Hal Draper

Let the People Vote on War!

Nationwide Campaign for War Referendum Launched by SWP

Workers Asked to Help Circulate Petitions; Raise $10,000 to Fight War;
Distribute Leaflets by Hundreds of Thousands

(1 August 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 55, 1 August 1939, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The campaign for a people’s referendum on war is launched.

The Party Convention decided that we must transform ourselves into a CAMPAIGN PARTY OF ACTION AND AGITATION. This means bringing all the forces of the party to bear upon a single issue, for a given period of time, concentrating our activity to develop a mass movement around our slogans.

Just as a lens concentrates the sun’s rays into a burning shaft of heat, so we must focus the resources of our organization into a mass campaign around the slogan: “LET THE PEOPLE VOTE ON WAR!”

Campaign Objectives

The objectives of the campaign are definite. By the time this issue of the Appeal is out, the branches will have received full directives. Between August 1 and September 15 – the duration of the campaign – we want to carry the slogan, and with it the anti-war message of the party, to at least 200,000 workers.

We will distribute 15,000 copies of the pamphlet Let the People Vote on War by James Burnham.

We will secure 25,000 signatures to the Petition to Congress for a People’s Vote on War.

We will raise by September 15 one-half of the Anti-War Fund of $10,000 voted by the Convention.

We will distribute 100,000 copies of a four-page printed leaflet.

We will raise the circulation of the Appeal by 1,000 per issue – 400 new subscriptions, 600 increase in bundle orders.

Every branch will hold one indoor mass meeting and a weekly street-corner meeting during the campaign on the slogan: “LET THE PEOPLE VOTE ON WAR!”

Up to Branches

These are the first steps of the campaign. Branch quotas for these objectives are printed in this issue. Every week we shall announce the standing of the branches in carrying out each quota.

We want to develop mass workers actions around the campaign. More of that later. But we wish to emphasize right now that everything depends upon the initiative of the branches in putting the slogan into action.

The demand for a people’s referendum must be carried into the homes around your neighborhood, to the shopmates who work next to you. The branches must reach them, even if they have never reached them before.

Into the shops and trade unions – into the homes of the workers – into the streets, with the slogan: “LET THE PEOPLE VOTE ON WAR!”

Just as the fight against war begins at home, so the organisation of the anti-war mass movement begins with the gearing of the party for action.

  • Give to the anti-war party!
  • Build the anti-war paper!
  • Recruit the workers to the movement for the people’s vote on war!

Last updated on 10 March 2016