Like a similar nine-week drive last fall that netted 3,350 subscribers, the new campaign will be centered on going door to door in working-class neighborhoods.
“The Militant is published for the working class,” John Studer, a leader of the New York branch of the Socialist Workers Party, said in an interview. “Over the last few months, going door to door, we have found workers know they are in the middle of a growing crisis of the capitalist system, and the propertied rulers are going after our jobs, our working and living conditions, our unions and our rights.
“Workers see the Militant as part of an absolutely necessary discussion about what we can do to meet these attacks,” Studer said. “They read about examples of fights against attacks on the unions, police brutality, women’s right to abortion—all over the world.
“They read about the history of past revolutionary struggles, from the 1917 Russian Revolution to Malcolm X, the labor battles that built the CIO in the 1930s to the still-living Cuban Revolution. And many want to help us get the paper around.”
New York is considering a goal of 260, more than 50 subscriptions a week, Studer said.
Mapping out plansMilitant readers from many areas have begun discussing ambitious local quotas to focus their efforts to win as many new readers as possible and help push their political work more deeply into the working class.
“Distributors in Chicago are getting plans together so that the first weekend of the subscription campaign gets off to a big start,” Alyson Kennedy wrote.
“During the last drive, two Militant readers who had never sold the paper got involved in selling door to door. They are both on board for this one,” she added.
Charlie Brown, a CNC machine operator at Electro-Motive Diesel, is one of these new distributors in Chicago.
“Knocking on doors is important because you see individuals face to face, person to person. The Militant is an eye opener to what is going on in the world—from Chicago and Indiana to Australia. We all should get involved,” he said.
Kennedy described how during the last campaign, one focus of the door-to-door effort in Chicago was concentrated in several African-American working-class neighborhoods in District 2 where Socialist Workers Party candidate John Hawkins is running for Congress. Dozens of subscriptions were sold there.
“We plan to go back to these areas where we got a good response to talk to workers who we missed before and to those who subscribed,” she said. “We also plan to go to working-class neighborhoods where distributors live, because these are the places where it’s easiest to get involved with those who want to help.”
Hugo Wils sent a report about what Militant supporters in Manchester, England, are planning.
“We will start by going back to areas where we got the best response in the last two subscription drives,” he wrote. “This will make it easier for people who have joined us going door to door with the Militant and discussing working-class issues on the doorsteps, as they live in these areas.”
“It is also a good way to follow up on subscribers won during our last drive, to see whether they would like to renew, are interested in some of the book offers or maybe know some friends or relatives who would be interested in a paper that voices a working-class perspective,” Wils said.
Eight books are now offered at reduced prices with a subscription to the Militant—four more titles than during the last drive.
“Supporters of the Militant in Seattle,” wrote Mary Martin, “are preparing to carry the Militant, a supplement to the paper featuring the introduction to the newly published Cuba and Angola: Fighting for Africa’s Freedom and Our Own, as well as the actual book and an armload of other books on working-class struggles and history, from Africa to Cuba to the U.S.”
“When you are ready to do a subscription drive again, I am ready to help,” said Militant reader Stalin Harrison, a barber in Seattle who signed up six new readers out of his shop last fall.
“Most workers here,” wrote Michel Dugré from Montreal, “speak French and can’t really read English or Spanish. Militant distributors here and in other parts of the world collaborate to translate one of the central articles in the paper into French each week, and we use that to help introduce the paper to workers.
“We will also take advantage of the special offer on two more books in French by Thomas Sankara, the central leader of the 1983-87 revolution in Burkina Faso, West Africa,” Dugré said.
“These books will help deepen our discussions with the many workers who closely follow the current events in Mali,” he added.
Going widely to the working class in order to get a real measure of what broad layers of workers face and what they think is a key aspect of selling the Militant door to door.
“Last weekend, nearly everyone we spoke to in the apartment building we visited in Harlem supported the striking school bus workers,” John Studer said about the two-person team he was part of, referring to the 8,800 drivers, attendants and mechanics on strike in New York since Jan. 16. “We sold four subscriptions, a copy of Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power and two copies of The Working Class and the Transformation of Learning: The Fraud of Education Reform Under Capitalism.” (See article on front page.)
Another team of Militant supporters who went to the Electchester housing complex in Queens had a different experience, Deborah Liatos reported.
“While some workers were very much in support of the strike, others just shut their door,” she said. “Some workers feel the pressure of the bosses’ propaganda against the strike.”
The Sunday afternoon regular door-to-door sales of the Militant in New York have been the heart of how socialist workers have built solidarity with this important labor struggle.
“Coming out of the drive, the SWP will be holding a national convention here in New York,” Studer said. “We are looking forward to inviting workers who have joined in winning new readers to participate.”
‘Should be everybody’s newspaper’“Just to thank you again for all the support you gave us during our strike at Pioneer Flour Mill,” Salvador Garay emailed to the Militant Feb. 3.
Garay is a member of Teamsters Local 657 in San Antonio, Texas. The Militant has published several articles since April 2011 on their strike against C.H. Guenther & Sons Pioneer Flour Mill in that city.
“Thank God for real journalists who write the truth and don’t sell themselves to companies. The Militant should be everyone’s newspaper for the truth,” Garay added.
If you agree with him, help expand the circulation and readership of the paper among working people.
You can order a bundle or subscription blanks at email@example.com or (212) 244-4899 or call distributors in your area. (See directory)
Quotas for the new campaign will be printed along with results of the first weekend of the drive in next week’s issue.
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