The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 75/No. 20      May 23, 2011

(front page)
Militant Army aims to win
2,000 plus new readers
Militant/Frank Forrestal
Kay Fiebelkorn, packinghouse worker for 23 years, signs up for subscription at home in Austin, Minnesota, May 7. At right is Militant Army volunteer Maggie Trowe. Like many workers, Fiebelkorn has been hit hard by capitalist crisis. She turns 65 next year, but can’t afford to retire since she injured her shoulder on job and must pay thousands for rehabilitation.

This week we are beginning a weekly letter from the editor to the Militant Army—the workers, farmers, and others volunteering to join in the six-week campaign to sell Militant subscriptions door to door in working-class neighborhoods in cities and towns across the United States and in other countries.

The campaign aims to get the newspaper into the hands of working people who have begun to react in new ways over the past few months to the accumulating blows to our living and working conditions after three years of the growing world capitalist crisis.

As supporters of the Militant responded earlier this year to mobilizations of working people in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the Midwest, we found a noticeable increase in receptivity to the radical working-class political perspectives presented in the paper. This includes the need for a revolutionary struggle in the United States to take political power out of the hands of the wealthy families who rule this country.

More than 1,000 new subscribers signed up between mid-February and late April—a number unprecedented for decades during a period when no organized sales campaign was under way.

What’s more, this interest in the paper registered a much broader political responsiveness among working people, not just in the Midwest but across the country. We’re going door to door in small towns and rural areas, as well as in cities. We’re talking with and selling subscriptions to workers who are Caucasian, Black, Latino, and from other backgrounds. We’re exchanging views with workers from the big majority today who are not in unions, as well as those who are—and with those calling themselves Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, libertarians, and independents.

A little more than two weeks into the drive, 788 subscriptions have been sold—39 percent of the international goal (see chart on front page).

That’s 6 percentage points ahead of schedule. Good! But it’s down from 10 points ahead at the end of the first week. That’s something every volunteer organizer for the Militant Army needs to take into account in planning teams for the week ahead.

During a substantial upturn in working-class receptivity to this newspaper in the closing years and just after the interimperialist slaughter of World War II, the editor and staff members appealed to a Militant Army (the name of a weekly column) to reach out as broadly as possible to working people with our revolutionary working-class perspectives. We’re doing so again today.

So far during the current campaign, volunteers in 10 of the 13 cities in the United States that have adopted subscription quotas have raised their initial goals, along with those in 3 of the 5 cities in other countries. That pushes the combined quotas to 2,140—putting us on track to meet and go well over the international goal during the next month.

This 13 percent increase so far—amounting to an additional 250 regular readers of the paper by the end of the drive—could go even higher with discussions by supporters in other cities about opportunities to win more subscribers in working-class communities.

Militant Army volunteers in Philadelphia, for example, have raised their quota twice since late April—a 33 percent jump to 100 subscriptions. Janet Post reports these subscriptions were sold not only there, but to workers in Bethlehem, Hershey, Bridgeport, and other cities and towns in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

An accompanying article by circulation director Paul Mailhot reports on his participation over the past week in sales teams organized from three West Coast cities. In each of them, Militant Army volunteers have raised their initial quotas: Seattle (a 15 percent jump to 160), Los Angeles (nearly 30 percent to 160), and San Francisco (25 percent to 150).

Ron Poulsen reports from Sydney, Australia, that socialists sold three subscriptions last week going door to door in Unanderra, a township in the Wollongong district where workers in steel plants and textile mills have been hard hit by the capitalist crisis. Volunteers in Sydney raised their quota by 50 percent to 60 subscriptions, and are well ahead of schedule this week.

Supporters in Washington, D.C., who had sold only six subscriptions at the end of the first week of the campaign, are now out of the starting blocks. At 28 subscriptions, still a bit behind schedule, they’ve made a quarter of their initial quota. Volunteers in Manchester can take courage from such progress.

As supporters of the Militant go door to door to win new readers for the paper, we’re also finding interest in The Changing Face of U.S. Politics: Working Class Politics and the Trade Unions by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, as well as three other books being offered on special discount together with a subscription (see ad on this page).

We encourage volunteers to send in reports on your experiences selling subscriptions, as well as photographs like you see on this page and on the front of this issue.

If you’re interested in becoming part of the Militant Army, contact volunteers in one of the areas listed on page 8 or write us to get a bundle of the Militant to sell to friends, neighbors, family members, and coworkers.

In solidarity,

Steve Clark
Related articles:
‘Workers appreciate us hearing their opinions’
Spring 'Militant' subscription campaign week 2 of 6 (chart)  
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