BY LOUIS MARTIN
Into the first week of a nine-week international drive to win thousands of subscribers to the Militant among working people, supporters of the socialist newspaper are fanning out into working-class neighborhoods in cities big and small and readers are joining in the campaign from areas that have not been part of the effort before.
They are going door to door with the paper and books on revolutionary working-class politics, with special attention to areas that are predominantly Black.
The drive runs from Oct. 13 through Dec. 16.
Since Sept. 29, more than 400 new and renewed subscriptions to the paper have been sold in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, as well as more than 200 copies in the U.S. and dozens in the other countries of four books offered at reduced prices with a subscription.
Next week, the Militant will print a chart with the local goals adopted by readers and the overall goal of the campaign.
Readers in each area where the campaign is centered should take advantage of the time to discuss the opportunities to adopt quotas substantially higher than they have in recent years.
Readers in areas that have not had goals in past drives should consider joining the campaign and earning a place on the chart. So far we have four such areas—Greensboro, N.C.; Longview and Yakima, Wash.; and New Orleans.
The enormous possibilities to win new readers among working people—and hundreds of new distributors of the paper among them—flow from a contradictory development.
On one hand, at this stage of the deepening capitalist crisis with its high unemployment, the bosses and their government have the upper hand. The important but episodic resistance to their unceasing assaults on our unions, working and living conditions, and rights is limited by discouragement bred by persistent joblessness.
On the other hand, the capitalist dislocation, duration of crisis and mounting effects on workers’ lives feed a growing openness to a communist explanation of where this worldwide crisis comes from and for a revolutionary road to the conquering of political power by a mass social movement of the working class and its allies.
Experiences in the subscription drive so far only confirm this assessment.
“I like doing this. You meet all kinds of different people,” commented Barry Marsh after going door to door in a Toronto apartment building with Militant distributors from Montreal. “And it’s good to go door to door two people together. You can bounce off each other,” he added.
Marsh bought the Militant for the first time at a Toronto conference last month in defense of five Cuban revolutionaries framed up and jailed in the U.S. for more than 14 years. (See article in the Oct. 15 issue.)
Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González are revolutionaries who accepted assignments from the Cuban government during the 1990s to penetrate and gather information on the activities of Cuban-American counterrevolutionary groups operating in southern Florida. These paramilitary outfits have a long record of violent attacks on the Cuban Revolution. In 1998, the five revolutionaries were arrested, framed up and sentenced to long prison sentences.
Over the weekend, Militant readers from Toronto and Montreal joined forces in Toronto, selling six subscriptions to the paper, 15 single copies and 15 books on working-class revolutionary politics going door to door in working-class areas; at a public event with Maura DeLuca, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. vice president; and through face-to-face discussions. Fourteen of the books were bought at reduced prices with a subscription to the paper.
“I really liked talking with people close and personal. The things we said really resonate with them,” Jorge Rios said after going door to door in Joliet, Ill., for the first time last week with other Militant readers from Chicago. Joliet was the site of a three-month strike by Caterpillar workers that ended in August at the company plant there. Rios got his first subscription to the Militant at a meeting on immigrant rights in Chicago a few years ago.
John Naubert wrote from Seattle that Militant supporters sold one subscription and three single copies of the paper at the Davis Wire plant gate in Kent, Wash. Workers there recently waged a three-month strike, which the Militant covered. Ex-striker Doan Long bought the subscription, saying “You were down here on the strike, now it’s my turn.”
Supporters of the Militant from Des Moines, Iowa, and Lincoln and Omaha, Neb., joined together Oct. 13 to win new readers in Omaha’s Black and working-class neighborhoods, selling six subscriptions going door to door, reported Joe Swanson from Lincoln.
In the afternoon, some of them went to a meeting of about 50 people held at the Malcolm X Foundation Center on the ongoing fight of Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, who are serving life sentences on frame-up murder charges. This is the 42nd year of their imprisonment. Both were active in protests against the killing and harassment of Blacks by Omaha cops.
The keynote speaker was Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. Attorney General, who called “for the state of Nebraska to release the two men.” In the period of questions and comments that followed, Fredy Huinil from Omaha brought to the attention of the meeting “how the fight for Poindexter and we Langa and for the Cuban Five reinforce each other.”
“The arrest of the five is criminal just as the embargo against Cuba,” Clark responded.
The comments on the five piqued interest in their case as many at the meeting had not heard of their fight. Five copies of the book The Cuban Five: Who They Are, Why They Were Framed, Why They Should Be Free were sold off a display table for the five. A renewal subscription to the Militant was also sold at the meeting.
A few days ago a prisoner in Arkansas who subscribes to the Militant called our office to know how he could buy a subscription and some of the books on special for his friend in Iowa, a union millwright.
This is an example we urge our growing readers behind bars to emulate, winning fellow inmates and others to read and subscribe to the paper.
The Militant is looking forward to expanding its circulation in prisons. See the ad on this page for our special rates for prisoners.
Join the campaign. You can order subscription blanks and Militant bundles at email@example.com or (212) 244-4899.
Send me your reports, comments, quotes and photos by 9 a.m. EDT every Monday.
And send your revised local quotas by 8 a.m. EDT next Tuesday, Oct. 23.
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