To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
The Harvard Youth for Democracy feels that the recent attack on one of its members while he was distributing authorized leaflets is an extremely serious event. It is serious not so much because of the injuries it caused but rather because it is a violent attack on the rights of a political minority. It is our opinion that such attacks--and they have been many in recent months--are a grave threat to the free institutions of American democracy. We believe that these attacks should be attributed to the current well-planned campaign of hysteria aimed at all progressives, and not primarily to the misled individuals who in many cases carry them out. This hysteria has certainly been heightened by the indictment of the twelve leaders of the Communist Party on charges of conspiring to overthrow the government by force and violence.
It is a fact that force and violence are being used against Communists and progressives. In the past few months there have been hundreds of small incidents such as the one that took place Wednesday night at Harvard. Civil liberties in the United States are in great danger as a result of the current anti-Communist hysteria.
The attack Wednesday night was a result of artificial hysteria. The University may feel that it is necessary to punish those students responsible; however, the HYD and Mr. Stocking desire nothing more in the way of punishment than that these students be made to recompense him for the damage they caused. We feel that what is much more important is that the University should make a public statement strongly condemning this attack and the hysteria that caused it. The University must reiterate its stand on the rights of undergraduate organizations. It must take a definite stand against the disruption of meetings in the campus by organized groups--such events have been all too frequent here at Harvard in the last few months. Only by exposing the hysteria which caused this attack can we make certain that it will not be repeated.
Stephen Wechsler, for HYD Executive Committee