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Labor Unions and Communism
"All men recognize the right of revolution: that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable."
Henry D. Thoreau
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Douds
Labor Unions and Communism

Justice Jackson Concurrence
May 8, 1950
Seal Of The Supreme Court
Excerpt:

If the statute before us required labor union officers to forswear membership in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party or the Socialist Party, I suppose all agree that it would be unconstitutional. But why, if it is valid as to the Communist Party?

The answer, for me, is in the decisive differences between the Communist Party and every other party of any importance in the long experience of the United States with party government. In order that today's decision may not be useful as a precedent for suppression of any political opposition compatible with our free institutions, I limit concurrence to grounds and distinctions explicitly set forth herein, without which I should regard this Act as unconstitutional.

... The men who led the struggle forcibly to overthrow lawfully constituted British authority found moral support by asserting a natural law under which their revolution was justified, and they broadly proclaimed these beliefs in the document basic to our freedom. Such sentiments have also been given ardent and rather extravagant expression by Americans of undoubted patriotism. (12) Most of these utterances were directed against a tyranny which left no way to change by suffrage.

Foonote 12: A surprising catalogue of statements could be compiled. The following are selected from Mencken, A NEW DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS, under the rubric "Revolution":

... H. D. Thoreau, AN ESSAY ON CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, 1849.

All men recognize the right of revolution: that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable.



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