Special pages :
Financing the Revolutionary Movement
|Written||23 July 1938|
... I have the impression that our practical methods of action are not in accordance with our revolutionary program, that we are too passive in our practical activity. It is not only a question concerning the fascist danger or the question of activity in the trade unions, but also in such matters as the publishing of our paper and our whole activity. I cannot understand how this very revolutionary YPSL organization is not capable of publishing the Challenge once a month. It is due to financial difficulties. I absolutely cannot understand why.
In Paris during the war we published a daily paper beginning with a capital of thirty francs ($8.00) and we published it for almost three years. How? We had three devoted comrades in a printing shop, and they worked it. When we had money, we paid them. When we had no money, they waited for better times. I believe that at least our young comrades should make the same effort, not only to have a central printing shop in New York, but one in every important region, such as we had in czarist Russia in every important town. We must have such printing shops if we have nothing else. For example, our English comrades now have their own printing shop, but to have such a printing shop with two or three devoted comrades, we can put out not only the Socialist Appeal at least twice a week, but also pamphlets, leaflets, etc. The trouble is that the party work is too much based on petty-bourgeois conceptions.
We must educate our youth for more of a spirit of sacrifice. We already have so many young bureaucrats in our movement. For example, the Challenge needs $300. If they lack it, good, they wait. That is not the revolutionary way. It is a very opportunistic policy, far more opportunistic than advocating a labor party. You know that the reason we don't have the revolution is because the workers are held back by bourgeois prejudices – democratic prejudices. We don't have these prejudices, but in the matter of approaching practical things we have the bourgeois manner. It is very useful for the bourgeois class.
The American workers consider it a degradation not to have a Ford, fine clothes, for they think they must do the same as the bourgeois. It is disgraceful to imitate the upper class. We Marxists understand this very well. Absolutely bad, in a revolutionary situation particularly. But in practical methods we act the same way. We don't have the revolutionary courage to break this tradition, to break the bourgeois norms of conduct and set up our own rules of moral duty, etc. This is especially true for youth, and it is extremely important, not only to educate themselves theoretically, but to educate themselves as militants, as men and women.