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Vol. 81/No. 15      April 17, 2017

(front page)

Socialist Workers Party kicks off spring campaign

Help expand reach of ‘Militant’, raise funds!

The first weekend got the Socialist Workers Party’s seven-week spring campaign off to a good start. The drive will present the party, the Militant newspaper and books on working-class politics from Pathfinder Press to working people on their doorsteps, strike picket lines and social protests. It focuses on finding workers and youth who want to read and discuss how to defend the interests of the working class as we expand the readership for the SWP’s paper and books.

The campaign runs together with the Militant Fighting Fund, a drive to raise $112,000 to keep getting the Militant out and around. Quotas for the campaign taken by branches of the SWP and Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are listed in charts below and on page 3.

A team of three SWP members — Ilona Gersh, Leroy Watson, and Betsy Farley — drove from Chicago to the working-class suburbs of St. Louis April 1 and joined the picket line of striking workers at Holten Meats in Sauget, Illinois. United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655 members have been on strike for two weeks there against their bosses’ concession demands. Ten strikers got copies of the Militant.

The socialist workers then went to nearby Granite City, Illinois, where U.S. Steel idled a mill last year, laying off 2,000 workers. Knocking on doors near the plant, they found real interest in discussing the crisis workers face today. In one block they sold three subscriptions and a copy of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? Class, Privilege, and Learning Under Capitalism by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes.

The book is one of three — along with The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People, also by Barnes, and Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? A Necessary Debate Among Working People by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters — on special offer with a subscription.

Watson and Farley met Jill Turner on her doorstep. Turner, whose husband works for a nonunion construction outfit, said neither of them has health insurance. “It’s not that we don’t want health care, it’s that we can’t afford it!” she said. “And then you get hit by the government with a $1,000 penalty the first year and $2,000 the second year for not having insurance.”

“We have to fight to make health care a basic right guaranteed for all, not a profit-making business,” Farley said. “That’s what the Socialist Workers Party stands for.”

“The only thing Trump had to offer workers during the presidential campaign was a promise of jobs,” Turner said when the discussion turned to U.S. politics. “Now that he’s in office what has he done? Nothing. He just wants to blame everything on the Mexicans.”

Turner said her ex-husband was from Mexico. “He was deported, now he may never see his two children again,” she said. “He lived here since he was 16 years old. All he ever did was work and care for his family, and for that he was thrown out of the country.”

Watson said the SWP calls for amnesty for all immigrants here without papers, and an end to raids and deportations.

“That’s the only way to unite the working class and stop the bosses and their government from using the divisions they foster between native-born and immigrant workers to lower wages and working conditions for all,” he said.

“My husband will be excited to read this too, we talk about this kind of stuff all the time,” Turner said, signing up for a 12-week introductory subscription.

Members of the SWP in Seattle took the party-building campaign to longshoremen at the ILWU union hall. Ten longshoremen picked up the Militant and kicked in several dollars extra to the Militant Fighting Fund. And two got copies of The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record and Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?

Pat Scott, a Walmart worker, joined Mary Martin, SWP candidate for mayor of Seattle, and John Naubert to knock on doors near the store in Federal Way. Many people recognized her because they shop where she works.

“We’re with the Socialist Workers Party and want to talk to you about what working people can do about the crisis we face,” she told them. “Take a look at our paper.” A number picked up a copy and a few asked Scott to come back after payday to get a subscription.

One of the aims of the party-building drive is to win more people to join in introducing the party and its program to workers.

On April 2, a team of four traveled to Sunnyside, where they joined a march and rally sponsored by the United Farm Workers to commemorate the life and work of César Chávez, a founder and leader of the union in the 1960s and ’70s. Similar actions were held in California, Oregon and Texas. Nine marchers got Militant subscriptions.

Maria Garcia joined the action from Pullman. “We need to stand in solidarity with all immigrants and especially those who work as hard as those in the fields,” she said. She got a subscription and a copy of Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? The SWP members also went door to door in Sunnyside, getting four more subscriptions.

Lea Sherman, director of the Militant Fighting Fund, reports there has been an increase in contributions given by workers on their doorsteps. In New York one team of party members campaigning in the Bronx collected $27. “We’re asking people to send their contributions in now,” she said.

To join in the campaign or to order books and papers to use to sign up others or to contribute to the fund, contact the SWP or Communist League branch nearest you, listed on page 4.
Related articles:
Campaign to sell ‘Militant’ subscriptions and books April 1-May 23 (chart)
Militant Fighting Fund April 1-May 23 $112,000 (chart)
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