From Fourth International, Vol. II No. 3, March 1941, p.66.
Transcribed & marked up by David Walters for ETOL.
A little more than a month has gone by since the launching of the subscription drive, run jointly by Fourth International and the Militant. In a steady stream, subscrip tions of all denominations very many of them for a much longer period than the two months of fered In the special combination have been flowing into the business office from all parts of the country. To the time of this writing, the total has just top ped 500 subscriptions to the two publications.
As might be expected, the heavy results are coming from the industrial areas in which a concerted, long term mass distri bution of our press has been car ried on. But the steadiness with which new subscribers are crop ping up In the agricultural towns of the South and West Is something to cause amaze ment. Here we have concrete evidence of the persistence with which the ideas of socialism penetrate by every sort of means into all parts of our diverse pop ulation and find everywhere an enthusiastic response and a de mand for a steady supply of our material.
The Minnesota cities have again run away from the rest of the field in this subscription activity. The comrades in Minneapolis and St. Paul have tied the record of the rest of the country combined. They have been able to do this not only because their whole history of class struggle activity in the labor movement is bearing its logical and inevitable fruit but chiefly because they moved forward in this job with efficiency and a high degree of organization.
Our Twin Cities workers have subdivided themselves into teams which operate on a competitive basis, visiting every likely individual in Minneapolis and St. Paul and taking a number of the smaller Minnesota towns in their stride.
Chicago, Boston and Detroit are chasing each other over the scoreboard, one snatching the lead from another with every mail. Detroit published a special leaflet advertising the special combination offer. Chicago, as part of Its program for secur ing subscriptions, organized a sub raising social; but Boston, viewing such methods with disdain, has vowed to beat out her rival in the West “the hard way” – by going door to door. At the present writing, Boston’s Spartan determination has her in the lead as against Chicago, Newark and Detroit.
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On the heels of the phenomenal success of the subscription campaign have come, as one would expect, a definite improvement in the distribution of the magazine as well as an increase in remittances to the business office. Chicago, for instance, aside from the fine work it has done in the subscription drive, has exerted a tremendous effort and finally wiped out the huge debt which for years menaced the peace of mind of the comrades there.
The honor roll for promptness in payment is shared with Chicago by Minneapolis, St. Paul, Allentown, Reading, Rochester and Toledo. Not only do these places keep a vigilant eye on the regular settlement of their monthly debts, but they have been careful not to permit old accounts to clutter up their reputations and activities.
The virtue of these places, however, is thrown into even sharper relief by the schocking state of things with some others. We hope something will shock them into a realization that, even if a debt is so old it has become a local tradition, it is still a scandal and a pain in the neck of the business office of the magazine. If we could look in several directions at one time, we are confident that our burning stare would be felt in the backs of the following sections: Akron, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Flint, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Newark, New Haven, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Texas and Youngstown. If some of these places did not communicate with us for other reason than reference to the old indebtednesses, we should think they had repudiated the monetary system all on their own hook.
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At long last, correspondence has come through from our co-thinkers in England. One letter comes from an individual who has followed the work of our movement for some time. He writes briefly and to the point and with an objectivity that is worthy of a working class mil itant: “I am or was a subscriber to the Fourth International. Have been bombed out of London since September and have not got any FI since then. I shall get money from the United States in February and if you will send me the FI for October and November I will remit payment then.” We complied with his request and surely enough his remittance came through from friends in Boston this week.
A second London letter comes from one of our correspondents and reads in part:
“We have received your letter of 14th December. It has taken nearly two months! We certainly should have kept you regularly informed of developments over here. Our earlier letters to friends in New York never seemed to arrive, so we rather gave up trying ... Trade union membership is steadily increasing and has now reached over six million – a good sign for the future. But political life is at a very low level; partly because the workers as a whole accept the war as an unpleasant necessity, but nevertheless a necessity; because so many are working long hours or are engaged in such occupations as fire-watching or ARP outside working hours; and partly because it is the big centers that have suffered most from the blitz and there practically nothing goes on In the evenings.
“We can be optimistic for the future, but work is slow and painful at the moment. Our ranks have been seriously thinned by the calls of the armed forces, but we are carrying on as well as we can.
“We would very much appreciate hearing from you from time to time. We receive literature from you, though erratically and after long delay. But that cannot be helped. Best wishes for our friends.
“P.S. Three bombs have just dropped somewhere near. What a life!”
Last updated on 16.8.2008