From Fourth International, Vol.10 No.6, June 1949, p.162.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
“The ‘new-look’ Fourth International is really going over big out here,” writes Literature Agent Bert Deck of Los Angeles. “We sold out our bundle for May in the first five days. The articles are being discussed in the branches and the classes; and interest is running high. Please send us five more copies of the April issue and ten more of the May issue. Also increase our regular bundle after this by fifteen copies.”
There’s a tip for some of our readers. How about discussing some of the most interesting articles in Fourth International with your friends? Or even better, getting together to study one or another article? As Bert Deck’s letter indicates, study and discusion results in keen interest in the only authentic Marxist magazine in the United States and helps increase its circulation.
Another method of building up circulation was used last month by some young comrades of the Socialist Workers Party in New York. Loaded with Marxist literature, they took a trip to Washington, D.C. to cover the Annual Lobbying Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The delegates, many from parts of the country where Marxism is known only by hearsay, greeted them in a friendly way, as can be seen from the sales: 22 copies of Fourth International, 26 copies of the pamphlet A Practical Program to Kill Jim Crow, 7 copies of A Letter to American Negroes, 12 copies of The Negro Struggle for Equality, 7 copies of Stalinism and Anti-Stalinism, 12 copies of The Militant, and a number of copies of American Workers Need a Labor Party.
For the third successive month, we still find it necessary to report continued sales of the outstanding March issue of Fourth International. In Pittsburgh a well-known local union figure ordered 50 copies to pass on to his friends in the labor movement.
And Dickson Woods, San Francisco’s Assistant Literature Agent, asked us to “send 10 more copies of the March issue which we sold out almost as soon as they arrived and which we now need as reference material for a series of nine lectures we are beginning on Marxism and the Problems of the American working class both here at 1739 Fillmore Street and at the new Socialist Workers Party, headquarters at 1408 Webster Street in Oakland. Both James P. Cannon’s article on New Problems of American Socialism and Bert Cochran’s article on A New Union Bureaucracy will be in demand for these lectures.” Comrade Woods adds,
“We await the July issue devoted to The American Empire, as it will undoubtedly have a good sale and will also help us in the lecture series mentioned above. You will probably receive an order from us for extra copies of the July issue before it comes out.”
“We have all been extremely impressed with The Militant and Fourth International of late,” Oakland’s Literature Agent Louise Leslie tells us. “Certainly they have played an important role in stimulating enthusiasm for our ideological campaign. They are publications of which we can be thoroughly proud, especially when we take a glance at what’s happening to the so-called ‘theoretical’ organs of the hard-hit reformist groupings.”
From one of Milwaukee’s ace sub-getters, G.H., we received an appraisal of the contents of the May issue which we appreciated very much:
“Comrade Dunne’s review of Ralph Chaplin’s Wobbly pays the tribute of our movement to the tradition of the IWW and at the same time shows its degeneration and present sterility. The point is made clear in the review that the IWW has not developed into a significant force in the class struggle because its acknowledged militant practice was not linked up with and guided by a revolutionary theory. As Dunne says, Chaplin ‘was not a Marxist scholar,’ and also ‘the clear implications of the American and the world class warfare and the Russian Revolution passed him by.’ The IWW has not kept up with and ahead of the development of the working class but has fallen far behind, and in Chaplin’s case, into the camp of the class enemy.”
G.H. also liked Eckstein’s article on the Cromwell period in English history and thinks the “continuation of Comrade Warde’s series on American society is very valuable.”
Literature Agent Howard Mason of Detroit writes that an effort has been made there to secure good distribution of the April issue containing the article on the problem of Negro leadership, The Talented Tenth, by J. Meyer.
Last month we reported that H.L. of Detroit ordered 12 copies of the December 1948 issue.
“These were for personal use,” he informs us. “I have found a strong response among Negroes to the article, Revolutionary Answer to the Negro Problem.”
Passing on copies of issues containing exceptionally good articles to your friends, as H.L. is doing, appears to us an excellent practical way of helping to spread the truth.
Comrade Winifred, Literature Agent of St. Paul, says that “two of our railroad comrades always read the magazine and have remarked that it is getting better and better, particularly the editorials – but that the language is still such as to require a dictionary to read the the FI!” The editors are really on the side of those who want simple, clear language; but they occasionally succumb to the pressure of those who insist on the Marxist press helping them to build their vocabularies.
Last updated on: 17 March 2009