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Fourth International, June 1941


Manager’s Column


From Fourth International, Vol. II No. 5, June 1941, p. 130.
Transcribed, edited & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.


The avidity with which our comrades in every part of the country – and even elsewhere In the world – have devoted themselves to the important problem of mass distribution of Trotskyist literature has born fine fruit. The recent highly successful drive for subscribers placed the magazine in the hands of more than a thousand new readers in the course of two short months. And the stimulus given to our circulation has had a natural reflex in the attention paid to financial obligations.

The promptness and thoroughness of the response made by most of the cities receiving bundles of the magazine has been highly gratifying to the business office. Detroit, Quakertown and Toledo have actually got ahead of themselves and established credits with us on future issues. Boston, Chicago, Fresno, Kansas, Louisiana, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, St. Louis and St. Paul owe nothing either on the current issue or on back-bills. For some of them this accomplishment has meant Spartan effort, but the same iron tenacity which sends them out week after week to sell literature at factory gates and trade: union halls made the accomplishment of apparently insurmountable tasks possible.

A number of other places owe nothing on the current bundle and have come very close to cleaning up old debts completely. Of these cities, Portland, Reading, Newark and San Diego deserve special notice.

Cleveland reports that a number of comrades there who were long unemployed have succeeded In finding work and one of the first indices of an improved economy has been a substantial payment on an ancient inherited debt to Fourth International. Akron and Flint have shown the same eagerness to stand before their fellow-workers unblemished by debt. Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Youngstown are working hard to climb into what San Diego calls the “circle of nice, cooperative branches.”

But we wonder what has happened to a few other places, among them Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Texas and New Haven. We admit that a few months ago, with the records they now have, these cities would have looked quite normal; but everyone has reformed so much since then that the ones who haven’t moved forward seem to have slipped back. It is a relative matter and only proves that, dialectically speaking, one may look pretty good and at the same time be not so hot.

* * *


Some of our rival political groups have been suffering for some time from a sick, unscientific despair which is entirely unknown in our ranks. This decay of morale shows itself most viciously in the attitude of these fair-weather “revolutionaries” toward the proletariat of the rest of the world. In effect, these people accuse the victims of fascism and war in other parts of the world of having deserted the cause of the revolution and left the American worker to assume the full burden of carrying on the struggle.

This month’s correspondence of the Fourth International deals another resounding body-blow to ths false and vicious attitude. Once again we can judge by the consistency of response from widely-separated regions of the world that Trotskyist literature cannot be prevented from finding its way into the hands of ever-extending circles of co-thinkers.

Our friends write us not only to assure us of the arrival of our material at its destinations, despite the numerous difficulties which the war throws in its path, but to implore us to increase the supply so that a constantly growing audience can be accommodated.

We hear from South Africa, for instance. Here the state of war has meant the establishment of well-populated internment camps with reserved sections for political thinkers. Yet we are informed that our publications have not only been received and welcomed but have been duplicated for wider dissemination and that translations have been made of our most important articles for non-English speaking workers.

Our greatest joy came from the news from Switzerland. Friends there inform us that all of our material, sent to diverse parts of the little republic through a triple censorship, has arrived safely and is being avidly read. They urge us to increase their supply since the growth of interest in Trotskyism has put too great a demand upon the limited quantity of material we have heretofore sent.

From numerous bits of correspondence we glean that copies or translations of our most important documents have penetrated into every part of the German-occupied territory of southern Europe and the Baltic countries.

But the news of greatest political interest concerns the translation and republication of the Manifesto of the Fourth International on the Imperialist War for wide dissemination in the countries engaged In the war. One of our German letters, dealing with the arrival of this important document, says: “We got your business folders which we promtly mimeographed and distributed widely. You have no idea how they revived our business.”

* * *

It Is always heartening to have proof again of the resiliency of the revolutionary political movement. And it is good to have repeated evidence that the accumulated wealth of political understanding which the workers’ struggle for freedom has brought for the class-conscious proletariat Is never lost. Our news from the concentration camps and secret meetingplaces of workers In numerous parts of Europe brings a wealth of reassurance that the lessons of the great defeats of the last decade have not been lost on the advanced workers.

A few crumbs of information concerning the great political discussions over the nature of the Soviet state and the defense of the Soviet Union found their way into the almost hermetically sealed political circles of workers on the continent of Europe. These workers, ground down to the very bottom by the war-mill of capitalism, recognized the significance of this political discussion, took part in it in their own manner and reported finally to us in the outside world. They had found their ideas to be in consonance with those of Trotsky and the Socialist Workers Party.

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Last updated on 27 February 2016