I T WAS CHRISTMAS, and finally that strange year of 1949 was drawing to a close. People in the arts - actors, writers, painters, dancers - are for the most part romantics. We are very aware of ourselves, and the ten or eleven hundred men and women in the Cultural Section of the Communist Party shared that awareness. We saw ourselves as a circle of awareness in a mostly indifferent population, and we felt a sense of identity with the early Christians; indeed, as we saw it, we practiced a sort of primitive Christianity in emphasizing brotherhood and sacrifice, and the fact that some of us were Jewish and some were not made no difference. The only place in my own lifetime where I experienced the same compassion for the poor and persecuted that I saw in the Communist Party was in the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a religious-pacifist organization of which I have been a member for the past thirty years.