THUNDER IN THE WEST
ONE evening my girl and I went to a meeting in the biggest hall I have ever seen. We sat in the top-most balcony. Tier after tier was filled with a vast assemblage of men and women.
"Look," said my girl, pointing below to the floor. "It looks like a flower bed -- the people are the flowers. What a blaze of color! The long aisles are like garden walks."
It was true. And as I looked up and around the gigantic hall my eye was caught by huge signs. Some of these, like DEFEND THE SOVIET UNION and DEFEND THE CHINESE SOVIETS, I readily understood. I also understood such signs as FREE TOM MOONEY and FREE THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, for we have such slogans prominently displayed at home.
At the end of the hall, behind the speakers' stand, the largest banner of all hung from the ceiling. It declared: SMASH FASCIST TERROR IN THE WEST.
"This meeting has been called to explain how we can do just that," whispered my girl.
Suddenly a voice boomed throughout the hall. Although no one was visible on the platform, the voice came from the loud speaker Suddenly in the distance, at the other end of the hall and in front of the banner, my eye caught sight of a man who seemed no bigger than my thumb. At first I had some difficulty understanding what his words referred to. "Every seaport from Seattle to San Diego -- 2000 miles -- is tied up," he said, and everybody applauded. "For forty-five days no ship has sailed in or out of the Golden Gate," he said and the applause was louder. "The bosses imported gunmen" he cried. Angry boos came from the audience. "Troops and police brought tanks and artillery," the little man shouted. "Every radio station, newspaper and pulpit aroused hatred against us. Our union headquarters were raided. Our strike headquarters were destroyed. Our homes were invaded. Our families were terrorized. The Federal Government sent General Johnson to break the strike. He enlisted Archbishop Hanna and the reactionary labor officials openly betrayed us. And they warned us about being 'misled' by the Communists."
The audience laughed.