From New International, Vol.4 No.10, October 1938, p.290.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
THE PAST WEEKS have brought more evidence of the international standing and importance of The New International. Bombay, India, with N.M. Jain as agent, placed an order for 50 copies regularly of the magazine; comrades in Scotland have asked us to consider a special price for them so that they may handle several hundred, possibly 500 copies of the magazine. Frank Demby in another column reports on the significant role of The New International in Europe. BUT, our problem is to achieve a far greater circulation in the United States, and not to be so dependent upon foreign circulation. Otherwise, The New International will find itself in jeopardy for existence.
In the past weeks, accountable for in part by the summer period, The New International just managed to weather financial difficulties, though incurring an indebtedness. In a few localities there were circulation drops; in others some increases. New and increased orders came mainly again from foreign countries. Seven hundred (700) copies of The New International are now disposed of in Australia, South Africa, England, Scotland, Canada, India, China, France and other countries, and now there is the special proposal of Scotland to consider. This is fine indeed, the political significance of which cannot be overestimated. But war abroad can wipe out our foreign sales, apart from economic considerations.
Right now we are much concerned with our domestic situation: namely, the failure of many important cities in the United States either to handle the magazine or to dispose of the quantity we are sure they could sell with just a little more effort and organization. Upon this immediate increase in US circulation is dependent the very existence – and eventual expansion – of the magazine today. It can be accomplished, and must.
The following localities, where there are small SWP units, do not handle the magazine at all: Olivia, Minn.; Austin, Minn. (will take a bundle later, comrade Clif Thompson hopes); Sellersville, Pa. Cities which are no longer sent the magazine because of non-payment of bills are: Kansas City, Mo.; Louisville, Kentucky. And unless some other cities pay up quickly, there will be no choice but to stop sending them the magazine too. This is unavoidable so long as we are dependent almost 100% on bundle payments to maintain the magazine. Such special considerations as The New International can give to agents must be limited to the comrades in other countries. Payment on Press obligations (The New International, Appeal, etc. have to receive first consideration).
BUT EVEN MUCH MORE IMPORTANT: A few of the large centers, where there are strong SWP and YPSL sections, do not at all circulate the magazine to an extent that is easily possible. The only reasons we are able to find, and they are bad ones, are – insufficient organization of the literature department; and underestimation of the role of the press by the Party and YPSL units in question. Of these larger cities, Los Angeles, Calif, and New York do relatively the poorest jobs, when possibilities are considered. Los Angeles, with over 125 Party and YPSL members, takes only 125 copies at present, and these not always disposed of; the L.A. subscription list is very low. Yet Los Angeles is fully capable, as was once the case, of being in the front ranks of New International circulation. An exchange of correspondence, with resulting suggestions, has brought from the new literature director, John Murphy, the definite opinion and promise that Los Angeles will soon experience a sharp improvement in circulation and, it is hoped, in subscriptions. Comrade Murphy impresses as one who means business and will get things done.
And New York? For a few weeks, the New York YPSL improved steadily in their magazine circulation, but again the Circles have slumped to a new abysmal low. As this is written, the YPSL had taken only 50 copies of the September issue. This is not because the New York Youth do not need and are not able to dispose of many times this number. They have shown they could in the past. The New York YPSL’s, as a whole, do not have a sufficient responsibility generally to the Press. The YPSL Circles expect too much for nothing. They just don’t pay their bills. An increased sense of financial responsibility would result in a big increase in magazine sales. Too much leniency has been shown the New York Circles in this respect. In simple words, the Circles have to pay their bills and not expect hand-outs. The YPSL should be able to dispose of 200 copies easily.
There is even less excuse for the miserable showing in the recent past of the New York Party. At this writing the New York Party Branches had taken a little over 200 copies of the September issue; for a period of time many of the New York Branches have not given the Press the attention and action the Press deserves and requires. These figures are really incredible; and the reason is, with some exceptions both of individuals and branches: indifference; an attitude of “let George do it”. Including the Party and YPSL, newsstands, bookshops and subscriptions, about 700-750 magazines are disposed of monthly in Greater New York, not very much more than in the period of the former New International. At least 1500 copies, we are convinced, can be disposed of in New York through organized efforts by the Party and YPSL: by systematic subscription campaigns, covering all outdoor and indoor meetings, schools, colleges, and so on. Upon very great improvement in New York by the entire Party and Youth membership is really dependent the fate and future of The New International. In Abe Miller, New York has a fine literature director; but he needs the membership’s cooperation.
Now to less lugubrious comments.
New orders: Bombay, India, 50 copies; Saskatchewan, Canada, 5 copies; Melbourne, Australia, May Brodney, agent, 4 copies; Cape Town, South Africa, H.M. van Gelderen, agent, 12 copies.
Increases in Bundles: Toronto, Canada, additional 15 copies; Rochester, N.Y., O. Stevens, agent, to 15 copies; Philadelphia (Hartman, agent, to 50 copies; Detroit, Mich., E. Panicali, agent, to 35 copies; Berkeley, Calif. YPSL, Janet Thurman, agent, to 30 copies. And the matter of what to do about Scotland’s request for a special figure.
Decreases: Boston, Mass, to 55 (expect to increase quickly again to 75).
Agents abroad who deserve special mention for their good work for the magazine: Paul Koston, Cape Town, South Africa; Max Sapire, Johannesburg, South Africa; Leon Sapire, Johannesburg; N. Origlasso and L. Short, Sydney, Australia; B. Palley, Sydney, Australia; E. Sinclair, Brisbane, Australia; G. Gibson, Melbourne, Australia; Max Riske, Wellington, New Zealand; Ed. Fitzroy, London, England (Comrade Fitzroy is now the literature director for the newly united English organization); Mildred Kahn, London, England; Wm. Burrow, London; T. Mercer, Glasgow, Scotland; H. Cund, Liverpool, England; A. J. Barclay, Leeds, England; Frank Maitland, Edinburgh, Scotland. And the Canadian comrades in Winnipeg, Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Saskatchewan and elsewhere.
New Agents: Lee Colvin, Lynn, Mass.; Jules Geller, St. Paul; Paul Scott, Cleveland; H.M., Portland, Oregon; Janet Thurman, Berkeley, Calif.; Margery Blackburn, Columbus; James Taylor, Newark.
OUR BIG WEAKNESS: SUBSCRIPTIONS. Many cities have not even turned in a handful of subscriptions. Subscription campaigns, or even simply visits to Party and YPSL contacts and sympathizers would result in a large increase in subscriptions. The magazine today depends too much on bundle circulation or sales. Subscriptions are the magazine’s surest foundation. Minneapolis has done the most intensive, organized work for subscriptions. New York, naturally, has the greatest number of subscriptions, but the figure is very low, considering what can easily be done. As a matter of fact, the subscription list in New York is much below what it was in the period of the former New International. Chicago did very well with subscriptions in the early months, but has done very little in recent months. In bundle circulation, Chicago, by relative comparison, leads all cities. Nearly all other cities have done little or nothing in the Subscription field. The comrades know what and how to do this job. Why not get busy?
We have in mind here, too, the large number of subscriptions which have expired. Renewals have been slow. They can be obtained, we are certain, if the Party and YPSL comrades will visit these persons for renewals, and not leave it entirely to the business office to take care of. Renewal subscriptions are an important item in the finances of the magazine. Get a move on, comrades, for subscriptions – new and renewals.
Space forbids publication of the large number of commentaries on the magazine, highly eulogistic, plus good suggestions for articles, improvement, etc. The New International is the outstanding organ of its kind, not only in the United States, but throughout the world, as comments from all continents attest. The foreign countries magnificently support The New International. But there must be faster improvement in the United States.
Last updated on 6.8.2006