population of the District of Columbia? I say we are not asking too much; I say our request is an elemental one, and it is in keeping with decency. In the name of decency I hope that the majority of the Members of this House, and particularly those who declared for civil rights in the last campaign, will stand up and remove for all time segregation and discrimination in the Capital of the United States.

The Republicans in the Eightieth Congress failed on their promises for civil rights. The issue is here again before you. Let us see what the Democrats of the Eighty-first Congress will do.



March 7, 1949

[In the following excerpt from a lengthy argument against the Central Intelligence Agency Bill, Congressman Marcantonio stressed the unprecedented nature of the Committee report recommending the bill. It said in part: "The report does not contain a full and detailed explanation of all of the provisions of the proposed legislation in view of the fact that much of such information is of a highly confidential nature."]

We have gone through two world wars; we have gone through a civil war; and the Congress has never been asked to vote for any legislation without explanation of all the provisions of the bill, and that is what this report asks the members of this House to do.

There has never been, and there can never be, any justification at anytime for the representatives of the people, who are elected to Congress, to abdicate their function of legislating with full knowledge on the matters which come before them. This bill suspends that function and says, "You must not have knowledge of all of the provisions of the bill." It says, "You must vote blindly and must take the word of a committee." No one challenges the good faith of the committee members, but the fact is that with 435 members from 435 different districts, we are all entitled to have our own viewpoint on legislation, based on at least a full explanation of all of the sections of a bill. For that reason, at all times in the history of the Congress of the United States the membership has been given full explanation in a report which is intended to explain the bill. Never has Congress been told in a report accompanying a bill, as this one does, that Congress cannot have a full explanation of all provisions in the bill. This is the first time that Members of the House are told "You cannot have any full explanation of this legislation. It is highly confidential. It deals with espionage."

As a result of the hysteria under which this bill is being passed I suppose a majority of the House will vote for this bill, even though in doing so you are suspending your legislative prerogatives and evading your duty to the people of this Nation.

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 [Mr. 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.

I wish some of you gentlemen who have been cutting down appropriations for unemployment services and social welfare legislation would listen to this:

"The sums made available to the Agency may be expended without regard to the provisions of law and regulations relating to the expenditure of Government funds."

So what are we doing here? We are suspending all laws with regard to Government expenditures, and we are asking the Members of Congress to suspend their prerogatives and cease to do their duty [of acting] on legislation with full explanation of the legislation.

Of course, there are times when bills get by. We cannot all be up to date on everything. We might not know what is in a bill. That happens. But this time we are told that we are not supposed to know what is in the bill. I want to read that again, and I hope it will sink in:

"The report does not contain a full and detailed explanation of all of the provisions of the proposed legislation in view of the fact that much of such information is of a highly confidential nature."

Congress is suspending its right to legislate and we are being asked to do this in furtherance of a cold war. This is illustrative of what this imperialist cold war is imposing on the people of a country. Suspending its civil liberties, invasion of the labor movement by intelligence agents, admission of undesirables -- undesirable in any democracy -- and asking Members of Congress to suspend their prerogative to pass on legislation.

But you say this is dealing with espionage, that this is done for the sake of security. I refuse to believe that our Nation is so unsafe from a security standpoint that we have to suspend not only the civil liberties of the people, but the legislative prerogatives of the Representatives of the people in the Congress. If you want to do this in the hope that a newspaper will not criticize you for voting against it because of the hysteria which is being whipped up, that is your privilege; but I submit that the situation is obvious: Hysteria is used to undermine the civil liberties of the people and extend the military control -- military control -- I emphasize that, over the lives and thinking of the people of these United States.



March 11, 1949

Mr. Chairman, I oppose the Brown amendment [to the rent control bill] as well as the Wolcott amendment. I think I can safely state that with the adoption of the Brown amendment you are opening rent control so wide that within a few months the Members of this House will be informed of hundreds of thousands of complaints from the tenants of this Nation. As the law stands now, as it is being interpreted in New York City by the Office of the Housing Expediter, there exist eleven provisions under which a landlord can obtain rent increases; this adds the twelfth.

We are not dealing here with reasonable rent. It is significant that the author of the amendment asks for "reasonable return"; he will not accept the phrase "reasonable rent," and there you have the machinery which is going to put the tenants of this country into a tight squeeze by the real estate interests. "Reasonable return" is going to mean that landlords will receive increases all along the line. This amendment will not establish reasonable rents, but will force the tenants to insure a reasonable return to the landlords. Do you see the difference?

It is likewise significant, may I say to the friends of rent control, that every enemy of rent control in this House is for the Brown amendment; bear that in mind. The enemies of rent control are making a tremendous advance by the adoption of this amendment. It is very bad policy for the friends of rent control to accept this amendment. It is this type of appeasement which is going to bring about the nullification of rent control.

As things stand now, the office of the Housing Expediter in New York City is an annex of the real estate board. With this Brown amendment the partition is going to be knocked down and the real estate crowd is going to take over completely. If you really believe in rent control, then you have no choice but to defeat both the Brown and Wolcott amendments.



March 22, 1949

What is happening in Spain? Only the other day, February 2, Great Britain gave notice that she intends to resume full diplomatic relations with Franco Spain. Our papers openly talk of Franco Spain as an impending recipient of Marshall Plan aid.

I think the time has come to face the bare facts -- and to face them bluntly, squarely, and honestly.

I am not here to go into a long exposition of the case of Fascist Spain, even though I hold in my hands a body of documentary evidence on the subject. But these documents prove only what the whole world already knows, namely:

First. That the Franco regime was put into power by the military forces of Axis Germany and Italy and remains a Fascist state to this day.

Second. That the same Franco regime, whose leaders aided the Axis armed forces during the war at the cost of American, British, Russian, and other United Nations lives, is today receiving military aid from the United States.

Third. That only the economic and military support of the United States is what keeps the Franco regime in power in Spain today.

Only fools and knaves would dare contest any of these simple facts. The facts themselves are not debatable. What is debatable, and what must be questioned by this House is, "Why"? Why must these basic facts about Spain continue to be ignored?

It might be considered old fashioned and naive to still quote the words of Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt in these halls.

On March 15, 1945, less than a month before his untimely death, Mr. Roosevelt addressed a letter to Mr. Norman Armour, our then Ambassador to Spain. In this letter, Mr. Roosevelt said:

"The present regime in Spain is naturally the subject of distrust by a great many American citizens, who find it difficult to see the justification of this country to continue to maintain relations with such a regime."

These were Mr. Roosevelt's very last words on Spain, his final judgment ....

How have we followed the policies of F.D.R. on Spain since 1945? How have we met our solemn obligations to the United Nations?

The whole world knows that our policy on Spain is a betrayal of the testament of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The whole world knows that our policy on Spain violates both the spirit and the letter of the two United Nations resolutions to which, however grudgingly, we voted our adherence.

Who is this man, Francisco Franco, in whose name we betray our international honor?

In August 1937, Franco dispatched a telegram to Benito Mussolini after the Fascists captured Santander during the war in Spain. He declared:

"I feel particularly happy that the Italian troops, after 10 days of hard fighting, contributed strongly to the victory of Santander."

In September 1941, after the war had spread from Spain to France and England and Poland and Russia, Adolf Hitler decorated Francisco Franco. In presenting Hitler's medal to Franco, the German Ambassador to Spain declared:

"The Fuehrer, supreme chief of the victorious German armies, in bestowing this cross upon the generalissimo [Franco], the invincible Spanish Caudillo, wishes to testify how intimately are bound together, not only our two peoples, but especially our two armies, whose commanders, officers, and soldiers fought side by side during the first 3 years of this heroic crusade. Germany's war, which is not ended yet, is a war against our same common enemy, who continues to delude the world with the theories of liberalism and democracy."

And after accepting this Hitler medal, Generalissimo Franco sent the following telegram to Hitler himself:

"With all my heart I share your aspiration that the great German Empire may reach its immortal destiny, under the glorious sign of the swastika, and under your inspired leadership. Heil Hitler."

Thus spoke Franco while Hitler fought our allies and ourselves, while Franco's blue legions formed a portion of that army of beasts Hitler had unleashed against our allies on the Continent of Europe, while Franco's merchant marine acted as the lookouts and the floating bases for the Nazi submarines which sunk American shipping in the South Atlantic.

Yes; and this is the same Franco for whom, in Spain, the United States has built some 70 new airfields since 1945. Yes; we have built over 70 airports for Franco inside of Spain, paid for out of American tax dollars. Seventy airfields for a Spain whose entire commercial air fleet comprises exactly 27 planes.

Yes; this is the same Francisco Franco whose navy was completely overhauled following the mysterious visit Vice Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, Chief of the United States Mediterranean Fleet, made to Madrid in February 1948.

Yes; this is the same Franco whose Fascist armies and expanded Fascist police forces ride on American trucks powered by American gasoline, kill Spanish anti-Fascists with American bullets fired from American guns, enjoy the bounties of our surplus American military goods.

Yes; this is the same Franco who is today doing business with great American corporations, who is turning over to international cartels and corporations the assets of his unhappy country in return for the American dollars that keep his regime in power.

I am not being deliberately naive. I know the explanation that the State Department makes in unctuous whispers when pressed for an explanation. They tell you that the Franco regime is naughty, but needed as a bulwark against Russia.

I will generously pass over the history of previous Fascist bulwarks blessed by the western democracies who were so worried about Russia before 1941 -- the 7th of December 1941. We all know how the bulwarks against Russia which the western world spawned in Germany, Italy, and Japan cost us dear.

However, accepting ... [the] thesis for the sake of argument only, let us see how reliable a bulwark is Spain.

[Mr. Marcantonio then showed the extreme political and economic weakness of Spain under Franco. Among the 1948 statistics he cited were:

The purchasing power of the Spanish laborer was 14.5% of what it had been in 1936.

Production in basic industries and agriculture had fallen from 5079% below 1936.

School attendance had dropped from 3,968,916 to 1,805,720.

There were 114,000 political prisoners.

Tuberculosis was so widespread that each day 96 persons died of that disease.]

Spain has become one vast, tubercular, terror-ridden poorhouse, the most tragic of the stricken nations of Europe. And yet, in the midst of this misery, great fortunes have been hoarded by favored Fascist cliques, personal fortunes derived from black market operations and graft. Only one other regime of the postwar world matched the Franco regime for graft on top and misery below. That was the regime of Chiang KaiShek in China.

In 1945, when we and our Soviet allies finally crashed into Berlin, we captured over 8,000 documents dealing with Spain. These documents proved that the Franco regime was created by the Axis, and that Franco's so-called non-belligerency during the shooting war was actually a cover for Franco's military services to Germany, Italy, and Japan.

These documents are under lock and key in Washington at this moment.

Why are they not released?

Why were they not turned over to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Spain?

There is only one answer to these questions. Revelation of the contents of these documents would lead to a universal demand that we stop keeping the Franco regime alive.

But why do we persist in protecting the Franco regime? I am not alone in asking this question.

There is not a soul inside of Spain, inside of the countries that are Spain's neighbors -- France, Portugal, Italy, North Africa -- who is not aware of the naked truth that the United States, and only the United States, keeps Franco and his regime from joining his creators, Hitler and Mussolini, on the dung-heap of history.

Is this the way to make friends and influence nations? Is this the way to honor the fourteen millions of American fighting men, living and dead, who did battle in the name of the "four freedoms" in the shooting war but recently ended?

Where are the "four freedoms" in this fascist Spain that exists solely by our protection?

Freedom of speech? What freedom of speech is there under Fascism?

Freedom of worship? Ask the Protestant ministers and congregations of Spain, whose churches have been padlocked and destroyed by the Fascists, and whose right to worship God in their own way has been abrogated by the Franco regime, about this freedom.

Freedom from want? There is more hunger in Spain today, less housing, less medical care than ever before in Spain's history.

Freedom from fear? Who can be free from fear in a police state? Let us face the question of Spain in the spirit of a most important fifth freedom -- freedom from hypocrisy.

As democrats, as freemen in a Congress of these United States, let us once and for all make known our true sentiments as Representatives of the people of the United States. Yesterday I introduced a resolution, House Joint Resolution 194, calling for democratic action on Spain by this House. When you consider it, do not imagine for a moment that the eyes of the entire world will not be upon you as you act on this resolution:

Resolved, That this body of Congress requests the President to order the immediate and total rupture of all political, diplomatic, economic, and military relations with the Franco regime of Spain; and be it further

Resolved, That this body of Congress requests the President to order the immediate release to the United Nations and the press of all captured documents, now in Government possession, which deal with the origins, workings, and war record of the Franco regime of Spain.



April 9, 1949

Mr. Speaker, I recognize and fully appreciate the dangers that one runs when one opposes this legislation [appropriating more funds for The Economic Cooperation Administration E.C.A.]. We face the powerful opposition of the press and the radio, the insidious opposition of the gentlemen of the State Department, and, more important than anything else, we face the combined opposition of the ladies and gentlemen of high finance and monopoly capital -- the real masters of the Government in America. I believe, however, that this debate, not only on this bill but on all measures related to it and on the Atlantic Pact, will be considered the important debates of this period. The decisions that we make will be far-reaching, and I personally, despite the abuse, want to be judged by the position I take on these issues.

Mr. Speaker, this is not a matter of aiding Europe. This plan has failed as an aid program. It has failed and the statement of failure comes from the European counterpart of the Marshall Plan, the Organization for European Economic Cooperation. [This] organization is composed of the collaborators of such gentlemen of high finance as Harriman, Finletter, Bruce, and the other representatives of the big trusts in E.C.A. They say that western Europe will have a trade deficit of $3,000,000,000 by 1952.

This is not an aid program. This is part of a military program, it is part of a political program. I do not oppose aid to Europe. I believe in the way that was preached by the late Fiorello LaGuardia, who said that unilateral aid such as you are proposing here not only bypasses the United Nations but is the old way of imperialism. I believe in aid through the United Nations. Aid without consideration of politics, religion, or creed, through the United Nations, is the best guaranty of rehabilitation and lasting peace.

This is not aid. It is not food. It is not rehabilitation. It is war. It is being sold to the country under the guise of stopping communism. We just heard the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Fulton] give us the old singsong, which is always played as an accompaniment to the march of monopoly capital throughout the world, to its infiltration into, and assumption of control of, the various industries of the world.

We have divided Europe in half. We do not permit the western countries to trade with the eastern countries. We have set up puppet governments here and there; all this, we are told, for the sake of stopping communism.

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me there must be another way out. This is the way to war. I said last year in the well of this House, that following the Marshall Plan there would be a military alliance. We now have it in the Senate [the Atlantic Pact]. Following that military alliance will be aggression and following aggression there will be war; a war, Mr. Speaker, that nobody is going to win. The people all over the world, including our fellow countrymen, will be defeated. They do not want war, and once they recognize this plan and the Atlantic Pact for what it is, for war and imperialism, they will repudiate these schemes and those responsible for them.

Mr. Speaker, there is a way out and I say that the way out is the way that was initiated by President Roosevelt. There is no reason why the representatives of our Nation cannot sit down with the representatives of the Soviet Union and try to work out a fundamental solution to this whole problem. There are no reasons advanced why our President cannot sit down with Mr. Stalin. The only way out you offer, with this and similar legislation, is the atomic bomb. The only way out you propose when we consider the real motive behind these proposals, is warfare on the Soviet Union and the people of the eastern countries and on China. This is the only solution you really advance. You cannot say that is not your solution, for your policy of containment is a policy that leads to war. So your solution is war.

I offer the solution of peace and understanding with the Soviet Union. Collaboration with that nation won the most difficult war in the history of the world. Let us use that same collaboration to preserve world peace. I say, let us do our utmost to bring Mr. Stalin and the President of the United States together to make an honest effort to resolve this matter in the interest of peace and of the common people.

The Marshall Plan is a failure. It was doomed to failure ahead of time. Its failure can be demonstrated after 1 year of operations of the E.C.A. If the plan is carried through its full 4-year period, the failure will be overwhelmingly clear and critically dangerous...

I know ... that many people still believe in the official version of how the Marshall Plan has operated. There are two good reasons for this. First, through the press, the Government, and the radio, the facts have been twisted or hidden. Second, many good and decent people want to believe in the Marshall Plan because they want to see the great wealth of our country used to help others in need.

The United States stands at a peak of economic power. We produce just about half of the goods in the world. Certainly our wealth should be used to help countries devastated by fascism during the last war. It is a fine thing that Americans should back a program of foreign aid. But they should get the program they think they are supporting.

The Marshall Plan was sold to the people as a way of helping others. The plan has been in operation for a year. Now it is time to let the people know what has really happened under the plan.

The E.C.A. tells us, on its first anniversary, that industrial production in western Europe is about at pre-war levels. The E.C.A. can hire all the statistical talent it needs. It should be able to come up with almost any kind of figures it wants about what is happening in Europe. But I would suggest to Mr. Hoffman [head of the E.C.A.] and the others who left corporation jobs to take over the E.C.A. that they seem to have overlooked some key facts.

I know that when people in my district are unemployed they do not feel very prosperous. There are many in this Chamber who see unemployment in their districts today. No one would dare to go to those unemployed and say, "You are doing all right. The statistics say so."

There is unemployment in the Marshall Plan countries. There is more unemployment in western Europe than there was a year ago. I challenge the E.C.A. experts to try to explain that fact. Take the case of Belgium. When the Marshall Plan started the Belgians had full employment. Last month unemployment in Belgium was estimated at from 9 to 11 percent of the labor force. That would be the same as 6,000,000 or 7,000,000 unemployed here.

The breakdown of the Belgian figures tells a story. Unemployment there is mainly in the textile, leather, shoe, diamond, and light metal industries. These were industries which depended on exports. The countries which used to buy the products of these Belgian industries are part of the Marshall Plan bloc. They have been forced to cut down on their imports. Result: Belgian workers are on the street.

It may be argued that Belgium is too small a country to make a fair test. In that case take Italy, one of the four major powers of western Europe. By last fall in Italy unemployment had passed the 2,500,000 mark. That would be the same as about 9,000,000 unemployed in our country.

Or perhaps it may be argued that Belgium and Italy were countries which were ravaged by war. In that case let us take a look at the situation in Turkey. Although Turkey did not see fit to join the allies in the fight against the Nazi Axis, and although the Turkish Government retained close ties with the Germans until it was clear which side would win, American dollars are flowing into Turkey. But the effects of the dollars are baffling.

From 1930 through 1946 Turkey had a favorable balance of trade every year. At that point Turkey, as a close neighbor of the Soviet Union, was awarded military aid under the Truman Doctrine. And in 1947 Turkey had a trade deficit and is now becoming a debtor nation.

Many funny stories have been told about the market for United States luxury goods like tobacco and Coca-Cola, which is being created through the Marshall Plan. For the Turks there is no humor in the situation. Turkey used to depend on heavy exports of tobacco. Its market for tobacco has been cut through the operation of the Marshall Plan.

Turkey has also been converted into an armed bastion on the southern flank of the Soviet Union. This may fit into the global strategy of Winston Churchill. He has had an adventurous interest in the Dardanelles at least since the First World War, when he lost many thousands of British lives trying to capture the Straits. But ... for the people of Turkey ... the cost of maintaining an army weighs heavily on a poor nation. About half of the Turkish Government budget goes to maintain the army now.

Will it be said that all of Europe and Asia Minor is so beaten down by war and Nazi occupation that quick recovery is out of the question? There is some truth in this argument, but not enough.

The case of Poland ought to make us think for a minute what we are doing. Poland was as badly wrecked in the war as any country in the world. It also happens to lie on the wrong side of what Mr. Churchill chose to call "the iron curtain."

Reliable reporters for respectable agencies have recently brought back revealing stories from Poland. Sidney Gruson, of the New York Times, reported an astonishing amount of reconstruction in Poland. Theodore White, of the Overseas News Agency, went further and said that he found more signs of recovery in Poland than in any country he had seen in western Europe.

The Polish Government statistics bear out the reports. Polish exports and imports have been nearly balanced every year since the end of World War 2. Furthermore, the volume of Polish trade has expanded amazingly. It doubled between 1946 and 1947, nearly doubled again as it passed the billion-dollar mark from 1947 to 1948.

The expansion of Polish trade appears to be based on solid economic development. In 1948 per capita industrial output was nearly double the prewar level. All of the arable land in Poland is now under cultivation, where in 1945 the war had left half the good land idle.

Statistics, of course, can be used for any purpose. Unless they are complete they can be misleading. There is no absolutely reliable set of figures covering Europe which we can use to gauge what has been bought with the billions of dollars we have already poured into the Marshall Plan.

But that is an astonishing fact in itself. We have spent billions already for the E. R. P. [European Recovery Plan]. We are asked to spend billions more. And what checkup have we made? Where have been the independent teams of investigators working in Europe, comparing the E.C.A.'s bland statements with unemployment figures?

The Marshall Plan is unsound in its conception. There are enough things wrong on the face of the plan so that it ought to be scrapped and replaced with the United Nations type of program, which made great strides while it lasted. But, at the very least, how can we continue to appropriate huge sums drawn from the pockets of the American people on the say-so of the group of high-pressure salesmen who run E.C.A., without independent investigation?

There is one more argument which the brass hats of the E.C.A. can make. Give us more time, they say. The plan has only operated 1 year. And this is the weakest argument of all. It breaks down, not through statistics, but on the word of the most conservative western European leaders themselves.

In Paris has been set up the Organization for European Economic Cooperation. The O.E.E.C. is the Marshall Plan counterpart agency in Western Europe. Its leaders work hand in glove with Harriman, Finletter, Bruce, and the rest of the financiers sent over by the E.C.A. The O.E.E.C. itself is well stocked with prewar cartelists who found it profitable to work with the Nazis until the war broke out.

Recently the O.E.E.C. sent a delegation here to help the E.C.A. present its shotgun case for more billions. And then something got mixed in the script. The three chief O.E.E.C. spokesmen held a press conference. They said they had gone over and over their, figures and they still had to reach the conclusion that in 1952, at the end of the Marshall Plan period, western Europe would have a trade deficit of $3,000,000,000.

Of course, one resource is open to western Europe. Eastern Europe needs machinery of almost all kinds and some raw materials from the west. Trade between east and west in Europe is traditional. Today it is essential.

Last August a report was issued by the Economic Commission for Europe, a branch of the U.N. The report was written by a sober group of economists -- from western European countries, largely. Here is a key statement from that report:

"If, however, western Europe is to obtain its essential import needs without continued reliance on dollar sources beyond its ability to earn dollars, vigorous efforts to develop and obtain supplies from all of these non-Western Hemisphere sources will be required. The minimum amount that would need to come from eastern Europe would seem to be in the order of $3,000,000,000."

The logic behind east-west trade is so overwhelming that it cannot be denied. So the Marshall planners have done the next best thing. They have buried the idea as well as they can. The truth is that Hoffman, Harriman and the rest are dead set against letting western Europe take up its normal trade with the east.

There is just one way in which the Marshall Plan makes sense. It is not a program to help foreign nations get on their feet after a murderous war. The results have already proved that. It is a political program, aimed against eastern Europe, designed for international division, and carried along on the war cry, "Stop communism."

The benefits which are supposed to come from the Marshall Plan are a cover up. They are an appeal to the generosity of the American people who would not otherwise support the bankers and generals who want to spend billions to make the world safe for the new imperialism.

From the point of view of the big corporations the picture is clear. The Marshall Plan cannot bring recovery to Europe. But the same points which make the plan fail as an aid program make it succeed as a program for international monopoly.

E.C.A. is being used by Wall Street corporations to extend their monopoly control all over Europe.

E.C.A. is building markets for monopolies which want to dump goods abroad while maintaining high prices at home.

E.C.A. is rebuilding western Germany under the old cartelists. The steel barons of the Ruhr are a threat to the rest of Europe but they make good drill sergeants for Wall Street.

E.C.A. has held back on shipments of machinery to Europe. Original requests of the Marshall Plan countries for machinery were heavily cut. Again, this is bad for recovery, good for monopoly.

E.C.A. is creating and capturing, all in one operation, a European market for the blood-streaked oil of the Middle East. In spite of the fact that the economies of western Europe were based mainly on coal, Middle Eastern oil is still the biggest item in the overall Marshall Plan.

Finally E.C.A. is operating, and in this instance effectively, as a weapon for the cold war. It has partially succeeded in blocking the traditional trade between the western and eastern parts of Europe.

One question remains. The motives of the Wall Street-brass hat clique are clear enough. But why do the western European leaders go along with the Marshall plan? The lineup in the O.E.E.C. [Organization for European Economic Cooperation] gives the answer.

The three heads of the O.E.E.C. delegation which came here were Robert Marjolin, of France, Sir Edmund Hall-Patch, of Great Britain, and Baron Snoy, of Belgium.

Marjolin was one of the authors of the Monnet plan for France. This was a plan, drafted shortly after the war, which preserved the economic power of the infamous 200 families in France.

Hall-patch was the leading British financial expert in the Far East, before the war, in the days of the international rubber cartel and similar monopoly operations.

Snoy is a prewar Belgian banking official. As such he was part of the group of satellite cartelists who danced to the Nazi tune as long as they could.

If we were to vote on E.C.A. appropriations in full possession of the facts, there should first be an investigation of the roster of European industrialists who staff the O.E.E.C. working committees. All the evidence points to the fact that the cartelists are in control. Set a bricklayer to work and he will build you a wall. Put a cartelist to work and you will get a cartel. It can already be said that the O.E.E.C. is building a super-cartel for western Europe on a scale beyond anything the Nazis achieved ....

The O.E.E.C., backed with E.C.A. dollars if we appropriate them, keeps the old cartels and monopolies alive. Even the supposedly nationalized industries of western Europe are kept safe for coupon clippers. O.E.E.C. frankly carries on the old cartel functions of dividing markets, restricting trade, and insuring the scarcity which keeps prices high. That is why the Economist, of London, can say so calmly that the Marshall Plan cannot and will not prevent a serious fall in European living standards in 1952.

Governmental trade agreements, openly arrived at by all nations where the people can see them, are the answer. They were part of the Roosevelt program for keeping the peace. That course would be in keeping with the spirit of the United Nations. But O.E.E.C. operates in the cartel tradition of secrecy, with the cartelists instead of people's representatives in power.

The Marshall Plan exists because the American people want to help others in rebuilding a world at peace. It could not exist for 5 minutes if the American people knew what their dollars are buying.

Whenever the face of monopoly has been revealed in an American election the people have voted against it. E.C.A. is an instrument of monopoly. Its camouflage of good will and foreign aid will wither in the light of facts. When the facts have been brought home to the people the Marshall Plan will be junked along with those who impose it today on the people of Europe and on the people of our own United States.



April 27, 1949

[One of the major planks of the 1948 Democratic Party platform pledged outright repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act. Accordingly Senator Thomas of Utah and Representative Lesinski of Michigan, acting for the administration, introduced almost identical repeal bills -- S. 249 and H. R. 2032 -- when Congress convened in January 1949.

The Democratic majority in the House Committee on Education and Labor refused to accept a substitute bill, offered by Congressman Wood, which proposed to reenact practically the entire Taft-Hartley law.

During the subsequent House debate on the repeal bill many amendments were presented, each of which would have added one or more provisions of the Wood Bill to the Lesinski Bill. The "series of diabolical deals and compromises" to which Congressman Marcantonio refers below were summarized the next day in a New York Times editorial which began: "The administration is ready to throw its strength behind five amendments to the Lesinski Bill, repealing the Taft-Hartley Act." Mr. Marcantonio read the entire editorial on the floor of the House April 28, 1949, and concluded: "The main features of the Wood Bill as the Taft-Hartley law are contained in these five amendments recited in the New York Times."

After a few days of debate -- see also May 3 -- consideration of the repeal bill was indefinitely postponed. Finally in June the Labor Relations Act of 1949 was passed, embodying most of the features Mr. Marcantonio had opposed.]

Mr. Chairman, the eyes of every American worker are directed upon the actions that will be taken and the votes that will be cast in this House this week. The complete and absolute repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, and the eradication of the whole Taft-Hartley philosophy of labor relations, is what is involved in our deliberations. Promises and pledges have been made, and men have been elected to this House on such promises and pledges, which today are being washed out through a series of diabolical deals and compromises directed specifically against the interests of the American workers.

What the American workers are expecting today, and what has been pledged to them, is not only the repeal of the language of the Taft-Hartley law, but even more important, a clear cut repudiation by this Congress of the Taft-Hartley atmosphere that now pervades collective bargaining relations. It cannot be denied that if this House passes a bill which retains but one clause of the infamous Taft-Hartley Act, it will be a signal to every anti-labor employer in the United States that he can continue as he has been doing in the past 2 years.

Any amendment, no matter what the sponsorship and no matter what the support from any groups or organizations, which continues the Taft-Hartley approach to labor relations is a repudiation of every election promise and election pledge.

It is no secret that up to this moment the lineup of votes in support of the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act has been ... in terms of the broadest kind of compromise and the most vicious kind of sellout. What American labor and the American people, who have been sorely beset by the return to the jungle of labor relations, really want today is a straightforward vote rejecting this infamous and unjust law.

There is little doubt in my mind that the full impact of Taft-Hartley has still not been felt. For this is the weapon the employers want to keep and to use when unemployment and depression begin to hit harder. In fact, the relative strength of the trade unions and the so far easy economic situation we have been enjoying have caused many employers to hold off using the Taft-Hartley Act in its full strength.

We have before us a series of amendments to the Taft-Hartley repealer which have been sponsored by the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Wood], and which are supported by the coalition of Republican and southern Democrats that has so far successfully defeated or watered down every piece of progressive legislation that has come before this body. It is not necessary for me to detail the vicious anti-labor character of these amendments. There is certainly no doubt in my own mind nor, I am sure, in the minds of those sponsoring this bill, that in many respects it is even worse than the Taft-Hartley Act itself.

But what these gentlemen -- openly fighting labor -- do is their own concern. At least they have told the world and the American people where they stand and the kind of America they want to see. I will continue to fight them with every ounce of energy that I command.

It is the friends of labor, however, that I wish to turn to most directly. To these colleagues I say, there is no place for summer soldiers today. If ever there was a time in the history of America when those from labor, and those who see their future and that of the democratic structure of our country in the strength and vigor of the labor movement [ought] to stand fast, it is right now and it is in this House.

No other piece of legislation is so vital to the American workers, and through them to our Nation, as this before us today.

The very essence of the democratic tradition and the democratic attitude is at stake in the legislation before us. Do not be misled or confused into believing that this is just another measure around which many compromises can be made without destroying the essential objective.

Nothing could be further from the truth. At stake here is the very dignity of the American workingman -- his ability to stand up and say what he thinks and to fight for what he wants. You will take this from him if you retain a single line from the NAM's Taft-Hartley Act.

And this should be remembered. Working men and women are once again feeling the terror and intimidation that is so frequently the constant companion of those millions of Americans who work in factory and mill and mine. The degrading attitude toward working people that so long marked American employer-employee relations is once again returning to the plants. And the Taft-Hartley Act has brought it back.

It is finally time that we who are of and for labor make perfectly clear that the attitude of class superiority and of anti-labor bias and hatred must be driven out of American life. It has no place in our country and our institutions, and it has no place on our statute books.

The fact is that no amendments are the concern of those Members of this House who are prepared to live up to the pledges they have made to American labor. Those who claim to be the friends of labor must this week take their stand on the position of the most absolute and unequivocal refusal to make a concession on any amendments whatsoever. Only a stand on this line will bring about the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act and the reestablishment of healthy and sound labor relations in our country.

I have arisen to propose and to urge -- if we are to maintain our integrity -- that a simple repealer of the Taft-Hartley Act be passed and that the Wagner Act be reinstated. The only honest pro-labor approach is to vote down every amendment, be it offered by the administration or by anyone else. Any other course of action will be a betrayal of the American working people.



May 8, 1949

It is not necessary for me to describe to you people who have studied labor problems the significance of these amendments contained in the substitute [a bill offered in place of the Taft-Hartley Act]. They constitute Taft-Hartley all over again. The gentleman from North Caroline [Mr. Barden] said I was preying on confusion. I think the RECORD shows otherwise. I think that the position I have taken here, and that I advocated last Friday when I called for outright repeal of Taft-Hartley and reinstatement of the Wagner Act, was the only clear-cut position which cleared the atmosphere of any confusion. He [Mr. Barden] states that I press the class struggle. I have not put the class struggle into existence. As long as man can exploit his fellow man and exploit his labor, there is a struggle, and all we seek in a democracy is equality in bargaining. We seek genuine, collective bargaining in the light of that struggle. You cannot talk of equality under the law unless it is implemented with economic security. Anatole France once said: "The law in all of its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, beg on the streets and steal their bread from shop windows."

The Chairman: The time of the gentleman from New York has expired.

Mr. Marcantonio: Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to proceed for one additional minute.

The Chairman: Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York? (There was no objection.)

Mr. Marcantonio: So, Mr. Chairman, I say that the proper course for those who want to keep both the spirit and the letter of their promise to the people is to vote for outright repeal; that the honest course in the interest of labor is to vote "no" on the Sims substitute and "no" on the Wood substitute, and if we are defeated let the responsibility rest on those who seek to reincarnate the Taft-Hartley law and on those who have advocated surrender. Let us go back to the people. I have always had an abiding faith in the intelligence of the American people. They have spoken once in the election. They will speak again in this struggle for freedom and security. I propose to support labor on the picket line, too, to bring about that equality which is so necessary in a democracy such as ours and to bring justice to the men and women who toil for a living.



June 22, 1949

[Here Congressman Marcantonio discussed the inadequacies of two housing bills S. 1070 and H. R. 4009 but declared he would, nevertheless, vote for the House bill since it presented the only chance of immediate action. However he introduced his own much more adequate housing bill, H. R. 4277. In this speech he analyzes his own bill and the House and Senate bills in relation to the housing needs of the nation.]

Mr. Speaker, I shall vote for the present bill merely because it is better than nothing. However, it fails by far to meet the real need. The committee itself admits that 1,300,000 non-farm dwelling units are required every year for the next 11 years. Despite this admission, found on page 10 of the committee's report, the bill, with the committee amendment, provides for only 135,000 low rent, public housing units.

Housing is no longer a subject for partisan politics. Fifty-eight million Americans are now in desperate need of decent homes. We are the wealthiest industrial nation in the world. Yet thousands of building workers are out of jobs, while the need for homes increases every day.

It is tragically apparent and generally admitted that private builders have failed to supply housing for ... [middle and lower income families]. The Government must act and act forthrightly and adequately this year.

This is why I introduce my housing bill, H. R. 4277. We can and we must start building 1,000,000 low rent, public housing units a year. The bill passed by the Senate [S. 10701 is little more than a sop to the people. The bill now before us [H. R. 4009] doles out housing with an eyedropper and is pitifully inadequate. We have a job to do on a grand scale and we must face up to it.

Who are these 58,000,000 ... Americans? They are not an abstract problem that we can consider in a half-hearted abstract way. They are our neighbors.

Three million American families have no homes at all. That means over 10,000,000 men, women, and children who are living doubled up with parents and parents-in-law. They are crowded into nests so tightly they have no chance to live.

Thirteen million American families -- that means 45,000,000 men, women, and children -- are living in rotten old buildings which we blithely dismiss as substandard housing. We in New York and you in Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and the other cities know what slums mean. The word is as deadly as atom bombs.

No one can expect to avoid epidemics and be healthy when he has no sanitation, no running water, in his home. No one can hope for a decent family life when he swelters through summer and freezes through winter with 8 or 10 families in a space not adequate or decent for 1.

This House knows the story. It knows, too, that there are rural slums for sharecroppers and low paid mill workers. It knows the disgrace of housing in coal mining communities in every part of the country.

Recently several parties from Congress went slumming right here in sight of the Capitol Building. The Members were shocked. They found a stinking, filthy, unhealthy mess. They found families living so close together it was almost impossible to breathe. They found brazen violations, on a wholesale scale, of the basic laws of sanitation and fire hazards. They found hell constructed in the Capital of the richest country, with the highest standards on earth.

The gentlemen were shocked. But the shocking thing is not that slums exist in the Capitol -- the shocking thing is that these Washington slums are but examples of an inhuman practice that exists in every city, thousands of mill towns, in mining camps, and on farms throughout the land.

The gentlemen were shocked. But what did they do? They came back to Capitol Hill and they passed S. 1070 a face-saving device that masquerades as a major solution to the housing problem. This bill, [H. R. 4009], now before us, is another piece of face saving. It leaves most of the poorest, and all of the great mass of the middle class, working people not a bit better off than they were before the bill was devised.

H. R. 4009 and S. 1070 are just another surrender in the long series of surrenders made by Congress on the housing question since the middle thirties. Now we have heard the announcement of another surrender. The committee has agreed to offer an amendment reducing the number of low cost units to 810,000 over a 6-year period.

Real strides toward a national housing program were made during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt when model slum clearance projects and Greenbelt towns were brought into being. Everybody since then, including the administration, has been giving lip service to the housing crises, especially around election times. But when the test came in the 1949 budget, what did the administration ask for in meeting this greatest of all American problems?

Out of the $40,000,000,000 Truman budget, all Federal housing activities are allotted $38,000,000. The problem that worries almost half of America day and night, summer and winter, is given one one-thousandth of Federal expenditures. We can spare billions to arm strangers abroad but can hardly scrape up a few millions to help find our own war veterans decent places in which to live.

And, of course, though this may distress most taxpaying American citizens, it should make the housing lobbies very happy. The housing lobbies have been having quite a time of it this year. The Eighty-first Congress is not so bad for them after all.

The House bill [H. R. 4009] fails to broaden the slum clearance and low cost features of the housing bill passed by the Senate [S. 10701, to make it into something that approaches the size of the job ahead. The building lobby is laughing up its sleeve along with the real estate boards as a result of the bill now before us.

"Let private enterprise do it," they say while half of America goes homeless or lives in places unfit for animals. They do not care who goes homeless so long as they can squeeze exorbitant profits out of those who are frozen in whatever kind of shelter they now live.

"Let the low income families buy economy homes," they say. Richard J. Gray, president of the building and construction trades department of the American Federation of Labor, gave the answer to that in his recent testimony before the House Committee on Banking and Currency. The so-called economy homes are so shoddy, he said, that we are simply building new slums.

Mr. Gray also ... testified that while the country is crying for homes, 10,000 members of the building trades unions in New York alone are unemployed.

That we cannot go on relying on private initiative in the building industry is apparent. Government action is the only alternative. But it must be action to fit the need. We know that 3,000,000 families are living in pestilential slums in cities, milltowns, mining camps, and farms.

We know that there are half a million families formed each year and that half a million old houses become completely uninhabitable each year.

we know that right now 17,000,000 families -- 58,000,000 people -- desperately need homes.

What does this bill as amended do about this need? It provides for 135,000 dwelling units a year over a 6-year period, in the low rental field. The committee has now agreed to conform the House bill to this figure .... The program would not begin to keep up with current needs. After 6 years the Nation would be worse off than it is now.

My bill, H. R. 4277, on the other hand, provides for the building of half a million low rent units a year for 8 years, until 4,000,000 units are constructed.

In handling slum clearance, H. R. 4009 gives no real thought to what will become of the thousands of families moved out of the slums. H. R. 4277 provides that no family shall be forced to move until a 3 percent vacancy ratio has been created in accommodations at comparable rentals. Appropriations for slum clearance are the same in both bills.

Witnesses for both the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations have testified before the House committee that S. 1070 will not in any way provide for the great mass of wage earners. The Senate passed legislation completely neglecting 6 percent of the people. Those whose incomes are so low that they can pay up to $30 a month are taken care of through the limited amount of subsidized housing provided for in the bill. But even here the provisions are so skimpy there is bound to be a wild scramble to get the projects, with first-come, first-served techniques. What small mining camp or mill town can hope to compete with the vast underprivileged areas of the cities? The House bill likewise fails to meet this situation.

On the other hand F.H.A. [Federal Housing Authority] insured housing is available only at levels too high for most working men and women to pay. Rental or purchase price payments range from $85 to $150 a month for this type housing. The average is $96 a month. What steelworker, what white collar worker, what self-employed family can afford that kind of housing?

Sixty percent of us fall in the gap between the $30 payment and the $96 payment and H. R. 4009 does nothing for us.

H. R. 4277 meets this need squarely. My bill authorizes the issuance of $25,000,000,000 of notes by the housing authority. It authorizes Federal contributions of $1,600,000,000 over an 8-year period. Under this title it provides for meeting the annual need through 4,000,000 units.

And H. R. 4277 goes farther. It authorizes the guaranty of $5,000,000,000 a year for 5 years for construction of low cost non-subsidized housing. These bonds would be sold to the public and every dollar would be returned after buying its part of decent housing.

H. R. 4277 authorizes $25,000,000 for research in housing. It authorizes $500,000,000 for loans for potentially adequate farms. H. R. 4277 authorizes $60,000,000 at $20,000,000 a year for migratory workers.

Finally, H. R. 4277 meets the question of race discrimination where it exists in ugly reality -- in housing. It prohibits discrimination in past, present, or future housing in which the Federal Government has had a hand ...

We hear great speeches about the housing lobby and the real estate lobby and other lobbies from all parties. What has Congress done? We have passed a rent control bill that the lobbies like. Let's pass a housing bill that the people like.

My bill is the only bill before Congress which gives substantial aid to families now living in slum areas; to low and middle income families, to small farmers and sharecroppers. This is the only bill that authorizes direct aid to the housing problems of the migratory workers.

The cost is trifling compared with the cost of armaments. Capital expenditures are limited to the subsidies. The loan funds do not represent a capital expenditure.

If we wish to show our own people and the world that we are a great democracy, we must have homes for the people that make up that democracy. We must consider homes as important as warplanes or atom bombs. We must make it clear that in a democracy a Negro needs a home, and is entitled to a home, just as much as a white man.

If we come up again with too little, too late, the consequence will be incalculable. America, where 58,000,000 citizens are in desperate need of homes, must act...



June 29, 1949

[Here Congressman Marcantonio argued in support of his amendment to a bill providing Federal funds for housing. The amendment prohibited the use of such funds to all projects which permitted segregation or any other form of discrimination.]

Mr. Chairman, this amendment is offered at a time when the struggle of the Negro people for full equality has reached a crisis. To those who say that there is no discrimination or segregation in public housing or in any other housing financed by the Government, I refer to the memorandum submitted to the President by Mr. Thurgood Marshall, of the NAACP, which is found on page 223 of the hearings. It tells the sordid and tragic story of the denial of housing to American citizens because of their color and because of their national origin.

Mr. Chairman, I have a pretty good idea of the arguments that have been circulated against my amendment -- the artificial excuse that was offered is that this kind of amendment will sink the [housing] bill. Personally I do not believe that. The same argument was made in the Senate and on the final roll call 57 voted for the housing bill and 13 against. So that if this amendment had been adopted [in the Senate], there would have been ample votes to pass the housing legislation with an anti-discrimination provision...

Further, to those who want to use the opportunistic argument, let me tell them that you have no right to use housing against civil rights.

Housing and civil rights are an integral part of each other. Housing is advanced in the interest of the general welfare and in the interest of strengthening democracy. When you separate civil rights from housing you weaken that general welfare. You weaken the democracy that you pretend to strengthen. Remember, here you launch a 40-year program whereby you deny equal opportunity to housing the 14,000,000 American citizens and to other racial minorities. This attempt to separate civil rights from housing is dishonest political opportunism.

Another opportunistic argument that is advanced is, "Well, we will not do it now. We will do it later on." "We will do it on F.H.A. or on some other bill." I have heard that argument too often. I heard it in connection with my amendment to the 70-group air force and in connection with the $16,000,000,000 Military Establishment bill, and to every other effort I have made to have civil rights legislation passed by this House. It is the same argument every time an effort is made for civil rights. But you did not give that argument to the Negro people last election. You told them the Eighty-first Congress would enact civil rights. What has happened here? Whenever we have an opportunity to enact civil rights we are given some pretext or another, so that the Eighty-first Congress, as far as civil rights is concerned, has become the Maana Club -- tomorrow but not today. You go back and tell the Negro people and other minorities who are seeking equality, "Not now but tomorrow."

Every member must vote on this proposition according to the best dictates of his conscience and in keeping with the promises that he or she made to his or her constituents. Vote along those lines and you have no other alternative but to support this amendment.

I say that we must have both civil rights and housing; they are indivisible in the defense of democracy. Housing with discrimination negates the stated objective of this bill. Such a fight for both can be won if the leadership wants to make the fight, just as the fight was made in the final hours on the Wood bill [for continued rent control]. We were told that we could not win, but we did win, because we did fight, even though the fighting began when it was almost too late. Stand up now and we can get housing in accordance with the best traditions of American democracy. This depends on your will to fight for it. The responsibility rests on the majority. The responsibility rests on every, single Member. Do we want housing with Jim Crow? I say "No." I say that the issue cannot be evaded. It exists in the very marrow of the bone of this bill. I say the American people want housing with the full guaranty of equality.



July 26, 1949

[A bill had been introduced to make "unlawful the requirement of a poll tax as a prerequisite to voting in a primary or other election for national officers." Congressman Hobbs of Alabama challenged the constitutionality of any such Federal legislation. Congressman Marcantonio accepted the challenge and replied:]

Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from Alabama, Judge Hobbs, has issued a challenge, and I am sure that we all like him so much that we do not want to give him indigestion by forcing him to eat his own hat. The fact that he is relying on a dissenting opinion is by itself a confession of weakness.

The gentleman from Alabama, of course, makes no mention of the majority opinion in the Classic case, and if I may be so bold as to remind the gentleman from Alabama of the principle upon which that decision was based, I would like to point out that in the Classic case it was held beyond any doubt by the majority opinion, rendered by Chief Justice Stone, that the election of a Member of the House and a Member of the Senate and of the presidential electors is a Federal function. It is not a State function; it is a Federal function ....

Now then, if the States have the power to impose a tax on that election, then they are arrogating the power to impose a tax on a Federal function. Certainly there is not a Member in this House who contends that a State may impose a tax on a Federal function. Nobody can contend that .... Now, I yield to the gentleman [from Alabama].

Mr. Hobbs: I simply want to say that I have no quarrel with majority opinion in the Classic case, nor has any one ever dissented from it except on this one point.

Mr. Marcantonio: On the question of primaries. May I say to the gentleman that since the Classic case we have had the Texas white primary case, Smith vs. Allwright (321 U.S. 649), and certainly in that case the Court went right into the State of Texas and outlawed the Texas white primary law. Why? Because those white primary provisions are a restriction on the elective franchise. The Court went into the State of Texas and declared the white primary laws illegal. It said that this law was a restriction on the elective franchise. The Court in that case did deal with the primaries.

The poll tax as a prerequisite to voting in either a primary or general election is a restriction; it is not a qualification. A qualification to vote means the capacity to vote. It means capacity as to resistance, capacity as to age. But a tax on the right to vote as a prerequisite to voting definitely is a restriction, and I am confident that it would be so recognized by the Court. I say so in the light of the Constitution and the Supreme Court decisions I have cited, that the States do not have the right to impose this poll tax, and if there ever was any doubt about it, that doubt was settled by the fourteenth amendment. The second sentence of the fourteenth amendment I think tells the full story. It simply states:

"No States shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."

The right to vote is definitely a privilege and comes under the word "immunities." it is therefore a right. This language prohibits a poll tax or any other device which abridges the right to vote.

The gentleman from Alabama bases his argument on section 1, article I [of the Constitution], and I think I have answered it. Section 1, article I, deals with qualifications, and a poll tax, as I have stated before, is not a qualification but a restriction. Also you must read section 1 together with section 4 of article I, and again if there ever was any doubt as to the power of Congress to pass on this question it is resolved by section 4 of article I:

"The times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the place of choosing Senators."

Please note that section 4 of article I contains the word "manner." This means everything in connection with elections. Also, I read article I, section 8, clause 18

"To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of this United States, or in any department or office thereof."

So that right here in the Constitution we find two propositions; First, that the States do not have the power to impose a poll tax; and second, that Congress has the power to declare such a poll tax illegal.

The poll tax as a prerequisite to voting in either a primary or general election is a restriction; it is not a qualification. A qualification to vote means the capacity to vote. It means capacity as to resistance, capacity as to age. But a tax on the right to vote as a prerequisite to voting definitely is a restriction, and I am confident that it would be so recognized by the Court. I say so in light of the Constitution and the Supreme Court decisions I have cited, that the states do not have the right to impose this poll tax, and if there ever was any doubt about it, that doubt was settled by the fourteenth amendment. The second sentence of the fourteenth amendment I think tells the full story. It simply states:

"No States Shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."

The right to vote is definitely a privilege and comes under the word "immunities". It is therefore a right. This language prohibits a poll tax or any other device which abridges the right to vote.

The gentlemen from Alabama bases his argument on section 1, article I [of the Constitution], and I think I have answered it. Section 1, article I, deals with qualifications, and a poll tax, as I have stated before, is not a qualification but a restriction. Also you must read section 1 together with section 4 of article I, and again if there ever was any doubt as to the power of Congress to pass on this question it is resolved by section 4 of article I:

"The times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at anytime by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the place of choosing Senators."

Please note that section 4 of article I contains the word "manner". This means everything in connection with elections. Also, I read article I, section 8, clause 18 --

"To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of this United States, or in any department of office thereof."

So that right here in this Constitution we find two propositions; First, that the states do not have the power to impose a poll tax; and second, that Congress has the power to declare such a poll tax illegal.

Mr. Chairman, there is something much more fundamental involved here than the constitutional argument, and that is the struggle of the Negro people for full equality. I pride myself on having pioneered in this [anti-poll tax] legislation. It has been before us since the Seventy-sixth Congress. Today it comes to us at a time when that struggle of the Negro people for full equality has reached a crisis. You gentlemen from the South can point to what is going on in the North, and I agree with you that there ia a lot of sham and fraud and chicanery with regard to Negro rights in my own city. Yes, we have segregation and discrimination in my own city of New York.

But it is precisely because these conditions exist everywhere that there rests the responsibility upon this Congress -- the majority of whom were elected on a platform of civil rights, and specifically on a platform for the abolition of this barrier to equality -- to abolish it. That responsibility must be discharged in keeping with the manner in which you declared it to the people of your constituencies, and that is by voting against all crippling amendments and then voting for the bill.

The Negro people today in my city are being subjected to the vilest kind of segregation, discrimination, and police brutality. I admit it. I cite the refusal of the Metropolitan Insurance Co. to rent apartments to Negroes in Stuyvesant Town and Cooper Villages, both of which projects are beneficiaries of the city's funds. I also cite the exclusion of Negroes from Levittown project, which is a F.H.A. financial housing development. I say one of the best ways in which this Congress can act against conditions of inequality is by enacting this legislation.

Coming back to the South, I say to you, gentlemen of the South, that no matter how much you say the Negroes are happy, I know of no man who is happy as long as he has to live under Jim Crow.



August 17, 1949

[A House Resolution had just been introduced for the immediate consideration of a bill, H.R. 5895, "to promote the foreign policy and provide for the defense and general welfare of the United States by furnishing military assistance to foreign nations...". This was passed by a vote of 277-46, and became the "Mutual Defense Assistance Act of 1949." In opposing it during the house debate Congressman Marcantonio said:]

Mr. Speaker, I oppose the resolution and I oppose the bill. I have been opposing this program consistently since its inception. In my opposition I have repeatedly stated that this is an insane program and a program for imperialism and war.

We first started with the Truman Doctrine to defend tyranny in Greece and Turkey. We then catapulted the Nation along the path of war with the Marshall Plan. Through it we are using money, funds of the American taxpayers, now we are using arms, and I say if this insane policy is not stopped, next we will be using men.

If we fail to recognize this war program for what it is, then we are either naive or cowardly. I respect the honesty of the viewpoint of the gentlemen from Georgia [Mr. Cox]. He has time and time again, in the support of this program, definitely recognized and characterized it as a war program. While I thoroughly disagree with him, I cannot quarrel with his honesty in his defense of this program.

I cannot, however, follow the gentleman from New York [Mr. Javitz]. To me, his talk of this being a peace program is simply double talk. The only hope for peace is the United Nations. This program bypasses, undermines, and crushes the United Nations. How can anyone call this program one in the interest of peace without tongue in cheek?

This is either a war program or it is not. If it is not, then on what basis can you justify it? You cannot, and any attempt to do so is misleading and dishonest.

The gentlemen from Massachusetts [Mr. Herter] said it is necessary and he said it is necessary to fight communism. I should like to deal with that argument.

The same argument was made in Italy and Germany. There it was said that armaments and the anti-Comintern pact were necessary in order to stop communism. History has passed judgment on that argument; it passed judgment with the blood of untold millions and the devastation of billions of dollars of property.

It is abhorrent that in the United States today one's patriotism is subjected to attack when one stands up and fights for peace. But let us see how history has passed judgment on those who refused to follow those who promoted the program of the thirties in Italy and Germany to stop communism. Then Mussolini and Hitler said, "Follow me, follow me in this crusade against communism. We must use our money and we must use our arms and we must throw our men into this crusade." History has spoken.

Who were the patriots, those who said yes, and those who followed, or were the real patriots those who refused to follow and faced the firing squads and were placed in concentration camps?

Always an apologia has to be spelled out, a rationale must be given, in order to justify insane actions for a program of empire and war. Here for Wall Street aggression the rationale is: "We must stop communism." That is what the monopoly masters of Hitler and Mussolini had them say we are asked to close our eyes to the lessons of history, which is really contemporary. We are asked to forget everything -- everything that brought about the last World War.

Mr. Speaker, another justification that is sometimes offered by some pseudo liberal friends -- and I cannot help so characterizing ladies and gentlemen who, to purchase security, take one step forward and two steps backward as I say -- another justification which is sometimes offered is that all this is necessary because of imperialism by infiltration. That is the excuse that is given by them for this insanity -- imperialism by infiltration must be stopped. Only a pseudo liberal can use this devious excuse ....

Let us examine this fake argument. What has happened in the countries of eastern Europe is purely of domestic origin. The revolutions in these various countries of Europe were domestic, and to those who now want to extend this insanity to Asia, let me say that the Chinese people and the people of Europe are just as much entitled to their revolutions as we were entitled to ours.

There has been no change either in Europe or China brought about with Russian guns or Russian bayonets or Russian airplanes. To the contrary, $3,000,000,000 of American materials have been used to try to stop the Chinese people in their own revolution. In western Europe many billions of our money and quantities of our arms have been used to crush the people's aspirations to overthrow a monopoly capital economy imposed upon them by our Government at the behest of our own monopolists. We are beginning to see the failure in Europe of this program, as it has failed in China. We have stopped Great Britain on its march toward economic reform. The Labor government of England failed in its domestic program because it succumbed to our Marshall Plan. A member of the British Commons reported to the American people that what we are imposing upon them through the Marshall Plan is a hominy-grit diet, against which some day they will rebel and repeat our Boston Tea Party with a hominy-grit party ....

When will this insanity stop? I know -- it will stop when the American people learn the truth.



September 2, 1949

Mr. Speaker, under leave to extend my remarks in the RECORD, I include the following radio talk delivered by me on the second anniversary of F. H. LaGuardia's death:

Two years ago today Fiorello LaGuardia died. The people everywhere in the world felt his loss. His funeral was attended by the great in all walks of life. However, that was not what impressed me. The line of thousands upon thousands of common people who came to pay their respects during the 2 days while he lay in state in St. John's Cathedral was the most impressive tribute given to any man since Lincoln. The people who stood in line were workers, storekeepers, and of the professions. They were New York City. The New York City that LaGuardia loved, that LaGuardia served, that LaGuardia helped make great.

From everywhere in the world came messages of condolence and sympathy. Some of these messages were from the great, but the genuine grieving came from the poor people of Europe and Asia to whom LaGuardia had devoted so much of his energies during the last remaining years of his life.

I first met LaGuardia in 1921 when I was attending DeWitt Clinton High School. 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. LaGuardia made that the theme of his speech to the students.

The next time I met him was the summer of 1924 when both of the two old parties had ganged up on him. That year LaGuardia decided to support Senator Robert LaFollette for President on the Progressive Party ticket. The Republican Party refused LaGuardia the Republican nomination. The Democratic Party, as usual, sought to defeat him. LaGuardia 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.

Since then my association with the "Major," as we affectionately called LaGuardia, became close. I was very close to him in every single one of his political endeavors, and I learned a great deal from him.

My knowledge of the precepts of parliamentary procedure in the House of Representatives I learned from LaGuardia. The foundation of my knowledge of New York City politics I gathered from him.

There are very few honors that one in public life really cherishes. The one I prize most highly is that I represented his old district before it was gerrymandered, and I still do represent it now after the gerrymandering.

LaGuardia was a progressive -- his main interest was the welfare of the common people. This was his motivation which impressed all of us who were closely associated with him.

I shall never forget how in 1924 they called him a Socialist, and how in 1941 those who now occupy the seats of the mighty in our city government red-baited him. I never knew LaGuardia to falter in the face of name calling. Like a war aviator he never took his eye off the target. He kept after the objective. He was not frightened by the attacks. He fought and he fought hard, and that is why he won so many of his battles.

He battled on the people's side. The Norris-LaGuardia Act which he put through the House, and which Senator Norris carried in the Senate, became the workingman's defense against the ruthless rule over labor by the notorious injunction.

Government by injunction was repugnant to LaGuardia. He knew the operations of judicial tyranny against the men and women who work for a living. He knew how the press and the Courts were used against labor. He was cognizant of the trickery that was used by big industrialists of the country against their employees.

LaGuardia, together with Senator Norris, fought the battle against all this, and established the safeguard which now has been destroyed by the Taft-Hartley law.

Fiorello LaGuardia did not fear the powerful. In the days when one risked his political life when taking on the power trusts, LaGuardia did not hesitate to strenuously fight for public power. He was a pioneer in the field of public power. President Roosevelt's victories to bring cheap power to the people, and to curb the avarice of private utilities, were made possible by the pioneering of Fiorello LaGuardia in the House of Representatives.

LaGuardia was a bitter foe of racial discrimination. I recall when Oscar DePriest was elected to Congress from Illinois -- unless I am greatly mistaken he was the first Congressman of the Negro race to be elected since the days of Reconstruction -- Jim Crow, segregation, and discrimination, were invoked on the very site from which the war had been successfully won against slavery. Capitol Hill had no room for this Congressman. He was told that no office could be found for him. LaGuardia did not hesitate -- he invited Oscar DePriest to share his office with him, and then took up the fight which resulted in the granting of an office to DePriest.

LaGuardia never lost an opportunity in the House to denounce discrimination -- nor did he as mayor of the city of New York.

LaGuardia despised anti-Semitism in any form. You folks all remember the World's Fair, and you remember how LaGuardia announced that it was his wish to relegate Hitler to the Hall of Horrors.

We can all sit back now and say LaGuardia was right. Then it was another story. LaGuardia was accused by our so-called respectable press of having used intemperate language. The same people who today would rebuild another Hitler Germany, demanded that LaGuardia apologize. Our State Department did apologize. Who was right? The Press? The State Department? Or Fiorello LaGuardia?

LaGuardia knew the slums. Time and time again he would say to me, "if I could only wipe them all out and build cheerful homes for everybody." Since the national housing program became law, LaGuardia built 17,000 units in just a few years.

How the real estate interests hated LaGuardia -- public housing meant the beginning of the end of their monopoly. LaGuardia began the beginning of that end, and if he were alive today the end would be near. Instead, the trend has been reversed. Oh, how the people of New York City do miss LaGuardia in City Hall.

After LaGuardia left City Hall, he realized that the peace that the people had won at so much sacrifice was in danger. He knew that it might be taken away from them. Refusing to take a well-earned rest and enjoy the fruits of private life, LaGuardia plunged into the fight to preserve the peace and freedom of the world.

As Director of U.N.R.R.A. [United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration] he traveled all over the world. In a manner that was characteristic of LaGuardia, he smashed through red tape and overcame obstacles that were thrown in his way by reactionaries who never did believe in the principles for which the last war was fought. Those who hated Roosevelt had begun to take over. The Nazis and Fascists were being placed back in power all over Europe. Displaced persons once again began to feel the whiplash of anti-semitism. All this took place under the benign rule of our own administrators. LaGuardia fought them; he exposed them. He managed alone to bring some measure of relief to these victims of fascism.

Here in the United States, and in Congress, U.N.R.R.A. was called communistic. The maneuverings against it had been put in motion. LaGuardia beat them back until he was betrayed by our own State Department.

I have heard LaGuardia make many speeches -- the greatest and most historic speech was that made in defense of U.N.R.R.A. before the United Nations. The striped-pants gentlemen of the State Department sneered at U.N.R.R.A. They had abandoned the Roosevelt blueprint for peace based on world collaboration. They had begun to follow the course of unilateral action, and the great issue of this day was on that occasion fully delineated. On that occasion the gage of battle was laid down between those who sought to extend Wall Street's control and exploitation of the people of the world through the utilization of the dollars and now the arms and unless we stop it, later on the lives of Americans, and those of us who believed in the United Nations way, of which Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the architect: aid to the world without exploitation, not through unilateral action, but through the United Nations.

That is the great issue today -- that is the issue involved in the Atlantic Pact, the arms program, in the Turk-Greek-Truman doctrine in the Marshall Plan. Here is what LaGuardia said, and bear these words in mind so that we can better understand the nature of the contest which is being fought today between the men of peace and freedom and security, and the men of war and exploitation. LaGuardia said, and I quote him:

"Now, gentlemen, there are many ways of dealing with this problem: The first, that aid should be given on a national basis. Each rich nation should choose the recipient and make its own conditions. This is the old-fashioned imperialist way. This method of making one country dependent upon another was discarded by the world -- I hope forever. That isn't why the United Nations was formed. That is not the spirit of the Atlantic Charter or the San Francisco charter not as I understand it.

The second possible arrangement -- and look out for this one, please -- is for a group of big nations to join together and select recipients of their charity. This arrangement would only be a false front. It is not in keeping with international cooperation. Let us be honest. It is just plain, ordinary, old-time power politics, and the world has had war after war because of power politics.

The third way is to create an international authority operating under the control of the United Nations and meeting the relief need, without any consideration of race, creed, or political belief, being guided only by the existence of true need. This is what is known as the new way of the United Nations. But it really is not a new way. It is a way brought to this world nearly 2,000 years ago in the teachings of the Prince of Peace. And a wicked world has, to date, refused to learn the lesson."

Those were LaGuardia's words.

LaGuardia also applied this test to the Truman Doctrine, and opposed it in an article which he wrote for the newspaper PM.

Can anyone have any doubt as to where LaGuardia would have stood today against the program of boom, bust, and war? He would have fought it from every forum in the Nation.

LaGuardia hated tyranny. He felt that it was never in the best interest of America to use the funds, the arms, and the lives of this Nation in the defense of tyranny. It was his belief that a policy of empire abroad meant only retrogression at home.

Fiorello LaGuardia, the progressive Congressman, the greatest mayor of our city, today would have been the great gladiator for peace and freedom everywhere in the world.



September 28, 1949

[On September 28, 1949, Congressman Marcantonio introduced H.R. 6253, a bill for research in polio and for treatment and rehabilitation of its victims. Mr. Marcantonio said, in presenting the bill:

"This year the nation has suffered its worst polio epidemic of any year since 1916. While the Truman Administration spends billions for arms, it leaves the research and treatment of this dread disease which strikes terror to the hearts of millions of parents, in the hands of private philanthropy. I propose that that sum of $1,314,000,000 authorized for weapons for other countries, including the dictatorships in Greece and Turkey, be spent to protect our people against polio. Private philanthropy, started by the late President Roosevelt, is now without funds and there are thousands of polio cases which require expensive and lengthy treatment.

My bill proposes that the Federal Government undertake a large scale coordinated program of research in polio, instead of leaving it to scattered grants by the Infantile Paralysis Foundation. And even more important than research is the need to give every child or adult who is afflicted with polio the chance to get decent treatment, especially the long rehabilitation treatments necessary to fit them for an active life. There is a terrible lack of trained nurses, doctors, and particularly, equipment, to enable polio victims to receive proper treatment.

Treatment is expensive. The poor and lower income groups cannot afford it. The National Foundation has helped with the treatment of many cases, but this is a problem which exceeds their capacity. The need for trained personnel will not be met as long as nurses and doctors receive such low pay in city hospitals as they do in New York City.

It is shocking that the Truman Administration, ably supported by the leaders in both Republican and Democratic parties, will spend $1,314,000,000 for weapons to countries abroad, but will spend nothing to save the lives of American citizens."

Seven of the nine sections of the bill are given in full below.]

A bill to provide for the mobilization of the scientific resources and knowledge of the United States for the purpose of seeking the causes and cure of poliomyelitis, and to provide for the cure, treatment and rehabilitation of victims of poliomyelitis.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress Assembled, that to secure the full development and use of the Nation's resources for the national health and welfare, there is hereby established an independent agency to be known as the Poliomyelitis Research Agency.

Section 2. The Agency is authorized and directed to initiate, conduct, and support scientific research with respect to the cause and cure of poliomyelitis, to investigate the cause and spread of poliomyelitis, and to make recommendations with respect thereto.

Section 3. The Agency is authorized and directed to provide facilities and treatment for the cure of poliomyelitis, and for the rehabilitation of patients suffering from poliomyelitis so as to fit them for an active life.

Section 4. The Agency is authorized and directed to train doctors, nurses, and to furnish equipment to enable poliomyelitis patients to receive the proper training.

Section 5. The powers and duties of the Agency shall be exercised by a governing board (hereinafter called the "board") of five to be nominated by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and the President shall fix their term of office, not to exceed five years. One of the members so appointed shall be the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, and the members of the board shall serve without compensation, but shall be allowed actual and necessary traveling expenses, and the expenses of subsistence when engaged away from home, in the duties of their offices.

[Sections 6 and 7 give details of administrative personnel, powers, and procedures.]

Section 8. To enable the Agency to organize, and to carry out its powers and duties, there is hereby authorized to be appropriated the sum of $1,314,000,000. Appropriations shall be made annually in amounts authorized by the Congress.

Section 9. An annual report shall be made to the President and the Congress at the end of each year.



October 4, 1949

[Congressman Marcantonio presented to the House the following picture of the "de-nazification" and "de-cartelization" of Germany. This speech introduced his resolution calling for a Congressional Committee to "conduct a study and investigation of the American Military Government in Germany" and to "submit to the House its final report on the results of its study and investigation, together with such recommendations as it deems advisable."]

Mr. Speaker, I would like to raise a few questions regarding American policy in Germany, questions which fill every honest American with grave concern.

... Are we building up a new German army? Is the money of American taxpayers used to support storm troopers?

... Did our occupation guarantee the de-nazification of Germany? No, because reports reach us that Nazis are back in power all over Germany. Why is it, that de-nazification has been turned over to those Germans who were Nazis themselves? Why was Herr Otto Vortisch made chief of de-nazification of western Berlin? Herr Vortisch was a high Nazi official in occupied Poland. Why is anti-semitism on the increase in the United States zone of occupation?

We have betrayed our trust. We have made a farce out of de-nazification We have allowed the German general staff to go free. We have returned to power Hitler's bankers and industrialists who kept Hitler's war machine in high gear, who grew fat on the looting and enslavement of millions of people. We have permitted storm troopers and anti-Semites and Gestapo men to determine the future of the "new order." We have ripped to shreds the promise of peace held out at Yalta, Crimea, and Potsdam.

In the spring of 1945 General Eisenhower, standing amid the corpses of Buchenwald, declared to the newly appointed civilian administrator of the camp: "Please inform your comrades we will right everything in which they have been wronged." What has happened to that promise? In the first flush of victory we made some feeble efforts on behalf of the victims of fascism. Some Nazi property was turned over to anti-Nazis and political opponents of the Hitler regime. Two years later, however, this property was returned to the Nazis by decree of German courts.

In the first flush of victory, and under the impact of the universal demand for the destruction of the armies that had wreaked such havoc upon mankind, we made some feeble efforts at bringing some of the military leaders to justice. But in 1948 not only were these Nazis at liberty, but German legislative bodies were voting pensions to all ex-Wehrmacht officers and their widows. We were righting everything with a vengeance. The 27 year-old widow of a Nazi major since 1931, Landrat Hoellfritsch, was granted a monthly pension of 500 marks. But the widows of German anti-Fascists who had been murdered in concentration camps were granted a bounty of 80 marks a month.

In 1947, former Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall announced that the "pernicious cartels in Germany were abolished." But by the end of 1948 the evidence that German cartels were very much alive and flourishing had become such a scandal that Royall was forced to appoint a three-man committee, known as the Ferguson committee, to investigate the de-cartelization program. The committee reported that

"The de-cartelization program, despite uncontroverted policies and clear directives, has not been effectively carried out. After almost 4 years of occupation and 2 years of operation under an adequate law, the program has not proceeded very far."

This was a masterpiece of understatement. The fact is, and the testimony gathered by the Ferguson Committee proves conclusively, that the de-cartelization program was never implemented. General Draper, vice-president of Dillon, Read, the firm that had helped to build up the Ruhr in 1926 by loaning Fritz Thyssen $100,000,000, and which later helped finance Hitler's war machine, saw to that. And when Draper left to become Under Secretary of the Army, he was assured that his policies would be continued by the appointment of his son-in-law, Philip Hawkins, to head the de-cartelization division. "Within 6 months," writes Delbert Clark, [New York Times Foreign Correspondent] "de-cartelization was interpreted out of existence, and the branch was largely broken up." These men made no bones about their opposition to the de-nazification and de-cartelization program. In fact, General Draper stated before the Ferguson Committee that General Clay knew his views on the subject. Yet General Clay did nothing to remove the men who were sabotaging the program for the establishment of a democratic Germany.

While American bankers in diplomatic frock coats or generals' uniforms were ensuring that their Nazi banker and industrialist friends got proper treatment, highly respected and sincere Americans who had been appointed to supervise de-nazification and de-cartelization, and who were naive enough to believe that their superiors really meant business, were driven to despair and either resigned in disgust or were quietly eliminated. Such was the case with James Stewart Martin, Russ Nixon, Johnston Avery, Heinz Norden, George Wheeler, and a host of others.

Particularly instructive is the case of Alexander Sacks, a young attorney in the employ of the American Military Government. Sacks had appeared before the Ferguson Committee and presented detailed evidence of the calculated and deliberate sabotage of the de-cartelization program. For daring to do this, Sacks incurred the wrath of General Clay, who showed no great concern over the fact that the program had been sabotaged. General Clay ordered the suspension of Sacks, and also held him liable to court martial on the charge of making statements attacking the integrity and good faith of the Under Secretary of the Army, and of key United States military government officials charged with the formulation of policy and the implementation of the de-cartelization program in the United States zone of Germany.

De-cartelization was of course not the only field in which we manifested our feverish haste to be done with Potsdam. Equally revealing is what happened to our solemn promise to mete out punishment to those guilty of war crimes. At Nuremberg, we joined with the big powers in giving a name to the unspeakable crimes that had been committed by Hitler and his cohorts. We coined a new word -- genocide -- to describe the mass murder of millions of people. But what happened? Von Papen and Fritsche were freed. Schacht, financial adviser to Hitler, was acquitted, on the grounds that he was not the actual trigger man, and because it had not been proved beyond doubt that he was aware of Hitler's plan. Justice Charles B. Sears, of Buffalo, N. Y., who allowed three leading Nazi industrialists to go free, ruled on December 22, 1947, that

"A person cannot become guilty of a crime against humanity merely by exerting anti-Semitic pressure to procure... industrial property owned by Jews." In other words, it was not a crime if one merely had a Jew killed in order to take over his property. This, by the way, is the same Judge Sears who ordered the deportation of Harry Bridges, west coast labor leader in 1942 on the grounds that he was a dangerous alien ....

Captain C. M. Gilbert, United States psychiatrist who was attached to the Nuremberg prisoners awaiting trial, told in October 1946 of a talk he had one day with Schacht:

"Schacht laughed in his cell at the suggestion that German industrialists were to be indicted for rearming Germany.

'If you want to indict industrialists who helped Germany rearm, you will have to indict your own, too,' he said. 'The Opel Works which did nothing but war production were owned by General Motors .... You cannot indict industrialists.'"

These are only a few of the signs of the revival of fascism in Germany. They are no surprise to anyone who has followed events in Germany. They are a result of the policy which began as soon as American troops moved into Germany. That policy became evident when progressives and democratic Germans in the western zone were subjected to intimidation, when efforts were under way to suppress the trade union movement and to prevent it from playing a leading role in the democratization of Germany. The course of American policy in Germany, approved by the leadership of the Democratic and Republican Parties, was indicated by Allan Dulles in November 1946, at a meeting of the American Bankers Association, when he stated:

"For us it is essential to participate in a leading capacity in the rebuilding of German economy in order to stabilize the economic situation in the United States through control of the German economy, and to assure American firms suitable profits."

And his brother, John Foster Dulles, similarly indicated the direction and the orientation of American policy makers when he declared that, with the enactment of the Ruhr statute, "the United States has now become a European power in western Germany."

The Dulleses and the Drapers may be well satisfied with what they have achieved in Germany. For the reuniting of American and German cartelists and bankers has paid off well. But for the American people, the policy we are now pursuing is disastrous and suicidal. Potsdam must be enforced, and the shameful, undercover policy of rebuilding a Nazi Germany must be halted. A full, thoroughgoing and public investigation of the American military government and its activities must be undertaken...



October 5, 1949

[In their contract negotiations during the summer of 1949 the United Steelworkers of America asked for a wage increase and for a company-financed pension and social-insurance plan. A special emergency mediation board appointed by the President recommended only the pension and social insurance, not the wage increase. The employers refused to accept even this recommendation, and on October 1, 1949, about 500,000 steel workers in 29 states went out on strike.

In the House of Representatives their was much criticism of the union's "intransigent" attitude. On October 5 Congressman Marcantonio took the floor to defend the steelworkers.

On October 31, 1949, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation signed a contract with the union accepting the company-financed pension plan. There were also provisions for other social insurance plans based on joint employer-employee contribution. By the middle of November all the major steel companies had signed similar contracts.]

Mr. Chairman, today, millions of American workers are living with fear in their hearts.

These men and women fear the economic insecurity that is the constant companion of every man who works in the mines, the mills, and the factories of this, the wealthiest land in the world today. And they fear the future -- the prospect of being thrown on the dump heap some day like a worn out piece of machinery, when younger and stronger men come along to replace them at their jobs.

It is this fear that is behind the crises that have developed in the steel making and coal mining industries.

Because their Government has not seen fit to establish an adequate system of old age pensions and health insurance, workers, through their trade unions, have been trying to obtain some kind of partial security on a company or industry-wide basis.

That the initial responsibility for this crisis lies with the Congress, and primarily with the majority party, is clear beyond doubt. The Social Security Act has not been altered, except for the relatively minor amendments adopted in 1939, since its inception 13 years ago, and except for the better-than-nothing bill before us today. As a matter of fact, when the steady shrinkage in the purchasing power of the dollar is considered, current benefits... low as they are, are considerably less than even [those] originally agreed to. But the leaders of the major parties seem too concerned about other problems to worry about the aged and the sick in our own land.

Meanwhile, what about steel...?

The Steelworkers' union demanded of the industry a 30-cents-per-hour-package increase, made up of three parts; about 12 1/2 cents for wages, 11 1/4 cents for pensions, and 6 1/4 cents for insurance and health and welfare.

The Presidential fact-finding board recommended absolutely nothing in wages; 4 cents for insurance, and 6 cents for pensions ... to be paid for solely by the employers .... This is the total recommendation of the President's board; and this the steelworkers' union leaders accepted.

The men that work in the steel mills ... are among the hardest working in America. Their youth and their strength are drained away by the blast furnaces and the rolling mills of this industry. There is no question that these men should have an adequate pension and welfare program and a substantial wage increase as well.

But their union leaders have already renounced their wage demand, and I deem this surrender tragic. As for the insurance and pension plans, about which real differences have since developed between the employers and the union, it would be well for the Members of this body to be informed in some detail.

Let us look at these demands once more. The steelworkers asked that the industry contribute 11 1/4 cents per hour toward a pension scheme. This would provide for a pension of $125 per month, independent of the Federal old age benefits, at the age of 65.

The steel board recommended 6 cents. And this would provide a pension of approximately $70 per month, which -- increased by the Federal program -- would provide $100 per month.

It is this pension scheme -- noncontributory, the employers bearing the full cost -- about which big steel is making such loud protests. "Revolutionary" was the word Benjamin Fairless, the head of United States Steel, used to describe this part of the board's proposal. The cynicism and hypocrisy of these men of big business has never been more completely exposed than by their reaction to the noncontributory pension and insurance proposals.

These have been described as "socialistic" and "revolutionary." Editorials have been written blaring forth that American initiative will be destroyed if American workers receive a piddling pension of $25 per week toward which they make no contributions. Such a program would mean loss of freedom for the worker! Freedom for what -- to die in the poorhouse?

But let us look at the record. This same Ben Fairless who recoils from the unAmerican proposal for a noncontributory pension, himself has a little pension program as an executive officer of United States Steel.

At the age of 65 Mr. Fairless will receive a pension of $50,000 per year toward which he has contributed not 1 cent. He also participates in a contributory plan under which he paid in $6,000 last year and the company $10,000. Last year Mr. Fairless received a $20,000 wage increase, more than three times his annual contribution to his second pension plan.

Bethlehem Steel also has a completely noncontributory pension plan for executives. Pensions are the average compensation 10 years prior to retirement. A. B. Homer, president of Bethlehem, will be 65 in 1961. At his 1948 compensation of $263,280 a year he will receive a pension of $110,460 per year toward which he contributes not 1 cent. Three former officials of Bethlehem are now receiving pensions toward which they contributed not 1 cent -- these are pensions of $25,668; $27,168; and $76,968 per year.

Need I add that Bethlehem joins United States Steel in opposing, on principle, noncontributory pensions for the men who work at the blast furnaces and in the mills?

Ben Moreel is the chairman and president of Jones & Laughlin Steel. If he retires in 1953, he will receive an annual pension of $25,000; if he continues to work until 1958, his pension will be $35,000 per year -- all paid by the company. And Mr. Moreel, a former Navy admiral, I believe, has been with the company only 2 years.

The record goes on and on. And the case is clear.

Noncontributory pension plans are fine for executives. They are "revolutionary" for workers.



January 15, 1950

[Congressman Marcantonio wrote the following article for the New York City newspaper, The Daily Compass. The article, published January 15, 1950, was headlined: "TRUMAN CAN PASS OR KILL FEPC," SAYS MARCANTONIO.]

The bill to establish a Fair Employment Practices Committee can be passed by the House of Representatives next Monday.

Or it can be bottled up forever in the Rules Committee.

Whether the FEPC bill is to be passed or is to die is entirely up to President Truman.

The chips are down.

Monday is the crucial day. On that day the country will discover whether the Truman Administration's devotion to civil rights is real and honest, or mere demagogy for vote-getting purposes.

The American people will discover on Monday whether the Democratic platform was a statement of the honest principles of honest men, or a hypocritical sham.

If it comes before the House, the FEPC bill will pass, probably with 50 or 60 votes to spare. I say that as one who has canvassed the situation thoroughly, as one who in 1940 introduced the first FEPC bill in history, as one whose anti-poll tax bill was passed by the House in the 78th and 79th Congresses, as one who has lived with the problem of civil rights legislation every day and every night for 13 years.

But the problem is to get the FEPC bill before the House.

Monday is the last day that can be done.

Whether it is done then depends upon the action of three Congressmen. They are not dixiecrats. They are not Republicans. They are not enemies of President Truman.

On the contrary, they are Administration stalwarts. They are the leaders of the Truman democrats. They are the prophets of the Fair Deal.

The three men are:

Sam Rayburn [D-Tex.] Speaker of the House.

Adolph J. Sabath [D - Ill.] Chairman of the Rules Committee.

John Lesinski [D-Mich.] Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor. What they do will depend on what President Truman tells them to do.

Here is the parliamentary situation:

The present Congress -- the 81St -- passed a resolution on the first day it met, in January, 1949, which toOk away from the Rules Committee its power to sit forever on legislation it didn't like.

The new rule provided that when a committee of the House reported out a bill, the Rules Committee had only 21 days in which to set a date for debate on that bill by the full House.

If the Rules Committee sat on a bill for more than 21 calendar days, the chairman of the committee which had originally reported out the bill had the right to bring it before the House for debate and action.

Two days of each month were set aside for this purpose, the second and fourth Mondays.

On those days and only those days -- the chairman of any committee whose bill had been bottled up in the Rules Committee for more than 21 days could rise, obtain recognition from the Speaker, and bring the bill before the House. The Speaker was required to recognize the committee chairman for such purpose.

The Committee on Education and Labor, of which Rep. Lesinski is chairman, reported out the FEPC bill during the first session of the 81st Congress, last summer. The Rules Committee failed to bring it before the House in 21 days.

Chairman Lesinski could have brought the bill out and forced a vote on it by exercising his privilege on the remaining second and fourth Mondays of the session. I urged that this be done, but the Administration decision was to let it go until the second session, beginning in January, 1950.

Immediately the new session convened, I issued a statement to the press demanding that the FEPC bill be brought before the House at the earliest possible date, the second Monday of the month, January 9.

This was not done. Chairman Lesinski failed to ask the Speaker for recognition.

However, he promised to seek recognition on the fourth Monday of January. That is next Monday, the 23rd.

If the Administration had permitted Lesinski to act at the first opportunity, the present dangerous situation would not exist.

After that opportunity had been allowed to pass unused, a new factor entered the situation. The Rules Committee, by a vote of 9 to 2, approved a resolution which would abolish the 21-day rule and return to the Committee its power to bottle up legislation indefinitely.

That resolution, approved by the Rules Committee last Friday, was the fruit of an alliance between Republicans and reactionary Southern Democrats to block civil rights legislation.

When it comes before the House, that resolution will inevitably be approved.

That will end any chance to bring the FEPC bill before the House for a vote.

The FEPC Bill must therefore be brought out for action before the resolution, abolishing the 21-day rule, is presented to the House.

This can be done. It must be done next Monday, January 23.

It depends on the action of three men, the three administration stalwarts, the three men whom President Truman can tell what to do: Speaker Rayburn, Rep. Sabath and Rep. Lesinski.

Here is what President Truman must do if he really wants the FEPC bill passed:

1. He must see to it that Sabath, the chairman of the Rules Committee, holds up, for the full 10 days allowed by House rules, the resolution abolishing the 21-day Rule. After 10 legislative days from last Friday, any member of the Rules Committee can bring the resolution out for a vote. But for 10 days -- until after next Monday -- Sabath is perfectly within his rights in not bringing up the resolution.

2. President Truman must see to it that Lesinski, chairman of the committee which approved the FEPC bill, jumps up and seeks recognition as soon as Congress convenes Monday.

3. President Truman must see to it that Speaker Rayburn recognizes Lesinski, rather than some other committee chairman seeking to bring his own committee's bill to the floor.

It is entirely discretionary with Speaker Rayburn which committee chairman he recognizes.

As President Truman's general, directing the Administration's program in the House, he is responsible for carrying out the President's wishes. If the President is sincere in his protestations about civil rights, Rayburn will recognize Lesinski.

The President can no longer pass the buck to Congress. He can no longer blame the Republicans or the Dixiecrats for blocking civil rights legislation. His own men now hold the key to success or failure. Unless Administration Democrat Sabath holds up the 21-day resolution until after Monday, unless Administration Democrat Lesinski seeks recognition on Monday, unless Administration Democrat Rayburn recognizes Lesinski, the FEPC bill is doomed. And only one man will be to blame.

The country will know who that one man is.

[The Bill was not brought to the floor of the House.]



February 7, 1950

[In June, 1949, the United Mine Workers of America asked that wage increases, shorter hours, and increased employer contributions to the employees' welfare fund be included in their new contract. The employers refused to consider any of these demands and on September 19, 1949, the United Mine Workers struck. Several hundred thousand miners remained on strike until the beginning of 1950. In January 1950 contract negotiations were resumed and some miners returned to work on a three day a week basis. Despite President Truman's threat to take over the mines, under the powers granted him by the Taft-Hartley Act, and despite numerous Taft-Hartley injunctions against the union, the "work stoppage" continued without orders from U.M.W.A. officials forbidden by injunction to give such orders. Finally on March 5, 1950, a new contract was signed. This provided for a 7O cent a day wage increase and a 50% additional employer contribution to the welfare fund.

Congressman Marcantonio's opening remarks here refer to the President's threat of seizing the mines.]

Mr. Speaker, President Truman yesterday dropped the Taft-Hartley hell-bomb on the heads of the coal miners and their families. By it he will spread the hunger and starvation that exists in the coal fields. With it he has announced that he joins with the coal operators and the steel trust in their campaign to smash the unions. With it he has made a mockery of his campaign pledges to outlaw Taft-Hartley.

Four hundred thousand coal miners were pushed to the Taft-Hartley wall to be sprayed with all the lead at the command of Truman, Denham, [Chairman of The National Labor Relations Board] and the coal and steel magnates. And though the miners today are the immediate target of the giant financiers and their political valets, it is the wrecking of the entire labor movement that is their end objective...

Only because United States Steel, National Steel, and their controlled coal companies refuse to bargain with the United Mine Workers, are the miners and the country faced with the situation which exists today. Only because United States Steel and its billionaire owners are determined to smash the mine workers union are the miners on a 3-day and no-day week.

And only because the mine workers union refuses to bow its head before this vast financial power is there still time for the 15,000,000 other members of the American labor movement to save their unions and the miners. For 8 months the miners and operators have been locked in this titanic struggle ....

Plain and simple, the men who dig coal out of the darkness and danger of the earth, want 95 cents more pay for their day's labor. They want 15 cents more for their welfare fund, for the widows and orphans of the miners, for old-age benefits, and for medical care in the event of the inevitable accident. And they want to maintain their union free of any and all restrictions imposed on them by the mine operators through Federal and State laws.

To this, the mine operators, sitting as dummies on the knees of the steel financiers, have said "No" for 8 months. This is the same chorus the steel workers heard last fall. It is the same "No" now being intoned to the telephone workers, and the Chrysler auto workers.

And why should it not be the same chorus? It is the policy of the J.P. Morgan Co., the duPonts, the Mellon banking family, the vast Cleveland bank holding chain, the auto works. It is they who decreed in their directors meetings months ago that John L. Lewis and the mine workers' union must be ground to dust, and the rest of the labor movement, the A.F.L. and C.I.O., must be split, ripped, and chipped to pieces by any means.

They had the perfect weapon at their command -- the Taft-Hartley law. They had a Denham as overseer for the law. And they had a President who would order use of the law. Today, months after their plan was adopted, hunger and starvation have been wrought in the coal fields to the miners, their wives and children. The plan has brought increased suffering to the thousands of broken miners, who today should be receiving medical care through the welfare fund. It has increased the misery of aged miners subsisting on pennies, because the Coal operators have reneged on their payments to the welfare fund. It is the most callous, deliberate campaign to torture, sicken and destroy one group of people this Nation has seen since the great depression.

And along with this rule-or-ruin plan of the financiers against the miners, is the concomitant financial ruin to small, independent mine owners, independent storekeepers and professional people depending on miners to exist. It has meant the loss of jobs to thousands of railroad workers and other distributive workers. It has injected the germ of paralysis into every blood stream of American life.

This is the result of the relentless determination of the Wall Street money bags to smash the miners union and all unions, to make every mine and mill an open shop, a sweatshop. It is Ben Fairless and Irving Olds, of United States Steel and J. P. Morgan Co., who are to blame for the Nation's coal dispute, not John L. Lewis and the United Mine Workers.

Lewis and the miners solidly behind him are fighting to increase the $14.05 minimum wage to $15 a day. No one can say that even $15 is enough for the miners. No one can dispute the necessity of the welfare fund, and the fact that the miners would never have gotten the fund or anything like it, just through the great love the operators are now piously proclaiming for the miners. No one can dispute the right of the miners to strike, and [to] have their only weapon at their command at all times.

Some 1,700 mine operators have already signed agreements with the United Mine Workers, according to John L. Lewis. The contract adds about 15 1/2 cents to the previous cost of a ton of coal, after all tax deductions. These operators have found that the 15 1/2 cents added cost can be absorbed without any loss of profit to them.

Yet United States Steel, which just announced its highest profit in 20 years, pleads poverty to the public as it continues to reject the miners demands for living wages. In 1949, United States Steel made $165,958,806. This was divided among stockholders at $5.39 a share, several months after this giant corporation split its shares three for one. In other words, the dividend amounted to $16.17, as compared to the $4 dividend in 1948.

In addition to being the largest steel producer in the world, United States Steel is one of the biggest mine operators. The captive mines owned by the steel companies produce over 52,000,000 tons of coal a year, over 10 percent of the coal produced a year. Tied up directly with the steel companies is the giant Pittsburgh Consolidation Coal Co., the largest commercial producer. Together they produce over 100,000,000 tons a year.

Another large mining group is controlled by the Island Creek Coal Co., which in turn is controlled by the Cleveland Trust Co. This control is extended to the entire Southern Coal Producers Association. The Mellon banking family, through the Koppers Co., operates mines producing 14,000,000 tons of coal a year. The Stone and Webster engineering combine, owned by the steel trust, owns large mines in Illinois. A number of other large mines in Indiana and Illinois is owned by Hubert Howard, now chairman of the Munitions Board in the Department of Defense, and close personal friend of Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson.

Thus the control of the Nation's coal mines has been taken over by a handful of financial tycoons. This handful has enlisted the aid of President Truman and the Taft-Hartley Board against the miners and all labor.

This financial combine has for years made known its callous disregard of the lives and safety of the men who work in the mines. In 1949, exactly 593 men were killed in the mines, and 38,200 were injured. This is a low figure in the mines and is due to the reduced work week in effect since July. In 1948, there were 1,013 men killed, and 54,045 injured.

But in all the years the financial moguls have fought every attempt to improve the conditions in the mines. They have deliberately consigned men to horrible deaths. In the last 5 years, more than half of the men who work in the mines, 262,372, have been injured, and 4,797 killed.

Is it any wonder that the miners fight for what they believe is right? Is it any wonder that the men who face death every day are not afraid of the dollar-backed power of the steel plutocrats, and the Taft-Hartley backed power of their willing servant in the White House?

The miners have justice and right on their side. Now they need the backing and support of all people, especially the officers and members of the A.F.L. and C.I.O. who have in the past benefited from the miners' struggles.

If ever there was a time for the unity of labor, the time is now. The coal and steel magnates have created their own kind of hell-bomb and Truman has dropped it on the coal fields. A.F.L. and C.I.O. members, joined with the miners, can pull the fuse and prevent the bomb from going off to destroy the labor movement.

I call upon A.F.L. President William Green, and C.I.O. President Philip Murray, to cast aside their differences to lead this necessary movement in support of the miners. I call upon them to urge a nationwide movement in support of the miners. I call upon them to demand that the Taft-Hartley hell-bomb be stopped, not be dropped on the miners. I call upon them to use their strength ... to insist again and again... that Simon Legree Denham be fired.

And I call upon them to renew their demands that the Taft-Hartley law be repealed in this session of Congress. The law can be repealed in a matter of days with their help. It can be repealed if every professed friend of labor in this House joins in signing discharge petition No. 2 which can bring up the bill to repeal. Certainly there are 218 friends of labor in this House. It is about time these friends came forward.

All working people know that President Truman can no longer be counted as a friend of labor. All working people now know that his kind of friendship breeds hunger and starvation in the coal fields and steel towns. All working people now know that Truman serves the steel oligarchy. Labor will remember this in 1950 and 1951.



February 7, 1950

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to both sections of this bill section 2, which continues aid to Chiang Kaishek and section 3, aid to the rulers of South Korea.

On Page 8 of the report we are told by the committee that the expenditure that may be involved here will be anywhere from five to ten million dollars in aid to Chiang Kaishek. Let us consider that a moment before we go to the section on Korea.

We have spent more than $3,000,000,000 since VJ day to save Chiang Kaishek when Chiang Kaishek was on the mainland of China. We spent over $3,000,000,000 when Chiang Kaishek had full control of the Government of China, its resources, and held tyrannical rule over its people. Three billion dollars failed to save Chiang Kaishek on the mainland of China. Now it is proposed that, with $10,000,000 at most, we may save Chiang Kaishek on the island of Formosa. It seems to me that we fail to realize the real causes for our failure. We failed to save Chiang Kaishek because the people of China, people everywhere in Asia, are throwing off the shackles of foreign control, exploitation, and tyranny, and are establishing for themselves, through their own native revolutions, if you please, their own governments. I say that this Congress has failed to recognize fundamental principles; that the people of China are entitled to their revolution just as much as the people of the United States were entitled to their revolution back in 1776. The people of China have established their revolution and are now consolidating it. We are not going to halt it. We are not going to stop it either with hydrogen bombs or with the $10,000,000 to Chiang Kaishek on the island of Formosa. The corrupt tyrannical government of Chiang Kaishek is something of the past. It is finished. It has been done in by the people of China. We in the United States must not forget what history has taught us, that never has the defense of tyranny and corruption anywhere in the world been in the interest of the people of the United States. We, here, are continuing the defense of tyranny and corruption by going to the aid of Chiang Kaishek. In doing so we continue to ally ourselves with a crooked Fascist dictator against 400,000,000 Chinese people, their nation, and their friends all over Asia. What I have said about China is equally applicable to section 3 of the bill. We have heard talk about the defense of democracy in Korea.

We are told that... $60,000,000 must be used for the rulers of South Korea in the defense of democracy. First of all, what is the situation with respect to the people of Korea? I wish the Members of this House, before voting on this so-called Korean aid bill, would read both volumes I and II of the report of the United Nations Commission on Korea. That Commission had for its aim, and was established to bring about, the unification of North and South Korea. That purpose was in complete conformity with the will of the people of all Korea, for you can well recognize that you cannot just go into a country, draw a line and divide the country in two. The United Nations recognized it, and they recognized that what the people of North and South Korea wanted was independence and a unified nation. This Commission therefore went into Korea. It has made a report consisting of two volumes. I read to you just what it found with respect to the attitude of the present government, that we are here now seeking to aid, toward the fundamentals that the people of Korea want: namely, unification of their country and independence. They said:

"The government (referring to the government of South Korea) has not only made it clear that they would not participate in official discussions with the north looking to unification, but has also indicated that it frowned on unofficial efforts on this behalf. It has made clear that it views any suggestions for north-south discussion, even of an unofficial and most tentative kind, as a form of disloyalty."

Then on page 24 of the report, Volume 1, under D

"The people of Korea.. . have a passionate longing for unity and independence and have a profound desire for the peaceful unification of their country. The division of Korea has resulted in adverse economic consequences in the south. The aftermath of World War II would have made the need for outside aid urgent in any case. But if the country were united, the south would not require such aid in the same degree."

This is the United Nations Commission speaking. But are we aiding democracy in Korea? Are we not doing the same in Korea as we did in China, aiding tyranny and corruption?

Let me at this time cite an article from the very conservative New York Times, an article that appeared as recently as February 1 in the New York Times by an on-the-spot reporter of the New York Times, a very eminent reporter, Walter Sullivan. The article reads:

"POLICE BRUTALITY IN KOREA ASSAILED: TORTURE, WHOLESALE EXECUTIONS OF REDS, HELP DRAWING PEOPLE INTO ARMS OF COMMUNISTS.

(By Walter Sullivan)

Seoul, Korea, January 25 -- Some observers here believe the police of south Korea are the chief obstacle to the success of the Government -- that they are driving the common people into the arms of the Communists. Many Americans are horrified by the deaths by torture and wholesale executions of Communists. Yet the police must be viewed within the perspective of Korea. Forty years of oppression by the Japanese taught the Koreans the ways of a police state.

"It is an oversimplification to say that most able Koreans who remained here during those years either collaborated or joined the Communist underground. But there is some truth to this, and the south Korean regime leans heavily on the leadership -- even in the army and the police -- of those who held positions of rank under the Japanese ....

"Generally, the top government leaders are former exiles who were free of any ties with Communists or Japanese. They have been away from Korea so long, however, that some of them speak Korean with a foreign accent. This makes it easier for their enemies to link them with foreign domination.

"Wholesale arrests have caused the jails to overflow and forced the government to establish 'reeducation camps.' The official capacity of South Korea jails is listed at 15,000. On August 15, 1948, there were 14,000 prisoners. Last month the official figure was 40,000."

Forty thousand people in jails intended to accommodate fifteen thousand! This Government of Fascist Korea cannot long endure, as our $60,000,000 are not going to save it from the wrath of the Korean people. All civil liberties have been completely suppressed. Let me read to you what the chairman of the Assembly of Korea said recently about democracy in Korea, as reported in the New York Times of January 26, 1950. He holds a position which is similar to that of our Speaker. He said, accusing the Government: "Our Government here has had no conception of a democracy."

The same story as Chiang in China is repeated in South Korea by its Fascist rulers. Corruption on top of corruption is the basis of South Korean Government. I shall place in the RECORD press reports as to what has been done with articles that have been sent to it by us. To give you an idea of what is happening to their currency, let me remind you that in 1945 the national currency, the won, was 400 to a dollar; today it is 4,000 to a dollar. Won in circulation were 4,000,000,000 in 1945; 40,000,000,000 in 1948.

So that the story of South Korea is a repetition of Chiang Kaishek's tyranny in China. It is the story of tyranny, it is the story of corruption, it is the story of suppressing the national aspirations of the people for a united and independent country.

We tried to help this tyranny in China. We failed. We are now repeating the same interference in Korea. We are going to fail there too. I oppose this bill not only because the program is a failure but because it is contrary to the best interests of the American people, in supporting tyranny and corruption.

The Chairman: The time of the gentleman from New York has expired.

Mr. Eaton: Mr. Chairman, I yield the gentleman from New York two additional minutes to be interrogated by the gentleman from Pennsylvania.

Mr. Marcantonio: Mr. Chairman, I do not object to accepting this time. It is so rarely yielded to me that I will accept it even under the onerous conditions of being interrogated by such an interrogator as the one who desires to interrogate me.

Mr. Fulton: [Pennsylvania] I did not know the gentleman was on our side of the question. I understand that in South Korea one of the gentleman's complaints is that under the Japanese the South Koreans learned the method of a police state. If that is the gentleman's criticism of the South Korean Government does he not have the same criticism of the Soviet Government and of their satellite states because they are certainly police states?

Mr. Marcantonio: We are not asked here to appropriate money for the satellite states or for the Soviet Government. We are asked to appropriate money for a nation which the gentleman is now ready to admit is a police state. That is the issue before the House. Let us stick to it.

Mr. Fulton: The next question is this: When the Greek-Turkish aid bill came up for consideration and passage, and even the Marshall Plan bill, the gentleman was one who stood in the well of the House and said: "Why do you not turn this over to the United Nations so that the United Nations can handle it instead of doing it on a unilateral or bilateral basis?" If that is so, why does not the gentleman say with respect to Formosa that the United Nations shall establish a trusteeship over there and then there would be no question of supporting Chiang and the gentleman would not have any complaint in reference to the Chiang Government?

Mr. Marcantonio: I think the gentleman has distorted my position so much that even he has become confused. I at no time advocated taking territory away from any nation and establishing it as a trusteeship under the United Nations. Never have I advocated the violation of any country's territorial integrity. The record bears me out. You may stand up here and argue all you please, but the fact nevertheless remains, that Formosa is just as much a part of China as Staten Island is a part of New York. You cannot come around and either directly or by indirection take Formosa away from the Chinese people, and then stand up here and try to proclaim your friendship for democratic rights and for the principles of independent nations. It is a false argument and you know it.

Mr. Fulton: Would the gentleman agree to a plebiscite in Formosa, finally?

Mr. Marcantonio: I agree in supporting the people of China and their territory in their revolution, just as much as we expected France and other countries to support the United States and our territory when we had our revolution.

Here are some more facts on South Korea which demonstrate that we are giving aid, not to a democracy, but to Fascist corruption against the interests of the people of Korea, and against the interests of the American people:

The Chairman: The time of the gentleman from New York has expired.



February 15, 1950

[In opposing an F.E.P.C. bill, Congressman Colmer of Mississippi sought to discredit it by pointing out that Congressman Marcantonio had first introduced such legislation and had led the fight for it for 10 years.]

Mr. Colmer: .... we must hasten to pass this iniquitous, foreign and obnoxious piece of legislation called the fair employment practice bill. This is an election year, and the good of politics must be served.

And who, I ask you, my friends, is responsible for this situation? Who is it that cracks the whip and makes the leadership of both major parties jump through the hoop? It is the organized minorities; and who is their spokesman? The able gentleman from New York [Mr. Marcantonio] who back in 1940, introduced the first F.E.P.C. bill in this Congress.

...if honor there be in such a proposal the lion's share must go to the gentleman from New York who first conceived this program, and who has been, and is today, the floor manager for its enactment.

Mr. Marcantonio: Mr. Speaker, I desire to address my remarks to the speech made by the gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. Colmer].

In singling out the fact that I introduced the first F.E.P.C. bill in the history of the United States back in 1940, he would have the determination of the issue on just that. I think it is quite obvious that I am not important, and no individual here is important as compared to the importance of the issue. It is true I have fought consistently for the enactment of F.E.P.C. for 10 years; but no individual has any right to assume for himself any credit or any glory out of this fight.

May I say to the gentleman from Mississippi that the issue involved in F.E.P.C. is much older than even this Congress. It antedates the very establishment of our own Nation. It is an old struggle. It began with the establishment of slavery in America. F.E.P.C. is merely another form of that same old struggle. It was evidenced in the adoption of our Declaration of Independence. There the great principle was enunciated at a historic hour, an hour of crisis for our country, that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As the years went by, and as it became evident to the slaveocracy of this country that slavery would be once again profitable as the result of inventions, as a result of cotton, as a result of sugar, they started to whittle away at that principle, and it was whittled away so much that in the Dred Scott decision it was stated that no Negro had any rights that any white man must respect. Today this doctrine is the real basis of white supremacy, utilized again for the exploitation of the Negro people. This is the real motivation of the opposition to F.E.P.C.

It just so happens that this week is Negro History Week. It is also the anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. These two occasions should recall to our minds that Americans shed their blood to wipe out that ignominious decision of the Supreme Court. After victory had been achieved, again there was betrayal, betrayal then just as there is betrayal now, betrayal on the part of those who pretended to be the friends of freedom, but who sold out the fruits of the people's great victory in exchange for the winning of a dubious Presidential election.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the President of the United States, enunciated the proposition of an emancipation proclamation in industry. There can be no freedom unless it is implemented with the economic ability to maintain freedom. Freedom meant nothing to the emancipated slave unless he was given land, and the failure to give him land is the fundamental reason why this great question is still one being fought out down in the South and in the Nation. Freedom to the Negro or anyone else means nothing as long as he is barred from employment because of the color of his skin, the church in which he worships, or the land in which he was born.

F.E.P.C. is emancipation proclamation in the industrial life of the Nation. That is the basic issue involved in the F.E.P.C. So that it is bigger than I, and bigger than anybody. I do hope from now on in discussing this issue we will address ourselves to the great fundamental principles involved in that issue.



February 21, 1950

The gentleman [Mr. Keefe] infers that it is communism to insist, as I have been insisting, that there must be an end to Jim Crow; that you can never solve this problem by degrees, by gradualism. The Negro people have waited too long and have suffered too much under Jim Crow to wait for the success of gradualistic solutions. He implies that I am intolerant. I am intolerant. I am intolerant of any one who would tolerate conditions of segregation and Jim Crow. I am intolerant of inequality. I am intolerant of those Jim Crow conditions, and I shall continue to do all that I can in my limited capacity to destroy them. So, if that is intolerance, if it is communistic, as the gentleman from Wisconsin [Mr. Keefe] would call it, then all I can say about it is that I accept that charge. I do it with pride.

There is a fundamental difference of opinion between us. I simply say that I prefer to stand by my position and I apply that position to F.E.P.C. I say that it is gradualism to come here, as the gentleman from Arkansas [Mr. Hays] does, and advocate merely a statement of policy. You cannot have any guaranty against discrimination in employment unless you do give the Fair Employment Practice Commission the power to apply for and obtain cease and desist orders. That is the committee bill. The gentleman's substitute, as well as the substitute of the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. McConnell], do not provide for enforcement and are therefore gradualism. I am opposed to that because I oppose inequality. I am not for 50 percent equality. I am not for 90 percent equality, because anything less than 100 percent equality is not equality. There is only one kind of equality, I say to the gentleman from Wisconsin, and that is 100 percent full equality. Call it communism, call it what you please, but that is the only solution to this problem.

[Here Mr. Keefe criticized Mr. Marcantonio for bringing in extraneous issue.]

Is F.E.P.C. extraneous to Jim Crow and segregation? Are we not dealing with Jim Crow and segregation when we are dealing with the problem of discrimination in employment? The two are simply different phases of the same problem: One is the phase in the industrial life of the Nation -- Jim Crow and segregation exist in the industrial life, and F.E.P.C. is aimed at that -- so, Jim Crow and segregation are not extraneous to this problem; and the fact that the gentleman from Wisconsin says that they are extraneous demonstrates that the gentleman from Wisconsin does not have any real understanding of the whole issue involved. He has a superficial attitude toward this issue. This issue is much more fundamental than F.E.P.C. F.E.P.C. is just a phase of it. This issue goes back to the days of the thirteenth amendment. When the thirteenth amendment was under consideration that issue was raised in this House by a man whose memory has been done violence here, and by Hollywood -- Thaddeus Stevens; and it was raised by Republicans, by real Republicans, the anniversary of whose leader you have just been celebrating this last week. Those real Republicans stated right here in this House that emancipation meant nothing if there was no economic implementation; in other words you did not free the Negro if you did not give him full equality and the wherewithal with which to live. It was proposed right here in this House by Thaddeus Stevens that every emancipated slave be given a 40-acre farm and a mule. It would have meant breaking up the big landed feudalism of over 2000 acres. Radical, is it not?

If that policy had been adopted, if there had been no betrayal of the ideals for which men died in that Civil War, we would not be having this problem here today. You would not be having, for instance, the so-called Black Belt of the South with 5,000,000 Negroes exploited and subjected to the vilest form of racism, with 180 counties in which the Negro people constitute a majority ranging from 50 to 85 percent, subjected to the Bourbon rule of a minority.

What is this business you are perpetuating? You have perpetuated a political and social and economic scheme to deprive the Negro people of the democracy to which they are entitled, to deprive them of that political power with which they can protect themselves from economic slavery. So this system has been solidified, it has been perpetuated. Do you want to deal with that system gradually? Do you want to temporize with it? Do you want the bill of the gentleman from Pennsylvania or the bill offered by the gentleman from Arkansas which says that we declare for the principle of equality here in this Congress but we refuse to enforce that principle; we refuse to have any power given to the Federal Government to step in.



February 22,1950

[In reply to the argument that F.E.P.C. legislation violated the "freedom of anyone to employ whom he pleases," Congressman Marcantonio said:]

What is involved here is not the freedom of anyone to employ whom he pleases. What is involved here is the tyranny of anyone to refuse to give employment to any person because of race, color or creed. If discrimination is freedom, then certainly we are perverting the definite of freedom, indeed we are subverting the very concepts of freedom as we have known them in these United States since our country was founded.

F. E. P. C. is a blow for equality, equality which will help overthrow white supremacy which is the main prop of the exploitation of all working people everywhere in these United States.



March 29, 1950

[Congressman Fogarty had offered an amendment to a bill allocating Marshall Plan funds for Great Britain. The amendment proposed that the House go on record against the partition of Ireland.]

Mr. Chairman, I support and shall vote for the amendment offered by the gentleman from Rhode Island [Mr. Fogarty].

I believe that if we adopt this amendment, that we shall have placed this House of Representatives on record against the partition which Great Britain has imposed on the people of Ireland. What is more, the adoption of this amendment, if it accomplishes nothing else, will serve notice on the rulers of England that the House of Representatives definitely and unequivocally supports Ireland's right to unity.

Ireland's right to an undivided nation has been denied by England's imposition of imperialism and tyranny which we, with these Marshall plan funds, are supporting.

England's arbitrary partition of Ireland violates the principle of self-determination. There has never been and there can be no doubt as to what constitutes the unit for self-determination in the case of Ireland. Ireland has been accepted as a nation since the time of St. Patrick, over 1,500 years ago. The facts of Ireland's nationhood are incontrovertible. Ireland is a nation by geography, language, culture, homogeneous people and by tradition. Inhabitants of every part of Ireland call themselves Irish. Consequently, the Irish question must be settled by the majority of all the people of Ireland. Anything else is not democracy but tyranny, and we cannot, if we believe in the democracy we profess, support this British tyranny with the dollars of Americans through this Marshall plan.

Partition was imposed on the people of Ireland by terror. The terror of the Black and Tans will never be forgotten by the Irish people. Here, we aid Great Britain with Marshall plan funds to perpetuate this partition of the Irish Nation.

The six counties were cut off from the Irish Nation by British force. Here, with Marshall plan dollars we reinforce British power to keep Ireland divided.

Eighty percent of all Ireland's 4,248,165 people want all Ireland to be one nation. Thirty-two counties make up all Ireland. Of these, 30 counties with a population of 3,402,126 or 80 percent, want all Ireland to be one nation. Britain has refused, and continues to refuse, to recognize the will of an 80 percent majority.

The question before us is: Shall we recognize the right of this majority to establish a united nation, or shall we continue to subsidize with American dollars the British denial of that right? I shall vote for the right of the Irish people to achieve a united Ireland.

This explains my vote in favor of the Fogarty amendment.



April 19, 1950

[Here Congressman Marcantonio spoke in favor of an amendment prohibiting the practice of segregation by any Government agency connected with the operation of the government of the District of Columbia.]

With this amendment we again have an opportunity to live up to the commitments we made in the last election. This year we again go before the electorate of this country. I suppose the Democrats will be blaming the Republicans and the Republicans will be blaming the Democrats, but the record speaks for itself. A Republican Congress, the Eightieth Congress, did nothing for civil rights. A Democratic Congress, the Eighty-first Congress, betrayed the promises and the campaign pledges the President and his party made on this issue.

What are we asking here by this amendment? We are simply asking that in the Capital of the Nation the practice of segregation cease on the part of the Government agencies connected with the operation of the government of the District of Columbia. Is that asking too much from a Congress, the majority of which was elected on a platform of civil rights?

Let me ask some of you gentlemen, by what right, legal, moral or ethical, can you take the funds of a Negro taxpayer, and use those very same dollars together with the dollars of a white taxpayer, to perpetuate discrimination and segregation in the District of Columbia against the Negro? Just by what right do you do it? You assert that practice by violence, by the violence of white supremacy.

That is the only way you can assert that practice and carry it on. I repeat that. You assert it by the violence of white supremacy. You violate every precept of decency and you subvert every principle of democracy. You violate every profession of democracy found in every great document of this Nation of ours. You violate every ethical and moral principle, and you assert your white supremacy by violence, so that you can keep alive this vile system of economic exploitation of 14,000,000 Negroes. Here Congress year in and year out has been placing its stamp of approval on this violence and oppression. What is worse, it has refused to lift a finger to put a stop to this abhorrent practice.

Mr. Chairman, it is regrettable, very regrettable indeed, that the floor has so many present who are opposed to this kind of amendment. Where are the October friends of civil rights today? This amendment and the offering of it was no secret. It has been a yearly practice. Everybody knows that this amendment is offered to the District of Columbia appropriation bill. What is more, it was published in this morning's paper that it was going to be offered. Why the absence of these election-time friends of civil rights from the floor of the House? Why are they not here? Is it because we are voting in the Committee of the Whole where there is no record vote on this matter? Is it because you can dodge behind this parliamentary device so that you can conceal your absenteeism and conceal your sabotage of this effort in the fight to establish equality in the District of Columbia? I do not think you are going to fool anybody. Let me tell you, you are not going to fool 14,000,000 Negro people in this country with this kind of conduct any more. You are not going to fool ... the white people who believe in the principle of equality and who want the Congress to act on it. You are not going to fool anybody, may I say to the leadership of the House, by saying, "Well, the Dixie Democrats beat us." Well, the Dixie Democrats are not in the majority. They constitute a minority. Where are the Democrats from the big cities? Where are the Republicans who have been professing love for civil rights? Where are the leaderships of both parties? Why do they not support this amendment which is an integral part of their party platforms?

The Dixie Democrats are here, but they do not constitute a majority. Where is the majority which was elected by the American people on the basis of a promise to enact civil rights?



April 20, 1950

[The legislation to which Congressman Marcantonio here objected read: "... the Secretary of State may, in his absolute discretion during the current fiscal year, terminate the employment of any officer or employee of the Department of State or of the Foreign Service of the United States whenever he shall deem such termination necessary or advisable in the interests of the United States."]

Mr. Chairman, I think that with the [executive] loyalty order we have gone a long way in destroying a Government employee's civil service rights. This legislation to which I have objected goes further than the loyalty order. It gives absolute discretion to one man. There is no intention of protecting any person who is guilty. I believe that the existing regulations are more than sufficient to deal with the guilty. I do not believe that any person who is not affected by hysteria would at any time, as a responsible Member of this body, discharging his obligation to his constituency, put this kind of language in any bill: "The Secretary of State may in his absolute discretion."

Now, just for the sake of appeasing those who are brazenly making dishonest charges, you are hysterically taking this kind of power and putting it into the hands of one man. I submit that that power is something which no good man should ask, and which certainly should not be given to any bad man.

If the gentleman from New York [Mr. Rooney] would like to promote this type of legislation, as it is in keeping with the beating of the drums and the red-baiting fanfare that is going on in the press, it is perfectly all right with me. However, if to remain here I must kneel down and abjectly accept this kind of dictatorship legislation in a democracy, language which specifically states that the Secretary of State "may in his absolute discretion" fire anybody, stripping civil service employees of all rights they have earned, then I do not want to remain here. I will not be frightened by any distortions of my position that may appear in the press.



April 26, 1950

Mr. Chairman, this amendment [prohibiting segregation in all educational institutions receiving Federal aid] is an important amendment. It is not offered just for the sake of making the record. It is offered in a sincere endeavor to bring about results in a situation which is crying for results everywhere in the country. This Congress must be judged by the status of civil rights in the Nation; it must be judged by its record on civil rights. As a matter of history, the character of any period or of any institution must be judged by the status of civil rights. As long as oppression of the Negro continues, aided and abetted by government, then that government is a retrogressive and reactionary government. I am shocked and I think the American people are shocked at the neglect, the indifference, the calloused indifference, with which this Congress has been dealing with this subject. The majority of this Congress was elected on the pledge of civil rights enactment. There are no more than about 110 Members who come from below the Mason-Dixon line. They do not constitute a majority in this House. That is a mathematical fact. Yet, we have not been able to pass a single piece of civil rights legislation. The F.E.P.C. bill? That was not F.E.P.C. at all.

Every time an amendment of this character is offered in the Committee of the Whole, what happens? Only last week I offered a similar amendment with respect to the District of Columbia. I noted what happened on the vote on that amendment. Fifty percent of the Members present remained in their seats and did not vote. The Dixie Democrats did not remain in their seats. They voted. They voted against the amendment. They voted in accordance with the manner in which they campaigned. They campaigned against civil rights and they voted against civil rights. Yet, the minority becomes the majority in this House because the majority, which campaigned on the proposition that if elected it would enact civil rights legislation, is reneging, reneging on its campaign pledges.

How do you justify it? You cannot put up the State's rights argument on this one. You are taking Federal funds, and when you take Federal funds you take those Federal funds subject to the conditions under which the Government gives you those funds. There is no State's rights proposition involved here, although I have never had any respect for that kind of argument -- the use of so-called States' rights to defeat civil rights...

These are Federal funds, and the Federal Government has a right to say to the recipient States or institutions how these funds are to be spent.

This is supposed to be a civil rights Congress. I am calling on this Congress to say to the State or to the institution, the recipient of these funds, "Look, you cannot spend this money for the purposes of segregation or discrimination in jobs or in employment."

You cannot answer this argument except by asserting the racist arrogance of white supremacy. That is the only basis upon which you can vote against this amendment. Honesty, morality, decency, and law, yes, the Constitution, require that this House adopt this amendment ....



May 10, 1950

[Congressman Marcantonio and Congressman Javits of New York had offered two alternative amendments to a Federal appropriations bill. Mr. Marcantonio's amendment, (see page 349) forbade all discrimination in any institution accepting Federal aid, whereas Mr. Javits' amendment prohibited discrimination only in colleges and universities accepting Federal funds.]

Mr. Javits: I just wanted to be sure we have the effects of these two amendments clear. My amendment applied to colleges and universities and the Federal moneys devoted to that purpose. The gentleman's [Mr. Marcantonio's] amendment covered all the money in the bill.

Mr. Marcantonio: That is right. The gentleman's amendment is a very limited civil rights amendment. The gentleman [Mr. Javits] is very limited in his approach to civil rights and my approach is sweeping. I want full civil rights. I admit the difference, and I think our records in this House will bear out that difference ....

Now, with my amendment, you have another chance to keep faith with the people. I know it is annoying to you when I offer these amendments. I know a lot of people are annoyed and disgusted that Marcantonio should be repeatedly offering these civil rights amendments, but I am going to keep on offering them as long as I am here and until we win this fight; because I conscientiously believe, and it has been my guiding political philosophy, that no white man is free in America as long as the Negro is subjected to discrimination and Jim Crow and segregation. There can be no freedom and no democracy in any land where men and women are deprived of equality because of the color of their skins or their national origin or their place of birth or the church in which they worship.

I know that this principle is a challenge to white supremacy, but white supremacy has to be challenged and it has to be beaten, otherwise our democracy can never live. It is a mere mockery, it is a sham, it is a fraud.

Sure, you can wave the flag all you want and you can Red-bait all you want and you can raise the Red bogie all you want, but as long as men are deprived of equality and of these God-given rights by means of Jim Crow and white supremacy, so long we will not have any genuine, real freedom, real equality, real democracy in these United States. Now is the chance to strike a blow against white supremacy by adopting my amendment.



May 24, 1950

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Powell amendment [forbidding segregation in the Armed Forces]. I want to be perfectly frank with the House. I am opposed to the pending bill [U. M. T. Universal Military Training] and will vote against it. I deem this bill to be a device by which our American youth will be conscripted. I oppose this bill because I believe that war is not inevitable. I do not believe that war is the only solution of the world's problems. I know, as you deep down in your hearts know, that this legislation is not in the defense of the American people. It is in the interest of a cold war policy which is being waged, not in the interest of the American worker and farmer, but in the interest of the profit-hungry Wall Street trusts who, for profit and more profit, would plunge this world into a war that nobody will win and which will destroy civilization itself.

I favor defense. This is not defense; it is part of an insane war policy promoted at the expense of the people's needs and for the profit of a selfish few who are in full control of our foreign policy; I oppose this bill because it implements a policy of despair and ruin.

However, I have a perfect right to make every effort within my power to try and perfect any legislation, even though I may be opposed to that legislation, especially when it seems obvious that that proposed legislation will be adopted. I feel completely honest with myself and with the House in supporting this amendment even though I oppose the legislation to which the amendment is offered.



June 27, 1950

[Congressman Marcantonio made the following speech less than an hour after President Truman had ordered "United States air and sea forces to give the Korean Government troops cover and support." Mr. Marcantonio was the only Representative to oppose the President's action and to vote against it.]

Mr. Chairman, we have heard words read here by our distinguished majority leader which I think will mark a disastrous course, and the words I am using do not adequately describe the disastrous consequences this course will have on the people of the United States unless checked by the people themselves.

I refer specifically to these words the majority leader read from the President's statement:

"In these circumstances I have ordered United States air and sea forces to give the Korean Government troops cover and support."

Then again the President is quoted:

"Accordingly I have ordered the Seventh Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa."

This means the utilization of Americans in our Armed Forces in two civil wars, one that is taking place in Korea and one that is well nigh completed in China. For all purposes, we were at war with the government and people of Korea, and we might as well face it, the moment these words were enunciated.

I would be remiss to the things in which I believe if I did not stand up here and state my opinion on this matter. After all, Mr. Chairman, you live only once; and it is best to live one's life with one's conscience rather than to temporize or accept with silence those things which one believes to be against the interests of one's people and one's nation.

The argument is advanced here that this action can be justified as a result of the United Nations Charter. That has been the tenor of the argument. I disagree with any such contention. However, I say that when we agreed to the United Nations Charter we never agreed to supplant our Constitution with the United Nations Charter. The power to declare and make war is vested in the representatives of the people, in the Congress of the United States. That power has today been usurped from us with the reading of this short statement by the President to the people of the world. We here in Congress are asked to supinely accept this usurpation of our right as representatives of the American people. We have abdicated it, for I have heard no protest, I have heard not a single word against it. I have no other recourse but to stand up and point out exactly what this action is, how it violates our Constitution, our democratic traditions, and how it deprives the American people of the right to express themselves on the vital question of war and peace, a power and a right properly vested in the representatives of the American people, the Congress, by those who wisely wrote our Constitution.

I know that we are going to have, and we have been having, a lot of war drum beating. The beating of the war drums has been such that they may drown out reason. But I think it is time, before it is too late, that we pause and take inventory of what has happened in Asia.

We have been warned time and time again, and all signs in Asia have been pointing to what? That the people of Asia, the people of China, have been seeking national liberation, and that aspiration for national liberation, has been and is, supreme in the very existence of the people of Asia. In China we spent $3,000,000,000 on Chiang Kaishek. He controlled the mainland, he controlled the Government, he controlled the army, he controlled everything. Our $3,000,000,000 did not save him, because I tell you neither $3,000,000,000, nor any amount of billions, would ever defeat the desire of 400,000,000 Chinese to establish for themselves their own form of government ....

So the people of China asserted themselves. Formosa is just as much a part of China as Staten Island is a part of New York. Here we are told that the United States Fleet is to intercede, and to interfere, and attempt to stop the people of China from carrying out their will in their own country.

I remember the words I said here on February 7 about Korea. I stated in the well of this House that the defense of tyranny was never in the best interests of the people of the United States. I pointed out the similarity between the rottenness that existed in the Chiang Kaishek government and that existing in the South Korean Government -- the imprisonment of 40,000 people; the harsh exploitation of the people, the feeling of unrest, and the contempt for the rulers of South Korea on the part of the general masses of the people. It was a government imposed on the people of Korea by force of arms, a police state; and I stated at that time that that Government could not long endure, that it would be wiped out by the will of the people of Korea.

I also said at that time that you cannot take a nation and draw a line through it and divide it, and split into two countries a nation which is an ethnic unity, a people united culturally and racially over centuries. But we tried to do it. The United Nations itself recognized that that could not be done, and set up a United Nations commission to bring about a united country in Korea, and to carry out the will of the people for a united and independent country. The tyrannical rulers of South Korea continued to deny this legitimate aspiration of the people, ruthlessly suppressed every endeavor on the part of the people to achieve this objective, and thus created an irrepressible conflict.

Here now we are sending American aviators to lay down their lives, sending American sailors to lay down their lives, and who knows how soon it will be before our infantry will be sent to lay down their lives, to defend, aid and abet tyranny and perpetrate aggression against the Korean people who strive for a united and independent nation.

Now you may want this action. I do not. I know that the American people will not want this action when they think it over, and I know that they will thrust through this terrible dark cloud of war that has been descending on them. Oh, yes, you can indulge in attacks on communism. You can keep on making impassioned pleas for the destruction of communism, but I tell you that the issue in China, in Asia, in Korea and in VietNam is the right of these peoples to self-determination, to a government of their own, to independence and national unity.

Remember one thing: A bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. It had terrible consequences, but it did not frighten the people of China and it did not frighten the people of Korea. For again, these people -- despite the terror of the atom bomb -- have refused to abandon their efforts for national liberation. They will no more abandon this objective than the American people did during our Revolution.

I also say, Mr. Chairman, that in the light of this background, that before this action can be taken, this question should be debated here and decided here. The vote must be taken here by us as representatives of the American people, whether or not American aviators and American seamen shall be shot down, their blood spilled in defense of tyranny in a conflict similar to our own Civil War. That is a power which is vested in us by the Constitution. I shall do all that I can -- alone perhaps, but living with my conscience -- to oppose this course which is not in the defense of the best interests of the American people.

War is not inevitable; there are alternatives, but this declaration on the part of President Truman is an acceptance of the doctrine of the inevitability of war. I stand here and challenge that doctrine. I say that the ingenuity of Americans and people all over the world challenge this doctrine.



July 17, 1950

[The bill referred to below was H. R. 10, a new version of the Hobbs bill first presented to Congress in 1939-40. See page 103 for Congressman Marcantonio's original argument against this "concentration camp" bill.]

Mr. Speaker, we have had this bill before us for the past 10 years, and it has never become law. Even though it passed once in this House, the Senate refused to dignify it with any consideration and every other House since 1939 has followed the Senate's action. It has never become law because a reasoning Congress, not motivated by hysteria, has rejected and refused to consider this violent assault upon the Constitution of the United States. Now, of course, it is proposed to pass it, to project it upon us in hysteria, with the beating of war drums, and the Constitution will be again flagrantly violated.

The action of this House today ... proves again that defense of tyranny abroad only means reaction at home. We witnessed the destruction of the civil service rights of Government employees last week; ... civil rights legislation was killed the other day for the remainder of this Congress. The week before the administration broke the railroad strike, tearing the rights of labor into shreds. Yes, this bill is proof of what happens to the civil liberties of the people in the midst of a war which is not in the interests of the American people. I propose to continue to resist every phase of this disastrous operation desperation as a duty to my fellow countrymen.



August 10, 1950

[In this speech Congressman Marcantonio voted against the resolution to cite for contempt Julius Emspak, Secretary Treasurer of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, who had declined to answer a number of questions when testifying before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Mr. Emspak had invoked the first and fifth amendments, and Congressman Marcantonio devoted most of his argument to establishing the legal right to such use of the fifth amendment. After the resolution had been passed by a vote of 372-1 Mr. Emspak appealed to the courts. Finally on May 30, 1955, the Supreme Court granted his appeal by a majority decision of 6-3, reversing the decisions of the lower courts. The UE News, reporting this victory in its issue of June 6, 1955, said in part:

"When the House of Representatives voted mass contempt citations against some 60 unionists and other victims of the House Un-American Committee, among them seven UE leaders and members, the late ALP Congressman, Rep. Vito Marcantonio of New York, was the only member of the House with sufficient courage and principle to speak out and vote against the citations.

"The debate centered around the 372-1 vote to cite UE Sec. Treas. Julius Emspak. In its decision the Supreme Court upholds the position taken five years ago by the UE and by Marcantonio alone in the House of Representatives."]

Mr. Speaker, I realize that in dealing with this question today I am up against a situation whereby the rule of hysteria will be the rule of the day rather than the Constitution. However, I feel it my duty to make certain that some kind of a record is made in defense of the Constitution. I have never believed that there can ever be a situation confronting the American people which warrants the destruction of our Bill of Rights. To do so would be to destroy the very things that you pretend to defend. You cannot honestly talk about democracy and destroy the Bill of Rights of our Constitution. Take away its protection from anyone and you subvert that Constitution.

There are two of these amendments involved in this proceeding here today. One is the first amendment and the other is the fifth amendment. The first amendment as we know guarantees freedom of speech. We have had similar cases up before the Supreme Court of the United States and the record will show that up to now the Supreme Court has dodged the issue. The issue that I have raised in this House and which lawyers have raised before the Court is that this Congress cannot investigate into fields in which it cannot legislate. Since this Congress cannot legislate in the field prohibited by the first amendment, it certainly cannot investigate in that field.

Now, for the first time before this House we have a question involving the fifth amendment, and the witness before the committee properly raised that question. I call your attention again to the bottom of page 4 of the report in which the witness specifically said:

"Because of the hysteria I think it is my duty to endeavor to protect the rights guaranteed under the Constitution, primarily the first amendment, supplemented by the fifth."

Now, he raised the fifth amendment; there is no question about it; and, later on, in the record of the proceedings you will find there references to it again. I do not think anybody can seriously contend that the witness did not raise the fifth amendment. The question here is whether or not the fifth amendment is applicable and I should like to address myself to that question.

My good friend, the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Walter who had just supported H. Res. 749 citing Emspak for contempt], in my opinion glossed over that question and treated it very lightly, and I do not blame him because the law is definitely not on his side. While we have no law as to the contention that the first amendment was violated by these proceedings, we do definitely have serious and imposing opinions with respect to the fifth amendment, and it has just come down very recently, as recently as August 5, 1950. I refer you to United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the Case of Fred Estes against Frank B. Potter. Estes was called as a witness in a deportation proceeding. He was asked if he knew any of the aliens involved, and he refused to answer, and asserted as his reason for refusing, the fifth amendment -- that any answer that he would give would tend to incriminate him.

[Here Mr. Marcantonio quoted about 500 words from the opinion of the United States Circuit Court to which Estes had appealed from the contempt decision of the judge in the United States district court, who had refused to accept his claim to the protection of the fifth amendment. The Circuit Court opinion said, in part: "We cannot agree that the matter is so simple. The answers to these questions in themselves may not have even tended toward the incrimination of appellant, but they may have been links in a chain of circumstantial evidence strong enough to convict him of a number of crimes; or such answers might well provide the means whereby such evidence could be discovered. Appellant's claim of privilege rests upon a reasonable fear of prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 2385 and the general prohibition against conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, 18 U.S.C. 372...]

The Court points out very correctly that while this was merely a deportation proceeding, answering the question affirmatively might have subjected the witness to incrimination for violation of any of these other statutes which the Court has recited. Here before you on this resolution you have the same situation on all fours.

Mr. Walter: Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. Marcantonio: I yield to the gentleman from Pennsylvania.

Mr. Walter: Of course, the case the gentleman is citing is not in point at all. That was a deportation case, not a hearing before Congress. If the alien had admitted he had known these people he would have been subject to deportation.

Mr. Marcantonio: Not at all. That is not what the Court says. It is to the contrary. The Court says what? Read the decision. The Court properly points out that while the witness -- this was a witness, mind you -- was not in and of himself subjecting himself to deportation, and while deportation is not a criminal proceeding, therefore the lower Court says he should have answered this question. But the higher court says "No," because there are these various statutes which I have just recited and read from the Court's decision that this witness might have violated and would have incriminated himself by answering in the affirmative; so, therefore, he would have subjected himself to possible incrimination.

Now, the question resolves itself down to this: Who is to judge whether or not a witness may properly raise the issue of self-incrimination? Shall the judge pass on it? Shall the Committee here pass on it?

Let us again read the language of the Court, and I maintain the Court supports my contention, and that is, if you are going to have somebody else pass on the question of self-incrimination, then that fifth amendment has no effect whatsoever, because whether or not a person is subjecting himself to incrimination is for the person himself to decide, and any criminal proceeding or any investigation must be carried on by evidence other than the testimony of the witness himself.

Here is what the Court says: "The questions propounded to appellant do not disclose the incriminatory nature of the answers sought to be elicited."

The same thing here. "Do you know John Jones?" That is what this witness was asked, and he refused to answer. The Court stated:

"The questions propounded to appellant do not disclose the incriminatory nature of the answers sought to be elicited, but appellant does not have to prove that his answers would incriminate him to be entitled to his privilege."

You cannot get a statement stronger than that. Continuing, the Court stated:

"If that were the nature of the burden, he would be forced to divulge the very facts that the immunity permits him to suppress. A witness need only show that his answers are likely to be dangerous to him. If in the circumstances it is reasonable to infer the possibility of incrimination from the answers that the witness may give, the privilege may be claimed. It is for the Court to determine, in the first instance, whether incrimination is reasonably possible from any answer the witness may give; but if such possibility exists, then the witness has the absolute right to assert his privilege, which extends to more than the admission of a crime or any element thereof. The privilege bars compulsory disclosure of any fact that tends to incriminate a witness."

Now, I think that language of the Court answers the situation before us completely and is an utter refutation of the contention of the Committee. The contention of the Committee will be that we passed a statute here in Congress which is supposed to confer immunity on witnesses appearing before Congressional Committees, but the courts have interpreted what we meant by immunity. We did not pass any statute which protects any witness from any prosecution. The statute which was passed by this Congress merely states that the testimony adduced by a witness before a Congressional Committee may not be used against him in a criminal proceeding, but there is nothing in the statute which guarantees such a witness from being subjected to criminal prosecution. That matter has been before the Courts and it has been settled as I have stated it. This statute grants limited immunity, that is immunity against the use of testimony adduced from a witness at a hearing; but certainly this statute cannot be used as a subterfuge by which you seek to bypass the fifth amendment to the Constitution of the United States ....

Now, Mr. Speaker, I think the law is clear. What is at stake here is the fifth amendment and the first amendment. We must decide here not whether this is a popular thing to do; whether we are keeping attuned to the clamor, the hysteria, the war drums. We have to decide here whether or not we want to preserve our Constitution, whether we want to preserve our Bill of Rights. Of course, there will be a lot of arm waving and saying, "Why should we preserve the Constitution for the protection of those who would destroy us?" That is a dishonest and a hackneyed argument; it cannot be accepted by honest and reasoning men. It sounds full of sound and fury, but it is not reason and it is not an appeal to reason. It is an appeal to hysteria; it is an appeal for hatred, hatred for people. But I tell you, my dear friends, that the day is not far off when we are going to rue these things that we are doing here today and that we have been doing right along for some time.

The day is not far off when Americans will act as they have at other periods when we have had similar situations. Remember the Alien and Sedition Acts. There was a period of 2 or 3 years when Americans were thrown into jail for speeches or writings. Opinions were suppressed, war was demanded against the Republic of France. Men were not called Communists then; they were called Jacobins and Republicans. Men like Jefferson and his followers were subjected to that kind of a deal. The American people rose up against that and defeated the tyranny of those days. They have always thrust through to keep this democracy alive. Are you afraid of one-twentieth of 1 percent of the population of these United States? Are you going to meet the ideas of Communists with suppression, with the tearing up of the Constitution and with the working up of hysteria? What are you really afraid of? You fear the people and their will for peace and freedom. I believe that Jefferson, Lincoln, and other Americans would have said to us today "Fight it out in the field of ideas, in the free and open market of competition of ideas," and they would have rejected any spurious attempt to subvert the Bill of Rights of these United States. That is advice that we can follow in the best of our American traditions.



August 11, 1950

[On August 10 and August 11 the House passed 56 resolutions approving contempt citations for witnesses who had declined to answer questions before the Un-American Activities Committee. Congressman Marcantonio opposed all these for the reasons given in his defense of Julius Emspak on August 10. He also argued more specifically against 39 of the resolutions which cited Hawaiian workers and labor leaders for contempt. His speech showing how these were "attempts to weaken and destroy ... labor organizations in Hawaii" is given, in part, below.]

Mr. Speaker, I rise for the purpose of stating for the Record that I voted against all these resolutions yesterday and today and shall vote against all of the remaining ... today for the reasons I outlined in my speech yesterday, which is found on page 12238 of the Congressional Record of August 10, 1950.

Mr. Speaker, as to the citations against the workers in Hawaii, I submit we should have before us what is really behind these citations.

Labor organization made little progress in the Territory of Hawaii until 1945. This was due in no small part to the suppression of labor's rights as indicated by various Government reports.

A United States Department of Labor report in 1939 said:

"There is a tendency on the part of management to assume that unionism is synonymous with dangerous radicalism .... The result of this attitude is the feeling that labor unionism is a common menace to all Hawaiian enterprises, etc."

Prior to 1900, the workers in Hawaii were indentured serfs. And, despite the prohibition of this practice by the organic act, it in fact continued far into the twentieth century.

After annexation, and with the abolition of contract labor, various attempts were made by the workers to organize themselves and improve their miserable wages and conditions. Bitter and bloody struggles took place between the plantation owners and the workers' organizations.

From 1924 to 1937, no notable or sizeable strikes of plantation labor occurred. That the plantation attitude toward labor did not change during this period of "labor peace" is illustrated by a statement made in 1929 by R. A. Cooke, president of the Hawaii Sugar Planters Association:

"As has been emphasized again and again, the primary function of our plantations is not to produce sugar but to pay dividends."

The following year he said:

"I can see little difference between the importation of foreign laborers and importation of jute bags from India."

The reason for lack of labor organization during this period, according to William Crozier, Territorial House of Representatives, as told [to] a special subcommittee of the legislature, was;

"Any workingman who tries to organize and bargain collectively to better the conditions of himself, wife, and children is looked upon as a Communist, a radical, a socialist, and a red. The employers discharge men for joining unions in Hawaii."

In 1935 the Filipino workers of Maui went on strike and the strike was broken by the use of conspiracy statute. The next [time], 1938, in May, the seamen and longshoremen of the Inter-Island Navigation Co. struck for 3 months. The strike was broken when 51 strikers were shot and bayoneted on August 1.

After December 7, 1941, martial law put a clamp on all labor activities.

Not until March 1943, was military control relaxed. With this relaxation labor organization began on the plantations. Apprentice mechanics were earning a base pay of 28 cents an hour, field hands 25 cents, plantation clerks 19 cents, skilled mechanics 82 cents. Non-plantation unskilled labor was earning 82 cents. In 1944, five longshoremen from Honolulu who were attempting to organize plantation workers were picked up by the provost marshal and ordered to return to Honolulu. They were threatened with a change in their draft status.

In 12 months 20,000 mill and field laborers were organized.

Every National Labor Relations Board election for the mill workers was won overwhelmingly. The union, the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, received 97 percent of the votes cast. On Maui, in 14 elections the vote was 2,243 for the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union to 219 against. On Kauai, in 11 elections the vote was 1,709 for the union, 18 against. In Hawaii, in 29 elections, the vote was 3,138 for the union, 161 against. Typical returns were the ones at Lihue Plantation Co. where the vote was 679 for the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, 4 against. At Koloa Sugar Co., it was 173 for the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's union, 1 against.

On September 1, 1946, after collective bargaining failed to produce an agreement, and after a vote in which 94 percent of the ballots cast favored a strike, 25,000 sugar workers struck.

The demands of the strikers were: first, a 65-cent minimum cash wage; second, a 40-hour workweek; third, a union shop; and fourth, a reduction in the cost of perquisites.

[Mr. Marcantonio then proceeded to describe the 79 day sugar strike of 1946, showing how the employers utilized the archaic "unlawful assembly, riot and conspiracy" statutes in an effort to break the union. Hundreds of pickets were arrested and charged with unlawful assembly, riot, conspiracy, assault and battery, and malicious injury. "These men," he said, "were charged with criminal offenses, but not tried or convicted. The company discharged them for violation of company rules for the alleged offenses involved in the criminal cases." Despite such tactics the sugar workers had achieved a basic union agreement, established a 65 cent minimum wage, abolished the old perquisite system, secured contract protection for seniority, and written rent ceilings into their contract.

However, the same statutes, which were eventually declared unconstitutional, were used more successfully in 1947 against the pineapple workers. As Mr. Marcantonio said:]

In the first 3 days of the 5-day pineapple strike in 1947, 214 arrests were made, and 4 anti-picketing injunctions issued. The union voted on the fourth day to return to work without achieving its demand.

Seventy-five of the arrests occurred on the Island of Lath, Maui County. Seventy-three persons, including the individual plaintiffs, were charged on police complaint with unlawful assembly and riot. After the strike was broken, charges against 32 strikers were dropped when the prosecution was unable to adduce evidence of these persons even being present at the time the alleged riots occurred.

[Mr. Marcantonio then recalled the 1949 longshore strike during which the legislature of Hawaii met in Special Session to pass laws facilitating the mass arrest of pickets. Nevertheless the longeshoremen won the strike after they had remained on the picket line for six months. They returned to work with a 21-cent per hour gain and enough union strength subsequently to achieve wage parity with the West Coast, pension, health and welfare plans, and other benefits. He concluded:]

It is in this background that we must see the attack against the I.L.W.U. in Hawaii.

The Un-American Activities Committee in asking these 39 people be cited for contempt including 28 local officials of this union is continuing the attempts to weaken and destroy this labor organization in Hawaii.



September 20, 1950

[The legislation against which Congressman Marcantonio argued here -- the McCarran Subversive Activities Control Bill -- was passed by a vote of 313-20 and became the Internal Security Act of 1950. For a more detailed discussion of its provisions see Mr. Marcantonio's analysis on page 477.]

Mr. Speaker, it has been said here as well as in the press that this legislation is being forced on the American people for one purpose only, and that purpose is to protect the American Government. I submit, Mr. Speaker, the best protection the American Government can have is its Constitution and faith in the intelligence of the American people. The difference between me and the proponents of this legislation is that I believe in the Constitution and I have faith in the intelligence of the American people to live up to the democratic traditions of this Nation and preserve its institutions.

Mr. Speaker, all that one can do as one reaches the end of the road of American liberty with this legislation ... is to summarize. Here we are now ready to do what? We are ready to violate the constitutional prohibition against bills of attainder. We are ready to violate completely the first amendment. We are ready to substitute incarceration without trial for our guaranties of a fair trial. We are ready to violate the time-honored principle of giving even the worst criminal in our midst a fair trial. We are ready to establish in America the political Bastille, the concentration camp, and the labeling of our citizens. We are ready to violate the fifth amendment and establish the practice of self-incrimination. Under the guise of protecting the American people you destroy their liberties with this legislation. Under the guise of protecting the American Government, with this legislation you undermine and subvert the very foundations upon which our Government is established its Constitution.

Our Nation is changing as a result of legislation of this kind, and as a result of thinking of this kind. We are not going forward. Change means progress, but in this case change means retrogression. We are carrying our country back to the period of dark reaction which followed the adoption of the Bill of Rights, we are carrying our country back to the period of the alien and sedition laws. We are carrying the Nation back to the period of the fugitive slave laws, and the period of the Dred Scott decision, and the period of hysteria which followed World War I, when the Legislature of the State of New York went so far as to take five of the elected representatives of the Socialist Party and expel them from the Assembly despite the election mandate of the people.

But as we look back we find that there has always been one great defender of our country and that is our people. They nullified those alien and sedition laws. They fought them and came through. Those laws were repealed, and the men responsible for them who were riding high, wide, and handsome over the liberties of the people, and who were doing so ruthlessly and with impunity, were thrown out. We saw what happened to the fugitive slave laws and the Dred Scott decision and to the "slaveocracy." The men who were important public officials in the days following World War I, and who were responsible for the Palmer raids and for the expulsion of the Socialist assemblymen in the State of New York, and for the railroading of militant workers in various sections of this country, were repudiated by the people. Those men have been cast into ignominious oblivion.

Today in the United States, and this is what is tragic, what is the governing factor in the ruling circles of America? It is fear. We might as well face it -- it is fear -- fear that has impelled men and women publicly to cowardly beat their breasts and supinely declaim against communism so as to make certain that no one will have the slightest suspicion that they may be called Communists. We see public officials cringe, going to extremes to make certain that nobody may point the finger at them. What is the result? We find petty tyrants setting themselves up as self-appointed judges ... of what is patriotism and what is loyalty.

We find that fear today is making the rulers of America act as people did in the days of witch hunting; people accusing each other; whispering "Is he loyal?" "Is he disloyal?" We saw, even in this House of Representatives the loyalty of a man like General Marshall being impugned. This is not a healthy state of mind. It is not a healthy condition. This disease makes America really sick. You are not saving America. You are endangering America .... You substitute fascism and tyranny for our democratic precepts. You are enveloping the whole 150,000,000 Americans in an atmosphere of fear. You are supplanting the Constitution with this legislation and you are killing the America of Jefferson and Paine, of Lincoln and Oliver Wendell Holmes; and the America of the abolitionists, of the men who fought and died to abolish the slave laws and repeal the alien and sedition laws. You are killing the America of the American Revolution.



September 22, 1950

Mr. Speaker, under the guise of a national emergency which, incidentally, has never officially been declared -- the United States Coast Guard has instituted the return of the blacklist to employment at sea. The Coast Guard claims that it is screening seamen and other maritime personnel for security risks. They have published no regulations, given no outline of their procedure, and have no standards except their own dogmatic and arbitrary determination of what constitutes a security risk.

The Coast Guard has thus given union-busting employers the perfect weapon for returning the dread blacklist to employment at sea. That blacklist has been used in the past to break unions and to discriminate, particularly, against Negro and Puerto Rican seamen, in the interests of keeping the open shop at sea. Powerful unions, such as the N.M.U. [National Maritime Union], the Marine Cooks & Stewards, and I.L.W.U. [International Longshoremen's & Warehousemen's Union] have made big strides toward breaking down irregular employment at sea and establishing the principle of union hiring halls, probably the greatest advance in labor relations for maritime workers.

The Coast Guard's screening tests completely break down this tremendous advance of the seamen's unions. It returns not only the blacklist, but the open shop and the most arrogant discrimination, in the interest of establishing company unionism at sea. It is perfectly obvious that the Coast Guard, which for many years has worked closely with anti-union ship-owners, will use the screening tests to screen out the most active and militant seamen and to bring back discrimination.

This has already happened. It is no accident that three-fourths of the N.M.U. members who have been screened out of ships are Negro or Puerto Rican members, particularly those who have held key jobs aboard passenger vessels. Thus a union which in the past has built itself by wiping out discrimination and uniting white and Negro workers is being destroyed by the Coast Guard's lily-white screening. Unfortunately there are elements in the N.M.U. leadership which encourage this device in order to root out rank and file opposition to their arbitrary leadership.

The seamen defer to no group in their patriotism. As everyone knows, the members of the maritime unions sustained a higher rate of casualty during the war than any group of the Armed Forces -- bar none. These men do not have to prove their patriotism. They surely do not deserve such arbitrary treatment at the hands of the Coast Guard or any other agency of Government.

On the west coast, the members of the Marine Cooks & Stewards Union have been particularly subject to this infamous blacklisting procedure. The papers of marine personnel have been confiscated by the Coast Guard. Cooks and stewards have been unceremoniously removed from ships. They have been given no hearing. It is perfectly apparent from case after case, in no way remotely connected with security, that members of the union are being kicked off the ships simply because they are militant union men. A leading member of the union was blacklisted off the steamship Alaska prior to a passenger tourist trip to Alaska. What security risk could have been involved in this pleasure trip, if the same member of the union was permitted to buy a ticket and sail on the cruise as a passenger?

The ship-owners, hiding behind the flag, super-dollar-patriots all, work hand in glove with the Coast Guard to eliminate militant seamen. This is their golden day -- the chance to push seamen's working conditions back to the good old days by the blacklist and union busting.



September 22, 1950

Mr. Speaker, 3 years ago when I opposed the Truman doctrine I predicted that the hundreds of millions of American dollars being sent to Greece would not be used to feed the people, restore a stable economy, and institute a democratic government for that country. [See page 231.] I warned that it would lead to disaster for the Greek people, and arm a reactionary government against its own people.

Three years later we can see the results. The average Greek worker earns less than 60 cents a day when he is lucky enough to find work, and pays more than a day's wages for a pound of potatoes. The budget of the Greek Government today faces a deficit of billions of drachmas, while scandals about misappropriation of funds by corrupt politicians and generals continue to rock the Nation.

One-third of the children of Greece have no schools to go to while American dollars are building airstrips and military roads. Democratic trade unions have been all but wiped out and government officials replace the elected leaders who have been imprisoned and exiled by the thousands, where they have escaped execution.

These are the fruits of the Truman doctrine, which has maintained Greece as a military base, impoverished its people, and maintained hundreds of anti-Fascist fighters in concentration camps in order to terrorize the people. The United States mission in Greece, by countenancing these brutal concentration camps -- surpassing even Dachau in atrocities -- is making of America a hated symbol of terror.

Our State Department would have us believe that these concentration camps are health resorts for rehabilitation purposes. That is pure "bunk." There is an enormous amount of documentary material that refutes this idea. The Greek-American Committee for the Abolition of Makronissos has made available authentic documents to prove the falsity of the State Department's window-dressing statements.

Some of these documents have been published by the Daily Compass, a New York newspaper, in a series of articles exposing the actual conditions on Makronissos, the largest and most hideous of these death islands.

[Here Mr. Marcantonio gave detailed excerpts from the article in the Daily Compass citing instances of torture and brutality to thousands of prisoners on the island of Makronissos.]

Mr. Speaker, the American Government is now cutting its funds to Greece. Why? Is it in order to force a basic change in the Greek economy, to help the people of Greece achieve stability and security? Quite the contrary. The Truman doctrine now seeks to inflict further punishment on the people of Greece. The Truman doctrinaires demand more arms from Greece, not more bread -- they demand less freedom, not more, for the Greek people.

For the fact is that the concentration camps and prisons have not proved an answer to the demands of the Greek people for bread, security, and freedom. The Greek people, despite the armed-camp atmosphere that prevails in this ancient home of liberty, are answering the terror of their government, backed by American funds and occupation forces, with growing demands for the abolition of the concentration camps and a general amnesty for political prisoners.

The collapse of the Plastiras government in Greece was brought about when the Greek people, protesting nationally, succeeded in making Plastiras declare his desire for a general amnesty for the 70,000 political prisoners in Greece. In the New York Post of September 3, 1950, William Attwood, its foreign correspondent, wrote:

"... The United States Government, rather than grant general amnesty, put a new government into power -- a new government which is Fascist-minded.

Plastiras has been replaced by a less liberal government under Sophocles Venizelos."

This is the verdict of an anti-Communist correspondent. It places the responsibility for reaction in Greece where it belongs -- on the American officials in Greece -- and behind them the Truman doctrine which is supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The votes that have been cast for the Truman doctrine and its appropriations are now clearly seen to be votes for reactionary governments, for concentration camps, for the deaths of labor leaders and liberal editors, for the impoverishment of the Greek people and the loss of their freedom. These are the fruits of the Truman doctrine. But the Greek people will not eat those fruits -- and the American people, when they learn the truth, will repudiate the Truman doctrine.



December 15, 1950

[In his last speech on the floor of the House, Congressman Marcantonio made the following plea for a "cease fire on both sides" in Korea, and for "honest negotiations for ... peace." He concluded: "The best defense of America lies in a policy of peace, and today specifically the best defense of America is peace with China.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the proposed appropriation for armaments.

Armaments per se have always meant nothing; armaments are merely the implementation of a policy. Armaments implementing a policy of genuine defense of a people's interest is one thing; ... but these armaments implement an insane war program which has never been in the interest of the Nation, and it is today definitely not in the best interest or defense of the people of the United States.

This insane war policy culminated last June in our operation desperation in Korea. I do not believe I am subjecting myself to an accusation of immodesty when I now say beyond challenge that I stood up here as the only Member of this House in opposition to our intervention in civil war in Korea. I did so on the very day on which the President announced our disastrous adventure in Korea. I said then, on June 27, in the well of the House, after the majority leader had read the statement that the President had issued from the White House:

"Mr. Chairman, we have heard words read here by our distinguished majority leader which I think will mark a disastrous course, and the words I am using do not adequately describe the disastrous consequences this course will have on the people of the United States unless checked by the people themselves."

That was said on June 27. Events since June 27, I maintain, have vindicated the position I took at that time. There are very few people in America today who do not wish we had never gone into Korea. I said also at that time that the Chinese people would fight; and I explained that our action there was not in the defense of a single American interest in Korea; but that we were fighting against the national aspirations of the people of China, Korea, Viet-Nam, and other peoples in Asia for national liberation and self-determination.

Now you here offer ... appropriations for more armaments, leading to what? Leading to the acceptance of an increased armaments race and of the doctrine of the inevitability of war. Some Members have stood up here during this debate today and have stated that we were at war. The idea of the inevitability of war is being foisted on the people largely by those who sit in the high seats of government. That idea has been fostered here. Tonight it will be fostered again by the President of the United States in his address to the people of the country.

The only alternative that is offered to the people of the world, and the only alternative that is offered to the people of the country, as a result of this insane war policy which you are implementing with this appropriation, is world conflict and use of the atomic bomb. This is the tragic end of the road on which you have been dragging the American people.

I stated also on June 27 in connection with the atomic bomb:

"Remember one thing: A bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. It had terrible consequences, but it did not frighten the people of China and it did not frighten the people of Korea and the people of Asia."

So the threat of the use of the atomic bomb has only alienated decent-minded people ... from us. Events show that that threat has not frightened the people of China.

Mr. Chairman, the best defense of these United States is not armaments; the best defense of these United States is a policy of peace. I say that our problems can be resolved without the sacrifice of a single interest of the American people; they can be resolved by a policy of courageously carrying out two steps -- cease fire on both sides, and at the same time honest negotiations for an honest conclusion for peace. But you cannot enter into those honest negotiations unless you recognize the right of the Chinese people to self-determination and the right of the people of China to national unity. We must accept the people of Asia and China as equals. You cannot enter into any honest negotiations for peace as long as you want to hang on to a corrupt dictator like Chiang Kaishek and insist on establishing false, unjustified, and pretended defense lines for America in Formosa or in other parts of Asia.

The best defense of America does not lie in this armaments race implementing this insane program of war. Such a race will lead only to a war which at best no one will win, but which will destroy civilization as we know it. The best defense of America does not lie in the atom bomb. It can be thrown in both directions and destroy us too. The best defense of America lies in a policy of peace, and today specifically the best defense of America is peace with China.