BY MAURICE WILLIAMS AND MIKE FITZSIMMONS
Socialist workers and members of the Young Socialists wrapped up a four-week campaign to win renewals and sell copies of the Militant and Perspectiva Mundial. We went over the Militant goal, selling 293 renewals, but face a bigger challenge to increase the long-term readership of Spanish- speaking workers. The campaign for PM came up short with 41 renewals.
An essential component of the sales drive included getting the two publications into the hands of vanguard workers. Supporters in Illinois made an extra push to sell copies of Militant issue no. 9, which featured a tribute to Rodney Garman, who was a member of United Auto Workers Local 974 and a longtime leader of the resistance to the Caterpillar bosses' assaults on the union.
Reaching out to working farmers was a highlight of the campaign. Several farmers renewed their subscriptions while participating in meetings to discuss the proposed settlement in a class-action suit filed against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for discrimination against farmers who are Black.
Below are reports on sales activities during the last week of the campaign. The Militant encourages its supporters to keep building farm and labor actions and send notices into the Militant to publicize them.
CLEVELAND, Ohio - We sold 72 copies of the Militant during the last eight days of the campaign, more than doubling the previous high. We had increased our goal to 50, aiming to use the Militant to build solidarity with the Steelworkers' fight for a contract at RMI Titanium in Niles, Ohio. Locals 2155 and 2155-7 of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) are organizing a rally at noon on March 28 in Niles.
Gary West, a member of USWA Local 3241 at Magnetic Specialties, Inc. (MSI) in Marietta, Ohio, said in a phone interview that the other day co-workers passed the local newspaper around the plant because it had a picture from the RMI strike. The picture contained a person wearing a hat with a button in solidarity with the recent strike by steelworkers at MSI.
"This shows that even though we're a small group, if we can do it, so can they," said West. "People from all over came to our rallies. Everyone had a history, a story to tell: Firestone, Ravenswood, Wheeling-Pitt, and many others. Just like theirs, our struggle carries on too."
A team of Militant supporters went to southern Ohio where coal is mined. A coal truck operator and nine miners bought copies, one saying he was glad to see the Militant again after a long absence.
Students at nearby Ohio University in Athens also gave the socialist press a warm reception, buying several copies, two subscriptions, and a dozen Pathfinder titles. Student Chris Crews renewed his Militant subscription and bought the newest Pathfinder publication Capitalism's World Disorder. Asking the socialists to come back in a couple of weeks, Crews added, "Íd really like to have a discussion with you guys about the role of the working class."
One of the highlights of the week was the response of steelworkers at Century Aluminum (formerly Ravenswood Aluminum) in Ravenswood, West Virginia. A team of supporters from Cleveland and Pittsburgh sold 41 copies of the Militant to workers at the plant gate there. Workers said they were getting ready for the expiration of their contract with Century Aluminum.
ATLANTA - Supporters of the Militant here sold 20 copies of the paper to members of the Machinists union at Lockheed Martin's Marietta plant in Georgia as these workers prepared for a possible strike. One team sold 11 copies of the Militant at a plant gate as about 25 workers left the facility after Saturday overtime.
Team member Jill Fein reports that "workers were interested in talking about everything, much more than just the labor coverage, including the fight of farmers and the front-page article on the conviction of the racist who dragged James Byrd Jr. to his death in Jasper, Texas."
A second team sold at the union hall to workers as they cast their vote on the proposed contract. Allen Jackson was one of nine workers who picked up the Militant. "I feel for the Black farmers," he said. "My father had 110 acres. He died in 1964. The government began to pay us not to farm and by '69 we lost the farm and I lost a dream. Whatever I can do to help them, I'll gladly do."
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