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Vol. 81/No. 30      August 14, 2017


SWP takes its socialist program to working class

MINNEAPOLIS — “A working class campaign? That’s me! It seems all I do is work,” Porsche Chasman told David Rosenfeld, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor here, when he knocked on her door and introduced himself and his party July 29. The 26-year-old postal worker invited Rosenfeld and campaigner Jacquie Henderson into her north Minneapolis home to talk some more.

”Under capitalism it’s dog eat dog, every man for himself,” said Rosenfeld. “They want us to look at fellow workers as the problem, not the capitalists who exploit us and push us further into misery. We have to change all that. We’re the only class that can.”

“I’d like to see that happen,” replied Chasman. “But how can we do that? We spend so much of our energy just trying to get through the complications of the day.”

“We have to struggle together against the brutal attacks coming down on us as a class,” Rosenfeld said. “In the process we begin to learn our own worth, to look to ourselves as a class for strength.”

Chasman, who signed the petition to place the SWP candidate on the ballot, asked Rosenfeld and Henderson to come back later in the week to talk more when she has the money to get a copy of Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes.

SWP members and supporters across the country are stepping up efforts to get out into working-class neighborhoods near and far to discuss what our class faces today and the party’s program and activities. They’re introducing the Workers Power book, as well as Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? and The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record, also by Barnes, and Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters, and expanding the reach of the Militant. Most importantly, they’re looking for people who want to talk, study and do things together to build a revolutionary working-class party.

Over the week SWP supporters sold 16 subscriptions to the Militant and 22 campaign books in the Minneapolis area. They also gathered another 154 signatures to put the SWP campaign on the ballot, raising the total to 485 toward the goal of getting 750, well over the requirement. SWP campaigners are planning a big weekend for August 5-6 to complete the ballot effort.

“When is the next meeting I can attend?” Floyd Lewis, a retired welder, asked campaigners Rose Engstrom and Kofi Komla July 30 after they talked for awhile about the need for workers to unite in struggle to end the dictatorship of capital.

“This gives me a lot to think about,” said Lewis. “It would be great if we can come together for a government of the people.” He bought Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power and signed the petition to put Rosenfeld on the ballot.

“I support Trump. Things are bad and have to change,” a former masonry worker named Brad, who said he had to retire after hurting his back, told Engstrom. “I don’t know if he will help, but he is a start.” After more discussion about the SWP’s working-class perspectives he signed the petition and picked up a subscription to the Militant.

“I’d like to see Cuba and learn how they changed the priorities of the country with the revolution so that I can come back and work to do that here,” said Delinia Parris, a food bank worker from St. Paul, after hearing about the “In the Footsteps of Che International Brigade” to Cuba from SWP campaigners who knocked on her door. “If I can’t go this time, I’d like to help raise money for someone else who can.” She got a Militant subscription and Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power.”

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — When Maggie Trowe, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Albany, New York, and I spoke with Lucy Colon on her porch here July 30, Colon said she especially liked the Militant article on the deepening crisis in health care under capitalism and bought a subscription.

“I have Massachusetts state health care, but it doesn’t cover medications,” the patient care assistant and mother of four children told us. “I have to take medicine to control a benign brain tumor, but the four pill monthly dose costs $382. I can’t afford that!”

“Health care in the U.S. is a capitalist business,” Trowe replied. “The two parties that represent the rulers debate over different plans, but they all benefit the profit-hungry insurance, hospital and pharmaceutical bosses. They don’t care if we live or die.”

Trowe explained how workers and farmers in Cuba transformed themselves as they overthrew capitalism and the U.S.-backed dictatorship in 1959 and allocated the social surplus working people produce to provide health care for all. “I’m going on the brigade to Cuba in October to learn more firsthand about the revolution there and how we can make a revolution here,” she said. “Send me information about that brigade,” Colon replied. “I’d like to go too.”

Milly Guzman, a Puerto Rican-born worker from Hartford, Connecticut, and her daughter Amanda joined Trowe campaigning door to door. Guzman explained why workers should oppose the U.S.-imposed Financial Oversight and Management Board in Puerto Rico that is driving the government there to make deeper and deeper cuts in public employees’ wages, pensions, health care and other services to pay investors and speculators who have bought up Puerto Rico’s bonds.

Esperanza Medina, 66, a retired dishwasher born in Puerto Rico, told Trowe and Guzman about how she worked seven-day weeks for $5.25 an hour in Pennsylvania and was never able to make ends meet.

“The bosses want cheap labor,” Guzman said. “They try to solve their economic crisis on our backs.”

“My mother, who has cancer, lives in Arroyo, Puerto Rico,” Medina said. “Her gas and electricity was cut off as part of the government’s budget cuts.”

“The working class in the United States must oppose the super-exploitation of Puerto Rican workers both here and in Puerto Rico,” Trowe said, “as part of unifying working people and building a mass movement that will become capable of taking power.”  
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