Writing in America, the American Jesuit paper, Arnold Lunn describes his experiences in trying to rouse American Communists to challenge the truth of what he was saying.
He lectured for six months in thirty-four American towns on Spain and Communism, and apparently the Reds evacuated every town before his advance.
" When the Communists of Pittsburgh," he writes, " arrived at headquarters on a November morning, they found this notice pinned to the door : " I called at 8 a.m. and again at 9.30 a.m. and should be glad to be informed what time Communists get up.'
"I signed this notice: Arnold Lunn. A hard-working Catholic.'—attached two tickets for, and a pressing invitation to, my lecture. The tickets would probably have been disregarded had not the Press taken a hand in the game. Author scores first heckle by beating Communists out of bed,' was the headline to an article urging the Reds to get even.
" Plenty of Abuse " " Good hecklers," he continues, "cannot be bred in one generation. I travelled down the Pacific Coast without finding a heckler worthy of the name, though there was plenty of abuse in the press."
Red Spain champions challenged him at Seattle: " Lunn is a father of skiing ' and a professor of theology," they said. "What qualifications other than Spanish birth does Mx. Lunn have for the role of political commentator? By what right is an exponent of Fascism allowed to attack the democracy of Spain in the democratic country of America? Free Speech'?. Fascism is the complete negation of free speech and all democratic traditions. Permitting it to have free expression is a direct blow aimed at the maintenance of free speech."
lie Twitted Them
Their campaign, Mr. Lunn tells us, filled the University Hall in which he spoke. He twitted them on their cowardice in refusing the debate which he had offered them through his friends in Seattle. They replied to this taunt with a feeble noise which provoked a homesick longing for British "Boos." And, true to type, these timid Reds subsided into silence, and played no part in the subsequent questions.
From Seattle he went on to Portland where he was interviewed on the radio on his two subjects: Spain and skiing. Militancy is as unpopular on the American as on the British radio and his radio interviewer seemed to find his Spanish views too definite for his taste. " Well, I think we've pretty well exhausted that subject," he said, " and now for skiing."
" The subject," said Lunn, " is far from exhausted. Skiing can wait." And he told his experiences at Seattle and added in the tone of a man imparting useful *for mation " You see the Reds are yellow and quitters." " That's very strong language," he said. " Strong but accurate," Lunn answered, " but now, if you like, we can return to the snows."
One speaker prominent in Red circles and a few timid supporters was all the result that he secured from his radio challenge. He was asked the routine question, " How can you pretend that Franco is fighting for Christian civilisation in view of the fact that he is using the Moors?"
Now the Communists were making great efforts to pose as the champions of the oppressed Negroes, so Lunn decided to exploit this fact. " The Moors formed part of the regular Spanish Colonial Army just as the Negro division formed part of the American Army in France. Do you think that it was wrong for the Americans to use Negro troops in Europe?"
He got the answer which was supposed to embarrass him most. "Yes I do." Lunn told him that he was a snob, chock full of reactionary race prejudice and that he ought to be liquidated. The Red was so incensed that on his way to the door he drove his elbow into a priest and tried to push him aside. But the priest was young, with a football training behind him. He did not turn the other cheek, but he did turn the other hip and the Communist went flying into the wall.