(found in Montreal correspondence file -ed.)
November 29, 1944
Received your very good news about the developments in Ottawa. As I mentioned in the last letter-I think it might be valuable to stall off departure for a few months, however since you have already made definite arrangements is it possible for Mark to stay a few more months to consolidate?
Ideas pre-Press are now flying fast and thick so now let us make an attempt to consolidate them.
First the name-which seems to be causing a lot of trouble. More trouble than I think warranted for the U.S. boys have been getting along with a name that was quite poor-Socialist Appeal. The name is now Militant which is approximately what should aim at. First let us deal with a few factors which must be considered in choosing the name. One-we are in a period of illegality; the nature of the paper will be decidedly influenced by this-there is no purpose in giving the paper a name which is in advance of its content-the only result would be a limitation of its circulation and premature undesireable investigation by the authorities. This paper is quite correctly going to be oriented to the CCF and the Trade union movement. While the CCF has made tremendous organizational gains nonetheless we are not aware of a conscious left wing grouping as yet. Obviously the paper is going to be circulated in the CCF by our people-what reception does anyone think that a Socialist Militant would receive-it appears to me that it would isolate us and even perhaps cause a premature expulsion. Of course the paper is going to be in advance of developments in the CCF-we are going to utilize it to develop the CCF in a revolutionary direction but we must realize the limitations of the period in which we work. The name should characterize the contents of the paper, but rather than be to the left of the contents I would prefer that it was weaker than the contents and yet partially descriptive-for this reason I suggested the Challenge but we are informed that that name is in use by the Stalinist Youth so it is out of the question. Someone suggests Labour Challenge. Another is Labor Action. The latter is being used by the Schachtmanites in the U.S. but this should not prevent our using it here. Some want the word socialist used in the name. I question the value as the term in most peoples minds means practically nothing or reformism. However Socialist Action is a fair name but unfortunately cannot be used.
The Socialist Socialist Militant Labor Action The Militant Labor Challenge
I cast my vote in for Labor Action even tho that implies an agitational paper and not a propaganda paper. What is your choice.
Second-Are we all agreed that the paper will be a tabloid the same size as the Tribune and Canada Nouveau. That the columns will be of standard size-five 2inch columns. The Commonwealth has only 4 columns but as one of you point out if we use 2inch columns so we can use standard mattes. We will use the type that is closest to what you have called Futura Bold. We will also use heavy types in the body of articles to emphasize and relieve monotony (8 pages) I am 100%
I made a suggestion which you did not deal with but I consider very important re the characterization of the paper. I suggested that on the editorial page we should have a permanent column as follows:
THE CCF TO POWER ON THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM
Confiscation of ALL WAR PROFITS, Expropriation of all war industries and their operation under workers control The defense of the soviet union against imperialist attack For a sliding scale of wages and hours For full cultural political and economic equality for the French Canadian peoples. Complete democratic rights for the armed forces-freedom of assembly, speech etc.
These are not final formulations and there may be a few other demands that we would want included but these will characterize the paper and around this will we build our CCF support. What do you think?
We are subscribing to the east and west coast CCF and LPP papers and hope to get articles from both these areas but failing this will pull them out of whatever information we can dig up. There may be occasions when we can print whole articles from the CCF press when we find them satisfactory.
I suggest perhaps 3 regular columns. One could be a Gleaning from the News, it would need little comment-just clippings of news that has a lesson or news that never reaches most of the press. We could also have a column along the lines of Left Jabs-the Sniper is the Commonwealth version-we would want a regular contributor with a personal touch. With regard (to) the next column I would like to know just what our relationship is with Valliancourt. Can they put out a French paper? If so there is no need for a French Column. If they cannot I suggest that we publish a French article or column in each issue. It has been suggested that we have an Ottawa column-this could be the Left Jabs. Ottawa is assuming more importance particularly as the CCF gets more MPs. I think 3 columns is sufficient. Since the paper is only a monthly the articles will have to be a semi-theoretica1 nature but the columns will liven it up. What say?
One of the boys is in touch with a commercial artist who seems to be interested in helping us along. Since photos reproduce badly in most of these printing shops and because they usually lack life it is suggested that little line drawings and cartoons be used to spruce the paper up. We will have to be in very close contact with this fellow as the cartoons will have to suit the articles. This also raises the question of collaborators who are not 100%
This paper is not going to be like the New International opened up in 1936- that is with an open forum character. This paper is our paper not a vague left wing movement in the CCF. I see no objection to accepting articles from persons who are non members as long as the material is acceptable to us. All articles are appearing with a by-line, so that solves this problem to a certain extent-but we are only using bylines for legal reasons. It is quite possible that we can get contributions from persons who do not see eye to eye with us but the individual artic1e must be acceptable to ourselves.
As you mention in the last letter we must get the sub cards out. Well we must first decide the name and also the editor. I will know my status very shortly as I report on Dec. 4th. But as you suggest let's work on a make-ready copy. Have you notified F as to the idea?
Would all of you answer this letter point by point so that we can have some definite directions.
©2004 ~ 2007 Forward Group Last updated: Monday, April 14, 2008, 12:26 PM
All Rights Reserved—Webmaster Mirrored on the Marxists Internet Archive with permission