Hal Draper

Shachtman and Widick Tours,
3-a-Week Appeal Highlight Party Drive

Party Goes on War Footing as War Breaks –
Open Letter to C.P. Members, Anti-War Folder Ready for Distribution

(5 September 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 65, 5 September 1939, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

By the time you read this, THE war, for which the rulers have been preparing since the last war ended, may have broken out in Europe.

In this crisis, the Party calls upon its members and supporters to go on a WAR FOOTING at once. If the war is deferred by another week or month or two months, that only means we have a little more time to prepare.

The Socialist Appeal, which became a twice-weekly only a few months ago, is now appearing THREE TIMES A WEEK!

This action requires the fullest cooperation each day on the part of every Party and YPSL member, in order to get our message into the hands of workers who are eagerly looking for light to be shed on the events of the day.

Max Shachtman, editor of the Socialist Appeal, and B.J. Widick, national labor secretary, are touring the country for a series of mass meetings on the war crisis and the Stalin-Hitler pact.

Fifty thousand copies of a two-page Open Letter to the Members of the Communist Party and YCL have bees printed and are available for national distribution.

100,000 Anti-War Leaflets

The four-page folder on the war crisis will be off the press by Tuesday in an issue of 100,000. In attractive make-up, it deals in popular terms with the meaning of the war crisis, the Stalin-Hitler pact, the fight against war in the United States and the War Referendum, plus a section on the Socialist Workers Party and the Socialist Appeal.

The pamphlet by Max Shachtman on the Stalin-Hitler pact is on the press.

24-Hour Duty

In New York, next week will see a special membership meeting and large public meetings organized in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens.

Branches have already ordered their members to be ready for duty on a twenty-four hour basis.

What to Do

As the situation in Europe teeters back and forth between a general world war and a temporary peace, the minds of the American masses turn more and more toward the thought: WHAT CAN WE DO HERE IN AMERICA?

Ours is the only voice that can answer that. Ours is the historic task of pointing the way for the fight against the war-makers in this country who want us to get into the world slaughter on the ground floor.

Our immediate weapon is the campaign for the People’s Vote on War. Every branch which has thrown itself into the work has found the ready response of the workers, and on the basis of it has been able to direct them against the war government in Washington. Even the most backward workers, who are still hypnotized by the lie of national patriotism, do not want to see the country hurled into war behind their backs.

Close to Masses

Here is one report which we choose from the latest mail. It is from Local Philadelphia, which has not hitherto reported but which has been at work:

“The campaign has tremendous organizational and propaganda possibilities. As a direct approach to the masses, nothing has a greater appeal, especially in the light of today’s events. On no other Party activity can a speaker feel himself so close to his listeners. He holds them and they are glad of it. The instinctive desire for a ‘way out’ comes to the surface as it does in no other type of meeting.

“The Party comrades are inoculated with this sympathetic vibration. Comrades who are notorious for their shying away from the stranger in the street have been conversing easily and earnestly for hours after the meeting. It has helped activate comrades. We hold three street corner meetings a week, Monday, Friday and Saturday. On several occasions we have spoken to several hundred. At one Negro neighborhood meeting we had at least 150 people present.

“I can very easily say that where perhaps a few hundred people knew or had heard of the Socialist Workers Party, today several thousand people remember us. Our concrete organizational gains will come, I am sure of it”

Last updated on 11 March 2016