ANTI-COMMUNISM ON THE LEFT

The Mail

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

The letter of Messrs. Kelman and Abrams is as intriguing as the perhaps unique political coalition it so aptly represents.

Though these gentlemen inveigh against "sloppy use of terminology," they make supposedly meaningful distinctions between three political positions of the thirties, i.e., Communists, anti-Communists, and anti-anti-Communists. While ignoring the total superficiality of this approach as not needing any serious comment, I might suggest that to maintain that these divisions exist "virtually the same way today" is an open admission of the bankruptcy of their political analysis. Surely they must recognize, if only privately, that the political arena has substantially changed in both content and style during the last ten years. It may be that organizations such as Young Peoples' Socialist League and Americans for Democratic Action can not bring themselves to recognize such a transformation, for to do so would be an abject confession of the mindlessness of their political perspective. Along with other artifacts, such as the Socialist Labor Party, they properly belong in a political museum.

Further, it is not a little bit discouraging that these gentlemen have not yet learned that anti-communism, no matter how "liberal," is completely inconsistent with any belief in democracy and civil liberties. Democrats accept everyone as an equally valid source of claims and do not judge the positions of anyone on grounds other than those directly connected with the issue at hand. A democrat opposes or supports solely on the relevant dimensions of the issue. Why? Simply because only these aspects are available and meaningful for open discussion and debate; to attempt to penetrate the hidden reasons of the undisclosed motives is a specious use of rhetoric, and it will inevitably lead to unprincipled demagoguery. The task of setting the "pure" off from the "impure" in radical politics has always been a favorite tactic for dividing the left, and if the history of the last 30 years teaches us anything, it is that those seriously committed to work for change in this country can ill afford to engage in this spurious debate.

Indeed, the real tragedy of their letter is that, at this late date, it was written at all. Richard P. Fried   Princeton Students for a Democratic Society