From Fourth International, Vol.12 No.4, July-August 1951, p.98.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
Among the articles that drew acclaim in the May-June issue of Fourth International, top place was taken by The Future of the Soviet Union, the informative report of a revolutionary refugee who recently escaped from the Soviet Union. The general consensus of our readers’ opinion is that it offers remarkable confirmation of Trotsky’s analysis of the degenerated workers state and the certainty of deepening domestic opposition to the totalitarian Stalinist regime.
Other articles that rated high on the popularity gauge were American Youth and Foreign Policy by James P. Cannon, and the first English publication of Tolstoy, Poet and Rebel by Leon Trotsky.
Literature Agent Winifred Nelson of St. Paul reported that a student of the Russian language, with whom she is acquainted, found the article on Tolstoy of “great interest.” She also noted that despite the intensive activity around the subscription campaign of our sister publication, The Militant, sales of the FI did not suffer. In fact, St. Paul sold out its regular bundle and had to order more copies.
Al Lynn of Los Angeles, ordering 20 more copies of the Asia in Revolt issue of the FI, says that “the magazine is terrific.” All back issues “are sellable, especially when devoted to a special and specific item like Asia or the Negro question. Someone came into the office the other day to buy some back issues and I noticed that we have very few remaining even with newsstand returns on hand.”
Al asks whether we are planning a Sales and Subscription Campaign of some kind such as The Militant just finished, He observes that “most of the new readers of The Militant would find the FI of interest.” He suggests that another issue devoted to American labor leaders would have special appeal and would make a good introductory number.
We have not planned a campaign for the FI as Al suggests; however, we would like to hear from other literature agents about this. What are you doing in your area to introduce the FI to new readers of The Militant?
Among the warmest and most devoted friends of the FI are the followers of Leon Trotsky in India. They read every issue with the closest attention and write us their honest opinion, generally making fruitful suggestions to the editorial staff on how to improve the magazine still further.
A comrade in Ranchi, for example, recently commented on every issue of the past year. Here are some of his remarks:
“Among the FI issues of 1950, the first five were very highly appreciated by us. The January-February issue met the wants of the day. The March-April issue with Leon Trotsky’s article on art and politics is needed by all. The May-June issue exposed ‘equality’ under the Welfare State. The exposure of the Stalinist intellectuals was good. Even I translated the character of Paul Robeson from that article. Next the Leon Trotsky Memorial issue was appreciated very cordially. Some Stalinists read the foreword to Stalin’s Frame-Up System and the Moscow Trial and became confused. After reading the Asia in Revolt issue, some of my friends said it would be good if the FI had an article on India. But the last article in the November-December issue was not up to standard. The other articles are no doubt good ones as they teach us how to expose the ‘labor leaders.’ “
T.S.M. of the Trichy District writes that the FI “is a very needful help to me.” He is anxious to get a complete file of all back issues.
S.K. of Darbhanga appreciates the FI so much he would like to get it by airmail to speed delivery. The comrades there are planning to publish a number of Trotsky’s shorter workers in Hindusthani, which is the language of 60% of the Indian people. He too wants a file of back issues.
H.C. of Howrah thanks us for some back numbers and says “we are working hard to recruit Trotskyist-minded people to our ranks. In spite of our poverty, we have already published some books and bulletins in Bengali.”
R.S.B. of Colombo, Ceylon, suggests we “get up a theoretical article on Spain,. How explain the ‘stabilization’ of Spanish fascism? I am sure that this is now topical enough to merit an article.”
R.S.B. also thinks that a complete bibliography of Trotsky’s works should be printed, including his articles in the FI. “This will be a very useful guide to all revolutionaries.”
Commenting on how much the American Trotskyist press is appreciated in Ceylon, R.S.B. says that “the popularity of The Militant has been steadily growing.” One reason for this is the difficulty of maintaining an English-language paper because of financial difficulties. However, “even purely American affairs have today a topical character and an international impact so. that almost no item in your press is left undiscussed.”
Last updated on: 24 March 2009