Norman Thomas: Dinner to celebrate his 75th year. Los Angeles. 12 December 1959
Year after year, decade after decade, Norman Thomas has illuminated the world with his penetrating discussions and analyses of the great world problems. His analyses have corresponded to what is now called research - the open-minded and honest study of all of the facts, and the use of them in reaching unbiased conclusions.
And he has, in large part, won the fight. His platform is now the platform of the Democratic Party, of the Republican party; and in England of the Conservative Party as well as the Labor Party.
The victory has been greater in England, in Sweden, and in some other countries than in the United States or the USSR. We live in a world in which there is still mass misery, in which private power monopolies are still able to limit the utilization of the water resources of some parts of the world to that fraction that provides the maximum profit, thus blocking the development that would be of the greatest value to the nation, in which the cigarette companies are permitted to spend on falsely advertising their product a sum, 500 million dollars per year, as great as that devoted to medical research - even though this product produces a greater decrease in life-expectancy of Americans than any other cause.
We must all take up the fight carried on so vigorously by Norman Thomas!
[End note annotation by LP] 1931 - N. Thomas pointed out that Wall Street Bankers made $120,000,000 on foreign loans that lost the American people $2,000,000,000.
It is especially with respect to the fight for peace that we are indebted to Norman Thomas. Time after time he has pointed out the truth about war and militarism - and now the time has come when, we hope, the world has begun to listen to him.
Let me quote from him - 1931.
"All the logic is on the side of disarmament - and I mean disarmament, not a cut of 25% or 50% in the military budget. Armaments, armies, navies, universal conscription of young men - these are only phases of the insanity of a world in which the highest loyalty is to absolute national states. We have competitive armaments because we have no internationalism, no true family of nations.
"We have not even grasped the elementary fact that we must get along with Russia.
"Today the primary duty of each nation is first to cast out the beam from its own eye. Even if complete international agreement fails at Geneva, even if France holds out for arms, America can well afford an example in disarmament with which other nations would associate themselves.
"The success of Geneva will be a good beginning. It will not be the end. The community of nations must be achieved....Disarmament is the beginning in the winning of plenty and of peace and freedom."
And I believe that it will turn out that Norman Thomas will win this fight.
Norman Thomas, I am happy that I am a member of the human race of which you are so noble a representative, and I am proud to be here tonight, with you, at this celebration.