North Korea No Aggressor, Leftist Clubs Say
YP, JRC Heads Won't Alter Stands; Third Group Blames Both Sides
NEW YORK, N.Y. Korean War bombardment hasn't forced the John Reed Club or Young Progressives to surrender a single inch of their beliefs.
That is the consensus of club members and officers, who agreed this week that North Korea is not an aggressor and that "America is trying to use force to back up an unpopular regime."
Lowell P. Beveridge '52, president of YPH, predicated that his group would go along with the Progressive Party and not with Wallace. "As for myself," he said, "I can't stick with Wallace's idea of my-country-right-or-wrong."
He added that trying to pin the war on someone is begging the question.
"The situation before war broke out was unstable," Beveridge stated. "There were border raids ... South Korea had a heavy armament program ... Dulles went to South Korea for the attack, and the North Koreans were uneasy.
War Was Inevitable
"War was the inevitable outcome of the situation."
He declined to say whether the Communists were as much responsible for the war as the South Koreans, since "the Russians are already being attacked too much in the papers."
The CRIMSON could not contact any John Reed Club members who were willing to give an on-the-record statement. But the group has usually been considered further left then the YP's, and according to one member will "almost certainly" agree with their attitude.
For the past year JRC has been affiliated with the Labor Youth League, which has been prominent in criticizing American imperialism and denying Russian aggression.
Here are some highlights from the interview with the Progressive's Beveridge:
Q. How about Russia's charges of American imperialism in Korea?
A. I'd compare the situation with China and Indo-China. America is trying to use force to back up an unpopuar regime.
Q. Is the South Korean government unpopular?
A. From what I gather Rhee is unpopular. The Reds appear to have support of a large part of the population.
Q. What about the Newspapers? All the dispatches say that the South Koreans are fighting hard and the North Koreans are giving up more easily.
A. It depends which newspapers y o u read. I've read that MacArthur is considering censoring news openly. It's obvious that some of this is going on. It's difficult to see what's happening.
Q. Why did so many South Koreans try to escape the Communists then?
A. I think they were trying to escape from war.
Beveridge pointed out that these were only his own views, and that he hadn't yet talked with other YP members. But, he predicted, "Most of them won't string with Wallace, I don't think there will be any trouble in the club ranks."
He also predicted that the club would gain members, not lose them, this year. Most of the new blood will be inactive progressives stirred up by the pressure of world events, "But some will be converts," Beveridge said.
"I think we'll gain members when people see the danger resulting from a war," he added. "They'll be more inclined to come to a political organization and make their weight felt.
"The war is unpopular now, especially among future draftees. A lot of people are seared and want to do something. Some opposition is needed at the college."
Beveridge said he hoped this opposition would form early in the term, with an evening debate open to the public.
Besides YPH and JRC, the College has only one other left-of-Democrats political group. The Society for Industrial Democracy has customarily favored socialism but attacked Communist Russia for being totalitarian.
Outgoing President Stephen J. Seligman '52, said last week that "the Communist invasion of South Korea is gruesome verification of the dangers of the Soviet totalitarian regime.
"The present need for military forces to oppose aggression must not allow us to forget, however, that the guarantee of political freedom, of economic stability, and of social justice is also necessary for the prevention of totalitarianism.
"Our previous record in Korea was poor in promoting these guarantees. We must convince the people of Korea that we are prepared to treat them as equals in the solution of our common problem."
Seligman also pointed out that these were merely his own views, but that "all liberal groups would agree" with at least the first part of the statement. He added that "nothing in Korea is inconsistent with Russia's previous methods.
Every one of the interviewees said had heard that YP and JRC had been banned from the College during the summer and would not be allowed to return this fall as recognized organizations According to the Dean's Office, the rumor is completely without basis.