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Vol. 81/No. 17      May 1, 2017

(front page)

Join SWP to campaign against US war moves

At the end of the second week of the SWP spring campaign to introduce the party, the Militant and books from Pathfinder Press to working people, SWP members report they find real interest in discussing the party’s opposition to Washington’s war moves from Korea and Afghanistan to Syria and Iraq. Workers are keen to discuss and debate what is behind Washington’s wars and what workers should think about them.

The goal of the effort is to expand the reach of the party’s publications and to increase the number of workers involved in its activities.

The drive runs concurrently with the Militant Fighting Fund, to raise $112,000 to cover the Militant’s operating expenses, reporters’ trips to flashpoints in the class struggle and to help subsidize subscriptions to prisoners. The fund drive chart is on page 3.

“We urged workers and young people we met to join us in calling for U.S. hands off Korea and for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops and planes from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan,” Margaret Trowe, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Albany, New York, said when she and other SWP members campaigned across the city April 15-16. “Some people disagreed, others liked what we had to say. But everyone thought this was important for working people to discuss. We explained how Washington’s wars are an extension of the capitalist rulers’ offensive against our class here at home.”

From Chicago Dan Fein writes that SWP campaigners Ilona Gersh and Leroy Watson debated the war question on workers’ doorsteps in the ex-coalfield town of Morganfield, Kentucky. “I think Obama should have taken out Assad years ago when chemical weapons were first used in Syria,” Wesley DeTalente, a retired pipefitter, told them after looking at the SWP statement, “Get US out of Syria, Iraq!” on the front page of the Militant.

After more discussion, including about how U.S. bombings make it harder for Syrian toilers to organize to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad dictatorship, not easier, he subscribed to the Militant, saying, “I’m going to enjoy this paper.”

Rachele Fruit from Atlanta writes that SWP member John Benson met Henry Fair, a 54-year-old ironworker, when he knocked on his door in East Point. Fair said he liked what Benson said about workers’ ability to organize society for human needs if we take political power, and that we need to build a working-class leadership capable of leading the transformation.

“We say the U.S. should get out of Syria, Iraq and everywhere else Washington has its troops,” Benson said, handing Fair a copy of the SWP statement protesting Washington’s bombing in Syria. “Do they care about the kids they kill when they do that?” Fair said. “It’s just like when they got bin Laden, they killed family members.”

“Four members of the Oakland branch of the party went knocking on doors in San Leandro, California, after work,” Eric Simpson writes. “They used the SWP statement, ‘Stop the Raids and Deportations! Amnesty for all immigrants in the US!’ to open discussion on the need to fight to unify the working class and strengthen our unions, and about the upcoming national May Day protests against deportations.

Gerardo Sánchez offered a package of the three books on special with a three-month Militant subscription — Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? and The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record both by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the SWP, and Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? by party leader Mary-Alice Waters — for only $20.

“Two of the workers Sánchez spoke with decided to go for it. An autoworker did the same and purchased a copy of Cuba and Angola: The War for Freedom,” Simpson said. The book is about how Cuba sent 400,000 volunteers to help the Angolan people fight off an invasion by apartheid South Africa in the 1970s and ‘80s.

“Four workers got a total of four subscriptions and 11 books — in both English and in Spanish — on one block in less than one hour,” he said. “And there’s a lesson: Make sure to carry more than one set of books!”

Edwin Fruit reports that party members from Seattle traveled to Idaho to join with United Steelworkers on strike at the Lucky Friday silver mine at a union support rally in Coeur d’Alene April 12. They also campaigned for solidarity with the strike and introduced the party to workers in three small towns near the mine. A total of 14 miners and their supporters signed up for subscriptions to the paper. Another three picked up copies of the special campaign books.

David Rosenfeld, SWP candidate for mayor of Minneapolis, met Kao Xiong while campaigning door to door in East St. Paul, Rose Engstrom reports.

“You’re running for mayor. So I am curious, what are some changes you want to make?” Xiong asked him.

“Workers can’t accomplish anything by electing someone to office,” Rosenfeld replied. “But we can work to build a powerful movement to unite working people to fight for jobs, amnesty for undocumented workers, universal government-funded health care, and other things workers need.

“We have to counterpose class solidarity and internationalism to the dog-eat-dog values of capitalism,” he said. “Only then can we begin to discover our worth and the capacity of our class to take power and reorganize society.”

“I can relate to that!” Xiong said. “It is dog-eat-dog now. I never heard someone put it that way. This is great.” She bought a subscription and The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record and kicked in $15 to the Militant Fighting Fund.

Donations from workers at their doorsteps are a key source for expanding the base of the Militant Fighting Fund. Please send your money in early! To join in the campaigning and fund efforts, contact the nearest branch of the SWP or Communist League.
Related articles:
UK: Communist League speaks to African church
Spring Campaign to expand the reach of ‘Militant,’ books. week 2 (chart)
Militant Fighting Fund. week 2 (chart)
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