HUAC Strikes

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Fifth Estate # 55, June 4-18, 1968

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Congress is still striving to preserve the American Way. The inventiveness of the House un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) has gone beyond the dangerous into the realm of ridiculous and petty harassment. The McCarran act of 1950, provided the President with powers to proclaim a state of Internal Security Emergency and have persons whom it felt would conspire with others to engage in sabotage put into places of detention.

Many portions of this act have been found unconstitutional, but this part hasn’t been tested because the President hasn’t yet used his omniscient powers to determine that an emergency existed and he hasn’t yet pointed his divining rod at any potential saboteurs. The vagueness of these powers leaves little doubt of their unconstitutionality but, if the proclamation ever comes, the government can always hold people on the pretext that they can’t process the files fast enough.

A 1967 version of the act is just as bad: “The authority, function, practice, or process of the Attorney General or Board (Subversive Activities Control Board) in conducting any proceeding…shall not be questioned in any Court of the United States…except” after completion of Board (SACB) proceedings. The chance for delay here is obvious: the Board may decide not to proceed until the emergency, one way or another, is over. So you had better watch out if you look like a potential saboteur…

Great pains have been taken to make life difficult for “Communists”. A “Communist Front” organization is now one which is substantially directed, dominated or controlled by one or more members of a Communist-action organization (Communist Party).

A record of these organizations will be made public. Any mail which such a group wishes to send to the public will have to be stamped “Disseminated by (Name of organization) an organization determined by final order of the SACB to be a Communist (action front or infiltrated) organization.” The SACB is allowed to determine the above status without the presence of or evidence from the organization. Anyone who “shall misbehave” near a hearing of the Board shall, “upon conviction…. be punished by 1 year imprisonment and/or $500.00 to $5,000.00 fine.” And, of course, no communist shall engage in employment in any defense facility.

The above monstrosities are “law”. The original McCarran Act was passed over the presidents veto by 2/3 of the House and Senate. Only 138 congressmen have ever voted against any recent HUAC inspired legislation. The Senate has its own “Senate Internal Security Subcommittee” which is rapidly pushing legislation which will not have the stigma of being by HUAC, but which will reach the same result. The supreme court can’t keep up with it all and much of the new legislation is specifically enacted to circumvent decisions of the court.

In the event of Internal Security Emergency I suggest that you do not write your congressman. He will not be much help.

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