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The arrest of Norman Thomas, socialist and clergyman, at Garfield, N. J., for attempting to address an orderly gathering of strikers on private property marks the culmination of the reign of frightfulness in Bergen County, scene of the so-called Passaic strike. The methods by which Mr. Thomas was seized are typical of those adopted by the police, probably at the instigation of the mill ownrs.

Mr. Thomas, standing on property owned by the League for Industrial Democracy, of which he is a director, was exhorting a small and peaceful group of strikers to refrain from violence, when police, armed with riot guns, closed in upon the scene and dramatically arrested the speaker. The gathering dispersed quietly in spite of some rough usage by the police. Later responsible officials at the court house refused to reveal to Mr. Thomas' lawyers that he had been arrested and imprisoned under $10,000 bail.

The incident is not unusual there. Albert Weisbord, Harvard Law School graduate, and Robert Dunn of the Civil Liberties Union, were arrested under somewhat similar circumstances earlier in the week. Throughout the strike, police have broken up peaceful meetings with sawed off shotguns, descended upon children's parades with clubs generally made every effort to incite the strikers to violent action. Of course, such melodramatic tactics have defeated their own ends. The strikers have refused to riot and every fresh outrage has gained them scores of sympathizers. For the detached mind there is even an element of humor in the picture painted of Garfield in metropolitan newspapers yesterday, when scores of deputy sheriffs patrolled the empty streets armed to the teeth seeking trouble while the workers watched behind closed doors.

Indeed the Passaic strike is a glaring example of the extremes to which police power may go. With no real provocation to offer as reason, the right of free speech and free assembly, guaranteed in both the constitutions of the nation and of New Jersey, has been denied not only to strikers, but to reputable lawyers and pacific clergymen. That such a situation can exist, even under protest, would rather suggest there are, still extant, reasons for wondering at the reflection of function to which democratic government has attained.

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