Max Shachtman

Our Right – Your Duty!

(13 March 1950)

From Labor Action, Vol. 14 No. 11, 13 March 1950, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

What gives us the right to call upon you – our friends and supporters, the readers of Labor Action – to contribute to our $12,000 Fund Drive?

The fund raised each year is used to finance the publication of Labor Action and The New International. Without it, they could not be maintained in their present form.

We have the right to ask for your financial support because of what our press stands for and fights for.

It is not hard to find the press that tells the truth, or the near-truth, about capitalism, its exploitation and oppression of the people, its preparations for the most gruesome war in all history – but which assails it all as the paid or unpaid propagandists of Stalinist totalitarianism.

It is much easier to find the press that tells the truth, or the near-truth, about Stalinist totalitarianism, its enslavement of the peoples, its suppression of every socialist, working-class and democratic movement – but which denounces it only in order to make decaying capitalism palatable, to justify the preparations for the A-bomb–H-bomb war.

Our press alone is free from any taint of allegiance to either of the two war camps, either of the two systems of exploitation and oppression. Our press alone speaks tirelessly and uncompromisingly for that freedom, security and peace to which capitalism and Stalinism are the stubborn obstacles.

Our press alone insists that there is a clear-cut alternative to both capitalist bankruptcy and Stalinist barbarism; that the easy and speedy realization of this alternative lies in the hands of the working class in whose boundless capacity for liberating mankind we continue to have boundless confidence.

Our press alone, as the voice of Independent Socialism, works consistently for a working-class movement that is free from the dominance and influence of capitalist and Stalinist politics, for a movement that is self-confident and self-reliant, that understands the invincible power it has at its command to emancipate humankind from the social monstrosities that are debasing and suffocating it all over the world.

Our press scorns all those prattlers and sharpers who, in the name of democracy, would reduce the masses to helots whose interests and lives are regimented by benevolent guardians. We contend unremittingly and with equal firmness not only against the prison-states of the “people’s democracies” and the step-by-step imposition of thought-and-action controls by police-minded defenders of American capitalism over dissenting political parties, over the trade unions, over the press, over the schools, teachers and students – but also against the cancer of bureaucratism and discrimination that is now eating so deeply into the body of the labor movement.

The voice of Independent Socialism is clear and distinctive and beyond the reach of effective argument because it speaks always and everywhere for this powerful idea: Without the fight for democracy, no progress toward socialism, and without the fight for socialism, no progress toward democracy!

Such a voice must be kept vibrant and strong. We cannot allow it to be thinned or muzzled by anybody or anything, least of all for lack of material support.

It is the proud work of publishing this press regularly that gives our brotherhood of socialist militants the right to call upon you – all our readers and friends – for aid.

It is the work our press does, to which it is unshakably committed, that, makes it your duty to respond to the call, quickly and generously.

Max Shachtman
Marxist Writers’

Last updated on 8 January 2024