First Published: The Call, Vol. 4, No. 7, April 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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It is six months since the initiation of the campaign to publish a Marxist-Leninist paper on a weekly basis, and only one short month before the first issue of the weekly Call (May 1) hits the streets.
As we conclude the campaign to bring the weekly into existence, it is a good time to sum-up the achievements of this period. In doing so, we can see more clearly the tasks that lie ahead after May First.
The most significant aspect of the work to build the weekly is that the campaign around it has been taken up by large numbers of workers. The work to build a frequently-published Marxist-Leninist paper has been closely linked to the tasks of forming a new Marxist-Leninist party.
Our ability to publish the weekly does not depend on a few “geniuses” sitting in an office writing great amounts of copy. It depends instead on the support of the masses–support in the form of readership, correspondents, financial contributions and sales of the paper.
In the last six months thousands of workers and progressive people have been won politically to support the efforts to publish the weekly Call. In addition, the need for a newspaper combining both agitation and propaganda and serving as a “collective organizer” for a new party has won the support of comrades in several different Marxist-Leninist organizations.
One indication of the broadening network around The Call is the volume of articles submitted for publication. In the month of March, The Call received some 120 articles written by people across the country, most of whom were actively involved in the struggles they were writing about. More than 30 of these articles were submitted by worker correspondents who in most cases were summing up their struggles in written form for the first time.
The sheer volume of material for publication has convinced us that the weekly will be filled with first-hand reports of the anti-imperialist battles being waged around the country. If anything, we have been convinced that we must not rest content even with a weekly, but must forge on to build a daily newspaper of the working class.
The nationwide, collective work of publishing the monthly Call has already brought vivid, on-the-spot reporting to the pages of the paper. From Hawkinsville, Georgia, where the Tood-Woods defense was centered, to the Scotia mines in Kentucky, Call reporters have been on hand investigating the class struggle and playing a leading part in it themselves.
The change from the monthly to the weekly means a change from mainly analyzing what has happened in the past to giving guidance to the battles taking place at the moment.
Over the last six months alone, the on-the-spot reporting in the paper has increased, the workers’ correspondence has developed, and The Call itself has assumed a more prominent role in the workers’ movement. In this issue, for example, activists at Capitol Packaging in Chicago sum up the lessons of the strike there and point out the role played by The Call in advancing the level of consciousness among the workers. The very writing of these kinds of articles serves as a way to deepen comrades’ understanding of political questions and train propagandists and leaders from among the workers.
In preparation for the weekly, more people have been drawn into the various organizational forms around The Call such as networks, discussion groups and Call committees.
Over these months, Call discussion groups have begun to take shape inside the biggest sources of capitalist wealth and power–the auto plants, the steel mills and the coal, mines as well as the sweatshops, hospitals, schools and workers’ communities of the country. Discussion groups have begun to solidify into networks of political struggle and organization among workers. These networks must be developed systematically to discuss, distribute and write for the paper. The weekly press will have its greatest impact in accelerating the construction of factory networks by providing a concrete and current focus around which to organize large numbers of workers. Through the press we will draw them into the process of party-building and ultimately the activities of the new party.
In addition to these factory-based networks, people in 30 cities have organized Call committees made up of workers and revolutionary intellectuals who contribute to The Call regularly and help to build its influence locally. The development of these committees demonstrates what it means to have the support of the masses. Our mass support enables us to have 30 bureaus around the country, even though the circulation of our newspaper is still relatively small and our funds are extremely limited. Time Magazine, by contrast, with all its financial resources, recently hailed as a great achievement the opening of its seventh bureau.
Our fundraising efforts have also met with a good deal of success in the last six months. Of our original estimate for what we would need to sustain us through the first year, we have already raised over 50%. This money has come from people who politically support the idea of the weekly and are willing to put up $5 or $10 to help it along.
Throughout the October League, the last six months have seen greater emphasis than ever before on the establishment of discussion groups, on systematizing distribution, and in providing deeper analysis of all the work comrades are engaged in as well as of national and world affairs. These steps have contributed greatly to transforming the OL into a more solidly-working class based organization of professional revolutionaries.
These efforts will certainly be intensified with the weekly and will be that much more successful when all the Marxist-Leninists can unite in a single party with a single newspaper to serve as a basis for collective organization.
The struggle for Marxist-Leninist unity and the construction of a new party has been at the heart of the campaign to build the weekly paper. Throughout this campaign, The Call has been the vehicle for putting forward the OL’s plan for party-building. As a weekly in the next period, The Call will be able to actively aid the unity of the whole party-building movement with weekly reports on the debate and discussion concerning the actual formation of the party.
Through the weekly newspaper tens of thousands of workers will be brought into the discussions around party-building and won to the principles of the new party.
In summarizing the work of the last six months, we can say that solid progress was made on all the fronts necessary before a weekly could be published. We are in a good position today to carry out the great deal of work that still remains to be done in all these areas.
The April Call is the last of the monthly Call. From this point forward the struggle will be to improve upon a weekly Marxist-Leninist paper that will already exist.