Hal Draper

War Referendum Campaign
Off to Flying Start in New York

Outdoor Rallies Called in Four Boroughs –
YPSL, Party Sections Plan Activities

(8 August 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 57, 8 August 1939, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

New York strikes the first blow in the campaign for a War Referendum!

Eight outdoor rallies, spread over four boroughs, launches the New York drive on Friday, August 4, on the anniversary of the outbreak of the World War. Attention, all branches, to the preparations that went into this action:

Printed leaflets, 25,000 of them, dressed up with two cuts, have gone out. Each rally will have a row of slogan placards flanking the speaking stand. On Wednesday, both the Bronx and the Brownsville branches mobilized their forces to hold preliminary “roving street-corner meetings” – which means a series of five-minute stands at different corners for a brief rally, and then away to the next corner.

In the Bronx, the preparations have been more feverish. Here the use of a small printing plant made it possible to put out special printed stickers and posters advertising the rally ... printed post cards mailed out to list of contacts ... bicycle brigade touring the neighborhood with placards and shouted slogans ... the rally will feature a recruiting booth on the sidewalk where signatures to the petition will be gathered in ... a large painted streamer behind the speaker’s stand with the campaign slogan, “Let the People Vote on War!” ... and a big placard displaying anti-war issues of Appeal and Challenge of Youth.

Good beginning, New York! Some pointers there on holding outdoor rallies for the other branches to note! Now let’s have some big installments on your quotas!

Newark Raises Quota

Newark opens its campaign by rejecting its quota on petition signatures ... We gave them only a measly 1,500 to garner, and so the district executive raises it by another 50 percent, to 2,200. How many other branches are going to follow Newark’s lead? ... Comrade McKinney, Newark organiser, announces also that they will issue a special campaign bulletin for each member on the directives, plans and progress of the work in Newark. ... The Newark branches have been divided up into activity squads – petition squad, Appeal squad, pamphlet squad – with every member enlisted in the drive ... It’s clear we’ll be saying a lot about Newark here ...

* * *

Speaking of the petitions, D.S. of Yellow Springs, Ohio, sends in a vigorous protest. Accepting his quota for the Anti-War Fund, he writes: “I note that I am assigned no quotas in any of the other categories, and this is needless conservatism on your part. I will pay for and sell or otherwise distribute a minimum of 25 copies of the pamphlet, and if the petition is reasonably well drawn up, I will secure at least 100 signatures. ...” That’s for one comrade ... It’s up to the branches to show us we were all wrong in assigning the petition quotas. We’re willing to admit it ...

* * *

The YPSL swings its youth forces into the War Referendum Campaign! The League’s National Bureau has decided to launch a parallel campaign, emphasizing the interest of youth in the war referendum question: “Old Enough to Fight, Old Enough to Vote – Give Youth the Ballot at 18 to Vote on War!” In addition to special youth tasks, they undertake to distribute 3,000 copies of the pamphlet, get 5,000 signatures for the petition as well as 5,000 for a special youth petition, etc. ... Part of the YPSL’s objectives should also be to give that youth touch to the Party campaign.

* * *

We’re two days out from the launching of the campaign, as this is written, and the first of the branch Weekly Report Sheets are still to come in. Remember – keeping the scoreboard up-to-date depends on prompt submission of the reports. Keep regular!

Last updated on 10 March 2016