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The Daily People's World
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DAY PRESS RATE COLLECT
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 22. The trial of 24 Mexican boys for murder and the arrest of nearly one hundred Mexican youths on serious
felony charges are being stage-managed by Hitler's fifth column, it was charged at a meeting in the Alexandria Hotel last
night, at which a citizen's committee of 14 to investigate the problem was elected.
The meeting was called by Mrs. La Rue McCormick, candidate for State Senator from Los Angeles County, who has been appointed
as the representative of the Spanish-Speaking People's Congress to probe the conditions that have given rise to the so-called
Mexican boy gangs.
Scores of civic and Mexican community leaders, women's club representatives and trade unionists who attended last night's
meeting heard the case of the 24 boys being tried for the "Sleepy Lagoon" ranch murder described as another Scottsboro and
Members of the citizen's committee elected at the meeting are Mrs. McCormick; Philip M. Connelly, state CIO president; Clore
Warne, president of the local branch of the National Lawyers' Guild; Al Waxman, editor of the Eastside Journal; Leo Gallagher,
well-known labor attorney; Jess Armenta, organizer of the CIO Laundry Workers Local 357; Bert
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Corona, president of Warehousemen's Union, Local 26; Jerome Posner, Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union; Anthony Quinn, popular
Mexican screen actor; John Bright, representative of the Council for Pan-American Democracy; Mrs. Josephine de Bright, executive
secretary of the Spanish-Speaking People's Congress; Carey McWilliams, chief of the State Division of Immigration and Housing;
Guy T. Nunn, minority groups representative of the War Manpower Commission; and Senator Robert W. Kenny.
The last three named were not present at the meeting, and so their acceptance to serve on the committee could not be verified
Connelly summed up last night's discussion, when he declared:
"We in the trade unions are not naive enough to believe that 24 boys committed murder.
"They are being tried in order to allow the fifth columnists to go forth and say to the Mexican people, 'This is your justice,
this is your equality, this is the kind of break you get here!'
"At the same time, the fifth columnists will try to build up in the minds of the American people a phoney picture of criminal
tendencies among Mexican youth.
"We don't think that any 24 kids are capable of cold-blooded, first degree murder. Let the jury know these facts; let them
know that those who are bringing these kids to trial are seeking to divide the people."
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Connelly bitterly criticized the newspapers for their part in building up the atmosphere of hysteria in which the trial is
"Crime waves are turned on and off by newspapers like water in a spigot," the CIO leader declared. "When the city editor is
short of news, he orders the police reporters to round up all attack cases that occurred during the night, and the result
appears in the morning editions as an 'eight-man orgy.' Crime waves depend up the news requirements of a city editor or of
political elements that have an axe to grind."
"We think that if the sheriff's office is not deliberately participating in this fraud, it is being duped," Connelly concluded.
At its first meeting tonight at Clifton's Cafeteria the Citizens Committee of 14 is scheduled to map a program, which will
probably include the following points that emerged from last night's discussion:
1. The intervention of an attorney in the case of the 24 boys on trial for murder in order to bring out all of the social
aspects of the case.
2. The visitation of Mayor Bowron, Police Chief Horrall and Sheriff Biscailuz by a delegation to protest present police methods
of handling the so-called Mexican delinquents.
3. Visitation of all metropolitan daily newspapers to protest their treatment of the murder trial and the delinquent
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4. A federal grand jury investigation of the fifth column aspects of the outbreak of juvenile crime.
5. Demand that Lieut. Edward Duran Ayres, responsible for a vicious "biological" theory to explain the incidence of crime
among Mexican youth, be ousted from his position as head of the foreign relations bureau of the County Sheriff's office.
In her opening remarks at last night's meeting, Mrs. McCormick brought out the sinister political implications of the problem,
stating that fifth column elements are egging Mexican youths on to attack air raid wardens and tear down second front signs.
She compared these activities with those of Father Coughlin's Christian Front in Harlem, where signs are being posted; "Are
you a Christian or an Air Raid Warden."
"The only way to solve this problem, she declared, "is by rooting out the fifth column and doing away with discrimination
and unequal opportunities where the Mexican people are concerned."
Among others to speak on the problem was Mrs. Elizabeth McManus, former member of the Los Angeles Board of Education, and
a delegate to the Pan-American Conference of Women in Mexico in 1923.
Representing the League of Women Voters and the Foreign Policy Ass'n, Mrs. McManus said that she had been interested in the
problem presented by Mexican underprivileged children for 19 years, told of her work in founding a children's clinic.
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Representing the Anti-Nazi-Fascist Committee of Mexico was E. Felix Diaz, a young attorney, who declared:
"Since the fifth column in Mexico has failed to cause a division between the United States and Mexico, it is now working in
the United States.
"This problem of Mexican youth has two aspects: (1) the fifth columnists are trying to plant the impression in the minds of
American people that the Mexicans are criminal by heritage; (2) in Mexico, they will try to paint the picture in such a manner
as to show that the United States is the enemy of Mexico.
"I consider it of tremendous importance that this citizen's committee be formed, because it will be defending the policies
of two countries for democracy and against fascism."
John Bright, of the Council for Pan-American Democracy, compared the case of the 24 boys on trial for murder with the Scottsboro
and Sacco-Vanzetti cases.
"The Scottsboro case," he declared, "rapidly became an attack on the Negro people and the democratic fabric itself. The Sacco-Vanzetti
case was not an attack upon two workers, but upon the entire workingclass. These 24 boys are being attacked so that the entire
Mexican community will suffer.
"Thus, in a larger sense, this case involves the civil rights of the Mexican people, and, as an attack upon the democratic
fabric, it involves all the people. Thus it grows from
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a problem of legal defense to one of social destiny.
Also present at last night's meeting were the parents of a number of the boys on trial, as well as one of the so-called "pachuco"
boy gang members.
"I have been identified with the pachucos since 1937," declared Ramon Corona, speaking for the boys. "But I am a pachuco in
the first place because they are crying for justice, for equal opportunity.
"The confession I have to make tonight is that I'm wrong in believing that there are very few people interested in helping
these boys. Now I don't believe myself alone; now I see a big committee of brothers in spirit."
BOXT[sic] INSERT TO ABOVE STORY. LOS ANGELES, Oct. 22. Congressman Vito Marcantonio characterized as "treasonous action" the
discrimination now being practiced against Spanish-speaking peoples in a wire to last night's meeting to discuss the problem
of the so-called Mexican boy "gangs."
The following is the wire which Marcantonio sent to Mrs. La Rue McCormick, the initiator of the meeting:
"Heartiest support of the International Labor Defense to your efforts to secure wide participation of organizations to secure
fair trial for twenty-four Mexican boys accused of murder. Role of Sinarquist fifth column in undermining morale of Americas,
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as an agent of the Axis, must be exposed and their efforts frustrated. Discrimination against Americans of Latin descent and
against Latin-Americans in our midst, as practiced especially in the Southwest, is treasonous action against our war effort.
It must be stopped."