Murphy's well-researched article was a chilling history lesson on the witch hunts of 40 years ago. Would that the article's facts were just that--a lesson in past history.
But McCarthyite witch hunts are alive and well--here and now. In Los Angeles, Palestinian activists face deportation for "consorting with communists" and Latina anti-war leaders are attacked by right-wing death squads while the U.S. government turns a blind eye.
And in Seattle, on Oct. 18, almost exactly 40 years after the opening of the infamous HUAC hearings, a judge levied a default judgment of $44,000 against the Freedom Socialist Party and nine community activists. Their crime? Refusing to name names. They face jail, wage garnishment and loss of organizational headquarters for refusing to name names or pay the fine for that "crime."
The case, known as the Freeway Hall Case, is widely endorsed nationwide because social issue groups and individuals have been quick to recognize that if the courts are allowed to strip the FSP's privacy rights, this chilling precedent would swiftly threaten labor, civil rights, environmental, church and all community organizations. Who indeed is safe if the judicial arm of the government, which reaches even farther than a congressional committee such as HUAC, can arbitrarily junk the Constitution?
On this 40th anniversary of the Hollywood Ten, I salute those who fought McCarthyism then and who are resisting it now. They deserve bold support from everyone who believes in democracy, progressive change and freedom of dissent.