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Irving Howe

Regular 8-Pager in Six Weeks!

(6 May 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 18, 6 May 1946, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Well, it looks as if we made that 5,000 sub quota. Not that anyone didn’t expect us to make it, but still it’s good that those subs are in the paper’s office and that we have over 5,000 people who are now new regular readers.

And in just about 6 weeks, this 4-page paper will be doubled in size. That means that there’ll be at least three times as much work involved in getting it out, and that it will cost nearly three times as much to publish as does the 4-pager. But it means something even more. It means that we will have four full additional pages to get across our ideas. You know, in a four pager there’s a certain amount of necessary routine that has to be printed: ads for meetings, notices of branch headquarters, editorial boxes, etc. But when we add 4 more pages, we can devote almost all of that extra space to meaty and interesting articles which will enable the paper to have a fuller coverage of what is going on in the world and will also enable us to provide explanatory background material about world events. The extra pages are, so to speak, so much gravy for the paper. The 8-pagers we’ve put out so far testify to that fact. As one friend put it:

“When it’s 8 pages, you really have to sit-down and give some time to reading the paper, because there’s so much in it.”

One of the pet ideas is to devote a lot more space to letters and comments from readers. If it were necessary, in an 8-page paper we might give a full page each week to printing comments, letters and contributions from readers. In fact, it would be a good idea if in certain cities and towns, especially where there are no branches of the Workers Party, regular readers of Labor Action got together once in a while to discuss the paper and its contents.

But all this means that we have to be sure to get that 8-pager started – and what is more important, to keep it going once it is started. Of course, that means a constant flow of subscriptions. The paper doesn’t pay for itself of course; no labor paper, which doesn’t have the financial buttress of capitalist advertising, can pay for itself. But a steady stream of subscriptions and contributions would certainly help. Suppose you, a regular reader and friend of Labor Action, were to say to yourself:

“This paper means enough to me, its ideas are important enough to me to do just a little work, make a little effort to keep it going. I’m going to set myself the goal of getting one new subscription each week from my friends or shopmates.”

If a sizable group of our regular readers did that, the future of the 8-pager would be assured. It would mean steady revenue and it would mean a growing group of new readers.

There’s nothing at all unreasonable about that, and nothing especially hard about it. At this end, we’re preparing all kinds of elaborate plans for the 8-page Labor Action. The two sample issues we’ve put out are only a mild forecast of what the regular 8-pager will be like. Now it’s up to you at your end. Just one sub a week from each friend of the paper: that’s the road to a stable 8-pager. And send your contribution to the $15,000 fund drive for an 8-Page Paper.

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Last updated: 22 January 2019