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The Case of Dr. Mészáros

To the Editors:

A colleague of ours, Dr. István Mészáros, was recently appointed to a senior professorship of philosophy at York University, Toronto, but has been barred from taking up his post by the Canadian government’s refusal to grant him a visa. A Marxist, Dr. Mészáros is originally from Hungary, where, as a student and friend of Lukács, he was one of the first citizens of a Communist country to speak out publicly against Stalinism. He now holds a British passport, and for the last thirteen years has taught at British universities. His published works include books and articles in English, Hungarian, and Italian, and last year, having been awarded the Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize, he delivered the first Isaac Deutscher Memorial Lecture at the London School of Economics.

No reason has been given for the Canadian government’s refusal to allow him to take up his post, though the assumption must be that he is regarded as a security risk. That being so, the decision is deplorable. In his thirteen years at British universities, during a time of severe political discontent and unrest, this distinguished scholar has been scrupulous in his observance of the academic code and has never been the object of any complaint. It is scandalous that a government, especially one purporting to be liberal, should so arbitrarily interfere with individual, academic, and intellectual freedom.

Tom Bottomore

Roy Edgeley

Laurence Lerner

The University of Sussex

Sussex, England

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