SWP and Communist League members report a wide range of discussions and debates they’ve had as they advance communist propaganda widely in the working class, including at events welcoming Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar López after his release from prison, and on strike picket lines.
In a number of cases these discussions have led working people to want to learn more about the party and join party members in political activity. The party is sponsoring an Active Workers Conference in Oberlin, Ohio, June 15-17 to hear reports from SWP leaders on politics today, the Cuban Revolution and next steps in building the party. The gathering will feature a series of classes and social events.
Many decided to subscribe to the Militant and dig into the writings of party leaders on working-class politics — especially three books offered during the campaign at a discount: The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record and Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? both by Socialist Workers Party National Secretary Jack Barnes, and Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters.
The seven-week campaign ran concurrently with the Militant Fighting Fund to raise $112,000 to finance the operating expenses of the Militant. As of May 23, $93,081 had been received. The Militant is asking readers to kick in to help cover the cost of sending a reporting team to join in the celebrations in Puerto Rico marking freedom for Oscar López. All contributions to the fund received by May 30 will be counted. The final Militant Fighting Fund chart will appear next week.
Members of the Socialist Workers Party walked the picket lines with AT&T and DirecTV workers during a May 19-21 nationwide strike. Betsey Stone wrote that for many of the strikers in Oakland, California, this was their first time on a picket line. “I signed up to be in the union. Now I need to learn more about what a union is,” Jose Ramirez, a line tech worker at DirecTV, told her. Two subscriptions and The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record were sold to strikers.
Going door to door the same weekend, SWP members built support for the strike. “Unions are important. I know because I worked at a big glass company, Owens, where we had to go on strike,” said Charlotte Harris, at her door in Hayward, south of Oakland. At another door, a young Teamster driver purchased a subscription.
From Albany, New York, Jacob Perasso writes that SWP members attended a rally to support AT&T workers there. A 20-year-old with six months on the job bought a subscription. Perasso spoke at the rally bringing solidarity from the campaign of Margaret Trowe, SWP candidate for Albany mayor.
Dominick Patrignani, president of International Electrical Workers-Communications Workers of America Local 81359 that struck Momentive near Albany, told the rally his union would back the strike. After the rally Perasso showed him a Militant article reporting on the strike by Idaho silver miners for safety and against Hecla Mining’s concession demands. Patrignani read the whole article, saying the miners are “just like us” and deserve support. He bought a six-month subscription for the union.
Ruth Robinett writes that she visited Jennell Finley in South Philadelphia May 16 after meeting her two weeks earlier. “I love the Militant,” Finley told her. “The only problem is it doesn’t come out more often.” Finley had picked up a subscription, along with a couple of books on revolutionary politics, at a May Day protest against deportations in Center City.
I’ve got a lot of experience, if not a lot of victories fighting for workers’ rights on the job, she said. She worked at a poultry plant and, in Georgia where she grew up, at an industrial bakery.
“We have to do something to make a change,” Finley said. “Otherwise it will get worse.” She got the three books on special and Cuba and Angola: The War for Freedom and said she would see party members again at the next Militant Labor Forum on the Cuban Revolution.
While the seven-week drive is over, the Socialist Workers Party and Communist Leagues around the world will continue campaigning in working-class neighborhoods, walking strike picket lines with fellow workers, joining social protests and building the party. To learn more about the party and the Active Workers Conference, and to join with us, contact the party or league branches nearest you. See directory.
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