To the Editor of the Crimson:
Last year the students of Harvard were shocked by the refusal of the University authorities to allow them to hear Earl Browder. It was not in "good taste," the authorities said, because Browder was under indictment for a passport violation. But a large number of students saw through this flimsy pretext, recognized in the ban against the secretary of the Communist Party a dangerous attack on civil liberties, and several hundred students expressed their recognition by petitioning the University in protest.
Last week the final court appeal in the Browder case was denied, his conviction and sentence to four years' imprisonment for a technical passport violation upheld. And just as in the case at Harvard last year, it is clear that the passport violation is only a pretext--the persecution of Browder and of the political party which he represents is a violation of fundamental democratic rights, and a violation of these rights by our government itself.
No one who has concern for our democracy can regard this with complacency. At first it was "only the Communists" who suffered from such denials of civil rights--more and more, in the name of national defense, the attack has spread to other minorities, to organized labor, to all groups that speak for peace. If these attacks are to be stopped anywhere, they must be stopped everywhere, and first of all where they are sharpest--on the Communists.
We urge all students to join in protesting this attack on democracy, to attend the protest meeting in Boston on Wednesday evening, February 26. The meeting, to be addressed by William Z. Foster, National chairman of the Communist Party, will take place in the Old South Meeting House, on Washington and Milk Streets, at 8 P.M. Let Harvard students, who rose to the defense of civil rights last year, rise again on this far more critical occasion. The Harvard John Reed Society.