and so right. By using the schematic device one puts the
Communists on the left and then one regards them as
advanced liberals — after which it is easy to regard them
as the enzyme necessary for progress.
Communists usurp the position of the left, but when one
examines them in the light of what they really stand for
one sees them as the rankest of reactionaries and communism as the most reactionary backward leap in the long
history of social movements. It is one which seeks to obliterate in one revolutionary wave two thousand years of
During my thirteen years of teaching at Hunter I was
to repeat this semantic falsehood many times. I did not see
the truth that people are not born "right" or "left" nor can
they become "right" or "left" unless educated on the basis
of a philosophy as carefully-organized as communism.
I was among the first of a new kind of teacher. The
mark of the decade was on us. I read widely on imperialism. I discovered the John Dewey Society and the Progressive Education Association. I became aware of the
popular concept of the social frontier. I repeated glibly
that we had reached the last of our natural frontiers and
that new ones must be social. There would be, we were
told, in the near future a collective society in our world
and especially in our country, and in teaching students
one must prepare them for that day.
That year I learned that George Counts, an associate of
John Dewey, like him a philosopher and theorist on education, had gone to Russia. He had, of course, been there
before. In fact, he had set up the educational system of
the revolutionary period for the Russian Government. He
had translated the Russian Primer into English and was
eager to have American teachers study it. He promised a
report on Russian schools when he returned.0
I began to feel in me a desire to become a citizen of
the world. It was a desire that made it easy and natural
for me to accept communism and its emphasis on internationalism.
I did not realize what I now know, and have come to
know through much turmoil of spirit, that significance is
all about us and that it comes from order. There was no
order in my life. I had no pattern by which to arrange it.
I was moved by feelings and emotions and an accumulation of knowledge which brought me no joy of living.
In the summer of 1927 I received my Master of Arts
degree. That fall I made a sharp switch in my career.
Tired of graduate work, I entered New York University
Law School. I taught morning and evening classes at
Hunter College and attended my law classes in the afternoon. I liked the study of law; it was a discipline worth
mastering. I did not expect to practice law. I thought of
myself as a teacher.
As a young instructor disturbed by the conflicting currents among the intellectuals, I turned to Sarah Parks for
advice. But now her absorption with college politics had
a quality of desperation. I did not feel that the situation
warranted the extremes of emotion she poured into it.
I did not know then that I was to follow in her footsteps.
When in January, 1928, she committed suicide I was
thrown into an emotional tailspin. Her death had a pro-
"ED.'s NOTE: The influence of George Counts and John Dewey
on puhlic schools in the United States is further described in Facte
Forum News condensation of the hook. Education or Indoctrination,
liv Mary L. Allen. See issue tor April, lilofi, beginning p. 40.
Earl Browder, leader
of Pan Pacific Trade
Union Secretariat, a
subsidiary of the
1929; General Secretary of the Communist Party of America, 1929; Communist Party presidential candidate, 1936
and 1940; President
1944 to July, 1945;
expelled from the
Party, February, 1946;
thereafter, represented Soviet publishing firms in the
United States; presently a consultant
to the Fund for the
found effect on those of us whom she had influenced. "'
felt that she thought as a collectivist but lived as an ii"'1'
vidualist and that this was her failure. We did not recOH
nize that life had become unbearable to her because <>
the disorder of her thinking which inevitably led to sell'
destruction. Careful not to continue on the path which V
to her suicide, I was to take a longer, more deceptive, y*
parallel road toward annihilation.
During the spring of 1930 I prepared for the exami"'''
tion for admission to the New York Bar. The examinati"
over, I requested a leave of absence from the college a*
with my friend Beatrice left for Europe. I wanted
escape from responsibility. I was young; I wanted
It was a trip rich in new contacts. With a capacity' I
make friends I found people of interest in every walk '
life in the different countries we visited. It was on -
trip that 1 was to meet my future husband, John Dodd-
I found friends from Hunter College at the Universe
of Berlin. I was conscious of the fact that here politics ''-'
become a matter of life and death. I did not then, as u°\
realize that for close to a century the educational W<T
of Germany had been subjected to systematic despiri'"'1
ization which could result only in the dehumanization »°\
apparent. This made it possible for such despirituali-^
men to serve both the Nazi and later the Comiin"1'
power with terrifying loyalty and efficiency. <
And now I insisted on a trip not on our schedule -
wanted to go to Dresden and see the Sistine Madonna-
was worth the long trip. The day in Dresden was "'•
happiest in Germany. .
In Vienna, I was struck by the fact that those ^j
deplored the blight that was upon them had no stan''*1
to which to rally. They were frightened. There was a 1°-*
ing to return to the past, but not the slightest award'1*'
as to where they were going. , i,
Venice was a highly sophisticated, gay, brittle, mate1''
istic city. It was overrun by men in uniform. Practic-1
one out of three was a soldier. . .
When we reached Florence I found that even fasC ^
was unable to corrode the unbelievably beautiful sy-in'"
of the past. I loved being in Florence. Tbe delicate
straint of its scenery and of its architecture sccim'
(1 "' ,
Facts Forum News, Septeml
,er, m ^