Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Masses, June 1913

I stumbled across The Masses recently while scrolling through the MJP--and I'm so glad.  It's another socialist rag, like The New Age, with a few important differences: it's American, feminist, more recognizably communist, and generally equalitarian. Not so much about guilds, more about strikes. 

This issue begins with an inspiring declaration that it is not intended to make money, that it has "no respect for the respectable," that it will conciliate "nobody, not even its readers."

Topics are covered in short blurbs and longer stories--there are blurbs about strikes, about hunger striking feminists (the Pankhursts), white slavery (of course, but hilariously paired with "Nude Descending a Staircase"), the death of J.P. Morgan, etc. etc.

Longer pieces include a weird surrealist short story by Robert Carlton Brown about a "margonary," part marigold, part goldfish, part canary.

The gem of this magazine is the longest feature, "War in Paterson" by John Reed (beginning on page 14).  Reed went to report on the striking workers in Paterson, only to be unfairly arrested and thrown in jail for 20 days.  I don't think I've read first-person journalism like this--ever?  It's so inspiring, too--the whole magazine makes one want to wave a red-starred American flag (see page 5).  Max Eastman is the editor: I'm going to try to find out more about him. 

Last, a small mystery: the list of stockholders of the magazine includes Hayden Carruth, but he (the poet) shouldn't be born yet (1921).  His father?  Uncle?  Relative?


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