Civil Liberties / Interview Theme Index / Ideology /


Myron Kandel

— We had people who would certainly be classified as leftists — whether they were Communists I have no idea — who were on the newspaper. And yet the middle-of-the-roaders were the ones who really prevailed. We were young idealists and had strong views and didn't want to be pushed around, and we were in conflict with a rather authoritarian administration of the college.

Ann Lane

— I think Vanguard was really much more anarchist, kind of a lefty anarchist, a “plague on all your houses” kind of stuff. “We’re going to tell the truth about the world. We don’t have our own politics.”

Bill Taylor

— Generally the people were progressives, civil libertarians in the ACLU sense of the word. And that was the general take I had. I mean, some people were not political at all. Some people were political. I don't remember any huge political discussions at the newspaper. I mean, people were not doctrinaire or indoctrinated or anything like that. We were progressives, but there was no real sympathy for Communists in the group.

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Gene Bluestein

— They were independents. I don’t think they would call themselves radicals. To judge from where they ended up I would say probably no. I did and do. But we were all independent, that was the key. That was the main thing. And that’s been the main thing in my life. Gideonse, of course, told everyone we were all reds. And as far as I know there were no reds on the Vanguard.

Harry Baron

— I was not a Communist, and I was not overly anti-communist. I tried to maintain an open mind. To be an anti-communist, I thought, was a poor position to take because it showed you have an agenda. And I didn’t have that kind of an agenda. As far as I’m concerned, they’re human beings. You know? You have a different political viewpoint, so what? Good. Tell me or don’t. So my politics — compared to Rhoda, for example, who is a firebrand, we were on opposite sides. But I didn’t dislike the radicals. I used to argue with them occasionally in the office, but it never got beyond that.

Myron Kandel

— But there was a split at the school and on the newspaper between people who were far to the left and others. And I remember that those of us who were not leftists managed to take control of the paper. I remember there was one election, and I remember that there was a left wing faction — I don't even remember who they were, but I do remember that we defeated them.

Herb Dorfman

— One of the Vanguard guys was a Communist. He made it clear. He was a member of the Young Communist League. Nothing he wrote reflected it but he talked about it. And he'd argue with us about trying to put stuff in, sort of arcane material. I mean, we weren't into slavery. He wanted to do the slavery thing. I said, "we're not here to combat slavery." He was a Communist, so he said. And there were a couple of left leaning people. But on campus there were lots of groups.

Ann Lane

— And I remember when the Korean War broke out, all the real lefties immediately attacked South Korea and the United States. And I remember going to one of those LYL [Labor Youth League] meetings, and I said, “I don’t know. I don’t have any information yet.” And they all looked at me as if I had said something dirty, that I hadn’t simply accepted the line. And I left and never went back there. But there were friends that I had in that organization, and they were not in Vanguard.

Myron Kandel

— The paper did not, as I recall, take positions on national or even international affairs. I don't remember our doing that. We were strictly discussing campus matters. I would say that the paper’s general tone was activist, critical of the administration as most kids are, critical of authority.

Rhoda Karpatkin

— Journalists are not the same as activists. Activists pursue a political agenda of some sort or other, but journalists believe in the power of the press and in their independence and their right to write what they please without being constricted by authority. And they believe further in the necessity, in a democratic society, to protect that right, that this goes hand-in-hand with a free society. And I believe that as passionately today as I did when I was a student, that one of the saving graces for a democratic society today is its free press.