The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 77/No. 1      January 14, 2013

Drive lays basis for expanding
readership with door to door sales
(front page)


This is how many subscribed to the Militant during the international campaign to expand circulation of the socialist newsweekly along with books on revolutionary working-class politics among working people.

Congratulations to all Militant readers and distributors whose efforts during the fall drive won more readers than similar campaigns over the last two decades!

And a warm welcome to all our new readers!

The campaign puts the communist movement on a strong footing to maintain steady weekly distribution of the paper with a focus on selling door to door in working-class neighborhoods—the bedrock of the drive.

“The center piece of the campaign was just knocking on as many doors as possible,” Edwin Fruit wrote from Seattle. “We did it in nine different working-class neighborhoods here and in nearby Tacoma, Wash.” Readers in Seattle sold 215 subscriptions, about half of them door to door.

A striking feature of the drive was the number of readers who joined for the first time.

High school student Jesus Landeros participated in almost every Saturday sale as well as in several weekday outings in Los Angeles. “I found going door to door was the best way to get to know people and follow up with them,” he said.

He also organized for three prisoners in a local jail to begin receiving the paper, helping to more than triple our initial goal of five subscriptions sold to workers behind bars, another major achievement of the campaign.

Mekye Simms, 28, is a teaching assistant in Manchester, England. She has been reading the Militant since the summer of 2011 and decided to join the subscription campaign, including door to door.

“The majority of people we speak to are in the same boat as us, working long hours, pay freezes, and so on. I hadn’t expected this to be so widespread. Quite a few say something needs to be done,” she said, describing her experience. “The first time I did a sale, I hadn’t expected to be invited into someone’s house to talk about the Militant. Some people have similar views to us, but others not at all.”

A couple of years ago at an immigrant rights demonstration in New York construction worker Mario Otzoy Chocojay bought the Militant and a copy of Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party.

“Before that I didn’t know there was a socialist party in the U.S.,” he said. “When I joined going door to door now I thought there would still be people who see socialism or communism with a stigma. While many people were not interested, others were and got subscriptions.”

“It was an eye-opening experience to see the breadth of interest Minneapolis workers have in alternative politics,” said Cameron Slick, a 26-year-old hotel worker. He joined sales teams four or five times going door to door in that city, in addition to selling subscriptions to a coworker and an acquaintance. Militant readers sold 65 percent of their subscriptions door to door in Minneapolis and the surrounding region.

During the campaign, Militant readers and distributors sold hundreds of copies of four books on revolutionary working-class politics that were and still are offered at reduced prices with a subscription. (See ad on this page.)

And dozens of subscribers, readers and other workers contributed hundreds of dollars to the Socialist Workers Party fund drive. A revolutionary workers’ party, the SWP depends on contributions like these and others to finance its work, which includes circulating the Militant.

Well received by union fighters

The subscription campaign was well received by workers involved in union battles against the bosses.

During the drive, “we sold 16 subscriptions to strikers at the Pioneer Flour Mill in San Antonio, nine of them renewals,” Amanda Ulman wrote from Houston. Members of Teamsters Local 657 have been on strike since April 2011 against an attempt by the company to jack up their health care costs.

Diana Newberry reported that 16 workers involved in a fight against American Crystal Sugar signed up, including nine renewing their subscriptions. In August 2011 the company locked out 1,300 employees at its plants in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa in a concerted effort to impose a major concession contract.

Clayton Bronson, an American Crystal worker in Drayton, N.D., sold one of the subscriptions. He joined the campaign at the end of November.

The Militant calls on its readers and distributors to take advantage of the momentum of the last five weeks of the campaign and what it confirms about the interest among working people to pursue regular, weekly door-to-door sales of the socialist newsweekly. A good place to start would be in neighborhoods with a concentration of new subscribers.

This effort will be complemented and reinforced by local Socialist Workers Party and Communist League election campaigns. Already under way are campaigns in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Omaha, Neb.

Distributors can ask new readers who value the paper to join in expanding its readership and introduce others to books published by Pathfinder Press.

The Militant will continue to promote the special book offers with a subscription, including to recent subscribers who would like to take advantage of them.

As circulation director, I urge you to continue sending your reports, quotes and experiences. This column will keep providing weekly coverage of the international effort to continue expanding the Militant’s readership.

If you want to join, you can order a bundle or subscription blanks at or (212) 244-4899.
Related articles:
Fall ‘Militant’ subscription campaign. Final results (chart)  
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