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A Criticism of the Militant

(September 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 44, 23 September 1933, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

To the Editor of the Militant:

Allow me to protest the printing of the article, The Daily Worker Goes to the Masses – in the Militant of September 16th.

There is absolutely no law in nature which says that a Communist paper should not take up the question of sports or even breakfast menus; on the contrary, it is obligatory for Communists to approach and penetrate into the sports’ clubs social clubs, etc., and present the class point of view there, of course and explain to the workers the class struggle from the angle with which they are most acquainted with and interested In.

Writing about workers sports or even submitting medical advice is very important and even necessary – in a workers’ Sports’ Club Magazine or the Bulletin of a Workers’ Mutual Benefit Society.

For the central organ of the Communist party however; to emulate capitalist papers in their drive for circulation, devote columns of advice to the sick and the love-lorn and the well-dressed; to waste pages in all sorts of nonsense and tomfoolery of that sort ... that is absolutely impermissible. “A Bolshevik paper should be a Bolshevik paper.” Its circulation and influence can only be increased by penetrating into the organizations of the workers, by becoming a leader of their struggles and by awakening to political life strata of indifferent and solid workers. It can only gain prestige and confidence by posing and answering the burning problems of the working class, providing leadership in workers’ struggles and by working out correct slogans, to which the workers will inevitably be attracted. It can only be done in this way.

All this should have been explained simply; clearly; the purpose of a Bolshevik paper, its functions, etc., etc., but t.n., either through inability or because he just didn’t want to, splurged through a lot of stupidities accompanied by all sorts of “smart” asides worthy of College Humor, with “brilliant” fanfarolls and frills.

Such stuff does not belong in a Bolshevik paper.


* * *

Editorial Note – It should be needless to say that we agree entirely with what comrade A G. says about the duty of the central organ of the Communist party. But we cannot entirely accept his criticism of the jest we made in our article in question. Moreover, sometimes we even feel a temptation to jest at the humor contained in the Daily Worker political articles and refrain only because it is too tragic. But when confronted with the silly bourgeois apings of these special Daily Worker departments, what else could we do. Sometimes ridicule becomes an effective means of correcting foolishness.

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