Defending Dissent Foundation

The Defending Dissent Foundation (DDF), previously known for many years as the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation (NCARL) and formed in 1960 as the National Committee to Abolish HUAC, is a national not-for-profit advocacy organization in the United States, dedicated to defending the right of political dissent.

Based in Washington, D.C., NCARL was founded in 1960 as a group opposing the House Un-American Activities Committee (known popularly by the acronym HUAC) of the U.S. House of Representatives. It formed in Southern California as an outgrowth of 1950s efforts against McCarthyism that had been led by the Southern California Civil Liberties Union (a unit of the American Civil Liberties Union) and the Citizens Committee to Preserve American Freedoms.[1] Called The National Committee to Abolish HUAC, the group changed its name to NCARL after HUAC was abolished in 1975. In 2007, NCARL changed its name again, to the Defending Dissent Foundation.[2]

The organization's founding director and long-time head, Frank Wilkinson, was cited for contempt by HUAC in 1961 and sent to jail on May 1, 1961. In 1984 it was discovered that, under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had compiled a 132,000-page file on Wilkinson.[3]

DDF identifies itself as a member of several coalitions of U.S. advocacy groups:[4]

The organization publishes a monthly newsletter, archived online.


  1. Lori Lyn Bogle (2001). The Cold War: Cold War espionage and spying. Routledge. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-8153-3241-1.
  2. Defending Dissent
  3. Defending Dissent Archived 2010-08-22 at the Wayback Machine
  4. DDF website, main page. Retrieved September 26, 2010.

Further reading

  • Robert Sherill (2005-11-09). First Amendment Felon: The Story of Frank Wilkinson, His 132,000-Page FBI File, And His Epic Fight for Civil Rights And Liberties. ISBN 978-1-56025-779-0.

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