From New International, Vol.5 No.8, August 1939, p.226.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
AT the convention of the Socialist Workers Party recently held in New York City, your Manager reported on problems of our press, and a very stimulating discussion followed from the floor. Delegates from all parts of the country spoke on their experiences in circulating The New International and Socialist Appeal and contributed numerous suggestions for increasing the sales of our press considerably. It is to be hoped that the delegates will endeavor to put the various suggestions and propositions into effect in their localities. On our part we will try to plan promotion and subscription campaigns even more explicitly in the future.
The report and discussion established clearly that several cities proceed systematically and persistently to increase the sales and subscription base of New International and Appeal and as a result show proportionately and actually much better results than the other cities. It became all too obvious from the floor discussion that relatively and actually poor circulation in several large cities was simply a case of NEGLECT AND NO SYSTEMATIC WORK AND NOTHING ELSE. Some cities just let magazine and Appeal circulation “take care of itself”. And of course nothing happened, The delegates were considerably disconcerted and somewhat shamed when the reporter listed the figures on the unusually large circulation of The New International in foreign cities, such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Sydney, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, as compared with the very low figures in the large American cities, such as Los Angeles, Boston, Cleveland, Newark, Greater New York, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and others. Again, the discussion established that only the failure to do elementary work, such as trying to sell the magazine at meetings and other gathering places of workers, and to canvass prospects for subscriptions, was the cause of relatively small circulation in some of the cities. While a circulation of more than 4,000 is regarded as a very high amount for a theoretical organ, for The New International it is by no means high enough; quality can and ought to attract more readers, and the 5,000 goal can and must be reached in a reasonable period hence. The convention discussion on the press will, we are sure, prove to have been a strong stimulant for increased circulation of our press. The business departments of both The New International and Appeal are now busy with plans for increasing the circulation, and the Locals and Agents will hear direct from them.
An opportunity was afforded between sessions of the convention to discuss local press problems with various delegates, and much good has already come of these discussions. Circulation problems, varying from city to city, were taken up and solutions and suggestions developed.
By and large the summer period has not affected the circulation of the magazine; indeed in a few places, particularly abroad, there have been increases. In a few places, it was necessary to discontinue the bundle. New York has experienced a sharp slump in the past three months and this decline seriously affects the revenue and maintenance of the magazine. Only the Upper West Side and Bronx Branches have maintained and in a measure increased their bundle sales. Circulation in New York slumped by about 200 in this area, including 100 as yet un-renewed subscriptions. It is mainly neglect by the members. This loss is absolutely unnecessary, and just a reasonable increase in organized effort to sell the magazine and to obtain subscriptions can not only make up this loss within 30 days, but actually produce an increase. Local New York of the YPSL has lately shown improvement, but even here some YPSL units do not as yet handle the magazine regularly.
The Berkeley, Cal., unit of the YPSL deserves special mention for its work in the sale of the magazine on the campus. The comrades dispose of 30 copies. Should other YPSL’ers in universities and colleges throughout the country do similarly as well, there would follow a substantial increase in the magazine’s circulation. University of Chicago comrades and CCNY, New York, do comparable work.
All things considered, the Chicago organization, under the very competent and energetic direction of Sam Richter, does the best job of anybody in the United States with The New International. Chicago bundle orders total 190, plus a growing subscription list. Cities like Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Newark and others can, by greater participation by the ranks in the work, step up the circulation and subscription list substantially and proportionately. But agents like John Taber in Boston will get better results in the next period. ALMOST 400 SUBSCRIPTIONS REMAIN TO BE RENEWED. CHIEF ATTENTION IN COMING WEEKS must be given by the Branches to obtain these renewals, which is entirely possible. Since this matter has been gone into fully with delegates and localities, only a reminder is necessary here now. These renewals mean a revenue from $400 to $800 for The New International, besides maintenance of important contacts.
A few localities decreased their bundle orders for the summer period but expect to increase their allotments very soon again, and perhaps increase them. These cities are: Los Angeles, Youngstown, St. Louis. It must be pointed out that the latter two cities have really done very well in the sale of the NI in the past year and a half, and still take bundles much larger in proportion and actually than many larger cities.
New Order: Fitchburg, Mass., 7 copies. O.W., agent.
New Agents: J. Darnell, Detroit; K., Winnipeg; D., Toronto; B. George, Columbus; Leo Hassell, Los Angeles; F. Daniel, Lynn; El Booth, San Francisco; C. Wallace, Oakland.
In Toronto, the comrades write, prospective subscribers are visited by automobile, and similarly are house-to-house visits made. The New Castle, Pa., agent writes: “I shall pay my account in full by August 1st ... I have given the magazine on credit to worthy workers who have returned to employment and therefore can pay me. I do not want to give you the impression that the magazine does not sell and must pay out of my own pocket. My trouble is collecting money. For example, I deliver a copy to a friend’s home. He is either broke or not at home. Not wanting to make a second trip I naturally leave it ... However, on this point, my customers the other day all faithfully promised to come across.”
From Edinburgh, Scotland, Frank Maitland writes: “The June issue was very interesting and has sold rapidly. A hundred copies is the most we can handle just at the present, but we are undertaking a fresh drive to raise sales ... Enclosed $10.00 on our account.”
From Newark, N.J., a sympathizer, Harold P., writes: “You [the Fourth Internationalists] now represent the organ of the class-conscious and revolutionary nucleus in America, and as such the only real threat to the capitalist system in this country. The Stalinists may fool the workers, but they can never fool the capitalists. The capitalist class never forgets its class enemies, whereas the CP collaborates with them opportunistically.”
But the The New International awakens and teaches the workers so that not even Stalinist calumny and demagogy has effect.
BUILD UP THE CIRCULATION!
Last updated on 8.8.2006