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SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY v. AG OF THE UNITED STATES

December 13, 1974

SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY and Young Socialist Alliance, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF the UNITED STATES et al., Defendant


Griesa, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GRIESA

OPINION OF THE COURT

GRIESA, District Judge.

 This is a motion brought by plaintiffs for a preliminary injunction restraining one of the defendants, namely, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from having his organization conduct any surveillance or monitoring of the 14th National Convention of the Young Socialist Alliance, planned to be held at the Jefferson Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, from December 28, 1974 through January 1, 1975.

 I will refer to the Young Socialist Alliance as the YSA, as we have done in the arguments.

 The YSA is one of the plaintiffs in this action, which seeks broad relief against what the plaintiffs consider to be the illegal surveillance and harassment carried on by the various governmental officials and agencies against the plaintiffs.

 The YSA is an unincorporated association, with headquarters in New York. Its basic function is that it is the youth arm of another one of the plaintiffs, namely, the Socialist Workers Party, which I will refer to as the SWP.

 Both the SWP and the YSA advocate the replacement of capitalism with socialism in the United States. Their specific doctrines will be discussed at greater length later in my opinion.

 The motion for preliminary injunction is granted, for the following reasons.

 Let me first summarize the salient facts.

 The record indicates that the YSA convention will be open to delegates and also other young people under the age of twenty-nine, which is the cut-off age for the YSA. The convention will be open to other young people interested in learning about the YSA and the SWP. There will be workshops, panel discussions and other meetings, at which both members and other interested young people will be permitted to attend. There will apparently be official delegates to this convention which will have certain voting rights, and there will be at least one meeting where only the delegates are permitted for the purposes of voting for the YSA National Committee.

 One of the principal events of the convention will be the announcement by the SWP of its candidates for president and vice president of the United States for the 1976 election. It is planned to have a rally at the Hotel Jefferson, at which this announcement is made. The public will be invited to this rally.

 Although the meetings contemplated have various degrees of public or private characteristics, as I have described, basically the intention is to have only persons coming to participate in the meetings as interested observers or participants, and it would appear that if someone attempted to attend any of these meetings and was considered undesirable by the YSA or the SWP, those organizations would have the right to refuse admission to such unwanted persons.

 It appears that the FBI has for many years had an investigatory interest in the SWP and the YSA, because it has considered that these organizations are Marxist revolutionary organizations, whose purpose is the illegal overthrow of the United States Government.

 The FBI apparently has for many years carried on surveillance at the National Conventions and other meetings of the YSA and also of the SWP. The FBI has stated plainly in this action and has otherwise indicated that it intends, unless barred by court order, to carry out surveillance of the YSA convention coming up on December 28th. Indeed, in August or September of this year, the FBI paid a call to the offices of the Hotel Jefferson to inquire about what banquet rooms and guest rooms were being reserved for YSA convention attendance, and the FBI told the hotel management that it would carry out surveillance of the convention.

 The FBI has filed affidavits stating that it intends to have confidential informants attending the convention meetings to find out the identity of persons attending and to find out the substance of the discussions held.

 The FBI denies that it intends any electronic surveillance or searches or photographing.

 The YSA claims that this proposed surveillance has placed or threatens to place a substantial inhibition on the ability of the YSA and its members and other persons who would be interested in attending to carry out the convention in a free and normal manner.

 One of the principal reasons why it is plain that the FBI proposed surveillance will place restrictions on the convention is related to what the FBI intends to do with the information obtained from the surveillance. The record demonstrates quite clearly that the FBI, despite the abolition of the well-known Attorney General's list, still considers that the SWP and the YSA are revolutionary organizations, dedicated to the overthrow of the constitutional form of government of the United States by force and violence.

 It appears that when the FBI learns of a person's affiliation with the YSA or the SWP or learns of a person's attendance at the meetings of those organizations, the FBI records such information in its files. A principal use of such information is to inform United States Government departments and agencies of such facts in the event that an SWP or YSA member or someone attending its functions seeks employment with such government department or agency.

 It appears that the FBI informs the government department or agency of the connection of the person with the YSA or the SWP and states to the government department or agency that these organizations are dedicated to violent revolution in the way that I have described. This results in obvious problems to the persons seeking the government ...


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