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Martin Abern, James Burnham & Max Shachtman

Let the Readers Decide

An Appeal by the Editors and Manager of the New International

(October 1939)


From New International, Vol. 5 No. 10, p. 291.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

WE CANNOT AND WE DO NOT WISH to conceal from the readers of The New International the extreme danger which faces its continued existence.

The Second World War has struck us a terrific blow, far graver than most readers realize. Our review has from the beginning been an international review in every sense of the word. In these times when the poisonous fumes of nationalism are corroding the very vitals of society, we have sought to do all in our power to keep alive and alert the spirit of internationalism. We have never hesitated to devote our pages to the best Marxist talents of other countries who dealt with the political problems of countries other than the United States, even if at times this was done at the cost of analyzing problems and events in this country. We have always been proud of the large and loyal circle of readers which formed around the review in every important country of the world, especially in the English-reading lands.

The advancing wave of totalitarianism washed away part of that circle in some countries in recent times. Now, with the outbreak of the World War which involves directly all the English-reading countries outside the United States, the possibility of distributing the magazine abroad has been drastically limited at a single blow.

We need not enter into too great detail on this score, especially for those readers who have followed the reports on the state of our circulation which appear every month in the manager’s department. It is enough to say that with the rigorous press censorship and control over all radical and advanced elements which have already been enforced in the countries of the British Empire, our circulation has been virtually wiped out abroad. The few copies that now get through Britain’s police lines simply do not compare, numerically, with the former distribution of the paper.

England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Palestine, Australia, South Africa: these countries not only had a flattering circulation of The New International but were a sure source of important revenues for the magazine. We always reflected with mingled joy and regret that our friends in these Empire countries were a greater financial mainstay of our review, proportionate to their position, than many of our friends right here in the United States. Now, in view of the situation that has developed, it is impossible any longer to count upon a single penny from these countries in drawing up our budget—and we say this even though we are aware that our friends abroad retain the warmest feelings toward The New International.

So serious is the blow dealt us by this change in the situation that unless we are compensated for the loss by assistance, speedy and generous, in the United States, our review will certainly be suspended. Not may be suspended, but will be suspended.

We say this with the utmost restraint and objectiveness. Our readers know that we have rarely made appeals for special financial aid to the review. We have not been alarmist in the past and we are not now. In fact, we have tended more often than not to lean too far backward in this respect.

That alone is why the greatest importance should be attached to our assertion now that unless financial aid is given immediately, The New International will go out of existence before the next issue can be published.

Yet, our requirements and our appeal are comparatively modest. We are not in business; we seek no profit; we never expect to lay up a huge reserve of funds. Thorough discussion and a carefully estimated budget drawn up to meet the new situation, indicate that in order to continue the review must have from its readers the sum of $200 right away, before the next issue can go to press. And every month thereafter, at least until the situation is altered for the better, we must have $100 every month over and above the regular income from subscriptions to and sales of the magazine.

Modest needs—but quintessential for continued life! We have no advertizers to subsidize us; we have no wealthy financial agents. We can depend only on the rank and file of our readers.

This urgent appeal is addressed to them. We are confident that they will answer in such a way as to guarantee The New International’s existence. Speed is now of the essence of the matter. Anything from one dollar to ten dollars—and more if you can afford it!—should be rushed to our office the minute you read this appeal.

We are counting on every reader to come through!


Martin ABERN

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