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Trotskyists on TrialFree Speech and Political Persecution Since the Age of FDR$
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Donna T. Haverty-Stacke

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479851942

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479851942.001.0001

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Coda and Conclusion

Coda and Conclusion

June 1951–August 1986

(p.197) 7 The Ongoing Struggle for Civil Liberties
Trotskyists on Trial

Donna T. Haverty-Stacke

NYU Press

The coda and conclusion offers final thoughts on how Americans have continued to struggle with the challenge of balancing free speech rights with national security during times of national emergency, especially since September 11, and traces a decided imbalance in favor of security over liberty. It engages with the impact of the Oklahoma City bombing and the first World Trade Center bombing on the passage of the 1996 Antiterrorism Act, which did not address fundamental weaknesses in national intelligence gathering. And it examines how the 9/11 attacks then led to the passage of the equally draconian USA PATRIOT Act in a process quite different from that which led to the Smith Act’s passage in 1940. It suggests that the 1941 Smith Act case can serve as a historical lesson on the importance of maintaining the protective application of the clear and present danger test in speech cases and on the need for dissenters to keep up the struggle to defend their rights through alliances with progressive Americans who share a desire to safeguard civil liberties even in times of stress.

Keywords:   free speech, national security, 9/11, Oklahoma City bombing, 1996 Antiterrorism Act, USA PATRIOT Act, Smith Act, clear and present danger test, dissenters, progressive Americans

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