BANNEDTHOUGHT.NET

Suppression of News in the United States and Political
Statements and Documents Prevented from Reaching the People


      It is true that the United States generally allows a relatively greater freedom of speech and freedom of the press than many other countries. But only in the sense that there is usually less suppression of publications and ideas here through laws and government force than in many other countries. The reason for this is that the U.S. ruling class has come close to perfecting the suppression of ideas it disapproves of through an alternative method; that is, through its control of the economic system and its nearly total control of the media and means of communication and education in the country. Thus, individuals can usually say what they like even if it goes against the interests and desires of the capitalist class, but still only on the condition enforced by the capitalist ownership and control of the media, that very few other people will ever get a chance to hear what the dissenters have to say. It is the genius of this evil system that it still effectively silences most dissent while loudly proclaiming the supposed freedoms of speech and the press!

      However, whenever the ruling class does feel seriously threatened by information and ideas that go against its interests, it does not shrink from forcible suppression, no matter what its Constitution says about the freedom of speech and of the press. Thus during World War I, the government closed down antiwar newspapers and magazines, and locked up socialists and others (including the prominent labor leader Eugene V. Debs) who opposed the U.S. participation in that inter-imperialist war. After the war and the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the American bourgeoisie instituted the Palmer Raids and a “Red Scare”, in which many socialist publications were closed down and many socialists arrested. Similarly, during the McCarthy era (late 1940s and 1950s) a new round of suppression was carried out against the so-called Communist Party USA, and its leaders, even though that party had become only a reformist party and was no longer even a revolutionary party at all! And in the late 1960s and 1970s the U.S. government used “dirty tricks” and secret programs like COINTELPRO to harrass and try to destroy organizations and publications that it disliked, and the Black Panther Party in particular. The plain fact is that the U.S. ruling class stands ready to hypocritically suppress information and ideas whenever it feels a strong need to do so.

      Furthermore, even during periods of more open bourgeois democracy, there are always some examples of the forcible suppression of information and ideas in the U.S. Much of the workings of the U.S. government, both within the country and overseas, are labelled “top secret”, for example, and it is made illegal for anyone to let the public know what their “own” (supposedly!) government is really up to.

      At the present time the U.S. Justice Department (so-called!) is attempting to intimidate, and even arrest and jail, some of those who engage in purely verbal support work for people’s struggles against injustice around the world. Their excuse is that free speech must be suppressed in order to fight “terrorism” (and of course any political movement that the U.S. rulers dislike is easily labelled “terrorism” by them). The irony that the U.S. government itself is by far the biggest terrorist force in the world today is completely lost on them.

      Specifically, the U.S. Congress and Supreme Court have recently decided that any speech, no matter how peaceful and opposed to violence, is not protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution (which supposedly “guarantees” free speech) under these conditions:

“…last June in Holder v. the Humanitarian Law Project [the Supreme Court] decided that non-violent First Amendment speech and advocacy ‘coordinated with’ or ‘under the direction of’ a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist’ was a crime.”

“In 1996, Congress made it a crime then punishable by 10 years, later increased to 15 years, to anyone in the U.S. who provides “material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization or attempts or conspires to do so.” The present statute defines “material support or resources” as:

‘any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial services, lodging training, expert advice or assistance, safe houses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel and transportation except medicine or religious materials.’”

—Michael Deutsch, “U.S. Justice Department Prepares for the Ominous Expansion of Law Prohibiting ‘Material Support’ for Terrorism”, posted in full below.

— NOTICE —

      While we at BANNEDTHOUGHT.NET find these U.S. laws outrageous and hypocritical violations of free speech, we ourselves are in no way violating them. For the record, we want to make it absolutely clear that we are not under the direction of any foreign (or domestic!) organization whatsoever; we have no connections whatsoever with any other organization; and we in no way “coordinate” our work and postings here with any other organization or individual. We receive a large number of materials from a great many sources, and pick and choose what to post entirely by ourselves. In most cases we have no idea who the people sending us materials are, or what their own political ideas and beliefs are. And in no case are we acting in their behalf. We do not aid, promote, assist, support, or provide any sort of services or advice to any other organization or individual. Our efforts on BANNEDTHOUGHT.NET are entirely devoted to promoting free speech in the U.S. and around the world, and in posting news items and documents which are suppressed elsewhere.

      Another area where the U.S. government is especially uneasy about the free flow of information and ideas is the Internet. While big capitalist corporations largely dominate the Internet too, there are openings here and there where groups and individuals opposed to capitalism and/or U.S. imperialism have their say. (We are proud that BANNEDTHOUGHT.NET is one of these!) It worries the bourgeoisie that they do not have absolute 100% control over the Internet, and sometimes even at the present time they try to, or succeed in suppressing some of these web sites or in forcing the removal of information from them.

      We at BANNEDTHOUGHT.NET will try to help break down this government and media news embargo, and to expose and criticize all government attempts to suppress progressive or revolutionary information and ideas.

      If you know of other suppressed documents and news reports that should be posted here, contact us at: freespeech@bannedthought.net





General Attacks on Free Speech by the United States Government

Suppression (or Attempted Suppression) of Information on the Internet

Political Prisoners

Other Situations and Materials

Revolutionary Communist Party, U.S.A. — Documents and Publications





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