[Marxism] Free Speech on Trial

Tom Cod tomcod3 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 11 18:03:09 MST 2010

This is part of American Trotskyist mythology as I would grudgingly concede
it should be.  The Socialist Workers Party published "Socialism on Trial"
which is one of its old time standards, which consists of James P. Cannon's
testimony at that trial.  The outcome stands in contrast to the "Great
Sedition Trial of 1944" where Lawrence Dennis, Maximilian St. George and
other Axis symps skated out after a mistrial in the wake of the judge's
death.  In that regard, while a certain war weariness and the campy nature
of much of the Defendants' political fascistic screeds that were read into
the record against them became tedious, it is notable that socialists and
trade unionists wholly different views which were expressed before US entry
into the war, although they were sentenced in the inflamed atmosphere that
prevailed on December 8, 1941, got them locked up.  I always thought
Cannon's testimony about counterposing what he would do as leader of a
socialist revolution to beat Hitler versus FDR's warmongering was a little
hokey and quaint compared to reality (like Peter Sellers in "The Mouse that
Roared"); the idea that he and his compatriots of this little group should
go to prison for expressing those views was an abomination, a rerun of the
Sedition Act bullshit of 1918 except that again-not that it really
matters-the US was not at war in Sept 1941.

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