Hal Draper

Party Swings into Action on
National Anti-War Campaign

Reports from Branches Show Real Progress in Activity,
But Fund Collections Lag Behind the Rest of the Campaign

(22 August 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 61, 22 August 1939, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Calais goes over the top – twice!

One comrade sends in the full quota for the campaign for this town in the rock-ribbed Republican state of Maine, giving it a percentage of 200 on the quota for September 15, which is half of the full quota.

As Maine goes, so goes the nation – or doesn’t it? That list of branches with 00.00 after their names will tell us in the next week or two. Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Francisco – each with a quota of $100 or more and 00.00 turned in – had better get busy or the “provinces” will run away with all the prizes.

We need that Anti-War Fund NOW! We need it to expand our press; to put out a steady stream of cheap popular pamphlets; to send out organizers all over the country who will carry our anti-war message to every state in the Union – our goal is 30 new full-time organizers in the next period; we need it to carry out the tasks of this campaign as well as those campaigns that will follow. The building of the antiwar party can’t wait!

While the fund-gathering part of the campaign is starting slowly, the branches continue to send in reports of progress in the campaign for the People’s Referendum on War. It is clear by now that, more than at any previous time, the Party has been swung into action in a common drive of agitation and action AS A NATIONAL UNIT. A good start has been made in transforming the Party into a CAMPAIGN PARTY which can concentrate its forces from East to West in a single effort.

Now the branches have the floor.


The Lynn branch secretary starts with a good opening sentence.

“Enclosed please find money order for $23 which is the first instalment of our quota of $100 for the Anti-War Fund Drive. We have accepted our quota with the determination to go over the top. Although money is scarce the comrades have assessed themselves a day’s pay. Our sympathizers, having been shown by our anti-Coughlin drive that we mean business, are coming through better than we expected. By hard plugging we expect to get there.”

Show that the party means business – this is as good a statement of our job in a campaign as an article would be.


Still from Massachusetts, Comrade Tracy sends in a slug of $54 on its quota and adds:

“To date the party members have pledged somewhere in the vicinity of $125.00 and we are counting quite heavily on the social and indoor meeting, both of which will be held in September.”

Two meetings per week are being held in different sections of the city, with the attendance around 75 – which is small for Boston, but it seems an intense heat wave has been at work for a month and a half.

“Four teams of two comrades each,” continues Comrade Tracy, “have been assigned the task of door-to-door canvassing for signatures and the sale of pamphlets and Appeals. There is a general mobilization every Saturday afternoon for street sales of the Appeal and the pamphlets.”


The Toledo branch contributes an idea which other branches may be able to use.

“The Party,” writes Fred Howard, campaign director, “has carried on a downtown drive for petition signatures. We have a little stand with a slogan painted above it. This is put in the doorway of a vacant store in a busy section downtown. Pamphlets are also sold at the stand ...

“Party members’ reactions to the campaign are good. New members are getting petitions signed, selling Appeals, etc. ... Have conducted house-to-house canvassing for signatures – 300 have been secured so far.”

And Comrade Howard adds a hurry call for 50 more petition sheets to be used in a special drive on Saturday.


That branch is here again, with another dollar on its fund quota, another batch of petitions turned in, and the announced intention of outstripping every other branch in the country in campaign activity.

“We have not set ourselves a membership quota.” Comrade Geller reports, “because there is not much sense in it.” In case you get the wrong idea he hastens to add:

“We keep recruiting all the time. The campaign is an accelerating factor. Without setting any quota, it is my opinion Flint will have recruited ten new members during the campaign period. We are unusually fortunate in this respect, having a world of contacts, and can recruit with much less effort than the average branch. With us it is not a problem of recruiting members but of developing and solidifying our inexperienced people.

“The campaign is having a good effect on our new people. It first of all is showing them that we are a national organization, with active comrades all over the country, all with obligations and duties to the national office, something that was very vague to them before ...

“Dollars are few and far between, but with everyone enthusiastically working, we can reach our quota, and establish raising of funds as one of the important tasks of every member.”

St. Paul

Two branches in different parts of the country have printed their own stickers with the slogan “Let the People Vote on War” and the local address. One of these is St. Paul, whose sticker is in bold red, and large size (4 by 10 inches).

A mass meeting at the Party hall has been set for Sept. 15 to climax the campaign, and a tag day was held on Sunday, August 13 with eight comrades covering a working-class neighborhood. Another tag day is scheduled for the following Thursday.


The other sticker has been printed by the Y.P.S.L. unit in Berkeley, California, also large size. Three thousand were printed, and the Berkeley comrades are farming them out to the other branches on the Coast.

This unit functions in the University of California at Berkeley, and when school reopens, a mass meeting on the war referendum will be held, September 3. Meanwhile the Y.P.S.L. members are taking the petitions out every Sunday for door-to-door canvassing in working class districts.

New York City

The New York district is at present engaged in a three-ring-circus whirl of activity, as readers of the Appeal can note. The city election campaign, with its accompanying job of putting our candidates on the ballot by petition, is the first ring; and the other two are the anti-Coughlin demonstration and the War Referendum Campaign. Each of the three by itself would ordinarily require the mobilization of the entire membership; and the New York comrades are responding, therefore, threefold. But in any case, Comrade Frank, New York Organizer, promises that all of New York’s quotas will be filled handily by campaign closing time. Thus far, the district has taken 1,600 Burnham pamphlets, and has gathered well over 1,000 signatures to the petition. September 16 will see a city-wide affair to raise money for both the war campaign and election drive.


“In the last two weeks,” writes in the branch secretary of Philadelphia, “we have gained momentum and are sweeping ahead with our anti-war campaign. We are holding open air meetings and having large crowds ... We are getting our petitions filled up rapidly.”

Last updated on 10 March 2016