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Vol. 81/No. 20      May 22, 2017

(front page)

Spring drive wins workers to ‘Militant,’ Pathfinder

The spring campaign to introduce the Socialist Workers Party, the Militant newspaper and books on revolutionary history and politics from Pathfinder Press to working people ended the fifth week — with two left to go — with a number of areas preparing to go over their quotas and boost the international drive. Party members report that follow-up discussions with fellow workers on the central place of the fight for amnesty for immigrant workers — the question posed at widespread May Day protests — as well as joining in solidarity with union strikes and organizing drives, marked the efforts in many cities.

SWP and Communist League branches are making plans to bring home the spring campaign on time and in full.

The party aims to get to know and work with those interested in learning more about building a revolutionary party. The drive runs concurrently with the Militant Fighting Fund to raise $112,000 for the paper’s operating expenses and to respond to special opportunities when breaking developments take place in the class struggle.

The fund is lagging a little behind and needs a boost (see chart).

Deborah Liatos reports from Los Angeles that discussions with her co-workers at a mattress factory after the May Day demonstrations have been lively. “As a result, one co-worker purchased an introductory $5 subscription after our United Steelworkers union meeting,” Liatos said. Another, Cedric Wright, renewed for six months. He said he liked having a newspaper “with socialist ideas on what the workforce needs.”

“My father and my mother read it too,” he said.

From Australia, Linda Harris writes that Joanne Kuniansky, Communist League candidate for Canterbury-Bankstown Council in Sydney, and Patrick Brown from the Communist League in New Zealand joined up for door knocking in Sadleir, a suburb of Sydney. They met Rachel Proberts, a young mother who is studying at the university.

“I got involved in politics when I got angry when [former conservative Prime Minister] Tony Abbott got elected,” she said. “But I found I was too left wing for the Liberal Party or the Labor Party.”

“I am standing for the Communist League because no policies can change the crisis of capitalism. We need to build a revolutionary party of workers that fights independently to change the system itself,” Kuniansky responded.

Proberts was excited to get a Militant subscription and decided to buy all three of the Pathfinder books on special. She said she wanted to get back together with Kuniansky and other Communist League members to talk more.

The three books on special for $5 each with a subscription are: Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? and The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record, both by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, and Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters.

“We got a great response at the May Day rally in New York City,” John Studer said. “Brian Williams and I lugged a table and a big box of Militants and Pathfinder books to Foley Square and set up. We were joined by three people we’ve met at different activities, along with four party supporters, and campaigned in the crowd for over three hours.

“We sold three subscriptions, four books on special, four other titles, and 38 copies of the paper,” he said. “We ran into one woman, a doctor who spent time working alongside Cuban volunteer doctors fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. She took one of us to an ATM machine where she got the money to buy a copy of Zona Roja, a book from Cuba on this effort, and made a donation to the Militant Fighting Fund.”

Active Workers Conference
Party branches are inviting workers and youth who have joined in such activities to participate in the SWP-organized Active Workers Conference in Ohio June 15-17. Party leaders will give reports on developments in class politics worldwide, the place of the Cuban Revolution and upcoming party-building perspectives; classes will address questions of program; and participants will have the opportunity to exchange experiences.

Arlene Rubinstein reports that party members in Washington, D.C., have made several trips to Harrisonburg, Virginia, to bring solidarity to poultry workers involved in a United Food and Commercial Workers union-organizing fight at the Cargill turkey plant there and to work with them on Militant coverage.

“Talking to workers there we sold six subscriptions to the paper along with several campaign books and 16 copies of the Militant,” Rubinstein said.

Eric Simpson from Oakland, California, reports that SWP members went door to door in Hayward to discuss the impact of the May Day actions. They also discussed incidents in the area where conservative speakers had engagements shut down.

Jesus, a 15-year-old high school student, and his father, a construction worker, were interested in what SWP members had to say. “There’s a highly charged political atmosphere at my school,” Jesus said. “Many say that anything that goes against what they believe should be called ‘hate speech.’”

Simpson said attacks on the right to speak come back on the working class. “We are for civil discussion and political debate about what advances the interests of the working class,” he said.

Jesus said he wanted to learn more about Simpson’s working-class perspective and purchased Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? His father got a subscription for the family.

Edwin Fruit reports that SWP members found interest in what they had to say participating in a union solidarity picnic by Steelworkers Local 5114 silver miners on strike at the Lucky Friday mine in Mullan, Idaho. In discussions with workers on their doorsteps in nearby Smelterville, four signed up for subscriptions and got Pathfinder books.

Contact the SWP branch nearest you listed on page 8 to join in the campaign, contribute to the fund, or to find out more about the Active Workers Conference.
Related articles:
Militant Fighting Fund (week five) (chart)
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