Hellraisers Journal: The Rebel of Hallettsville, Texas, Suppressed & Socialist Editor Red Tom Hickey Arrested

Hallettsville, TX, The Rebel, Let Us Arise, June 2, 1917


Hellraisers Journal, Wednesday July 11, 1917
Hallettsville, Texas – The Rebel Suppressed

Tom Hickey, Texas Socialist, 1911

The campaign to destroy the Socialist press of the nation continues, and, in the case of The Rebel, Socialist newspaper of Texas, and a voice for the Farmers’ and Laborers’ Protective Association, authorities did not wait for passage of the Espionage Act before moving to destroy circulation.

From The Salt Lake Tribune of June 14, 1917:

Paper Confiscated.

WACO, Tex., June 13.-T. A. Hickey of Hallettsville, Tex., editor of The Rebel, a socialist paper, announced here today that the government suppressed the last issue of his paper and confiscated all copies, numbering 20,000. Hickey says he had written an account of his arrest by federal agents in west Texas a week or more ago during a raid on officials of the Farmers’ and Laborers’ Protective association, and this matter appeared in the suppressed issue.

[Photograph of Tom Hickey added.]


From The Public of June 29, 1917:

The Latest in Censorship

The Public, Masthead, June 29, 1917

It looks as though the cry of “sedition” is to be made a pretext to hamper any movement causing discomfort to plutocracy. There is no other way to explain the efforts in North Dakota to construe as seditious the campaign carried on by the Non-Partisan Farmers’ League to meet war expenses through conscription of wealth. So far no official has taken it upon himself to make this charge a pretext for arrest of any speaker, but reactionary papers are urging that course, and it need occasion no surprise should it be done.

In Texas, where the Farmers and Laborers Protective Association has become formidable, an effort has been made to invoke a Federal act in its forcible suppression by bringing the false charge that it is an organization formed to oppose the draft. And, what is worse, the Post Office Department has assumed the function of passing upon each edition of its organ, the Hallettsville Rebel, before admitting it to the mail. This is made evident in the following order published in the Hallettsville New Era of June 12:

Washington, D. C., June 7, 3:30 p.m.

Hallettsville, Tex.

Submit to this office future copies of The Rebel, published at your place, for instructions, before accepting for mailing.

[William H.] LAMAR–Solicitor.

This is even worse than the late Russian censorship. The Russian censor would but black out the passage in the paper to which he took exception and let the rest go. But the postal censorship would hold up a whole issue. The publishers of The Rebel truly comment on the Department’s action:

This is the most remarkable form of censorship the world knows, where the postmaster general becomes the managing editor of The Rebel with authority to waste-basket an entire edition of 25,000 copies each time any large or small article therein does not conform to his idea as to how a Socialist newspaper should be conducted, involving a delay for each issue of from two to three weeks, even if it is approved.

The Rebel and the organization it represents have been fighting landlordism in the State, especially in the rural districts. That the landed interests wish to suppress the agitation is natural. But can the Post Office Department afford to let itself be used as their instrument?

[Photograph of masthead added.]


The Rebel of Hallettsville, Texas,
-Suppressed Issue of June 2, 1917

Hallettsville, TX, The Rebel, Hickey Kidnapping, June 2, 1917


Detail:”Read by 100,000 Actual Farmers Each Week”
-“Organ Land League of America

Hallettsville, TX, The Rebel, 100,000 Farmers, June 2, 1917


Detail:”This Issue Suppressed by Postoffice Department”

Hallettsville, TX, The Rebel, Issue Suppressed, June 2, 1917



The Salt Lake Tribune
(Salt Lake City, Utah)
-June 14, 1917

The Public of June 29, 1917
The Public, Masthead, June 29, 1917
Editorial: The Latest in Censorship 584/1265

Labor and World War I, 1914-1918
-by Philip S Foner
International Publishers, 1987
Chapter 15: Wartime Repression, The Socialist
-page 318, “Suppression of the Socialist Press

Tom Hickey, Texas Socialist, 1911
The Rebel of Hallettsville, Texas, June 2, 1917
(Top of page 1 & details of same.)

See also:

Hallettsville Rebel

The Rebel of Hallettsville, Texas, June 2, 1917

Thomas Aloysius Hickey

Farmers’ and Laborers’ Protective Association

Non-Partisan League

“The Wreck in Texas” by Tom Hickey, Editor of “The Rebel”
from Pearson’s Magazine of Sept 1917:

Twentieth-century Texas: A Social and Cultural History
-ed by John Woodrow Storey & Mary L. Kelley
University of North Texas Press, 2008
(search: “tom hickey”)

Rich Man’s War, Poor Man’s Fight: Race, Class, and Power in the Rural South during the First World War
-by Jeanette Keith
Univ of North Carolina Press, Oct 12, 2005
(search: “tom hickey”)

Texas Labor History
-ed by Bruce A. Glasrud & James C. Maroney
Texas A&M University Press, Feb 20, 2013
(search: “tom hickey”)
On page 153: “Tenant Farmer Discontent and Socialist Protest in Texas, 1901-1917” by James R. Green