An Exchange on the ADA Convention

An Exchange on the ADA Convention

David C. Williams

Director of Research & Education, Americans for Democratic Action

We read with interest Mr. Irving Howe’s article, “ADA: Vision and Myopia” in your spring issue. We believe that the standard for judgment of ADA which he sets forth, in refraining from “berating liberals for not being socialists,” is a just one. With some of his opinions on issues and personalities we do not agree, but he is as entitled to his opinions as we are to ours. We do, however, ask the hospitality of your columns to present corrections or clarifications on some matters of fact:

1) When the ADA Convention on March 19 amended the sentence in its platform, “We oppose limiting the right to advocate unpopular proposals, including Communist ideas,” by striking out the last three words, it did not retract ADA’s opposition to limiting the right to advocate Communist ideas, although the action was widely so interpreted by the press. It was precisely to dispel this confusion that, in his acceptance speech as our newly elected Chairman, Mr. Joseph L. Rauh, Jr., the next day specifically stated that Communist ideas—as well as fascist, Trotskyist, and other such ideas—are included in the category “unpopular political proposals,” and that ADA in the future, as in the past, will oppose all efforts to limit their advocacy.