If anticapitalistic editors cut their sharpest journalistic teeth on jail bars, Louis Francis Budenz should have a sharp bite. He has been arrested 21 times, never convicted. Indirectly, Louis Budenz can thank his Irish mother for his arrests in the 1928 Kenosha hosiery strike, the 1930 Nazareth, Pa. textile strike, the 1934 Toledo Auto-Lite strike (and 18 others) because it was from her ruddy praise of Irish revolutionaries that little Louis developed his social perspective. For his 21 acquittals he can thank Indianapolis Law School which taught him the art of legal defense.
Last week grey-haired Louis Budenz, who could easily pass for a successful novelist slightly bulged at chin and waist, made news, not by a 22nd arrest but by becoming editor of a new Communist daily in Chicago. His six-page Midwest Daily Record was born on the anniversary of Lincoln's birth, its $40,000 endowment made up mainly of nickels and dimes dropped into small contribution boxes around Midwest industrial plants. Communist papers get little advertising and the Record promptly made the best of the fact by announcing that it would not accept advertising from utilities or from any firm against which there is a strike or consumer's boycott.
In his first slim issue Editor Budenz set a fast editorial pace with such stories: SOCIAL SET PLAYS "SCAB" ON GOLD COAST; PLAN STEEL MASSACRE MEMORIAL; MORE TRIB BUNK VERSUS TVA; TORIES MOVE FOR RELIEF CUT. -''The people of the Middle West shall now have a voice to answer, day by day . . . distortions of the kept press" says the Daily Record.
Thus the Midwest Daily Record drops into place in a cross-country alliance of Communist dailies, between San Francisco's People's World (TIME, Jan. 17), and New York City's 14-year-old Daily Worker. Most publicized of the non-capitalist press, the Daily Worker prints its 45.000 copies more or less fittingly on old presses, which once belonged to the Wall Street Journal; spreads its modest circulation over 800 cities; operates at a $75,000 annual deficit made up by party contributions. Its editor, Clarence A. Hathaway, a onetime diecutter who lost two fingers in a machine, took over the Daily Worker five years ago when he had no newspaper experience. In recent years he has slanted the paper a little less blatantly Leftward than it leaned in the days when the Worker carried a hammer & sickle on page one. but he still runs propaganda like the comic strip aptly titled "Little Lefty."