The Price of Dissent: Testimonies to Political Repression in America

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9780520224018: The Price of Dissent: Testimonies to Political Repression in America
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Bud and Ruth Schultz's vivid oral history presents the extraordinary testimony of people who experienced government repression and persecution firsthand. Drawn from three of the most significant social movements of our time--the labor, Black freedom, and antiwar movements--these engrossing interviews bring to life the experiences of Americans who acted upon their beliefs despite the price they paid for their dissent. In doing so, they--and the movements they were part of--helped shape the political and social landscape of the United States from the beginning to the end of the twentieth century.

The majority of the voices in this book belong to everyday people--workers, priests, teachers, students--but more well-known figures such as Congressman John Lewis, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), Abbie Hoffman, and Daniel Ellsberg are also included. There are firsthand accounts by leaders of the Industrial Workers of the World, active early in the century; Southern Tenant Farmers Union of the 1930s; Women's Strike for Peace, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; Berkeley's Free Speech Movement of the 1950s and 1960s; and the Hormel meatpackers' Local P-9 in the 1980s. Lively introductions by the authors contextualize these personal statements.

Those who tell their stories in The Price of Dissent, and others like them, faced surveillance and disruption from police agencies, such as the FBI; brutalization by local police; local ordinances and court injunctions limiting protest; inquisitions into beliefs and associations by congressional committees; prosecution under laws that curbed dissent; denaturalization and deportation; and purges under government loyalty programs. Agree with them or not, by dissenting when it was unpopular or dangerous to do so, they insisted on exercising the precious American right of free expression and preserved it for a new century's dissenters.

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From the Inside Flap:

"If there is anything in this country to be prized, it's the propagation of the bill of rights, free speech, and freedom of the press. Yet how strange, with all the success and prosperity we have achieved throughout the world, how rarely dissent and protest seem to be practiced in this country. The heroes of this book are the real Americans. This is a must-read for all of us."—Edward Asner, actor/activist

"Throughout the 20th century, the U.S. government has targeted radicals and activists. The Price of Dissent tells that story with unique and eloquent voices--and also documents some impressive and moving battles to expand our freedom."—Jon Wiener, author of Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI File

"The Price of Dissent is an inspiring history that includes personal memories by well-chosen participants. They reveal their private awakenings and accomplishments, and they also discuss their repression--by narrow-minded fellows and, more frequently, at the hands of authorities, such as the FBI and COINTELPRO."—Dave Dellinger, author of From Yale to Jail

"It is time we replaced the traditional heroes of our orthodox textbooks-the generals, the politicos, the industrialists-with those courageous people who fought for peace and justice, against great odds. This book goes a long way towards that goal, by letting us hear the voices of the great dissenters."—Howard Zinn, author of You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

"The Price of Dissent vividly chronicles the courage and impact of activists in the American labor, civil rights, and anti-Vietnam War movements. If this is the land of the free and the home of the brave, much credit goes to the freedom-fighting and bravery of the women and men featured in this inspiring book."—Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union; Professor of Law, New York Law School

"In this splendid collection of annotated testimonies by American citizens repressed before and during the first 'red scare' and those still victimized forty years after the second scare, the Schultzes remind us that only those willing to pay the price of dissent can hope to achieve a true understanding of the value of democracy."—David Levering Lewis, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning two-volume W.E.B. Du Bois

"Vivid and revealing testimonies about the impact of political repression on American social justice movements. This fascinating book adds greatly to our understanding of a wide range of political movements."—Clayborne Carson, editor of The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Gripping first-hand accounts provide human faces and engrossing details to what is often only an abstract and theoretical concern for human rights."—Robert Justin Goldstein, author of Political Repression in Modern America

"These women and men risked life, limb and freedom to protect our precious rights, paying a great price so that we'd not have to. We owe them our thanks and owe thanks to the authors for bringing their stories to us."—Julian Bond, Chairman, NAACP

From the Back Cover:

The heroes of this book are the real Americans. This is a must-read for all of us." --Edward Asner, actor/activist

"It is time we replaced the traditional heroes of our orthodox textbooks-the generals, the politicos, the industrialists-with those courageous people who fought for peace and justice, against great odds. This book goes a long way towards that goal, by letting us hear the voices of the great dissenters." --Howard Zinn, author of You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

"The Price of Dissent vividly chronicles the courage and impact of activists in the American labor, civil rights, and anti-Vietnam War movements. If this is the land of the free and the home of the brave, much credit goes to the freedom-fighting and bravery of the women and men featured in this inspiring book." --Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union; Professor of Law, New York Law School

"In this splendid collection of annotated testimonies by American citizens repressed before and during the first 'red scare' and those still victimized forty years after the second scare, the Schultzes remind us that only those willing to pay the price of dissent can hope to achieve a true understanding of the value of democracy." --David Levering Lewis, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning two-volume W.E.B. Du Bois

"These women and men risked life, limb and freedom to protect our precious rights, paying a great price so that we'd not have to. We owe them our thanks and owe thanks to the authors for bringing their stories to us." --Julian Bond, Chairman, NAACP

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