Has U.S. Communism a Future? November 24, 1957
John Gates vs. Granville Hicks, November 24, 1957
Gates – YES: “The communist party has a future, because socialism is the future of the United States. We no longer insist, however, that we are God’s chosen people and that only we can lead America to socialism. The communist party of the United States is proud of its contributions but conscious of its mistakes. A big change has taken place. Today we do not endorse everything the Soviet Union does. But a struggle continues in the communist party of the United States between those who favor the new plan and those who favor the old.
Hicks – NO: “The answer is as clear as it can possibly be. The communist party has no future in the United States. And furthermore, it never did have. The old guard of the American communist party, which regards it as an extension and mouthpiece of the communist party in the Soviet Union, is gathering up its strength and preparing to drop the ax on Gates.”
Q: Where do you expect to get the people who will believe you and follow you in view of your 40 years of misleadership?
A: (Gates) I know a lot of parties that have attracted quite a following in spite of misleadership! If we can convince you that we are sincere and deserving your support, we will get it; if we can’t, we won’t.
Q: (to Hicks) You say communism in the United States has no future. Has communism anywhere a future?
A: (Hicks) The Soviet Union, like it or not, will go on a long, long time.
Q: How do you explain the Soviet arms buildup?
A: (Hicks) Unlike here in the United States, nobody in a socialist land profits from war or war preparation and the Soviet Union is heavily armed because it has been twice attacked in modern history. Opinions on who was to blame should not keep sensible people from agreeing that war is unthinkable and that the bomb tests poisoning air must be stopped by mutual agreement.
(Gates) If we stop war, time will tell, the people will decide, who is right, whether capitalism or socialism is better. [loud applause]