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Fighting in ParadiseLabor Unions, Racism, and Communists in the Making of Modern Hawaii$
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Gerald Horne

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835026

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835026.001.0001

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Radicalism on Trial

Radicalism on Trial

Chapter:
(p.234) Chapter 13 Radicalism on Trial
Source:
Fighting in Paradise
Author(s):

Gerald Horne

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824835026.003.0014

This chapter describes events following the arrest of leaders of the International Longshore and Warehousemen's Union and the Left. The defendants were tried in federal court, charged with violation of the notorious Smith Act, which had been used and was to be used further against actual and reputed Communist Party members operating under the US flag. The defendants were convicted, but unlike on the mainland, this outcome led to repeated strikes and demonstrations involving tens of thousands of protesters. Because of this protest and the changing political climate, the convicted did not have to serve the five-year prison terms that had been meted out, because a higher federal court overturned the convictions in 1958, based on a 1957 US Supreme Court opinion. Yet the trial served a purpose in that these leaders were akin to a fire department that no longer could extinguish fires in its neighborhood or dispense firefighting tips but, instead, had to put out fires at the fire station itself. This trial was the beginning of the end for a vibrant radicalism that had swept Hawaii since ILWU had sunk its tentacles into the archipelago in the mid-1930s.

Keywords:   International Longshore and Warehousemen's Union, arrest, political Left, radicalism, Communist Party, Smith Act

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