BY ESTELLE DEBATES
Supporters of the 1999 Socialist Workers Party Building Fund in Detroit are helping set the pace for fund organizers in cities throughout the United States. "We now have pledges that exceed our goal by $200," said fund director Frank Gorton. "We also have begun regular weekly collections and are looking forward to a successful fund meeting on May 29 that can give us the boost we need to get on target."
The Detroit meeting will feature Jack Willey, a leader of the Socialist Workers Party who has just returned from participating in a Militant sales team in central Illinois. "We're sure we can get some co-workers to attend the event," said Gorton. "It will be a real opportunity to discuss why working people should oppose Washington's war in Yugoslavia and why we need a party like the Socialist Workers."
Pittsburgh supporters will be hosting the first special meeting to build the fund on May 15. Brian Williams, a steelworker from Washington D.C., will give an "Eyewitness Report from Newport News," where thousands of shipyard workers are on strike. Williams and other socialist workers have been active in building solidarity with the strike, including among the many workers in uniform whose naval ships are docked at the struck shipyard.
"We've been building the meeting among our co-workers as we talk to them about subscribing to the Militant and Perspectiva Mundial and about why they should read Capitalism's World Disorder," said Chris Remple, who heads up the Pittsburgh fund drive. "We've also organized special phone calling to build the event. A young woman from South Africa said she and her sister definitely plan to attend."
Remple also reports that top priority is being given to bring workers and farmers in the region who have been involved in struggles to the meeting.
Miami supporters are planning a May 29 event as part of a Memorial Day weekend package of activities. The Saturday evening meeting will feature James Harris, a garment worker from Atlanta who is active in the struggles of working farmers in the South. A Socialist Summer School series will be launched the following day, followed by a party that will raise additional funds toward their local goal.
"We think this meeting will be attractive to some of the people we've been working with over the past couple of months," said Miami fund director Rachele Fruit. The Miami supporters have been working with farmers located just north of Tampa, including helping organize a recent visit by Augusto Olsson, a leader of the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST) of Brazil (see article on back page).
Fund supporters in each city needs to map out a plan for the next four weeks that will get the fund on schedule. Every city should hit the scoreboard next week and organize regular weekly collections for the duration of the drive. Plans for special fund meetings like those in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Miami should be decided over the next week. With a serious effort by supporters throughout the country, we can use the full month ahead to complete a successful drive by June 15.
Contributions can be sent to 410 West Street, New York, NY 10014. Please make checks and money orders out to Socialist Workers Party.
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