BY MAURICE WILLIAMS
"The last week of the sales drive we met briefly every night to assess how we were doing," said Chris Remple, a member of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) from Pittsburgh who was recently laid off. "We didn't drop everything we were doing, but we decided we were going to make our goal. We fought harder to convince those we met to buy subscriptions.
"We went to two solidarity rallies - one organized by the RMI Titanium strikers in Niles, Ohio, and the other called by unionists on strike for 19 months against Monarch Rubber Co. in Spenser, West Virginia, where 100 people participated. The Monarch strikers are determined to win their fight. Workers from other cities in the region came to their rally, including USWA members on strike against Kaiser Aluminum in Newark, Ohio; MSI strikers from Marietta, Ohio; and some retirees from Ravenswood, West Virginia, who bought two subscriptions to the Militant."
Remple said supporters in Pittsburgh also organized campus teams to Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie- Mellon University where they sold six Militant subscriptions and passed out leaflets to build the upcoming convention of the Young Socialists.
Socialist workers and members of the Young Socialists in Miami "set up two tables with books and copies of the Militant and Perspectiva Mundial at a Puerto Rican parade in Pembroke Pines, Florida, where several thousands people were in attendance," wrote Shirley Peņa. "We also built the November 14 action in Miami demanding the release of Puerto Rican political prisoner Antonio Camacho, who is currently being held at the Federal Detention Center in Miami. We used this opportunity to sell the Pathfinder pamphlet Puerto Rico: independence is a necessity, which contains two interviews with Rafael Cancel Miranda, a leader of the fight for independence of Puerto Rico. Seven people bought copies of the new pamphlet."
Supporters of the campaign to win 1,300 new readers to the Militant fell shy of this goal by just 11 subscriptions. The goal to win 400 new subscribers to PM fell short by seven, while the campaign sell 1,300 copies of the Marxist magazine New International was surpassed by more than 100.
Now is a good time supporters of the socialist press to follow up on new subscribers, including the youth who may be interested in attending the upcoming YS convention in Los Angeles. Many new readers may want to purchase copies of New International and contribute to the New International Fund, which ends November 15. Some of the unionists who bought subscriptions to the socialist press may be interested in building an alliance with working farmers by helping to organize meetings for Black farmers who are fighting government discrimination. They may also want to publicly endorse the Militant and PM.
Birmingham supporters finished out the weekend making all three of our goals in the circulation drive. The last week of the drive was a very exciting one - we traveled to coalfield communities and mine portals, campuses in both Alabama and Tennessee, and to many working-class communities.
We sent special teams to Birmingham Southern College, where we sold a subscription and several books; to Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, a Black school, where we sold another Militant sub; and to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where campaigners sold six Militant subscriptions and two NIs along with $100 of Pathfinder literature. A team returned later to Vanderbilt and sold another subscription and a copy of New International.
A two-day sales team to coal communities and mines in the area sold five copies of the Militant at the mine portals and a copy of New International no. 11 to a member of the United Mine Workers of America.
The last week of our campaign to win new readers coincided with meetings here celebrating the publication of a new book by Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who was a central leader of the civil rights movement in Birmingham in the 1960s. We participated in the meetings along with many other supporters of Black rights. Activists at these meetings purchased 11 copies of the Militant.
We ended the week with a rally for the New International Fund featuring longtime socialist Tom Leonard. Two students from Vanderbilt drove down for the event. Five participants at the rally bought copies of NI no. 11 and one of them, a fighter against police brutality, also purchased a Militant sub. On the final day of the drive we sold five copies of the New International, including two to members of the United Auto Workers and one to a Steelworker.
A team of supporters of the Illinois Socialist Workers candidates visited the state's coal mining region days before the November 3 election. At the Monterrey mine portal near Carlinville, Illinois, many workers took brochures and five purchased issues of the Militant featuring the coverage of an October 11 rally in Virden, Illionis, to support the striking miners at Freeman United Coal Co. The Carlinville union local had donated $5,000 to the relief fund at that rally, and miners told the socialist campaigners that they are collecting food for the strikers.
A driver for a package delivery company said as she bought the paper that one of her relatives is on strike against Freeman.
At the Peabody mine near Marissa, campaigners discovered the miners have been regularly working 10-12 hours a day. Several who stopped to take brochures mentioned a collection organized for the Freeman strikers at shift changes over the last several days. One said he was going to visit his friend who is now on strike.
"As long as it's not Republican," stated one miner as he stopped to talk to the candidate. When he was told, "It's not Democratic either," he responded by reaching into his pocket to buy the paper saying, "Well, that's all right too."
By the time it got dark, the team had exhausted its supply of campaign brochures and had sold 13 copies of the Militant. One miner invited Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers candidate for U.S. Senate, to stop by his house to discuss the situation facing miners in the area further.
Workers at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis took the opportunity of the team's visit to raise their opinions about their recent two-day strike. Anheuser-Busch had unilaterally imposed it's "final offer," who's onerous conditions had sparked the walkout.
After he read the poster on the campaign table set up at the entrance of the parking garage that said, "Support Worker's Strikes: Freeman Coal, Titan Tire, Lenc-Smith -Socialist Workers Campaign" one worker burst out, "We can't even support our own!" and kept walking.
Many, however, stopped at the table to express pride in the action. Elaine Watson, a member of the International Association of Machinists in the plant, said the plant manager "learned a lot" from the strike. "They claim it ran at 100 percent but we all know it didn't."
John Davit, a Teamsters member who monitors packing machines, referred to the bosses' continuing maneuvers to impose new working conditions on the workforce. "When we went back in the plant manager called us all together and said `hope there's no hard feelings.' Then we got to our work areas and discovered they had taken away all the stools." Brewery workers that day purchased 19 copies of the Militant and two signed up for trial subscriptions. The following afternoon shift change nine more papers were sold.
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