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Freedom Is Indivisible - Howard Fast

Howard Fast, novelist, at the recent meeting in St. Nicholas Arena "In Defense of Dignity" made the following speech on the trial of the 11 Communist leaders:

The most notable thing about this evening is, I think, that in this moment of fear and repression, so many brave and truly important people have come forward to be counted, to strike a blow for America, and to speak out against the creeping virus of fascism. I speak not only of the men and women on the platform with me, but of you in the audience. What an important and brave and proud role you play today!

However, one cannot overlook the fact that many who should be with us are not yet among those present. There has been a great scurrying into corners, a great ostrich-like burying of heads in the sand, a great donning of the mantle of the rationale. As if to say, this is only a little bit of fascism, a little bit of tyranny, a little bit of degradation. So to that we must answer, so long as we have breath: there is no little bit of fascism, tyranny and degradation. Freedom is a whole and a singular thing.

It is also being said--and by so many who should be with us today--that this horror instigated by Truman - McGrath - Medina and company, is not directed against democracy at all, but only against Communists. This very hollow rationale has been answered in many ways; it must, however, be answered in still another way. Someone must say, quite calmly and quite forthrightly, that even if it were directed only against Communists, it must be fought and halted; for if it is not stopped, it will destroy the future and the hopes of mankind.

And precisely for this reason, that in the Communist Party is enshrined the future and the hope of mankind. I am tired of evasion and double-talk on this issue. There is no nobler, no finer product of man's existence on this earth than the Communist Party. At its worst, it is better than the best that this rotten and dying ruling class of ours has brought forth. At its best, it contains within it the future and the hopes and the dreams of plain people everywhere.

I do not ask that all of you believe this. It would be hard for you to believe it, living in the foul miasma of today's press. But I do ask that you respect my right to say this. In the name of a million Communists who have unselfishly laid down their lives for the freedom of mankind, it must be said.