BY JIM GOTESKY
RICHMOND, California - Supporters of the Socialist Workers Party from several San Francisco Bay Area cities area met here March 6 to discuss the growing support movement for the SWP.
Twenty-three supporters attended the meeting, which opened with a report by SWP National Committee member Norton Sandler.
"More than 100 supporters are involved in any given week in the project to keep Pathfinder's titles in print," Sandler said. "The total number who have volunteered for the project is in excess of 150," he said, including a couple dozen international volunteers.
"The team of volunteers is increasing their effectiveness as they get more experience. The volunteers have set their sights on steadily increasing the number of titles completed on CD ROM's each month until they reach 10 books a month," Sandler said. He noted that the project grew out of the work of Bay Area supporters but was only launched as an international effort 14 months ago at a Socialist Educational Conference held in Seattle.
Sandler described the fund-raising for the party that supporters around the country carry out that results in $140,000 a year in donations to the party from monthly pledges. Sally Morrow who helps organize contributions from the Bay Area noted that over the past year, monthly contributions to the party from supporters has increased from $20,000 to $30,000. With many nodding their heads, Morrow stated that this amount can be increased. "Our new goal should be realizable, but not conservative," she said.
Supporters of the party staff Pathfinder bookstores many hours a week across the country, Sandler emphasized. Many also sell the Militant every weekend in working-class neighborhoods and at conferences and demonstrations along with members of the SWP and the Young Socialists.
Volunteers also help on the data entry for subscriptions to the Militant and help proofread the paper, Sandler stated.
"The politics unfolding today are what makes us active," stated Ruth Cheney, a member of the steering committee organizing the volunteer Pathfinder reprint project. Michelle Smith noted that as labor struggles "heat up, you want to do more for the party."
Many at the meeting stated they would like to pitch in more on helping to organize Militant Labor Forums, on various aspects of organization of Pathfinder bookstores, and on Socialist Workers election campaigns.
The challenge before the leadership of every SWP branch is to organize in such a way that it can tap the burst of support for the party that is growing, Sandler said. Supporters of the SWP are a barometer that is responding to the rapid changes underway as trade unionists and working farmers reach out to each other in solidarity to strengthen their own fights and each others'.
Everyone attending the meeting was urged to attend and to help build the banquet dinner and report by the party leadership to the working-class public that will conclude the SWP convention in San Francisco April 3. The meeting ended in a spontaneous round of applause.
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