LET ME TELL YOU the story of a strange thing that is happening to America. I tell you the story in pictures so that even you children, who cannot read the honey poison speeches of the destroyers of your schools; so that you men and women who work in the shops and the factories, the offices and farms, and perhaps have no time for the luxury of reading, may read as you run your lathe, as you wash dishes in the kitchen, as you sell groceries over the counter, as you march on the picket line, as you speak for democracy, as you lend your eager tongue for the right of a man to a job—so that you may know what is happening in America—America, the free and the beautiful.
Here is the story of fascism goosestepping through the quiet halls of your children’s schools and colleges—an ugly, threatening story. Here is also a story of soldiers fighting for the great traditions of learning, soldiers without uniforms, the winter soldiers of education.
Suppose I told you, Mr. Jones and Mrs. Smith and Mr. Giovanni and Mrs. Abramson, suppose I told you that in New York City, where Mayor La Guardia’s radio station tells us every day that “seven and one-half million people live in peace and enjoy the blessings of democracy” . . .
that teachers are shadowed by plainclothesmen . . .
that students are third-degreed at secret hearings . . .
that union membership lists are seized . . .
that 34 teachers are fired from a college because they speak for civil rights and security . . .
that a teacher is thrown into jail on a trumped up charge of perjury. . .
You would say, wouldn't you, “Stop trying to scare us, mister. This isn't Germany, this is a free country. We have trial by jury, don't we? And isn't a man innocent until he's proven guilty? And nobody has to testify against himself. And doesn't a man have right of counsel? Why, it says so in the Constitution. And say, what do you mean by telling us that union membership lists are seized? Don't you know that unions are legal? The law says so. Why, everybody knows that!”
All right, all right, Mr. Jones and Mrs. Smith and so on, just wait a minute and I'll tell you what's been happening.