The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.61/No.33           September 28, 1997 
Workers Like A Paper That's By And For Their Class  

"Several of my fellow workers who bought the Militant liked the article by Norton Sandler `Did UPS competitors do struck work?'," said Kay Sedam, who works at the CSX Hialeah rail yard in Miami and is a member of the United Transportation Union Local 1138. She was referring to a column published in the September 15 Militant. "Amtrak trains leaving Miami had three to four extra mail cars during the Teamsters strike, and workers here were concerned they were being forced by their bosses to aid UPS."

Workers at the Hialeah yard were also interested in the article by Sedam "Crashes force gov't rail investigation," published in the same issue. "Many liked the idea that a rank-and-file worker could write something that cut through company propaganda and exposed the rail bosses' real view of safety on the job," Sedam said. That week, she sold one Militant subscription and four copies of the paper on the job.

Slightly higher sales in a few workplaces and at many factory gates were a feature of the second week of the subscription drive, during which readers sold 128 Militant and 51 Perspectiva Mundial (PM) subscriptions, and 64 copies of the New International. This reflects a slowdown from the first week of the campaign, when supporters of the socialist press sold 176 Militant and 53 Perspectiva Mundial subscriptions and 76 copies of New International.

Reports from readers indicate that following up single- copy sales to workers on the job, at the picket lines, and at plant gates, as well as using the Militant persistently in the day-to-day political work of socialist workers can reverse this slip. Anne Morrow from San Francisco, for example, reports that socialists there sold single copies to a number of BART workers during the successful strike in the Bay Area. They are now organizing follow-up sales at BART train barns aimed at winning some of these unionists to subscribe.

"Since the drive began, all the members of the YS here have been out with a book table" every weekend, wrote Benni Haraldsson from Reykjavik, Iceland. "We have sold about 20 copies of the Militant and several pamphlets. A worker bought the paper and the booklet An Action Program to Confront the Coming Economic Crisis in Icelandic." YS members and others in Iceland are working to turn sales into subscriptions.

Militant supporters who are members of the United, Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in the United States led the way the second week of the drive on sales on the job. "One Mexican worker who had bought a number of Pathfinder books in the past subscribed to PM in the plant where I work," said Rosa Garmendia, a UFCW member in Detroit. Several meatpackers subscribed at a factory in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Interest is also high at the plant gates. "Militant sales at Lear Seating, organized by the United Auto Workers, resulted in four copies sold on September 11 and another four on September 16," wrote Arlene Rubinstein, a member of Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees in Atlanta.

"After consistent sales with a literature table in Manhattan's garment district for a month, we sold our first Perspectiva Mundial subscription there this week," said Eva Braiman from New York. Socialist workers there have also been selling a few papers every week at two UPS depots they've been visiting regularly since the strike there.

The bulk of new subscribers over the last seven days came from the day-to-day activities of socialists around the world. "Supporters of Mary Martin, socialist candidate for Washington, D.C., City Council, have been collecting signatures to place her name on the ballot," said Maggie Pucci, writing from the U.S. capital. "Last weekend [September 9-10] we collected 1,000 signatures of our 4,000 goal. During petitioning we sold 5 Militant and 4 PM subs and a copy of New International no. 8 titled `Che Guevara, Cuba, and the Road to Socialism.' "

Militant Labor Forums are another source of new subscribers. "We've sold two Militant subscriptions to young people attending the forum in Vancouver," said Beverly Bernardo. "Francisco, another forum participant, took advantage of the special offer of Perspectiva Mundial-El rostro cambiante," advertised on the front page, "because he was interested in a `handbook about how to make a revolution.'"

Fighters Find Pathfinder In Libraries, Bookshops

Part of reaching out to workers and youth with the socialist books and periodicals is getting bookstores and libraries to carry Pathfinder's titles. In the United States, sales in August to non-Pathfinder accounts fell just short of the goal of 1,400. Sales volunteers around the world report a good response even modest efforts.

Joanne Kuniansky reports from Sydney, Australia, that Pathfinder supporters there visited three bookstores in July and one in August. They have three visits planned for September. "One buyer said he would order eleven titles, including many on Che Guevara and the Cuban revolution, Rosa Luxemburg Speaks, and The History of the Russian Revolution, In Defense of Marxism: The Social and Political Contradictions of the Soviet Union, and The Struggle against Fascism in Germany by Leon Trotsky. Another bookstore, at a university, said they would order seven titles, and two smaller bookstores planned to get copies of Pombo: A Man of Che's `Guerrilla.' " Bookstores in Sydney order directly from a large distributor, making it impossible to track exact sales figures.

"The brochure and letter Pathfinder sent out are very helpful," Mary Lipman, a Pathfinder salesperson in Santa Cruz, California, reports. The material features Pombo: A Man of Che's `Guerrilla,' the new Spanish-language edition of The Changing Face of U.S. Politics: Working-Class Politics and the Trade Unions, and other titles. "I used them to keep in touch with regular customers and also some I'd never seen. I'll follow up with phone calls next week."

Lipman also set up a table in downtown Santa Cruz. "The biggest seller here is The Communist Manifesto. I'm always running out of copies."  
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