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Statement in Support of William Sloane Coffin, Jr., et. al.
William Sloane Coffin, Jr. Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Adam Stempel 11, William Sloane Coffin, Jr. and the War

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This is a statement in support of William Sloane Coffin, Benjamin Spock, and others written by Erich Fromm, the social psychologist. It was written in response to a federal court indictment of Coffin; Spock; Marcus Raskin, the primary author of “A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority;” Michael Ferber, a Harvard graduate student; and Mitchell Goodman, a novelist. All were charged with conspiracy to counsel, aid, and abet draft-dodging. Although Ferber and Goodman were almost completely unknown, Coffin, Spock, and Raskin were prominent intellectual figures. Their trial received much publicity, and while they were originally convicted the verdict was appealed and overturned a year later. Fromm’s statement protests against what he feels is the imminent danger of the suppression of the freedom of speech of vocal intellectuals everywhere. Fromm uses his standing as a public intellectual to draw attention and gravity to the cause of intellectual freedom.