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A.J. Muste

Eight-Page New Militant First Step to Daily Paper

(29 June 1935)

From The New Militant, Vol. I No. 27, 29 June 1935, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Two kinds of complaints about the New Militant come into the national office. Some comrades write to this effect:

“The New Militant does not carry enough news about strikes and organizing campaigns. There are too few articles analyzing these practical class struggle activities and illustrating effective tactics which can be used in similar situations. We also need articles in simple language presenting the Marxist point of view on the Roosevelt program and contrasting it with our revolutionary solution of the problems confronting the American workers.”

Such comrades go on to say that both in the new unions and in the old, young militant workers are coining to the front who will constitute an important part of the developing revolutionary movement, although they still know very little about Marxist theory. Unless the New Militant contains plenty of material directly tied in with the experiences of these workers and adapted to their stage of development, it cannot be sold and is not read.

Other comrades write:

“The New Militant does not contain enough theoretical material. Many important international developments occur and there is no comment or analysis, sometimes not even a passing reference to them. There is too little news and interpretation of events in the rival parties, no criticism .of the false positions they are taking.”

These comrades point out that the revolutionary party cannot be built simply out of new and as yet unpolitical elements, that we have to win to the W.P. the advanced workers who are already members or under the influence of other parties and that this can be done only if we are constantly demonstrating in our organ the superiority of our party’s theoretical position. They argue likewise that unless we impart a solid education to our own members and give them directives and long range perspectives in their work they cannot carry on their practical work effectively either.

Interestingly enough, similar complaints come from sympathizers of the party. Some of them are interested in the W.P. primarily because they believe that it is based upon a correct Marxian program, because they have been convinced by our analysis of developments in the Soviet Union and in the international revolutionary movement. They look to us to provide them, regularly with full information on these subjects. Other sympathizers have been attracted by the practical effectiveness of the party in great struggles such as have occurred in Toledo and Minneapolis and in the development of imposing mass organizations such ias the National Unemployed League. They desire to get information about these matters and feel that they can “sell” the New Militant to their friends mainly on this basis.

Unlike some complaints, these complaints all have a substantial basis. A propaganda group might conceivably go along with a four page paper, reaching its readers once a week and confining itself to some particular phase of revolutionary theory or activity. A party, which in the nature of the case assumes responsibility for theoretical education of the advanced workers and also for leadership in the daily struggles of the working class, simply cannot begin to meet its obligations with a four-page paper reaching its readers only once a week.

As a matter of fact, we should aim at a daily paper at the earliest possible moment. That in a country as large as the United States and in such a period as this there should be only one general working class daily, and that a Stalinist one, is nothing short of tragic. A daily paper issued by the Workers Party of the U.S., raising aloft the banner of the Fourth International, and presenting a truthful report of national and international events and an analysis of them based upon an uncompromising revolutionary internationalism, would have a national, and in fact, international significance.

The first step toward die {achievement of this goal is to carry out the proposal of the Political Committee to increase the weekly New Militant from four to eight pages by Anti-War Day, August 1. All the various types of readers of the New Militant will thus receive more of the material for which they have been asking. New readers can be enrolled by the hundreds, possibly even thousands. An immense stimulus can be given to all the organization activities of the party itself and of the mass organizations in which it exerts influence.

Funds for the small amount of additional machinery needed in the print shop and to guarantee the steady issuance of the enlarged weekly for a period must be in hand before the change is inaugurated. To proceed in any other way would be to act irresponsibly. (Hence the financial campaign for the eight-page New Militant which has been inaugurated in recent issues and about which the branches of the party liave been informed. Unquestionably the members and friends of the party, the workers who have seen the party in operation in many a struggle, can by united efforts make the realization of this new forward step possible. We call upon the party members and branches to carry out swiftly and enthusiastically the directions which have been sent them. We call upon all our sympathizers and friends to send in their contributions, large or small, without a moment’s delay.

No more appropriate day could be found to carry the banner of revolutionary internationalism a long step forward than Anti-War Day, August 1.

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Last updated: 28 July 2015