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Fourth International, January-February 1951


Manager’s Column


From Fourth International, Vol.12 No.1, January-February 1951, p.2.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The American Labor Leaders issue met with acclaim among our readers in trade unions. Literature Agent Howard Mason, for example, writes:

“This latest FI is an excellent edition, especially for us here in Detroit. We decided to recommend a campaign based around it. There is, apparently, all the enthusiasm over the issue that could be hoped for and general appreciation of the presentation of the material in personal form, for it is far more attractive that way than it otherwise would be. Main emphasis will be placed on sales of single copies, for the virtue of the issue is that it doesn’t require any broad political understanding to benefit from it.”

The Detroit comrades hope to equal their previous all-time record of sales of the FI. To start the ball rolling they ordered 155 extra copies. Within a few weeks Howard wrote again that the campaign was doing well.

“So far as individual scores go, by far the most outstanding success has been that of the youth comrades, selling on and around the Wayne campus, but the bulk of our sales have been to shopmates.”

Buffalo likewise ordered additional copies of this FI.

“I can’t tell you how pleased we were to see this issue on the American trade union leaders,” Literature Agent Dick Gregor comments. “It is very helpful to us in carrying our ideas to the advanced sections of workers and students. We expect it to find its way into the hands of more workers than any previous one we have distributed in several years.”

A group of readers in the South, ordering extra copies, congratulated the editorial staff: “We were all very much impressed with this issue which we find is an excellent educational medium for our valued trade union friends ...”

* * *

S.B.M. of Howrah, India, thinks that the September-October Asia in Revolt issue “is one of the best numbers. Our library members highly appreciated this issue. We want more such articles on Asian questions and the program of the Asian Trotskyists.”

We frequently receive requests from workers in colonial lands for a subscription to the FI. Due to their poverty, to the high exchange rates, and in some cases government regulations prohibiting them from sending money out of the country, it’s a difficult problem for them to pay for the subscription. Here’s a typical plea from a town in India:

“We set up a club here and through this club we propaganda for Trotskyism. But we feel the need for a FI, because the current articles of FI are very needful for us. So, if you send us a copy of FI, then after a few months maybe we can send you some money by installment. We hope that you send us same.”

If any of our readers have a few dollars they would like to get some real value out of in these inflationary days, we suggest you invest in a subscription to the FI for a worker in a colonial country. Send us your contribution and we will do the rest.

Besides requests for subscriptions to the FI we also get requests for books. A group in Calcutta, India, for instance, which was formed to study cultural problems, hopes to develop into “full-fledged Trotskyists.” Telling us how much they appreciate the FI, they mention that a copy of Literature and Revolution by Leon Trotsky is “badly needed, as there is only one copy in the National Library.”

If any of our readers has an extra copy of this rare book which he would like to donate to the study circle in Calcutta we shall be glad to forward it. How great the need is for socialist literature in colonial lands is well illustrated by the following extract from a request from R.S.B. of Ceylon for books:

“You must be thinking I am a nuisance, making all these requests with such rapidity. As an explanation I may mention that many of the books we could read in illegality six to seven years ago were handwritten copies. I still have handwritten copies of Trotsky’s Lessons of October and even Problems of the Chinese Revolution. I spent three years in the movement without being able to read either I Stake My Life! or Trotsky’s Copenhagen speech. None of the younger comrades here have read or even seen a copy of Germany the Only Road or Germany, What Next? So we have made a sort of vow that the newer members and those still to come to the banner of Trotskyism should be better off than we were.”

Just to keep the record straight, we should add that despite their poverty, the Trotskyists in India and Ceylon have managed to reprint a number of out-of-print works of Leon Trotsky. Among them are Marxism and Science, G.V. Plekhanov, The Lesson of Spain – The Last Warning!, Whither Europe? and Permanent Revolution. By making these rare items again available (they are obtainable from Pioneer Publishers), the revolutionary socialists of India and Ceylon have performed a most valuable service not only for workers in the backward colonial areas but also for those in the highly-developed countries.

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Last updated on: 23 March 2009