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While Senator Gerald P. Nye last night scored present methods of national defense as a pure, unadulterated racket and urged the passage of emphatic legislation annihilating war profit, Norman Thomas declared that complete socialization is the only possible means of ending the pressure for armaments and war.
With Arthur N. Holcombe '06, professor of Government, presiding, the meeting was sponsored by the Harvard Student Union and attended by a capacity audience in the New Lecture Hall. Stephen V. N. Powelson '38 opened the proceedings with an explanation of the aims and purposes of the H.S.U.
Stepping Stone to Fascism
Comparing Senator Nye's congressional proposals with Mussolini's plans for the nationalization of the munitions industry in Italy, Thomas warned that such measures may provide the stopping stone to a fascist, military government.
"If Senator Nye's bill passes Congress," he declared, "the administration of law in the next war will tend to tighten conscription over individual lives far more than over individual property."
Expressing his doubts that the pending legislation would be any more effective than the prohibition law under the capitalistic system. Thomas further pointed out that "there will still be navy officers and workers in munitions factories whose jobs depend on the building of more battleships."
United States Guilty
In advancing arguments in favor of governmental control of the arms trade, Senator Nye asserted that "no power on this earth is lending more directly and positively to the spirit of war than is our country.
"Let us cease to point our fingers at Mussolini, Hitler, and the Japanese. We are now spending more money for war preparations than any other nation in he world. Yet no other country needs less defense than does the United States.
"This mad armament race is traceable to the fact that our governmental policies today are directed by men who have found that there is considerable financial gain for them in military preparedness. They have discovered that profits are greatest when blood is thickest. The next time we send our youths across the seas to die on foreign battlefields, let us call it a war to make the world safe for Dupontcracy.
Plunders Public Funds
"The annual Japanese war scare comes just before our big army and navy appropriation bills are laid before Congress. The munitions racket plunders the public funds; but when you or I call it plundering, we are told that we ought to be deported, sent back to Moscow."
Insisting that "the price of peace is greater than any panacea yet suggested," Norman Thomas strongly advocated the complete abolition of the profit system and of nationalism as "our dominant religion." "If America goes to war," he said, "it will be because the owning class decides that war is for its own interests."
At the meeting last night it was announced that the Harvard Student Union, representing over 150 undergraduates in this college, has decided by a vote of 94 to 35 in favor of affiliation with the American Student Union, corresponding national organization
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