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Fourth International, August 1948


Manager’s Column


From Fourth International, Vol.9 No.6, August 1948, p.162.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Although the first presidential campaign of the Socialist Workers Party holds the promise of greatly expanding our reading public, its immediate result was a slump in Fourth International circulation. In the language of statistics, August was a cold month for the FI. New and renewal subscriptions were less than half as numerous as expirations of old subs.

It was a short month, because the July issue was so late, but that would hardly explain the slump. Precisely because the presidential campaign is so inspiring and absorbing, it has monopolized the attention and funds of SWP members and friends. It has also concentrated interest on The Militant, which published the radio speeches and week-to-week campaign news.

Fourth International can reasonably expect a healthy gain in circulation as a result of the party reaching millions of new contacts for the first time through radio broadcasts by the SWP candidates, Farrell Dobbs for President and Grace Carlson for Vice President, and by other campaign activities. But under the initial excitement and pressure, some of the most devoted FI readers have let their subs lapse. Even some SWP organizers and literature agents have overlooked expiration notices in their last two copies. They were too busy getting election petitions signed, introducing The Militant to new readers in sub drive mobilizations, arranging mass meetings and radio time for the candidates, conducting street meetings, or working for the campaign in a dozen other ways. Or they had just sent their last spare dollars to the campaign fund and had to let their FI subs wait.

But these staunch readers will not go long without their FI’s. They feel a constant need for this theoretical organ.

Likewise hundreds of the new friends of the SWP will want it after reading the first literature they get. They will soon want to read the more advanced and rounded Marxist material on domestic and world affairs published each month in the Fourth International.

Some radio listeners subscribed immediately to both The Militant and Fourth International, even before seeing either of them. Upon hearing the SWP candidates on the radio they sent money at once “for your official publications.” More subscribed after reading The Militant. Some requested sample copies of Fourth International.

Samples will be sent to all the interested new friends of the SWP at the first opportunity.

About 800 individuals and several libraries, newspapers and various organizations have sent for copies of the radio speeches and the election platform. All received samples of The Militant and scores quickly subscribed, either directly or through branches of the party. The next step is to introduce them to Fourth International and the valuable library of Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyist books and pamphlets published by Pioneer Publishers.

These steps take time and money, but with the devotion always shown by Fourth International readers, the task will be accomplished.

* * *

Five Fourth International subscriptions arrived from Shanghai last month, but with no direct comment by the subscribers. At least four of them apparently resulted from reading The Militant, weekly paper of American Trotskyism, which US friends had sent to three Chinese workers whose letter of appeal for help was published in The Militant, Dec. 29, 1947. Four of the subs were for both the magazine and the weekly paper.

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Last updated on 25.2.2009