COMMUNISM ON THE CAMPUS
To the Editor of the CRIMSON:
Ben W. Heineman's article, The University in the McCarthy Era, is one of the finest we have seen in your pages, and we urge that you reprint it later in the term, so that students who missed it in the crowded registration issue will get a second chance.
There is one very crucial question, however, that Mr. Heineman leaves both unanswered and unasked, and we would like to raise it here. We want to know: how does the University feel now about having Communists on its faculty?
In 1949, the Harvard faculty voted in favor of the proposition that "'Communists should not be employed as teachers' because membership in the CP meant that they had surrendered their intellectual integrity." Does the faculty still believe this? What would a poll of Harvard students show on this question? Would there be a difference amongst students according to their age, sex, concentration? Perhaps another article is called for.
We feel that such beliefs are wrong, and that they stem precisely from the fact that universities do not have Communist teachers, so that people have no basis upon which to judge the scholarship and creativity of Marxists and Communists. In England, France, Italy, and many other non-socialist countries, Communists hold professorships at the greatest universities, and there they are respected by their colleagues and students as learned men and women, and accomplished teachers.
To believe that a Marxist necessarily has a closed mind is not merely wrong; it shows a lack of understanding of what Marxism is, and how Marxists think. Marxism is a philosophy, a science; it is a method of analysis, a way of looking at things. Marxists do not get answers from their science - only questions to ask, and a way to go about answering them. If American universities are really teaching their students to believe that membership in the Communist party must imply "a loss of independence of mind, and adherence to a rigid, anti-American ideology," then American universities themselves are being close-minded and rigid. Every student's education must suffer, even if just a little, by the injection of such non-truths into the curriculum.
McCarthyism is not completely dead, it is not just an abberation of the past. Communists are not allowed on American campuses today because the present-day McCarthies are afraid that students and faculty will suddenly find out how creative and relevant Marxists and Communists really are.
We regret very much we cannot sign our names or invite you to cover our meetings - but as we have said, McCarthyism is not dead, and McCarranism is very much alive. In 1965 it is still only semi-legal to be a Communist in America, but we are confident that the day is not too far off when Communists will take their rightful, open places on American faculties, in American student bodies and in every phase of American life. Communist Party, U.S.A. Boston Area Youth Club