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Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentOther - Politics & Government · 1 decade ago

What is 'Subversive Speech'?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Speech that it can be assumed has the under underlying tenor of overthrowing the Government.

    Modern First Amendment law can be said to have been born in a series of World War I era prosecutions for violation of the Espionage Act of 1917. Although First Amendment claimants in those cases were 0 for 6 in the Supreme Court, their challenges sparked a debate within the Court that would eventually lead to a much more speech-protective jurisprudence.

    The first of our cases, Schenck v United States, involves an appeal of the general secretary of the American Socialist Party, who had been convicted for distributing 15,000 leaflets to young men of draft age critical of the war effort and, especially, the draft. The leaflet urged readers to "Assert your rights--Do not submit to intimidation." Writing for the Court in Schenck, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes asked whether "the words create a clear and present danger that they will bring about substantive evils Congress has a right to prevent?" As used in Schenck, Holmes's test seemed to demand little more than that the government show that the words in the leaflet had a bad tendency--no proof was demanded that the words actually persuaded anyone to evade the draft, or even that they were highly likely to have that effect. Schenck's conviction was upheld.

    Debs v United States involved a speech, "Socialism is the Answer," given by Socialist Eugene Debs in 1918 before 1,200 persons in Ohio. Debs was prosecuted for remarks such as: "I might not be able to say all that I think, but you need to know that you are fit for something better than slavery and common fodder." Even though Debs's speech was milder than some made, for example, by George McGovern about the Viet Nam War during his 1972 presidential bid, the Supreme Court--again using its weak form of the clear-and-present-danger test (Does the speech have a bad tendency?)--voted to uphold the conviction and Deb's ten-year sentence.

    "Jurors looked back into my eyes with the savagery of wild animals, saying by their manner, ' Away with the dwiddling, let us get at them.'"

    --Federal judge commenting about jurors hearing Espionage Act cases during World War I.

    In Abrams v United States we see the beginnings of a movement to a more speech-protective test. Although the Court majority votes to uphold the Espionage Act convictions of Jacob Abrams and other anarchists who distributed leaflets attacking the U. S.'s decision to send troops to Europe to defend Czarist Russia against the Bolsheviks, Justices Holmes and Brandeis publish a powerful dissenting opinion. Holmes argued that the "silly leaflet" of "poor and puny anonymities" posed no real danger to U. S. efforts, and thus failed to present a "clear and present danger" that the government might be justified in trying to suppress. Writing that "the best test of truth is competition in the market" of ideas, Holmes urged his brethren to take their responsibities to enforce the First Amendment more seriously.

    "I regret that I cannot put into more impressive words my belief that the defendants have been deprived rights under the Constitution of the United States."

    --Justice Holmes, dissenting in Abrams v United States

    Holmes and Brandeis dissent again in Gitlow v New York, a case involving the publication of "Left Wing Manifesto," a paper urging general strikes and critical of moderates who would seek changes only through the ballot box. The Court upholds Gitlow's conviction, but significantly the Court agrees with Gitlow's position that states (as well as the federal government) are bound to comply with the commands of the First Amendment, as the protections have been "incorporated" through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court never again would question the applicability of the free speech protections to states. In their dissent, Holmes and Brandeis argue that abstract advocacy of the form appearing in the "Manifesto" is protected by the First Amendment, and that the government must show that speech presents a real and immediate danger in order to be punishable.

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  • 4 years ago

    Subversive Speech

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  • 5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    What is 'Subversive Speech'?

    Source(s): subversive speech: https://shortly.im/X2ZZm
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  • 4 years ago

    "Subversive" is a very broad term. Speech shall not be censored, although advocating the overthrow of the government is actually a criminal act. The basic reason "why" is because We The People create Constitutions which create governments. The citizens are superior to governments since we are their creator. Governments work for us, they do not own us. We The People own this place, not our servants the government(s).

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  • 1 decade ago

    like what goes on here at Y!A all day long

    i'll see you in hell (i mean jail)

    it is like, "a statement against the govt", but if you recall .. not long ago "the govt" was trying to classify peaceful anti-war protesters as terrorists ... so a little "subversive behavior" may be this nation's only last hope, before they fry us all for having an opinion

    Source(s): we are free ... (to do what they tell us)
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    sean hannity and rush limbaugh....

    I think there is going to be a new law to put them out of business soon that says that all political talk radio must offer both sides not just one constant hateful spew by a madman right winger. Oh and also something about it having to be local too.....thats the part that wil put them outta business.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Here is a subversive speech.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q-6H4xOUrs

    exactly the kind of subversive crap which leads to war.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's a statement against government

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's open to interpretation, but anything the listener might not like.

    Usually it is anything critical of the reigning gov't.

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  • Dan
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Jake He may be a retard, but at least He is not You.

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