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2001-12-12

Stars and Stripes, But No Speech: Flag-Making Factory Fires Garment Worker for Speakingagainst the War

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Across the country, authorities are crushing political dissent.

Yesterday on the War and Peace Report we heard the story of Katie Sierra, a 15-year-old high school student fromCharleston, West Virginia. She was suspended for wearing a T-shirt to school on which she had written: "When I sawthe dead and dying Afghani children on TV, I felt a newly recovered sense of national security. God Bless America."School board members even accused Sierra of treason for her anti-war views and trying to start an anarchist club atschool.

Now, the assault on free speech is extending to the workplace. A Miami-based factory called "Goodwill Industries"has fired a garment worker for publicly speaking out against the war in Afghanistan. The factory produces Americanflags.

Michael Italie was running for mayor on the Socialist Worker’s Party ticket. He spoke against the war in a televiseddebate with other candidates. Shortly afterwards, he was pulled aside at work and told explicitly that he was beingfired because management didn’t agree with his views about the US government.

Italie and his supporters are forming a Committee to Defend Freedom of Speech and the Bill of Rights to protest thefiring and to try to get his job back.

Guest:

  • Michael Italie, former Socialist Workers Party candidate for Mayor of Miami and garment worker. He wasfired from the flag-making factory Goodwill Industries in Miami, Florida, for speaking against the war. E-mail: DefendFreeSpeech@yahoo.com

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