L. Prison Warning ailPeW R EADING the " New Class " by ' Milovan Djilas* has reminded me of when I met the author some years ago.
It was at a reception at the Yugoslav Embassy in London to which I had gone as representative of a Sunday paper, Tito had recently been expelled from the Cominform by Stalin, and the West was left guessing just what would happen next.
Djilas, Tito's first lieutenant, was the roan who was expected to lead a successful trend in the direction of democracy which would in time rob the regime of its more unpleasant features.
So, throughout the evening, Djilas was surrounded, and lionized by the commentators from Fleet Street's more intellectual papers as the man of the moment, the white hope of the West.
But things did not go as they expected. Tito remained as much a Marxist-Leninist as ever, and so has inevitably made his way back towards the Soviet bloc. Djilaa, a courageous, determined, but now disillusioned man, is in jail.
It is from his prison-cell that this thought-provoking book has come.
COMMUNISM, he argues from experience, draws on genuine ideals, and aims to end equally genuine injustices when it is still working towards the conquest of power. But when that is achieved it must, by its very nature, produce a new, despotic class and, in practice, repudiate its earlier ideals and repeat in new forms, the injustices of the past.
The tendency of most writers on Communism is to concentrate upon one of these to the exclusion of the other. Roth, in fact, need to be kept in mind.
It is a sobering thought that in large and strategic areas of the world Communism is still at the first stage, working in conditions which feed both its idealism and its condemnation of injustice.
Taking the long view, we may derive comfort from the nature of its second stage. The despotic, totalitarian elements which must inevitably emerge are of enormous importance for the future. They constitute one of the many significant "contradictions" which must inevitably, but not necessarily quickly, lead to its ultimate collapse.
Djilas, from the very nature of his case, masonot have much that is positive to offer to the West, but his book should be read by all those who take the problem of Communism seriously.
Colour Problem THE New Orleans Association of Catholic Laymen in a letter to the Holy Fattier, recently requested
that their Archbishop's strange new doctrine" on the sinfulness of racial segregation should he officially repudiated. By so doing, they ranged themselves, not only against their own spiritual leader. hut outside the main stream of Catholic thought too.
But it is not enough to dismiss them as so many Catholic Ku Klux Klan types. There may, for all I know, be moronic, "nigger-hating" misguided people among them. I can only write of those I met in New Orleans earlier this year. These were charming, cultured people whose Catholicism clearly meant much to them even though the old families of New Orleans have a long and strange record of a peculiar form of anti-clericalism behind them.
found them to be genuinely convinced that 'Archbishop Rummel was tragically wrong in trying to hurry along the process of racial integration. It was, they believed. a dangerous policy which could lead only to suffering for all concerned.
make this point because, in trying to comprehend a very complex situation which has arisen again in the Southern States we must understand, even if we do not agree with. their point of view.
In passing, it is interesting to note that when the Jesuit weekly " America." which has given a brave lead on the colour question, recently devoted an issue to an examination of the problem, it commented editorially: " For the Negro a cloud seems to be gathering on the Southern horizon. Does it portend a tornado of revenge?" Steering a course between what is just and what is prudent is never easy, and destroying deep-rooted prejudices is hard.
Both sides need our prayers.
SOUTH AFRICA, and, in
creasingly once more, the Southern States of the U.S.A., are putting the colour question into the centre of the picture. Catholics have good cause to be proud of the role of their Church on this question.
In the U.S.A. Catholics have been in the forefront of those who have worked for integration in the schools and for improving interracial relations. In this, they have clearly had the mind of the Church with them. The Holy Father has made the Catholic position clear on a number of different occasions when he has pointed to the intrinsic evil of racism and "racial exclusion."
And the recent historic statement issued by South Africa's Bishops is one in which any Catholic may take pride.
They asserted that responsibility for South Africa's racist policies lies squarely on the shoulders of while settlers. They called for an immediate change towards gradual integration The "white supremacy"' theory is " blasphemy."
They called for an end of what they described as this " mockery of Christianity." in national life. And they did not hesitate to hit at the practice of segregation in some Catholic institutions.
" The time has come," they said, "to pursue more vigorously the change of heart and practice that the law of Christ demands."
Inflation MY reference to " America' reminds me that in another recent issue. the paper's industrial
relations " special ist " discusses Catholic social action and the Labour movement.
I noted with interest that Fr. Benjamine Masse, S.J., quite naturally, lists the recent exposure of corruption in the American trade union movement as a moral crisis.
When he deals with the next problem currently facing Catholics in the trade unions he does not put it ander the same "moral" heading, That problem is inflation — which is the subject of much controversy among our own Catholics in the trades unions and our social thinkers. Fr. Paul Crane, S.1-, does not hesitate to call it a moral issue. It is an indication that there is room for two points'of view on the question.
Both, one may he certain, will find expression at a meeting called by the North London Association of Catholic Trade Unionists to discuss " Fair wages without inflation," It will be held in St. Monica's School Hall, Cannon Hill. Palmers Green, on Thursday. September 19, at 8 p.m.
%v, HEN Commuunist Leo Ma.
Circe. the Birkenhead Woodworkers' leader, spoke at the Trade Union Congress ie support of Russia's ruthless intervention in the Hungarian peoples' rising. he was howled down by outraged delegates. Before he went to the rostrum to plead this unpopular cause he must have known that such a reception was almost inevitable. But he did it nonetheless.
It is a strange and disturbing thing to see bow a man's inborn courage and audacity, products of a centuries-long fight by his forefathers in defence of the Faith and against persecution, can be turned to such a purpose.
• a The New C ram Therne & litsdian, lit.