Barring a successful appeal to the Supreme Court, Harry Bridges will be back in his native Australia in a few months. He will have been sent there not by the democratic laws and procedure of the free land to which he emigrated two decades ago, but by the autocratic, terroristic decisions of law-makers who ostensibly seek to free the world of autocracy and terrorism.
As a resident of the United States, Bridges was entitled to every protection guaranteed by our Constitution; as a labor leader who found disfavor in the eyes of reactionary elements, he was denied every one of them. Free, legal hearings declared his complete innocence of the charges against him; legislation was put into effect nullifying the results of such hearings. At every turn, Bridges found himself hedged in by the undemocratic barriers set up by those who, in crying for his deportation, shrieked loudest of the undemocratic tenets of the system to which they claimed he adhered.
Harry Bridges may be a Communist, as the Dies Committee asserts; he may be completely free of any such connection; as phases of the Landis Deportation hearing seem to indicate. He may favor violent revolution, as the Hearst Press noisily proclaims; he may be a peaceful and law-abiding individual, interested only in furthering the welfare of the workingmen of this country, as the Labor Press declares. Such questions can be answered only by a far more thorough investigation than has yet been carried out.
But there is one question which demands, more strongly than any of the others, an immediate answer. That is the question of whether there is any justification whatsoever for the denial of the privileges of a free republic to any individual--whatever his political connections--merely because he has made a few powerful enemies. Being on the wrong side, especially the left side, of the fence, doesn't help at all.