Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968). rn The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.

Running a Socialist Paper
(From “Comrade Yetta”)

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 Isadore’s success in begging about a hundred dollars a week.

“It’s hopeless,” Yetta said. “You might run a good weekly on these resources, but you need ten times as much to keep up a good daily.”

“Well, if you feel that way about it, Yetta, I hope you’ll resign at to-night’s 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 isn’t 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, we’ll be all right. A paper like this isn’t a matter of finance. That’s what you—and the other discouragers—don’t see. You look at it from a bourgeois dollar-and-cents point of view. It’s hopeless, is it? Well, we’ve been doing this impossible thing for more than a year. It’s hopeless to carry such indebtedness? Good God! We started with nothing but debts—nothing at all to show. Every number that comes out makes it more hopeful. The advertising increases. The Pledge Fund grows. Why, we’ve got twelve thousand people in the habit of reading it now. That habit is an asset which doesn’t show in the books. Six months ago we had nothing!—not even experience. Why, our office force wasn’t even organized! And now you say it’s hopeless—want us to quit—just when it’s getting relatively easy. We——”

Levine’s querulous voice rose above the din of the machines—finding fault with something. A stenographer in a far corner began to count, “One! two! three!” Every one in the office, even the linotypers and printer’s devil beyond the partition took up the slogan.

“O-o-oh! Cut it out and work for Socialism.”

The tense expression on Isadore’s face relaxed into a confident grin.

“That’s it. You think we need money to run this paper? We’re doing it on enthusiasm. And nothing is going to stop us.”