1961 — The Weekly "People's World" newspaper
The Weekly "People's World" (PW) newspaper was the unofficial organ of the Communist Party in California. Although it relied heavily upon local subscriptions, donations and fund-raisers, its deficit was made up by the New York headquarters of the Communist Party.
The paper stood in contrast to the stuffy news publications of the New York Party: the Worker, a weekly, and The Midweek Worker, also a weekly. The PW's editor, Al Richmond, insisted on a significant degree of independence from the current Party line, and he and his reporters were wont to question activities by the Soviet Union, especially in relation to the Eastern Bloc satellite countries.
Although its circulation was only 5,000, concentrated in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, it was influential beyond its numbers. Union leaders and civil rights leaders got the paper regularly and relied on it to publicize their activities and to promote their goals. If there was a strike on, its supporters could expect the PW to be distributed at the company gates, with the strike featured on the front page.
I was a long-time supporter of the PW. I liked the way it was written, I loved Arts and Culture Editor and artist, Pele DeLappe's delicious cartoons, its movie reviews, and its emphasis on local political activity. It also published articles written for the Worker in New York, mostly boring, doctrinaire material on international events. I took photographs for the paper fairly frequently and was paid $5 a print (which included my cost of travelling across the Bay from Berkeley to San Francisco). Editor Al Richmond always slipped the fiver to me with the admonition, "Don't spend it all in one place." I later applied for a position as staff photographer, but was told the paper couldn't afford one. I could never have lived on the pittance the paper paid its reporters, anyway.
The People's World ran short of subscribers and income in the sixties and seventies, and in 1986 it was taken over and absorbed by the Worker publication, and its staff let go, all as part of a growing split in the Communist Party. Around that time about half of the Party's membership quit, citing a lack of internal democracy and lack of political relevance. The split resulted in the formation of the non-communist Committees of Correspondence, a grouping meant to be more inclusive of the wide range of democratic socialist thought than the Communist Party. After the PW was wiped out, former PW Executive Editor Carl Bloice went on to become a respected freelance writer and lecturer, contributing work to a number of progressive organizations and publications, the National Nurses Association in particular. Carl died in 2014.
PW Editor Al Richmond, not obsessively neat, at work.
Feature and cultural reporter, Nancy Drake.
Carl Bloice, long-time PW reporter and future Executive Editor. Carl was my roommate for a short time while he worked at the paper and I attended classes at UC Berkeley.
I don't remember this old-school PW reporter's name.
People's World front page. Photo taken on the Easter 1961 Peace March from Sunnyvale to San Francisco