Denier de la lutte

Que: subscription lists for socialist papers
From: Bart De Sutter [mailto][/mailto]

Query: Subscription lists for socialist papers (1870-1914)

Dear colleagues,

We are working on an article about subscriptions lists to support the socialist press in Belgium in the period 1870-1914. This practice was called the "strijdpenning" in Dutch and "denier de la lutte/de la propagande" in French. What is interesting about these lists is that donors could complement their gift with a short statement and these statements were published in the supported paper in a separate section. Usually these were short messages of 1 to 5 lines in a very colloquial language. In the Ghent party paper Vooruit [Forward] they quickly amounted to 1/8 to ¼ of the total space for copy, published at least twice a week, each time containing several dozens of statements. For the whole belle époque era there are tens of thousands in Vooruit alone.

This is a unique source of working class mentality because workers used it in other ways than the socialist party had meant it. They denounced their labour and living conditions, mocked their opponents and the authorities, they struck up conversations and made personal announcements or commented on their daily life. We know that this practice also existed in the Belgian Catholic labour movement and in the Dutch socialist movement, but we are curious whether it also existed elsewhere. Can anyone provide information on other countries or point to relevant literature? The practice might be called "propaganda pence" in English and "Kampfpfennig" in German.

All the best,

Bart De Sutter, Ma in History (Ghent University)

Dr. Maarten Van Ginderachter
Associate professor
Department of History
Antwerp University