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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25. No. 11. 1962

Civil Rights

Civil Rights

But Communists are progressively losing their rights as American citizens. It was only in 1954 that the Senate narrowly rejected a bill for five-year sentences for any known members of the Communist party, supported incidentally, by Senator John F. Kennedy. Within the last year the Supreme Court has decided that the Internal Security Act is broadly constitutional: this act makes it illegal for American Communists to even request a passport for overseas travel or apply for a government job. Any Communist mail must be labelled, both on the material and the envelope as "Issued by the Communist Party of the United States, a Communist Organization", The F.B.I, maintains a regular coterie of spies within the Party, or what's left of it.

What does this mean for New Zealand? The Evening Post suggested rather succinctly that the very reason we laugh about spy Stories makes us a useful weak link in the chain of international security. But the ostrich act is only one end of the spectrum. At the other there are the rumours that there may be a New Zealand branch of the John Birch Society. Whether or not this is true, it is still reasonable to ask if it is necessary, as both extreme left and right wing will say, to choose one or the other or whether we can, for the sake dignity and tolerance, strike some happy medium which remains aware of the perils but avoids the Inquisitions.