NEW YORK — The staff, volunteers and supporters of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo know that the paper has a lot of support, and that its readers are willing to put up some serious cash to fund it, but a recent fact surprised even the most optimistic: Only seven days into the drive, about $40,000, or 20 percent of the total goal, had been raised. In addition, several thousand more dollars have been committed in pledges.

The Michigan Friends of the People’s Weekly World raised $2,500 over Labor Day weekend alone.

John Rummel, who is coordinating fund drive efforts in Michigan, said that a number of readers had given sizable contributions. “Not many of them are rolling in dough,” Rummel said, “but they see the need for the paper.”

Rummel discussed a meeting of PWW supporters where Sam Webb, national chair of the Communist Party USA, spoke about the role of the paper. After the meeting was over, one person approached Rummel and said that he would donate $500.

There were several donations of $500, including one from a retired autoworker and former leader of a UAW local. “He was always the top vote-getter in his local,” said Rummel, “and he used to be the grievance chair.”

Already, the Michigan Friends group is about half way to its goal of $8,400. Rummel is optimistic about fulfilling the goal — they still have many more people to talk to, and a special event scheduled.

“The event is a fund-raiser for the paper,” he said, “but, of course, it has a political content to it.” On Sunday, Oct. 1, Michigan Friends will host a forum in Detroit to discuss the ballot initiatives that will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot.

“The initiatives relate to affirmative action, public education and taxes,” Rummel added. “We want to give people the lowdown on these questions.”

A number of states have already raised 25-50 percent of their goal, including Arizona, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Michigan and Ohio. Some groups that are close to fulfilling their goals have said that they plan to go over the top.

After being told the numbers by the PWW Fund Drive Committee, editor Terrie Albano said, “Fantastic!” and urged the PWW’s supporters to keep it up. She also noted the special offer that the PWW is offering: Anyone who donates $500 dollars or more to the PWW will receive a free copy of the classic labor film “Salt of the Earth,” numbered and signed by actual actors in the film.