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The New International, September 1939


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From New International, Vol.5 No.9, September 1939, p.258.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

DESPITE summer difficulties, The New International has managed to come out on schedule, without impairment generally of its circulation. But having great confidence in the importance of our magazine and in the needs of the advanced labor and revolutionary movement for such a publication, we really expected to do better. But it was in a very good measure due to contributions and payments by several foreign groups that The New International made the grade this summer. The American Party and YPSL units, with several important exceptions previously noted, did not do as well as the aforesaid foreign groups in promoting and paying for the magazine. But the future, the expansion, the very maintenance of The New International are in fact dependent upon the readers and comrades of the magazine in the United States. Without increased support by the US comrades, a question mark must be placed on the magazine’s future. The fall season is now here, and if the American comrades will do what they are capable of doing in promoting the circulation of the magazine, there will result a pronounced increase in circulation and a surer maintenance of our theoretical organ. What will be your answer?

4,300 copies of the August number were published, less than we thought were required, but in fact more by almost 200 than were needed. I say “not needed” advisedly. We did need them and more, but New York circulation alone – subscriptions and general sales – has slumped more than 200 in the summer period. Several branches (Down Town, Lower East Side and Brownsville), in our careful opinion, do not at all dispose of the copies they could, even if they handled only sufficient for the needs of their members. This is easily remediable. The YPSL slumped a little also. But in New York at this moment we are mainly concerned that a consistent and persistent drive by all branches be made for RENEWALS of expired subscriptions to The New International and the Socialist Appeal. That is, that several efforts be made if need be (since the subscribers are not always at home, etc., when first called on) to secure the RENEWALS. There are over 100 magazine and more than twice that number of Appeal subscriptions requiring renewal in Greater New York. There need not be. Efforts to obtain these subscriptions for The New International and the Socialist Appeal can be made together.

It is the subscription problem which is the major immediate one for our publications. In Minneapolis there are about fifty (50) magazine renewals due; we understand a special campaign for renewals is being undertaken. Weak spots of larger cities in the subscription field are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Newark. The new Los Angeles agent, Jos. Kent, and also the City Organizer, Dave Stevens, promise a real campaign for subscriptions, and we await results since L.A. has been long on promises; but we more confidently expect a new and good turn. El Booth, San Francisco agent, is getting subscription machinery into motion, and a few subscriptions have already been sent in. Geo. Breitman of Newark is very confident of substantial increases in magazine circulation there, and judging by the manner in which Newark has started its drive for increased Socialist Appeal circulation, and knowing, too, comrade Breitman’s energy and manner of functioning, we are very hopeful for good results for the magazine in Newark. But Boston gives us concern. Comrade John Taber works like a Trojan, but so far as we can observe, too much of the work is left to him. Boston subscriptions are woefully and needlessly low in number, and the bundle order, a mere fifty copies, does not at all compensate for the meager subscription figures. At one time, in a rather dim past, Boston was in the front ranks of New International circulation. Our inquiry and investigation indicate that the answer lies simply in having the Party and YPSL members themselves taking and endeavoring to secure subscriptions and sell the magazine. Fall is here: what about a fresh start, comrades? The comrades in Lynn, Worcester, Gardner and Fitchburg do comparatively a far better job of magazine circulation than Boston. Indeed, they do pretty well.

In the past month there have been some increases in bundle orders. New Pioneer Book Shop, London, England, from 30 to 36 and now to 48 copies. Glasgow, Scotland, John Moss, agent, 24 to 34; Cape Town, South Africa, Pick group, 12 to 18 copies. Whitewater, Kansas, Geo. Whiteside, agent, 3 to 5 copies. And for the conditions George has to operate in, that’s swell work. Liverpool, England, book shop, two additional copies. Brentano’s Book Shop, Washington, D.C., the work of a sympathizer, Nancy Macdonald. In Canada, five copies. Fresno, Calif., B. Lampsa, agent, 5 to 8 copies.

There have been two decreases: Reading, Pa., where Vincent P. however, does yeoman’s work, to six copies. St. Paul, Minn., G.G.V., agent, from 30 to 20 copies, but here subscription efforts are being made to compensate.

New agents: Ed Davis, formerly of Akron, in Toledo, O.; Louise H., San Diego, who is making progress now with both the NI and the Appeal; Ed. H., Flint, Mich.; Leo Handel, New York City.

Mention must be made of three subscriptions sent in by Al. R. from Omaha, Nebr. All things considered, that’s like a couple of dozen from a city like New York, Chicago, L.A., et al.

For the kind of spirit that is needed to boost circulation figures everywhere in the next period, we feel it necessary to refer to the attitude and actions of our foreign groups, as for instance:

  1. Johannesburg, South Africa, from R. Lennard of the Socialist Workers League group, a contribution of $16.42 to maintain the magazine. “The NI must not go under!”
  2. From Frank Maitland, secretary, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Edinburgh, Scotland: “I am sending you herewith 20 dollars, to account. I trust that the NI has been able to get over the recent difficult period. It would be a tragedy if it were to close down. We hope to help you more substantially in the future ... but we are facing in Britain all the difficulties of working against the rising war enthusiasm and the pro-war programs of the Labourists and communists. It needs all our efforts to keep our work at pressure.” ... But American comrades, we should be helping the Scottish comrades! At present the Edinburgh comrades dispose of 100 copies each issue.
  3. From C. van G., on behalf of the Islington & St. Pancras comrades, London, England: “The members of the Islington & St. Pancras group of the Revolutionary Socialist League (British Section of the Fourth International) have been seriously perturbed by the perilous state of The New International finances. For the only Marxist magazine published in the English language to cease publicaton would be a major disaster for the international working class movement and for its vanguard, the Fourth International.”

    “The enclosed money order for £1. is the proceeds of a small social ... Credit the account of the British section ... We are sure other groups will be inspired by our example to do likewise ...”

As we note these few commentaries by foreign comrades on our international New International, we are constrained to cast a questioning look at Los Angeles, in arrears, with a large bundle bill to cover; and at New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and many other large cities in the United States which could so easily do much more to increase the SUBSCRIPTION AND CIRCULATION base of the magazine, eliminate thereby concern about the future of our theoretical organ, and enable the Press Management to give greater attention to the development of the circulation of the Socialist Appeal.

New International agents and readers! To work to build the circulation. On to 5.000!

The Manager

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