President emeritus James Bryant Conant '14 opened the Summer School Conference on Teaching the Nature of Communism Monday night by telling a near-capacity Sanders Theatre audience that the people of the West must attempt to understand Communism as it exists in the world today.
He related six "facts" which he had learned about Communism during his long career as an educator and more recently as United States High Commissioner and Ambassador to Germany, and outlined three major steps to a more complete understanding of the basic nature of Communism.
The doctrine, expounded by Marx, Lenin and Stalin, is an all-embracing one, Conant said, one which allows no other and which was first advanced for the proletariat so that it might win its great battle against capitalist domination.
Power for Few
As a system of government, it is one in which a few people have a tremendous amount of power and live in an atmosphere of political suspicion characteristic of all social aspects of communism, Conant explained.
The problem of "phraseology versus ideology" is a major one as far as the free world is concerned, for therein lies the question of whether or not the communist leaders actually believe in the theory behind the system. Conant indicated that, although there might be attempts to "reform the party from inside," most of the leaders, at least, feel that capitalism is a dying system and that the communist or socialist way will be spread throughout the world.
Conant also noted the existence of two very strong counterforces to communism, nationalism and technology, which should cause tendencies towards changes in conant will deliver a special lecture on "Germany and the Defense of Europe" tonight at 8:30 in Sanders Theatre. "philosophy, tactics and composition of communism." He did not predict what the extent of these changes might be.
Nothing that satellite indoctrination had failed badly in such countries as Poland, Hungary and East Germany, Conant questioned whether it was a repudiation of communism or of Kremlin control.
In urging a stronger attempt to understand Communism, Conant described three steps, trying to envision the totalitarian state, trying to understand the schooling of members of the communist party, and trying to understand the tents of Marxism-Leninism.
Conant explained the totalitarian state as one with complete censorship, complete control of education, spying of friends upon friends and children on parents and the one-party system. The schooling of party members is a highly organized indoctrination system with courses of study ranging up to three years for top national leaders, he said.
The Marxist doctrine was broken into three parts by Conant, dialectical materialism, which is a "world philosophy" that "answers everything"; historical materialism, which is claimed to be an inevitable result of dialectical materialism; and the Marxist analysis of the capitalistic structure.
Conant stressed particularly the latter, which characterizes capitalism by worker oppression, class struggle, and continual depression-inflation cycles, since many may believe such analysis, although not the dialectical and historical materialism theory.
Teach About Communism Early
Teaching the nature of communism as early as the high school level was advised by John H. Fischer and George S. Counts at the second open session Tuesday night.
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