This issue of the Militant is a two week issue. The next issue, no. 35,
will be available on the web on September 13.
‘We fight imperialism
and its drive to war’
Campaigns present socialist alternative
for working people
BY JACK WILLEY
"My campaign presents a working-class alternative to the brutal offensive by the ruling rich against working people abroad and at home," stated Lisa Rottach at an August 27 press conference in the working-class community of south Omaha as she launched her campaign for governor of Nebraska.
As Rottach spoke with a reporter from the Omaha World Herald and was filmed by a crew from Channel 7 news, campaigners leafleted passersby. Among the supporters were four of the candidate’s co-workers at ConAgra Northern States Beef. They had just come off work at the plant.
Earlier in the day, one of Rottach’s campaign supporters made an impromptu announcement in the ConAgra cafeteria. "Compañeros! We must support candidate Lisa! She is the workers’ candidate for governor and says what we workers deserve. Vote for her! Stop by the campaign table after work!"
The next morning, many co-workers said they saw the press conference on television or heard about the campaign from others. Several people asked for leaflets. "We had nonstop discussion all day long. We talked about the role of the Democrats and Republicans in defending the interests of the ruling rich," she said.
"We discussed imperialist war, the Cuban Revolution, and future plans for the socialist campaign. Many more co-workers have offered to support the campaign," the gubernatorial candidate reported. After talking to one young worker about the campaign, he asked Rottach if she had any books by Cuban revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara. After their discussion, he decided to buy the Pathfinder book, Che Guevara Talks to Young People.
In Washington, D.C., Sam Manuel, the Socialist Workers candidate for mayor of Washington, D.C., held a press conference August 27. Manuel announced he filed 6,002 signatures--double the requirement--to place his name on the November 5 ballot.
"My campaign is the only voice for workers and young people who are standing up to the brutal effects of the deepening global crisis of the capitalist system," Manuel told the press.
"The long-term capitalist economic decline and growing signs of a coming depression mean more attacks will be inflicted on working people," Manuel continued. "Along with launching wars abroad, such as that now being prepared against the people of Iraq, this is the only response the superwealthy rulers have to the crisis of their system," he said.
"My campaign presents a program around which working people in this city and around the world can unite, and through the fights we conduct today, begin to construct a revolutionary party that can lead working people to power and replace the rule of the wealthy with a government of workers and farmers," Manuel concluded.
Standing up to imperialist war drive
Rottach and Manuel are joined by campaigns of Socialist Workers candidates across the country. They are speaking out against imperialism and its war drive and to defend the interests of workers and farmers who are bearing the brunt of the unfolding economic crisis. Campaigners are joining picket-lines and union marches, and getting out to working-class neighborhoods, factory plant-gates, and college campuses.
Olympia Newton, the socialist candidate for California secretary of state, joined other supporters of farm workers’ struggles on a bus organized by the United Farm Workers (UFW) from Los Angeles to a march and rally in Sacramento. Young Socialists for Bailey, Kalman, and Newton, and other campaigners met a number of students and workers interested in the campaign and handed out hundreds of flyers with more information.
Some demonstrators had met the campaign before. A high school student, Elizabeth, had met the campaign a week earlier when the 150-mile farm workers’ march passed through Modesto and picked up a copy of the paper. In Sacramento, she bought another copy and a book on the Cuban Revolution.
Isais, who used to be a farm worker, also first met the campaign at the Modesto rally where he bought a copy of The Communist Manifesto in Spanish and a copy of the Militant. In Sacramento he bought another Militant and La Última Lucha de Lenin.
The Socialist Workers campaign found a keen interest in revolutionary literature among the demonstrators. By the end of the day they sold eight subscriptions to the Militant, five subscriptions to Perspectiva Mundial, and 82 copies of the socialists press. Protesters bought a wide range of books totaling more than $425.
In Chicago, Illinois, Joel Britton, the socialist gubernatorial candidate in Illinois, and his running mate, Chessie Molano, marched with thousands of hotel workers in Chicago August 23. The workers are fighting for higher wages and benefits. Walking with signs supporting the struggle, the candidates and their supporters handed out campaign flyers and met a number of people who wanted to discuss Wash–ington’s war preparations against Iraq and the assaults against working people at home.
Socialist campaigners in Houston stopped by the docks, longshore workers hall, and the picket-line of locked-out workers at Sterling Chemical in the first week of their campaign.
On August 23, 20 truck drivers at the Port of Houston bought the Militant and talked to Stephanie Taylor, with the Young Socialists for Warshell, Henderson, and Dutrow. Taylor was campaigning with Texas gubernatorial candidate Steve Warshell and Senate candidate Jacquie Henderson.
Three days later, campaigners went to the International Long–shoremen’s Association hall. One dockworker who told the candidate, "you’ve got my vote," brought co-workers out of the hall to meet Henderson and campaign supporter Tom Leonard and to look over a display of books by revolutionary leaders.
Campaign supporters for Edwin Fruit, Socialist Workers candidate for Congress, 3rd District in Iowa, were met with a lively response at the Des Moines farmers market on August 24. A high school student whose family is Egyptian stopped to get a campaign flyer and commented that his father had some of the Pathfinder books displayed on the table. "It’s impossible to get the truth about the Palestinian struggle from watching television," he told Fruit.
The campaign table, which included a large sign that read "No to U.S. War on Iraq," drew a few thumbs up from passersby. Some stopped to talk including one woman who shook Fruit’s hand and said, "I agree. Thank you for being here." Another person who stopped to talk told Fruit, "I signed your petition and that’s right, we don’t need this war."
Brian Taylor, running for governor of Alabama on the Socialist Workers ticket, recently campaigned at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and at the Black Belt Folk Roots Festival in Eutaw. Three students at the university and a young textile worker are interested in campaigning with Young Socialists for Taylor.
As he was warming up for his campaign, Taylor and other socialists participated in the 35th annual conference of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives August 15-16.
A table of Pathfinder books was appreciated by many in attendance. "This is a very good book!" said Darlene Stewart, smiling and pointing to a copy of The Changing Face of U.S. Politics by Jack Barnes.
Stewart and her husband Arnold attended the conference with a dozen or so members of Kentucky Minority Farmers. The Stewarts, who grow soybeans on their Ekron, Kentucky, farm, have visited the Pathfinder literature table for several years running. Darlene pointed to several other titles, including Genocide Against the Indians, that they had purchased on earlier visits, along with a Militant subscription. This year, she decided to add The Working Class and the Transformation of Learning to their collection.
Subscription drive: a boost to campaigns
The socialist election campaigns will get a boost from the upcoming fall subscription drive. A goal of 1,150 Militant and 500 Perspectiva Mundial subscriptions has been set for the 10-week effort, September 7 to November 17. The goal includes sales of renewal subscriptions as part of increasing the long-term readership of the socialist press.
As the Bush administration beats the war drums against Iraq and the accompanying orchestrated "debate" among big-business politicians plays itself out, heightened polarization will bring increased interest in a working-class paper that tells the truth behind imperialism’s prerogatives. The Militant and Perspectiva Mundial will be the only press to place the war moves against Iraq in the context of Washington’s goal to control a much larger swath of Mideast oil reserves at the expense of its imperialist rivals.
Militant supporters are taking an additional week to further discuss local goals for the campaign to sell New International magazine and Capitalism’s World Disorder. In some areas it was unclear whether the book goals were based on all books sold or only those sold in combination with subscriptions to the socialist press. Any copies of New International or Capitalism’s World Disorder sold during the drive will be included on the chart. An international goal will be set and listed in the next issue of the paper.
Campaign with Young Socialists for Koppel and Hawkins for Governor and Lt. Governor of New York
Read about the Socialist Workers 2002 campaign in New York State