Hal Draper

Party Reacts to War Crisis with
Intensified Anti-War Campaign

Shachtman Pamphlet on Pact to Be Published This Week –
Plan Mass Meetings to Explain Truth Behind the Headlines

(1 September 1933)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 64, 1 September 1939, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The Party has reacted to the war crisis and the Stalin-Hitler deal with a fresh burst of energy and intensified plans for carrying our Anti-War Campaign over the top.

Moving quickly to take advantage of the desire by new strata of workers to hear what we have to say about the recent events, party branches all over the country have scheduled mass meetings at which the truth behind the headlines will be explained and the way pointed for the anti-war workers in America.

The campaign for a People’s Referendum on War which we have been conducting is now being given even more solid basis by linking it With the threatening situation on the world scene. As war in Europe approaches at a faster and faster pace, the fears of the people that America will be drawn into the coming world slaughter rises to a new high. It is our business to explain to them that the Washington and Wall Street war-makers are even now preparing to get into the war on the ground floor, instead of waiting three years as they did the last time, and that we must act now to take the war-making power out of their hands.

Special Steps

Special steps taken in furtherance of the Campaign include:

Two speaking tours, by Max Shachtman and B.J. Widick, on the war crisis.

A pamphlet by Max Shachtman on the Stalin-Hitler alliance which will be out during the coming week.

The four-page printed leaflet previously planned for the campaign will be enlarged to cover both the international situation and the immediate fight against war. It will be out during the coming week likewise, in an issue of 100,000 copies.

Special activities and plans for reaching the membership of the Communist Party.

Some Quotas Reached

Meanwhile, three more branches have topped their quota marks for the Anti-War Fund of $10,000, half of which is due by September 15. Three thousand more copies of the pamphlet, Let the People Vote on War have been ordered by branches in the last three days, making a total of over 11,000 sent out to date. The quota for the Party is 15,000 by the September 15 deadline. From reports received thus far, there seems to be no doubt that the quota of 25,000 signatures for the War Referendum petition will be surpassed.

The last third of the Party campaign is ahead. Full steam forward!


The Toledo branch rings the bell on three quotas – fund drive, petition signatures and Appeal subscriptions, and plans are going forward for the public meeting which will wind up the campaign on scheduled time. In place of an outdoor meeting, the entire branch was mobilized 100% for a house-to-house canvass for petition signatures, netting 200 during the past week. Also as a result of campaign activity, good work has been done in youth organizations and a Toledo Y.P.S.L. unit is expected as the result of it, if present plans work out.


Rochester also goes over the top on the Fund Drive, plus a few cents for good measure. Turning from a successful anti-Coughlin drive during which over 1,000 of Comrade Hansen’s pamphlet were sold, the branch has opened a program of two outdoor meetings a week on the anti-war campaign. Leaflets will be distributed in each neighborhood where the rallies are held. A mass meeting on September 15 will mark the culmination of the Rochester campaign.


A fresh batch of filled petition sheets from Flint carries the branch over its quota mark; and an additional $2.50 for the Anti-War Fund lends point to its promise to complete that quota also by next week.

“The campaign was certainly timely,” writes Comrade Geller. “Widespread interest in the party is evidenced here as a result of our resolute anti-war stand. We are planning the distribution of thousands of leaflets at the Labor Day picnic, Saturday, September 2 here ... Also we will distribute announcements of our open meeting on the war question at this picnic, at whch many thousands will be in attendance.”


The program of three outdoor meetings a week during the anti-war campaign is moving along without a break, the meetings in the Public Square being particularly successful in attendance, literature sales and petition signatures. The mass meeting planned for September 8 will also be turned into a house-warming: the branch is moving into practically palatial headquarters at 4618 Euclid Avenue, with an office, bookshop and reading room, and a hall seating 200 people. “We need more petition blanks pronto,” writes Organizer Preis, “as you can see we are putting on all steam for the final stretch with three and four public meetings a week.”


“The campaign in Reading is becoming consolidated”, reports Campaign Director Adams; and to prove it, he displays filled quotas on pamphlets and petition signatures. The pamphlet quota, as a matter of fact, is filled over 200% with the comrades ordering another bundle. Like other sections which have thrown themselves into the campaign, he writes further: “We are reaching many people that were never touched by any radical party and our reception has been favorable.”

MINNEAPOLIS ... sends in $86 on the Anti-War Fund and four hundred more petition signatures were gathered in the past week. A tag day for pamphlet and Appeal sales on the North Side was held on August 27.

SOUTH BEND ... has been getting results in bringing the war-referendum issue before progressive trade unionists, and into the local newspapers. The latter, incidentally, has been done by comparatively few branches; it’s easy enough if tried. Without having been given any quota, the branch has gathered 50 signatures for the petition.

SAN FRANCISCO ... sends us a copy of a printed Open Letter to the Members of the Communist Party and YCL, distributed in thousands of copies to the local Stalinists.

“You have been told that the Trotskyites are ‘Fascist’,” says the leaflet. “Browder’s constitution forbids you to talk with Trotskyites. But now you see WHO makes deals with Fascists! We, the Trotskyites, invite you to an open meeting where these events will be discussed, where you may ask questions and discuss with us in comradely fashion.”

The meeting is scheduled for Sept. 1.

CHICAGO and YOUNGSTOWN have mass meetings scheduled for the coming week.

ST. PAUL ... fills its Appeal bundle-increase quota, and the branch secretary comments on the reception of the campaign in St. Paul:

“We have found a very favorable response to the requests for petition signatures. We find people who say, ‘You don’t have to say any more; if it’s against war I’m for it.’ There is an almost unanimous sentiment for it.”

Last updated on 11 March 2016