From Fourth International, Vol. II No. 1, January 1941, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by David Walters for ETOL.
We hope the speed and regularity with which recent successive issues of Fourth International have come off the press have not been lost upon our reading public. The determination of the staff to stabilize the publication dates of the magazine has so far borne good and substantial fruit, at a time when the most objective proof of our moving upward is to watch our fellow political publications steadily sink.
Our pride, however, need not stop at the mere mechanical accomplishment of regular and uninterrupted appearance upon the stands (and this in itself is no mean achievement, we assure you!). Our quality has been the cause for enthusiastic comment from every part of the world. Enthusiastic appreciations of the content of the magazine as a whole have been supplemented by “fan letters” to the editors and writers on individual articles.
Conditions being what they are in other countries, our co-thinkers in foreign lands have had to rely in many instances exclusively upon us for information and contact with the world revolutionary movement. They await every issue with impatience and it is our policy to supply them with ever increasing copies of the magazine in recognition of our historical responsibility to them and ourselves. Despite the difficulties and sometimes even hazards involved, we still hear from England, Canada, Australia, Norway and Sweden; we learn that the copies of Fourth International are passed from hand to hand and occasionally from city to city to be read with eagerness and interest.
Here in America the recent phenomenal development of our brother publication, the weekly Socialist Appeal, into a mass instrument of agitation (an accomplishment unique in the world today!) has thrown upon our shoulders an enhanced responsibility. Where the Socialist Appeal, as an agitational organ, has awakened a hunger in the minds of workers for a knowledge of the technique of class action, Fourth International must follow through with the theoretical meat.
The days through which we live now are the most precious of our entire history and if we fall to utilize them to the maximum we will have lost a chance for which we shall pay later Now as never before we must meet every need of an awakening working class with the revolutionary material carried in the columns of Fourth International. If we were not so violently averse to quotations we would recall right here and now that it was Lenin who said that the press is the movement’s best organizer.
Some parts of the country are alert to the needs and opportunities of the times. Boston says: “We have been going housetohouse with the magazine to special contacts and have been selling them.” Milwaukee reports: “We are experimenting (and getting good results) with a five-weeks-of-the-Appeal-and-a-copy-of-FI-for-25¢ campaign. That way we get the FI into Appeal buyers’ hands. We hope to build up a FI sale that way.” Montana writes: “Had good luck this time selling the FI It was very good. Sold three to Stalinists; one of them said the Appeal and FI were the only revolutionary papers that were left.” Philadelphia tells us that it has resolved to try the method of housetohouse distribution and feels enthusiastic about the possibilities of extending our circulation there.
We rely heavily upon bundle order payments to cover our publication costs, and a display of responsibility in this direction shown by any city to enough to pull us right up out of the dust and set us shining in the sun. To the top of the list this time go Minneapolis, Toledo and Quakertown, who are paid up to date on their bundle accounts and are seriously attending to the business of extending FI circulation in their cities. Four places came through with conscientious regularity on their payments during November and December: Chicago, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Milwaukee. Chicago ran away with all honors by remitting a total of $34.50 in the two months, much of it having been raised by means of a social affair held specifically to find the wherewithal to reduce its old debt to us.
But the medal has another side, and on It are graven the following names: Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Cleveland, Youngstown, Portland, Allentown, two Texas cities, Seattle. These are the ones who have paid just nothing for the last two months. These are the ones over whom we sit up nights worrying. If they don’t hop around to the other side of the medal pretty quickly we shall have to start considering methods of liquidation. (We wonder, by the way, as we peruse the first four names, what has happened to that notoriously touchy westcoast pride. And with three of the names redolent of angels and saints!)
Detroit heads the list when It comes to rounding up expired subscriptions, although we cannot be too critical in this respect since there has hardly been time for most of the cities to show their stuff on this month’s expirations. We do know, however, that in the first five days of January more subscriptions have come in to the publication office than normally arrive in the course of half a month.
Last updated on 27 February 2016