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New International, April 1949


The Editors

Martin Abern


From The New International, Vol. XV No. 4, April 1949, p. 99.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The name of no socialist comrade is more closely connected with our publication, The New International, than that of Martin Abern. Founder, builder, manager and contributor to it, his sudden and unexpected death at the end of April 1949 is a grievous loss to those many thousands who knew him through his long association with our publication. If, in recent years, circumstances beyond his control had made it impossible to continue his active role on behalf of The New International, nothing can dim his long years of service to it.

Comrade Abern’s long years in the American revolutionary and socialist movement, dating back to the First World War, are familiar to all of us. The story of his devotion to the cause of socialism, and the facts of his over thirty years’ dedication to this movement, have already been published in Labor Action. We shall not repeat them here. But Martin Abern’s relation to The New International formed an important part of his socialist life and career.

Instrumental in Founding NI

Perhaps more than any other comrade in the American movement, he was instrumental in its foundation as an organ of Marxist politics in the United States. This was in 1934, approximately fifteen years ago. At that time, the Trotskyist movement in America was a small force, with still tinier means at its disposal. The launching of The New International was more than a feat of organizational skill – it signified endless effort and devotion to the conception that a Marxist movement required a theoretical organ just as surely as man requires oxygen to breathe. Martin Abern understood this need and he, as perhaps no one else could have done, made it a reality. The New International was born under his guidance and through his initiative.

It was an immediate success. Those fortunate enough to still possess copies dating from the founding years of the magazine can testify to its high quality and value. Its name and its circulation spread rapidly among Marxists throughout the world, and it became the central organ of the world Trotskyist movement. As business manager at that time, Comrade Abern was tireless in pushing forward its expanding circulation to all corners of the world. Our many friends in Asia, Europe and Latin America will well remember Marty’s letters to them – filled with friendly interest and suggestions regarding our common socialist problems and activities.

We Salute His Memory

After a short period of suspension, The New International resumed its publication again in January 1938. Again, it was Martin Abern who insisted upon its revival, simultaneous with the formation of the Socialist Workers Party. Publication has been uninterrupted since this period, and Comrade Abern was again the active manager for many years. It was during this period that the magazine’s publication reached an all-time high in terms of copies printed, circulation and international influence.

Comrade Abern was more than our magazine’s business manager. He took an active part in its editorial life and the selection of material considered of publication merit. While literary and theoretical analyses were not the foremost qualities of his political life, he contributed valuable articles on American labor politics, events in England, etc. But above all, his loyalty to The New International was surpassed by no one, and his patient efforts to expand its influence or to overcome its innumerable obstacles are the truest possible reflection of his real personality.

Thus it is that with full sincerity we can say that our was the creation of Comrade Martin Abern more than of any other single individual. We know that all our readers who know its story will share this belief with us. In these difficult times, very few revolutionists, have left as much behind them to testify to their devotion and capacities. We know, too, that our readers will join with us in saluting his memory and expressing our desire to continue this vital work so well begun and handled by him.

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Last updated on 29 September 2018