They explain that the economic and social crisis working people are living through is caused by capitalism. The unraveling of the old imperialist order around the world continues. The capitalist parties have no solution.
A big aid in charting a road forward is the new book Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? Class, Privilege and Learning Under Capitalism. “As we gain confidence and experience fighting alongside each other,” the book explains, working people recognize that “we are capable of taking power and organizing society.”
Socialist Workers Party campaigners in the Salt Lake City area and other parts of Utah have found interest in the party and its program — in the explanation and course outlined in the new book. Many they meet end up getting a copy.
“I have no insurance and I paid a penalty last year for not having Obamacare,” said Mark Pace, 49, July 9. He was laid off after working 15 years at a printing plant and now works installing flooring and other odd jobs in construction. “I’m eating lunchmeat and hot dogs, and I’m not sure I can put together my mortgage payment. I like what you are saying about building a movement.”
Later that day campaigners participated in a rally of 300 in front of the Salt Lake City police headquarters against cop brutality and the killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota.
One speaker was Heidi Keilbaugh, whose partner James Barker, a musician, was killed by Salt Lake City police while shoveling snow in January 2015. Keilbaugh first met SWP members at the May 2015 Million Mom’s March against police brutality in Washington.
Campaigners discussed the fight against police brutality with workers they met door to door. “They kill people, they don’t care what color they are, and they get a paid vacation,” said Ryan White at his door in Kearns July 11. White, 35, who is Caucasian, is just starting a job as a surveyor. He got the new book and a Militant subscription.
Campaigning in Magna, Kearns and other towns outside Salt Lake City, Socialist Workers Party members met active and retired copper miners.
Not everyone agreed with SWP campaigners. “I don’t like unions. There are plenty of jobs for people who want to work,” said one man in Kearns.
In Ogden Brian Klinger, 38, told campaigner Pete Brandli he opposes U.S. intervention in the Mideast. “Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton are worth supporting,” he said.
EAST CARBON, Utah — A sign reading “Proud Union Family” is in the front window of retired miner Bobby Fivecoat’s house in this desert town of 1,200 in coal-rich Carbon County.
Campaigners visited Fivecoat, a member of United Mine Workers of America Local 9958, July 5 while knocking on the doors of other workers here. He was one of a number of retired miners who actively supported the 2003-2006 fight by Co-Op miners in nearby Huntington for union representation and better pay and work conditions.
“It was tough on those kids,” Fivecoat said, referring to the strikers, the majority of whom were Mexican-born workers in their 20s and 30s, “but we taught them about the union.” Fivecoat recalled how retired miners got the strikers a trailer for a picket shack when the weather got cold.
“They’re rich because they’re exploiters of workers,” Fivecoat said when he was shown the new book Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?
When Fivecoat learned that Alyson Kennedy, one of the leaders of the Co-Op strike, is the SWP candidate for U.S. president, he was elated. “Tell Alyson I’m voting for her,” he said.
Liz Merlen, a certified nurses assistant, agreed about the need to build a society based on solidarity that respects the dignity and humanity of every person. “Sometimes we have to turn away an older person because they don’t have the insurance or money to pay for nursing home care,” she said. “It tears me up.”
Over the last few weeks in Utah, campaigners for the Socialist Workers Party have sold 151 copies of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? along with 132 subscriptions and 237 single copies of the Militant and collected 1,304 signatures toward the goal of 1,800 to place the SWP presidential ticket on the ballot.
Branches of the Socialist Workers Party around the country are also using the new book as an aid to building the party.
Campaigners went door to door in South Bend, Indiana, and visited the United Auto Workers union hall where workers locked out by Honeywell are organizing solidarity.
In Lincoln, Nebraska, supporters of the party went door to door July 10 and then joined a Black Lives Matter rally of 100 protesting the recent killings by police. Several people at the rally volunteered to help out on the Aug. 1-2 Nebraska tour of SWP vice-presidential candidate Osborne Hart.
Joel Britton and Mitchel Rosenberg in Utah, Laura Anderson in Chicago and Joe Swanson in Lincoln, Nebraska, contributed to this article.