BY DAVID BERG
BROOKLYN, New York - "I first started reading the Militant because I couldn't stomach the Birmingham News and Post-Herald anymore," said Arthur Spears, a longtime reader of the socialist paper, speaking to a full house at the Birmingham Pathfinder Bookstore October 28. Spears showed the audience clippings from the local big-business papers and contrasted their coverage of plant closings and government attempts to reduce workers' compensation to the Militant's. "The Militant explains these things from a working-class perspective. You learn why so many things happen."
Backers of the Militant in Birmingham sent in a report on their meeting to illustrate how they have been campaigning to raise money to finance this working-class paper. The measure of the meeting's success, Susan LaMont reports from Birmingham, was that "$660 was raised that night, bringing the total collected to $1,843, almost half- way toward our goal of $3,700." This helped Militant supporters there get on schedule this week.
Partisans of the Militant are hosting fund-raising meetings in several cities in the next few weeks. Emulating the example of those in Birmingham, especially the effort to reach out to new readers and contributors, will help collect more money.
This money is badly needed. Five weeks into the Militant Fund campaign, supporters of the paper have raised a little over $48,000 of the $125,000 goal. This puts us at 38 percent, when we should be at 50 percent - a slip from last week.
At the Birmingham meeting, two other avid readers of the socialist paper also made a strong pitch to contribute generously to the fund. James Rose, a member of the United Auto Workers Local 1155 at the Pemco aerospace plant in Birmingham, explained, "I first saw the Militant during the civil rights movement." Ten years ago, he met Militant supporters on the job and began reading it regularly.
Underscoring the importance of the Militant coverage of the Cuban revolution, Rose said, "If the socialist struggle is crushed, it would crush the working people all over the world. If you don't have a newspaper that opens you up to the truth, it's hard to know what's going on."
Dora Whiteside, a leader of the Black Student Awareness Committee at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, spoke about going to New York for the October 21 demonstration against the U.S. embargo of Cuba. "It was my first time in New York, my first time on a picket line, my first time at a demonstration," she said, adding that she only recently began to learn the truth about the Cuban revolution, thanks in great part to the Militant.
LaMont reports that the event was "a wonderful evening of food and political discussion." John Hawkins, a Socialist Workers Party militant who is also a member of the United Mine Workers of America, spoke on "The Cuban Revolution in the World Today."
To complement the vital contributions raised through the Militant Fund, the paper is also cutting costs wherever possible. Staff writer Naomi Craine explained that all 16 pages of the November 6 issue were produced by going directly to film, a first for the paper. Previously, paper pages of the Militant were shot on a camera to produce film that was then converted into metal plates that run on a printing press. Craine estimates that at least 13 hours of labor is saved now by scanning pictures for the Militant on a computer, and then printing them out on film pages that can be used to produce plates for the presses.
"This is the latest step in process that began over a year ago, when we converted to desktop publishing. By doing that we cut over 60 hours of duplicate labor of the volunteer workers" who produce the Militant, she said. Going straight to film, Craine explained, also affects the quality of the paper. "You get neater type, sharper photographs, and it's easier to train volunteers how to produce a professional paper." The change "only cost a small investment of about $500 for a scanner and some extra computer memory."
Matching the spirit of the Militant's advances in productivity, supporters of the socialist paper can use the last five weeks of the campaign to reach out into the working class with the Militant and advance the fight of working people all around the world. The Militant Fund is part of that fight. Let's use the last five weeks of the drive to catch up and make the goal of $125,000!
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home