From Fourth International, Vol.13 No.3, May-June 1952, p.66.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
Back in the month of May, the pipelines of the N.Y. Herald Tribune groaned with a great discovery about us, and we awoke of a Sunday morning to find it in black and white in a column run by two of their super-sleuths called The Red Underground. It concerned a deep-dyed conspiracy which probably shook the Republic to its foundations. Nothing less was involved than a plan to make some changes and improvements in our magazine.
Caught red-handed, the staff summoned a hurried meeting and decided,that even though our plans were not yet completed, we had better make a clean breast of the whole matter. So here in a nutshell is our confession:
For some time, we have been discussing the contents of the magazine and the form in which material is presented. We believe that in substance and analysis, Fourth International, takes second place to none in its treatment of the problems of our times from the point of view of Marxism. In fact, there is no other magazine in this field which even begins to approach it.
But we have come to the conclusion, after examining reader opinion and circulation figures, that the magazine is probably pitched on too high a theoretical level, that many of the concepts treated are too obscure or too unfamiliar to the reading public or at least are not presented with sufficient simplicity, that the articles tend to be too long.
The problem can be stated in another way also: Nowhere in the world has Marxism been subject to as sweeping and systematic attack, with the probable exception of Hitler’s Germany, as in the US. Yet the unfamiliarity and even ignorance of the reading public with Marxism is almost as universal as the attack. That puts our task clearly before us.
We want to get to these people whose interest in Marxism has been stirred by the organs of official opinion but who can see through the obvious lies, distortions, stupidities and superficiality of this anti-Marxist tirade. We want to nail every one of their important arguments. We want to demonstrate how Marxism alone approaches the problems of the world, and especially of America, scientifically. Especially America! Because while the apologists of capitalism are sometimes ready to grant that Marxism may be valid for the one-third of the world that has broken out of its domination, America, they stoutly insist, is the exception that disproves the rule.
We think just the contrary! Despite temporary phenomena and superficial appearance, it is in America, the classic country of capitalism, that Marxism will have its greatest vindication. We want to do all this in a way that will be fully comprehensible to the reader whose intellectual fare has been no deeper than that of the Nation or New Republic. In addition, we want to change the name of the magazine so it will be more suitable to this task.
Now that you are fully privy to this conspiracy, we invite you to join it. How? By sending us your criticisms, ideas and suggestions, so that the work of improvement and change, when actually begun, becomes a collective project. That will insure the most fruitful of changes, the one likely to be most beneficial in results. So sit down and write us what you think – and what you want.
Last updated on: 26 March 2009