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Workers against the CityThe Fight for Free Speech in Hague v. CIO$
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Donald W. Rogers

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043468

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043468.001.0001

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Street Fight and Media Fight

Street Fight and Media Fight

The Battle for Jersey City

(p.76) 3 Street Fight and Media Fight
Workers against the City

Donald W. Rogers

University of Illinois Press

This chapter traces the political and media battle that unfolded 1937-38 over Jersey City’s denial of public speaking permits to the Committee for Industrial Organization, the American Civil Liberties Union, and supporters, including a few women. It shows how the media dominated popular understanding of the controversy by projecting rival discourses of democracy versus dictatorship and law and order versus subversive communism, temporarily obscuring legal questions about municipal police powers, labor law, and free speech that federal courts were on the verge of deciding. The chapter illustrates how the struggle intensified. Mayor Hague staged extravagant anticommunist “Americanism” rallies against the CIO with broad local support, while an outside pro-CIO left-labor coalition denounced Hague as a dictator in Popular Front language of antifascism and working-class Americanism.

Keywords:   Committee for Industrial Organization, American Civil Liberties Union, Jersey, free speech, socialist, Americanism, media, anticommunism, antifascism

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