deboer.jpg (36881 bytes)

Related Readings

1934. Along with other leaders of the Socialist Workers Party, Harry DeBoer was among the first to be tried under the federal sedition law, the Smith Act, in 1940. Six years before he was a leader of the Teamsters strike in Minneapolis.
On July 20, I was called to go to a warehouse because a bunch of cops were going to move a truck. About a thousand policemen were there. Around ten o'clock the captain came up to me and said, "Look, we don't want a mess here." I said all you have to do is move your cops away and don't move any trucks. He checked with his superior and came back: "It's a deal." It was a phony deal. At 12:30 the police went back to the warehouse. We went back, too, thousands of pickets, all unarmed. The police surrounded the truck and started moving it. Nine or ten or us in an open-bodied truck moved in front of it to stop them. So help me, police on roofs started shooting from all directions right into the workers. About fifty were injured. I was one of them, pretty near lost my leg. Two strikers got killed. The governor's investigating committee put it this way: "Police took direct aim at the pickets and fired to kill" and "at no time did pickets attack the police." Governor Olsen had a perfect right to arrest them for murder. Instead he declared a state of martial law and called out the National Guard. They surrounded the union headquarters and put most of our leadership in the stockade.