Extra needed

Robbie Rix calls for better and more regular financial support for the Weekly Worker

The Weekly Worker is unique on the left - open, democratic and characterised by polemical vigour in its fight for political clarity. At the very centre of this paper’s work is the need for principled Marxist unity in a single Communist Party.

And how that is needed! The working class is facing the fiercest attack on its jobs, living standards, services and collective rights for well over half a century. Yet readers will know that its organisations, defensive and offensive, are totally inadequate. Trade union membership is languishing at around seven million, compared to over 13 million in 1979. Union meetings are poorly attended, elections for officials are largely ignored by members, and bureaucrats have long aimed only to fend off the very worst aspects of the government and employer offensive.

As for our political organisations, they are far, far worse, especially when you consider the enormity of the tasks the working class faces. While the Labour Party is dominated by its openly pro-capitalist right wing and its left remains marginalised, the non-Labour left is disorganised by dozens of confessional sects, whose membership varies from the small to the microscopic.

Each group pretends that it alone provides the core of the revolutionary party, that it is progressing by leaps and bounds, that it has deep roots in the working class, that soon the masses will flock to its ranks. At their worse, the sects go so far as to deny the existence of their rivals. For instance, the Socialist Party in England and Wales recently claimed that its own publication is “the only paper that opposes all cuts to jobs and services” (The Socialist November 4 2010).

Just as bad, when these groups do decide to engage in common political action with forces beyond their own ranks - standing candidates in elections, for instance - they inevitably do so on the basis of the lowest common denominator. It is always assumed that appeals for unity around the basic tenets of Marxism will fall on deaf ears. Over the last decade we have had projects such as the Socialist Alliance, Scottish Socialist Party, Respect, the Campaign for a New Workers’ Party and, most recently, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition - all of which have put before the electorate platforms far to the right of the programmes to which their leaders claim to adhere.

Alone among all the publications of the left, the Weekly Worker demands the kind of unity I am talking about.

But we need to put our finances on a firmer footing. Like others we have recently been hit by sharp rises in printing and postal costs and by increases in rents, rates and other overheads. However, one thing that has not risen over the recent period is the number of our regular financial donors. In fact the amount we receive in monthly standing orders has edged down, compared to the recent past. Mainly as a result of a number of generous comrades who have either died or been unable to sustain their previous level of support.

That is why I am urging all readers, supporters and friends of the Weekly Worker to take out a standing order to the paper - or, if you have one already, upping the amount you pay. We are aiming to increase our regular income through such donations by a minimum of £300 a month. If we did that we would be able to produce extra supplements, invest in new computer technology, begin to introduce colour.

Of course, we appreciate that a lot of comrades are feeling the financial pressure, given the mess capitalism is currently making of the world, and we are painfully aware that there are not that many millionaires out there in Weekly Worker readerland. But even small amounts, added together, will make a significant difference. The point is that there are scores of comrades who are being contacted over the coming period and a significant boost to our finances would serve not only to maintain our paper, but to take it forward in terms of both page numbers and quality.

While Socialist Worker, The Socialist and the rest may claim to be unique, that description actually does apply to the Weekly Worker. Only this paper campaigns for all the groups, together with all unorganised revolutionaries and communists, to unite around a Marxist programme.

However, while we know that these aims are shared by a significant section of left activists, too few translate their appreciation of the Weekly Worker’s role into concrete support. But, in order to rise to the challenge of the forthcoming period, we need a better, more widely read paper. And that demands regular, reliable support from more comrades in the shape of more and bigger standing orders.

Can you help? Editor Peter Manson has already written to dozens of our readers and many more will receive a letter from him over the next few days - including with this paper! We will be following that up with a personal approach. But please do not wait for your phone to ring. Fill in the form in the back of the print version of the paper or download it from the website. Alternatively please ring, write or email to let me know if you instruct your bank directly.