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Issue #1922      July 6, 2020

This may help Trib sales

(1957)

Success of the Darlinghurst-Kings Cross (Sydney) Branch of the CPA throws new light on the matter of the right way and the not-so-right way to canvass with the Tribune.

The way often followed by branches in my experience has been the not-so-right.

Our method has been to pick out a street, almost at random, and go from door to door on a Sunday morning asking the people to buy the Tribune.

Results have often been good, but never as good as they should be.

A majority of the people have not wanted to buy, and the result has often been depressing, especially to new, inexperienced comrades.

But what else can be expected?

Most Australians don’t yet support Communism. They don’t see the value of its literature. Therefore, when first approached, they can’t be expected to want to part with sixpence so as to read some.

This was very apparent to me during one of our branch canvases last year.

Halfway along my allotted street I made a quick decision. I asked my next potential customer whether there was anything he would like us to include in any municipal campaign program we might be drawing up for future elections.

That set him going about the bus services and the high fares. The next customer was even more eloquent on the same topic. The discovery that someone, whatever his politics, was willing to do something about it made all these people extremely cordial.

When I said, towards the end of an interview, “By the way, this is our paper, the Tribune” there were few who hesitated. I quickly sold out.

Our branch bulletin soon afterwards featured the need for a bus service along that street. Our first canvass this year was along a street which is a notorious traffic hazard.

We told the householders “We are members of the Communist Party. Like everybody else, we’re concerned about crossing this street safely. We are thinking of setting up a petition […]”

That was about as far as we could get, mostly. At that point the citizen would take the floor to voice his indignation at the traffic hazard and his hearty approval of any action to overcome it.

We sold out our Tribunes. Next Sunday, when we returned with the petitions, we sold out again.

Obviously some of the purchasers should become regular customers and members of the Party.

To sell all my Tribunes and to find more people willing to buy than refused to buy was something I had never before experienced in canvasses extending over many years.

These last two canvasses took place on the Sundays immediately after the release of the UN “report” on Hungary. Nobody along that street seemed to have taken any notice of it.

We’ll press on with our campaign for traffic lights. And as the citizens come to know us better and, through us, the Party, who can doubt that they themselves will become eager, sellers of our literature?

Plenty will still buy the Tribune, whoever offers it to them.

But when it is offered to them by someone they know personally as a friend and helper of the people, they will buy a good deal more willingly.

This article originally appeared in Tribune July, 1957.

Next article – Don’t let the victors warp history!

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