On July 27, 1934, the Portland Police "Red Squad" arrested Dirk De Jonge, a World War I veteran, longshoreman, former Portland mayoral candidate, and Portland communist. The State charged him with criminal syndicalism for speaking at a meeting sponsored by the local Communist Party. The meeting was called in response to a police crackdown on striking longshoremen, who had shut down every West Coast port from southern California to northern Washington. De Jonge's crime was speaking about jail conditions experienced by the arrested strikers. A jury found him guilty, and the judge sentenced him to seven years in prison. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the conviction, holding that the criminal syndicalism statute, as applied to De Jonge, unconstitutionally infringed on his right to assembly as protected by the First Amendment.
Marc Brown, an appellate public defender with the Oregon Office of Public Defense Services, will talk about the history behind the case as well as its long-term significance. Marc has taught political science, criminal justice, and history at Washington State University-Vancouver and recently received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach about the U.S. Constitution at the South China University of Technology College of Law in Guangzhou, China.
About History Pub
Join us for beer and history, sponsored by the Oregon Historical Society, the Oregon Cultural Trust, Holy Names Heritage Center and McMenamins, in which you'll hear lively local or regional history while you enjoy a frosty pint or two of handcrafted ale.