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Vol. 81/No. 21      May 29, 2017

(front page)

SWP talks politics on doorsteps, picket lines

The Socialist Workers Party’s spring campaign to introduce the party, the Militant newspaper and books on revolutionary perspectives today by SWP leaders to working people is now in its final week. Branches of the SWP and Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.K. plan to make their quotas in full and on time, and some have raised their goals.

The party-building campaign is aimed at getting to know and work with those interested in fighting against the effects of the capitalists’ offensive on working people today and learning more about the party, on workers’ doorsteps and strike picket lines.

The drive runs concurrently with the Militant Fighting Fund to raise $112,000 for the paper’s operating expenses. The annual fund allows the Militant to respond to special opportunities in the class struggle — as we’re doing this week sending a solidarity and reporting team to Puerto Rico as independentista Oscar López is released after 36 years of imprisonment by Washington’s colonial rulers. We’re asking for special contributions for the team, and to help the fund go over its goal.

This week we have a new city on our scoreboard — Mullan, Idaho — with credit for one sub and one book. Silver miners, members of United Steelworkers Local 5114, are on strike against Hecla Mining bosses at the Lucky Friday mine. SWP members and supporters have gone to Mullan several times to bring solidarity and work with miners to cover the strike for the Militant.

They have met a number of workers who have signed up for subscriptions and taken advantage of special offers on three campaign books. One striker helped convince another unionist to get the paper, as well as The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes. He said he’d read the book and it was the best explanation of the 2016 election. We thought that merited recognition of Mullan on the scoreboard.

The two other books on half-price special with a subscription are Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? also by Barnes, and Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters.

In the East New York section of Brooklyn, campaigners Paul Mailhot and Róger Calero spoke with Adam Ferrel, a member of Local 262 of the Plasterers and Cement Masons Union, when they knocked on his door May 14.

Ferrel was interested in hearing about their experiences participating in solidarity activities during May Day celebrations in Cuba. He said he was glad Washington had finally re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Washington’s aims haven’t changed, the SWP members said. Diplomatic relations have been re-established, but the economic embargo remains very much alive, a central piece of the U.S. government’s efforts to undermine Cuba’s socialist revolution.

After looking over the front page of the Militant, Ferrel said, “This is a must have,” and signed up for a subscription.

Dan Fein writes from Chicago that a team of SWP members went knocking on doors May 13 in Beloit, Wisconsin, an industrial town near the Illinois border. “It gets more difficult every day trying to make ends meet,” Angela Briggs, a mother of three children whose husband is in prison, told them.

“I have two jobs. I get up at 4 a.m. and do four hours of data entry at home. I get $8.50 an hour for that. Then I get the kids off to school and child care, and I go on to my second job at an accounting company for eight hours,” she said. “Then I pick up the kids and go home for several more hours of data entry after dinner. I get paid $13 per hour at my day job but I had to spend $13,000 for the schooling it required. I get a little money from welfare and a little to help with child care costs.”

They talked for a while about how workers can organize to fight to change things, and the need to build a working-class movement to win. “I’ll get all three of those books,” she said.

Two other workers SWP members talked to got subscriptions and five got copies of the books on special.

Beverly Bernardo writes that Philippe Tessier, Communist League candidate for mayor of Montreal, and other CL members campaigned in Sainte-Geneviève, an area west of Montreal where heavy rains have led to severe flooding. Party members got out a statement from Tessier demanding the government provide no-strings-attached assistance to those affected.

They met Jerzy Krawczyk as he worked on his house, trying to shore it up against the damage. He and his wife Grace Pawluczuk are both originally from Poland. Krawczyk said local officials had done little to help. He also said their problems don’t compare to what workers face in many parts of the world. “Look at the Middle East and Africa,” he said.

“What else do you have to read on what you do?” he asked Tessier. He got a subscription and all three of the books by SWP leaders, and donated $2 in change to the Militant Fighting Fund.

When workers say they want to learn more about the Socialist Workers Party, or join in the party-building campaign, party members tell them about the upcoming SWP-organized Active Workers Conference in Ohio June 15-17.

At the conference you have the opportunity to hear talks by SWP leaders on politics today, revolutionary Cuba, and work in the unions and working class to build the party. There will also be a series of classes, as well as opportunities to meet with others involved in fighting to change society.

To help take the spring campaigns over the top in the last week of the drive, to make a donation or to learn more about the Ohio conference, contact the SWP or CL branch in your area — listed on page 8 — or write to the Militant at  
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