The Croatian-language Radnička Borba (“Workers’ Struggle”) began in 1907 as the official organ for the New York branch of the South Slavic Socialist Federation (SSSF). Within the SSSF, there was dissent over which American Socialist party to support—members in New York supported the Socialist Labor Party (SLP) while a faction in Chicago supported the Socialist Party—leading to a split in the SSSF and establishment of two separate newspapers: the Radnička Borba in New York and the Radnička Straža (“Workingmen’s Guard”) in Chicago. Of these two groups, the Chicago-based group had more success because the Socialist Party was the less radical and less sectarian. A lack of support for the SLP led to the Radnička Borba suspending publication in early 1908 after just five issues. SLP members in Ohio decided to take over and moved the group’s headquarters to Cleveland where the Radnička Borba resumed publication in 1909. The SLP did not have money to assist in the publication of the Radnička Borba, but the Cleveland group managed to raise $500 for a printing press. Donations continued to provide financial support for the Radnička Borba over its run.
The Radnička Borba’s staff was all volunteer, and its editors received little pay. Partially because of the lack of funding and partially because of issues with the editorial board, there was a high turnover of editors in the Radnička Borba’s early years. These initial editors were Blagoje Savić, Dragutin Kuharić, Josip Kraja, Milan Jetrić, and Lazar Petrović. Two of them in particular increased support for the paper: Kuharić was a good public speaker, though knew little about Socialism, and Jetrić brought a knowledge of both journalism and socialism to the paper. The Radnička Borba was upfront about its Socialist agenda, its banner decrying capitalism and praising Marxism. It supported the interests of striking workers, condemned companies that did not take care of their workers, and decried the ruling class everywhere. As the years went on, the publishing enterprise expanded, producing an almanac, the Deleonist, as well as Marxist literature translated into Croatian, Serbian, and occasionally Slovene, all of which were sold in the Radnička Knjižara (“Workers’ Bookstore”). This became the most productive South Slavic immigrant press in the United States. Sometime after the mid-1940s, the Radnička Borba moved to Detroit, where it was published until its end in 1970.
Researched and written by Bronwyn Benson