Max Shachtman

A Personal Note

The Pot Without Gold

(April 1938)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. II No. 17, 23 April 1938, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

I hope the readers of the Appeal will pardon me for a personal statement, but Mr. Michael Gold’s column in the Daily Worker of April 19, 1938, leaves me no other course. The day before it appeared I received a letter from the circulation department of the pictorial weekly, Life, saying that I was going to receive that periodical for a year as a gift from Michael Gold .

The only Michael Gold I know of is the aforementioned columnist, and my reaction to this felicitous token of affection from a political foe may well be imagined. All the more disconcerting was it to have Mr. Gold make public a letter from Anne Bedford, of Life, billing him for the $4.50 in payment of the subscription. With what is dismayingly like a terror-stricken tone, he adds:

“(1) I never sent in any such order for a subscription; (2) I am so chummy with Max Shachtman, Trotsky’s sneaking little stooge in this country, that the only thing I would help him to would be the reward of a Judas; and (3) I am painfully uninterested in Life, and would not subscribe to it for anyone ... So, Annie, don’t bill me for $4.50, because it will not be paid you.”

Now if Michael Gold wants to back out of the subscription just on account of a measly four dollars and fifty cents, why, that’s all right with me, although everybody knows what a real sporting man thinks of a welcher. An impetuous literary man might be forgiven an act of impulse, but he hadn’t ought to get so offensive about it when the time comes for the pay-off. Personally, you see, I had no intention to do any talking about the gift, because I have myself to think of and it wouldn’t be so good to have my name coupled with even a penitent Gold. And if the latter hadn’t gone shooting off his mouth, no one would have been the wiser.

Perhaps, however, it isn’t entirely his fault. May be the prison censor on 13th Street opened Life’s letter before passing it into Gold’s cell and he got scared that he might have to do another stretch in solitary. Yessir, that may account for Gold’s column. But even so I still think he shouldn’t have been so infernally dirty about it.

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Last updated on 30 July 2015