A great response by readers this week brought in over $20,000 to the Militant Fighting Fund, putting the total collected at $43,834, with a further $2,321 in the mail. This bodes well for the financing of the Militant, a big step toward meeting the $115,000 goal by May 28.
Since the Militant began publishing over 90 years ago it has had only one source of financing — its working-class readership.
The first issue of the paper in November 1928 was put out by communists before they even knew how they were going to finance it, when they were expelled from the Communist Party for fighting to continue the revolutionary course of V.I. Lenin and the Bolshevik Party against the growing Stalinization of the CP. They realized getting the Militant published was a political necessity.
An appeal to the Militant’s readership in 1933 ensured it was possible to make an unprecedented move to publish the paper three times a week, in response to the looming showdown in Germany, as Hitler’s fascists sought to seize power. “We have undertaken this great task,” wrote James P. Cannon, the SWP’s long-standing national secretary, in the Feb. 20 issue, “without any resources except our confidence that you and other Communist workers will support our initiative with your solidarity and financial aid.”
As the U.S. rulers stepped up their preparations to enter the Second World War in 1939, the Socialist Appeal, as the Militant was then named, also appeared three times a week to respond to the widespread interest in a working-class voice in opposition to the imperialist slaughter being prepared by the U.S. rulers. Contributions from readers funded that effort, too.
As the rulers intensified their patriotic fervor heading into the war, supporters of the Socialist Appeal from Detroit wrote in the July 6, 1940, issue, “The house-to-house campaign is still going on. One would think that the present barrage of war-propaganda … would effect this method of distribution [of the Appeal] and money-raising. Fortunately no such thing is the case.” Those they spoke with on their doorsteps “treat us … generously with finances.”
Decades later the Militant was targeted in a harassment lawsuit by coal bosses at C.W. Mining in 2004, as a result of the paper’s backing of a 10-month strike by 75 coal miners at the Co-Op mine in Utah. The paper organized the Militant Fighting Fund, gaining endorsements and financial contributions widely in the labor movement, that helped push back the bosses’ efforts.
Today’s Militant Fighting Fund is organized in the same tradition, appealing to fellow workers and those who appreciate the paper’s uncompromising efforts to speak in the interests of the working class and all others exploited by capital, here and around the world.
Keep your contributions coming in! You can do so online at the paper’s website: www.themilitant.com.