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Vol. 81/No. 37      October 9, 2017

(front page)

Subscription, book drive kicks off with strong start

The Socialist Workers Party’s nine-week fall circulation drive to increase readership is ahead of schedule. The party has set a national quota of 1,500 subscriptions to the Militant and the same number of campaign books written by SWP leaders. Over the first week we sold 251 subscriptions and 211 books.

At the heart of the effort is knocking on workers’ doors to discuss the carnage that workers, ranchers and farmers are living through, imposed by the bosses and their government as they try to force the cost of the deepening crisis of their capitalist system on us. The goal is to get out broadly into cities, towns and rural areas.

In addition to branches of the SWP, members and supporters of Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.K. are using the drive, which runs to Nov. 21, to introduce the communist movement.

The drive runs concurrently with the SWP’s $100,000 fall fund to finance the party’s ongoing work. Below is a chart showing party fund goals.

SWP members and supporters who work in industry and retail are organizing to win new readers among their co-workers and working with them to introduce the party and its literature to their friends, relatives and neighbors. For example, party supporters who work at Walmart are discussing a goal of selling 150 subscriptions and a matching number of books.

In an exciting part of kicking off the drive, SWP members in Miami were joined by party members from Atlanta to campaign in southern Florida on the heels of Hurricane Irma (see article on page 8).

Party members from a number of cities sent reports on their experiences in the first week of the drive. SWP members Diana Newberry and Alyson Kennedy made a trip to the Arkansas Valley of Southeast Colorado, a ranching and agricultural area. They met workers door to door in three small towns along Route 50.

In Rocky Ford they spoke with Loretta Herrera, Kennedy said, who told us that workers from Mexico come to the area every year to work in the fields picking cantaloupes, melons, onions and other crops. “When I went to college I was in the United Mexican American Student group and we would bring Cesar Chavez from the United Farm Workers union to speak about the grape boycott,” Herrera said. “Today farmworkers have the same problems. Planes fly over the fields and drop pesticides while they are working.”

She got an introductory subscription to the Militant along with a copy of The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People by SWP national secretary Jack Barnes.

“My family has a legacy of fighting for Hispanic people, so it’s nice to see people who care about what is going on,” Herrera said. “I voted for the Clintons, but I didn’t appreciate what they did afterwards.” By the end of the weekend Kennedy and Newberry had sold three campaign books, two introductory Militant subscriptions and seven single copies.

In addition to The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record, the books on special are Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power and Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? both by Barnes; Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters; and “It’s the Poor Who Face the Savagery of the US ‘Justice’ System” by the Cuban Five, five Cuban revolutionaries who spent up to 16 years in U.S. prisons for their actions in defense of the Cuban Revolution.

Michele Smith reports that she and party supporter Rashaad Ali in Seattle met Sandra Stubbs at her home and discussed the fight against racism and the history of the battles to defeat Jim Crow segregation. Stubbs got an introductory subscription to the Militant and the books Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power and Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?

“I believe in what you two are saying and have some similar ideas,” Stubbs said. “A lot of people today have their eyes closed and they need to be opened. Please call me again and we can set up a time to get together with a few of my friends and family to talk politics.”

Joanne Murphy from Washington, D.C., reports that party members went door to door in some apartment buildings there. “We met Withyawuth W. Hong, who was forced into the Cambodian army as a teenager, then captured and put in one of Pol Pot’s labor camps,” Murphy said. “He escaped and when he got to the U.S., spent 12 years in the U.S. military. He said he thought the one thing the U.S. didn’t understand about either Vietnam or Cuba was that “all Washington’s military might was not strong enough to defeat the people’s will to fight for freedom.”

He signed up for a Militant subscription and got a copy of Cuba and Angola: The War for Freedom by Harry Villegas, a book that describes the revolutionary Cuban government’s assistance to the Angolan people’s fight against intervention by apartheid South Africa in the 1970s and ’80s, Murphy said. Then the next night we got to talk more when he came to the Militant Labor Forum to see “All Guantánamo Is Ours,” about the Cuban people’s fight to reclaim the U.S.-occupied naval base there.

Members of the Communist League in Vancouver, British Columbia, report they talked to workers door to door in an evening campaign team joined by Philippe Tessier, the League’s candidate for mayor in Montreal. He was in town to campaign for a few days on his way back from a week of political campaigning in the Philippines. They said one person they talked to gave $20 for The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record, saying the change was a donation. That’s the second $10 donation they’ve received in the last couple weeks.

SWP members in a number of cities report they’ve gotten contributions from workers on their doorsteps to help advance the party’s work. These donations to the SWP Fall Fund are an important part of meeting the $100,000 goal.

If you would like to sign up friends or others you know to receive the Militant or campaign books, to invite a party member to come visit with you and your friends, or to donate to the Party Fund, please contact the nearest SWP office listed on page 8.  
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