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Vol. 81/No. 38      October 16, 2017

(front page)

Drive builds readership of ‘Militant’ in working class

The Socialist Workers Party’s nine-week fall circulation drive to increase readership of the Militant and books by party leaders is a little ahead of schedule going into its third week. At the heart of the effort is knocking on workers’ doors to discuss the social disaster that workers, ranchers and farmers are living through, imposed by the bosses and their government as they try to place the cost of the deepening crisis of their capitalist system on our back. We find that workers want to discuss the SWP’s perspectives for how workers can meet these attacks and chart a course for the working class to take political power.

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 and discuss developments in the class struggle — from the independence votes in Kurdistan and Catalonia, to the sharp distinction between the response of Cuba’s revolutionary government to prepare for and rebuild after recent hurricanes, and the social disaster for working people in the colonies of Washington and other imperialist powers in the Caribbean.

The drive runs concurrently with the SWP’s $100,000 fall party fund to finance the party’s ongoing work. Charts showing the party’s progress are printed on the front page and below.

“The Militant stands strong for everyday workers,” Joye Beamon, a grocery store worker in Chicago, told party supporter Salm Kolis as she renewed her subscription. “It’s for people who want the real story, the truth about what is actually happening locally, nationally and internationally.”

Dan Fein from Chicago reports that he went to talk more about politics and the party with a co-worker of his at Walmart who subscribes to the Militant and got to meet his family. Fein told them he and other party members were going to knock on some doors to introduce the party and its literature, and asked if they have any suggestions where to go. They told Fein they thought the party would get a good response just knocking on doors on the same street. He and other party members did so and ended up signing up three of their neighbors for subscriptions.

From Seattle, party supporter Pat Scott reports that at Walmart where she works a co-worker asked her why she says Bill Clinton’s presidency was bad for working people, and that the election of Hillary Clinton would have been just as bad. Scott suggested he read The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes. He bought a copy after work and got a copy of the Militant to decide about getting a subscription.

The book is one of the half-price specials in the drive, along with Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power and Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? also by Barnes; Is Revolution in the US Possible? by party 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.

Katy LeRougetel from the Communist League in Canada reported from Vancouver that party members attended a meeting of about 40 Kurds organized by supporters of a group from the Iranian part of Kurdistan, which celebrated the recent referendum in Iraq. “Seyran Enveri, a health care worker in a seniors home and member of the British Columbia Government Employees Union, told me her union supports the Kurdish struggle and she has spoken out on this at union gatherings,” LeRougetel said. “She got a copy of the Militant and gave me her number to get back to her about a subscription.”

SWP members participated in a meeting about the Kurdish fight for independence in New Jersey, where Brian Williams reports they got three new subscribers to the Militant and sold 6 single copies, a copy of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? and got $19 in donations.

Pamela Holmes reports from the United Kingdom that Communist League members from both London and Manchester got together to campaign door to door last weekend in working-class areas in Greater Manchester.

They also attended two simultaneous protests totaling 30,000 people outside the annual Conservative Party conference, with some calling for overturning the Brexit vote and others promoting a Labour Party government. Many workers were attracted to the Communist League table, displaying placards calling for support for Kurdish independence, denuclearization of the Pacific, and for the unions to fight to organize all cab drivers, including the thousands who work for Uber.

“I didn’t know anything like this existed in Manchester,” 21-year-old office worker Gemma Jorgensen told Holmes when she spotted the campaign table. “I was a big Corbynite at first but I’m not so sure now. What would the Labour Party do if it was in power?”

Holmes said it was a dead end for workers to back either Labour or the Conservatives. She pointed to the Cuban Revolution as an example for working people. She described how the Cuban government mobilized the whole people to prepare for and then respond to the recent hurricanes as an example of what working people can do when we get rid of the capitalist system and replace it with workers power.

Keen to keep in touch for future activity, Jorgenson got a subscription to the Militant and a copy of Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power, Holmes said. Over the weekend, 16 subscriptions to the Militant and 14 copies of the party’s campaign titles were sold.
Related articles:
SWP Fund Drive to Raise $100,000
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