Upton Sinclair, ed. (18781968). The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.
Running a Socialist Paper (From Comrade Yetta)
By Albert Edwards
(Pen-name of Arthur Bullard, American novelist and war-correspondent. The story of an East Side sweat-shop worker who becomes a strike-leader. The present scene describes a meeting in Carnegie Hall)
FOR half an hour they bent their heads over balance-sheets. It was an appalling situation. The debt was out of all proportion to the property. To be sure much of it was held by sympathizers, who were not likely to foreclose. But there was no immediate hope of decreasing the burden. Any new income would have to go into improvements. The future of the paper depended not only on its ability to carry this dead weight, but on the continuance of the Pledge Fund and on Isadores success in begging about a hundred dollars a week.
Well, if you feel that way about it, Yetta, I hope youll resign at to-nights meeting. His eyes turned away from her face about the busy room, and his discouraged look gave place to one of conviction. A note of dogged determination rang in his voice.Because it isnt hopeless! Our only real danger is that the executive committee may kill us with cold water. If we can get a committee that believes in us, well be all right. A paper like this isnt a matter of finance. Thats what youand the other discouragersdont see. You look at it from a bourgeois dollar-and-cents point of view. Its hopeless, is it? Well, weve been doing this impossible thing for more than a year. Its hopeless to carry such indebtedness? Good God! We started with nothing but debtsnothing at all to show. Every number that comes out makes it more hopeful. The advertising increases. The Pledge Fund grows. Why, weve got twelve thousand people in the habit of reading it now. That habit is an asset which doesnt show in the books. Six months ago we had nothing!not even experience. Why, our office force wasnt even organized! And now you say its hopelesswant us to quitjust when its getting relatively easy. We
Levines querulous voice rose above the din of the machinesfinding fault with something. A stenographer in a far corner began to count, One! two! three! Every one in the office, even the linotypers and printers devil beyond the partition took up the slogan.