The Factory Wall Newspaper WW2
By George Hill
Organising for Offensive Action
A PROBLEM constantly before the Communist Party group in our factory, in the fight for increased production and national unity for victory over Fascism,, is how effectively to reach out to the majority of the workers and make them aware of our policy for victory.
We have found that the use of a wall-newspaper on the job is an excellent method of really getting close to the. people to whom we wish to speak. After the decision to produce the paper the first step to take is to approach the management .and ask for their co-operation and support in the production of the paper, explaining that its main policy will be "National Unity to Smash Fascism."
The job of the editor of the paper is to get around among the workers and ask them to write articles, and take personal responsibility for various jobs connected with the paper. These could include short articles giving, suggestions on how to increase production in their own department, responsibility for collecting cartoons and illustrations and cuttings, illustrations of articles, turning out a rhyme, and so on.
The aim must be to build up a staff of regular contributors, who alone can become the backbone of the paper. Prominent among these should be such leading figures as the convenor of shop stewards and the secretary of the Production Committee, who should take responsibility for writing their respective " reviews."
The Production Committee should also advise the editor and his helpers of those men and women who have made outstanding efforts in production, so that perhaps a photograph and a description of their achievement can be included. Other suggestions for contents include letters from the workers dealing with issues of general interest in the factory and on political questions of the day, jokes and illustrations which prevent the newspaper from being heavy, and " flashes " which are the witticisms and gossip on the job. Competitions and puzzles and the introduction of a " quiz " all help to make a well-balanced paper.
The work of the editor and his assistants is to determine the main slogan for each issue, and to go carefully through all the material handed in so that each issue is built around some main theme. The paper should be issued regularly, say fortnightly, and it is a useful idea to place boxes for contributions beneath it. Now for the technical production. This is extremely important.
Remember that the paper is read standing lip and the reader often has only a few moments to spend. It is necessary to get an attractive appearance,with well arranged material, and the use of colour to break up the articles and make it easier to read. The articles should be typed, and the possibility of duplicating or similar methods should be explored. For example, in many engineering firms the management has an apparatus for producing blue-prints by the photostat method, which is ideal for the production of a wall newspaper. It is essential, following the production of the paper, that there should be a discussion with workers on the job, getting suggestions and comments from them on ways of improving the paper in the next issue.
The accompanying illustration will give an indication of the appearance of our own wall-newspaper which we produce regularly on the above lines. Now for the technical production. This is extremely important. Remember that the paper is read standing lip and the reader often has only a few moments to spend. It is necessary to get an attractive appearance, with well arranged material, and the use of colour to break up the articles and make it easier to read.
The articles should be typed, and the possibility of duplicating or similar methods should be explored. For example, in many engineering firms the management has an apparatus for producing blue-prints by the photostat method, which is ideal for the production of a wall newspaper. It is essential, following the production of the paper, that there should be a discussion with workers on the job, getting suggestions and comments from them on ways of improving the paper in the next issue.
The accompanying illustration Chiswick Wall Newspaper News (above) for December 1942 will give an indication of the appearance of our own wall newspaper which we produce regularly on the above lines.
Abridged from Inprecor, the bulletin of the Communist International, February 1925
They had their origin on the revolutionary soil of the Soviet Union in the form of wall newspapers.
The factory newspapers of other countries including Great Britain, did not know until quite recently how to make use of this form of agitation in the factory newspapers.
The idea prevailed that ordinary Party newspapers deal with political questions, hence it is not necessary for factory newspapers to deal with them, and all our attention should be concentrated on the economic questions-within the factory by which means the interest of the masses in the newspaper should be aroused.
In some places one went even so far as merely to register factory events (this was done for instance in the first British factory newspaper) without showing the slightest intention to explain these events from a Communist viewpoint. This tendency exists to a certain extent. For instance in the Nine Elms Spark. The so-called factory nucleus newspapers of Germany, as for instance the Leder-Prolet are also to a certain extent tainted with this tendency.
The Communist International Organisation Conference condemned both tendencies and made it incumbent on factory newspapers to deal with all questions in a simple and concise manner:
• to illustrate questions in a way to allow workers to draw from, them political conclusions quite simply and naturally,
• to avoid abstract subjects, to deal with everything in a concrete manner,
• to describe conflicts between workers and employers, and incidents from the life of the working class,
• to avoid a stereotyped style in the factory newspapers.
Factory newspapers are to appeal to the indifferent masses who have frequently a very perverted notion about Communists and who never or hardly ever read a Communist newspaper. The task of factory newspapers is to win the masses for the Communist Party, for the struggle of the working class.
Therefore one should not allow the small everyday questions of the factory to be the widest perspectives of Communism.Therefore it is essential to connect the small factory questions with the big political questions confronting the Party and to explain them to the masses
For instance in Great Britain the first factory newspapers were published without indicating that they are the organs of the nuclei, without producing the impression that they are Party newspapers. This was the case with the Nine Elms Spark. This was a mistake especially over there in Great Britain where the Party is confronted with the great task of making organisational capital out of the sympathy of the masses, in order thereby to transform the small Party into a
Factory newspapers are a means to educate for us proletarian editors and real proletarian writers. We will have to return to this subject many a time. Today we should like to say in conclusion: pay more attention to the question of factory newspapers. (source for CI -Workers Liberty web site)
West Bengal Communist Party still uses daily Wall Newspaper on all major roads in the State
The cartoon of Stalingrad "The Modern Phoenix"