BY TED WALTER AND TRACY SABINI
This column is written and edited by the Young Socialists (YS), an international organization of young workers, students, and other youth fighting for socialism. For more information about the YS write to: Young Socialists, 1573 N. Milwaukee, Box #478 Chicago, IL 60622 Tel: (773) 342-1780 CompuServe: 105162,605
DES MOINES, Iowa - Since the Young Socialists Convention last March, the Des Moines YS chapter has put itself on a footing to carry out the decisions of the convention: to build the YS through reading, studying, and selling communist literature, while engaging in political work with other forces.
The chapter has been participating in events like the Bacchanal Festival put on by students at Drake University, where we were invited to have a table. The festival was planned as an outdoor event with bands and different political organizations. With a change in the weather, it was moved to a local country bar and most of the organizations pulled out. The YS stayed and set up a table near the entrance. We spoke to many people about the Young Socialists, Cuba, Albania, sold a subscription to the Militant and a copy of To Speak the Truth by Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara.
Members of the YS and Socialist Workers Party also attended the Pedagogy of the Oppressed conference, held in Omaha, Nebraska, April 17-19. The conference was targeted at academics and teachers who were looking for ways to integrate discussion of oppression into their teaching. Some young people came who were looking for politics and answers, however, from Omaha to Pittsburgh. By talking politics and using our political weapons, we sold 19 Militant subscriptions, 6 copies of New International magazine, and over $500 in Pathfinder books and pamphlets.
The YS was also invited to the May 10-11 Illinois/Iowa Music Fest, held in Davenport, Iowa, and East Moline, Illinois. More than 300 young people were there. The YS table stayed busy the whole time. Some of those who came by had seen the YS at other events. We sold 13 Militants and 1 subscription there, along with copies of The Communist Manifesto and Malcolm X Talks to Young People. A large banner of Che Guevara drew many people to the table and gave us a chance to explain who Che really was -a communist who fought around the world against the horrors of capitalism, not just a commercial image as an article in the April 30 New York Times asserted. The paper cynically stated that Guevara's image ".. has become more vivid, complex and commercial .. it also does not hurt that Guevara died young and looked glamorous in his beret."
The YS puts forth the perspective of emulating the Cuban revolution here in the United States and around the world, as opposed to Washington's continued war drive. This has won the YS many contacts in the region from Peoria, Illinois, to Sioux City, Iowa.
Jamie Munsen from Sioux City said, "You guys have a message everyone needs to hear."
Munsen is a member of the band "Songs of Zarathustra" made up of three young workers. The band has offered to set up a show in Sioux City where a YS member can speak before they play.
While engaged in this propaganda activity, the YS has been building the 14th World Youth Festival to take place in Cuba this summer. Also working to build the festival are members of the Black Student Alliance and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Transgender organization, both at Iowa State University.
The YS here in Des Moines also participates in weekly sales of the Militant and Perspectiva Mundial to Steelworkers at the Bridgestone/Firestone plant in Des Moines. Other sales are at the bus that takes workers from Des Moines to the Swift meatpacking plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, and at the IBP meatpacking plant in Perry, Iowa.
In order to be more effective in its political work,
the chapter is making education a part of its regular
activities. We've found that having educationals is a good
way to start off chapter meetings. The YS also participated
in a class on the Communist Manifesto with farm activist
Larry Ginter, on his farm in Rhodes, Iowa. YS members are
eager to continue the class series once the busy planting
season is over.
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