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Source: Lucifer, the Light-Bearer
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “To Our Press-Writers”
Author(s): Harman, Moses
Date of publication: 13 February 1902
Volume number: 6
Issue number: 5
Series: third series
Pagination: 36

Harman, Moses. “To Our Press-Writers.” Lucifer, the Light-Bearer 13 Feb. 1902 v6n5 (3rd series): p. 36.
full text
American Press-Writers’ Association; McKinley assassination (government response: criticism); anarchism (laws against); freedom of speech (restrictions on); Lucifer, the Light-Bearer.
Named persons
William McKinley.
The date of publication provided by the magazine is February 13, E. M. 302.

Whole No. 904.

Alternate magazine title: Lucifer, the Lightbearer.


To Our Press-Writers

     There is never a lack of opportunities for the American Press-Writers’ Association to get in their work to good advantage. There never has been a time since government of man by man began, that watchmen were not needed to see that the ruling classes did not seek, stealthily or openly, to enlarge their power over the governed, by securing new legislative enactments, by new imperial decrees, by new judicial rulings, or by new interpretations of older statutes, decrees, judicial rulings, etc., etc.
     The recent assassination of a chief ruler of the United States has been seized upon and apparently welcomed, by the ruling classes in this country as a suitable occasion for securing additional legislation in their interest. Ever since the death of William Mckinley [sic] the organs of the party of which he was a member, and also many leaders of opinion that do not belong to that party, have been urging that new laws should be enacted by our national legislature, abridging the freedom of speech and of press and making it more clear than ever before that this government is not one of equal rights but that the lives of rulers should be safeguarded in ways that are not thought necessary for the safety of the average citizen—or, more correctly speaking, of the SUBJECT masses.
     In obedience to this demand for new legislation—legislation in line with the imperialistic, the archistic tendencies of our national government, an “anti-anarchy bill” has been reported to the so-called house of representatives at Washington.
     A Chicago daily—“The Chronicle”—of recent date has this to say in regard to the proposed monarchic legislation:

     The house committee on judiciary has reported an anti-anarchy bill surprisingly sweeping in its provisions. Even if the legislation is discreet, it will be difficult to enforce and can hardly be expected to run the gauntlet of the courts.

     Judging the effect of the proposed legislation by the history of a law somewhat similar in its object, the so-called “Comstock” postal law, it will depend on the ignorance and the prejudices of judge and jury as to whether the accused shall be adjudged guilty and punished for exercising his citizen rights or not.

*     *     *

     The plain duty, then, of every man and woman who would prevent the arbitrary use of power—power whose use necessarily means ABUSE—is to prevent the enactmen [sic] of laws under which such abuses can be sheltered, made respectable and honorable, that is, made LEGAL! The only way to prevent such legislative enactments is to create a public conscience that will be felt and heeded by our national law-makers. The way to create such public conscience is to “AGITATE, AGITATE, AGITATE,” as the old Abolitionists used to say and do.
     For this purpose there is nothing equal to the public press. Therefore, while we still have a modicum of freedom of press, let us use that freedom to the utmost of our ability, to prevent the loss of what freedom we still have.
     Not only should our Press-Writers use every opening to get in their protest against the proposed “anti-anarchy” legislation, but every freedom-lover should do the same. Whether we sympathize with the doctrines called “anarchistic” or not, our legislators should be shown the dangers of such enactments. Anything may be called anarchistic that opposes the party that happens to be in power.

*     *     *

     Another excellent way to prevent the enactment of bills into laws, such as that spoken of in the quotation from the “Chronicle,” is the writing of personal letters to the members of congress by their constituents, and by the public in general. If these office-loving congressmen should receive hundreds or thousands of letters every week, protesting against the new un-American legislation, they would soon come to the conclusion that their chances of re-election would be endangered by a vote in favor of the bill to suppress or limit the freedom of speech and of press.

*     *     *

     To our Press-Writers, and to all readers of this issue, who may think that back numbers of Lucifer would be good educational documents to help build up a healthy public sentiment on the question of suppression of speech and press, we would say that we have many hundreds of surplus copies of the paper issued since the assassination of McKinley, that we would be glad to send to such readers and helpers as will send us the amount of necessary postage thereon. Also, we have many thousands of surplus copies of numbers issued previous to the date named, that would be promptly sent on the same terms.
     Please let us know at once how many copies to send to each reader who cares to help in this work. Never was there a time when prompt action was more necessary than at the present moment.
     Not a single day or hour should be lost through apathy or procrastination.



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