[Note: This was originally published on July 4, 2003.]
The following was Green Delaware’s 2002 Fourth of July message. We don’t
normally resend material, but in the past year a climate of repression has
arisen that is reminiscent of the “Palmer Raids” of 1918-1921, justified by
fear of “communism.” The parallels are worthy of thought:
“A. Mitchell Palmer, [President Woodrow] Wilson’s Attorney General,
believed communism was “eating its way into the homes of the American
workman.” In his essay “The Case Against the Reds,” Palmer charged that
“tongues of revolutionary heat were licking the alters of the churches,
leaping into the belfry of the school bell, crawling into the sacred
corners of American homes, seeking to replace marriage vows with libertine
laws, burning up the foundations of society.” With a broad base of popular
support, in 1919 Palmer intensified the attacks on political dissent that
had begun during the war.
The year 1919 saw a great deal of social conflict–a wave of strikes, the
passage of both Prohibition and Woman Suffrage, and the Chicago race riot.
A series of bombings by suspected anarchists began in Summer 1919; on June
2, bombs went off in eight cities, including Washington DC, where Palmer’s
home was partially destroyed. Just who set the bombs remained unclear.
Although there were only about 70, 000 self professed Communists in the
United States in 1919, Palmer viewed them as responsible for a wide range
of social ills, including the bombings. Encouraged by Congress, which had
refused to seat the duly elected socialist from Wisconsin, Victor Berger,
[Palmer] began a series of showy and well publicized raids against radicals
and leftists. Striking without warning and without warrants, Palmer’s men
smashed union offices and the headquarters’ of Communist and Socialist
organizations. They concentrated whenever possible on aliens rather than
citizens, because aliens had fewer rights. In December of 1919, in their
most famous act, Palmer’s agents seized 249 resident aliens….”
Some people were unjustly imprisoned for years.
Green Delaware News #38(rev)
Fourth of July message from Green Delaware
(from Executive Director Alan Muller)
Port Penn, Delaware, July 3, 2001. The Fourth of July got a lot more
special to me in 1988. With colleague Lea Tammi, I was arrested by Nat.
Resources (DNREC) cops at a “Liberty Day” celebration in a Delaware state
park. Our crime: handing our flyers saying the principles of the
Declaration of Independence also apply in Central America. (The Reagan
administration was then carrying out a campaign of terrorism against the
people and government of Nicaragua.) The organizers of Liberty Day claimed
it was a “family fun event” at which no political statements would be
allowed. The charges were dropped, with help from the American Civil
Liberties Union, and a slightly greater regard for freedom of expression
was shown by the organizers in subsequent years.
How long did the lesson last? On September 28, 2000, at Fox Point state
park, an award was given to one of the worst polluters in our part of the
world by the state-supported–but bogus, in my opinion–“Partnership for
the Delaware Estuary.” DNREC cops stopped every car entering the park,
trying to ensure that only invited politicians, bureaucrats, and
representatives of corporate polluters got in. They threatened to arrest
citizens protesting the event, but backed down when long-time activists
Frieda Berryhill (in her 70s) and Jake Kreshtool (in his 80s) had the guts
to “just day no” to DNREC’s police-state tactics. In this year I have been
arrested for sitting in the Hours of Representatives, and again for putting
up a warning sign about raw sewage being dumped into a picnic area in
another state park. (Lawyers David Finger Dirk Durstein, Albert Greto, and
Lyman Welch and–to a limited extent–the ACLU, have assisted at their own
All these charges have eventually been dropped, but it’s hard to gauge
their effectiveness in intimidating others. Delawareans, used to living in
the headquarters of American corporate abuses, don’t seem very hard to
I’m not comparing today’s activists to those who made the American
Revolution. But we are taught in school, or at least were in my school
days, that freedom and democracy are maintained by people willing to fight
for them. The Fourth is not a bad time to remind ourselves that this is
so. Delaware is a “conservative,” meaning run from the top down, place.
While most of us seem comfortably snuggled into the status quo, others,
such as judicial accountability activist Barbara Beegley, are willing to
take on the “system.” For everybody’s freedom, we depend on people like
Tammi, Krestool, and Beegley, and lawyers like Finger, Durstein, and Greto.
Take a few minutes and read the actual Declaration of Independence. It was
created by a “Committee of Five” members of the Continental Congress,
meeting in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776. The committee consisted of
“two New England men, John Adams of Massachusetts and Roger Sherman of
Connecticut; two men from the Middle Colonies, Benjamin Franklin of
Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York; and one southerner,
Thomas Jefferson of Virginia.” Jefferson was the primary author.
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people
to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and
to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which
the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to
the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the
consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute
new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should
not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all
experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the
same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is
their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now
the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of
Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of
repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the
establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
[omitted here is a list of specific grievances against the British
government. One example:
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable,
and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole
purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. ]
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in
General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world
for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the authority of the good
People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare.
That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and
Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the
and that all political connection between them and the State of Great
Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved;
and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy
War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce,
and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the
protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our
Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
The following passage about the slave trade was in Jefferson’s draft, but
was removed by the Congress:
He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most
sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who
never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another
hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.
This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidels powers, is the warfare
of the Christian king of Great Britain. He has prostituted his negative for
suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this
execrable commerce determining to keep open a market where MEN should be
bought and soldand that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of
distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms
among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by
murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded themthus paying off former
crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he
urges them to commit against the lives of another.
The full text can be found at