The SWP is planning an ambitious campaign to introduce the party to workers in neighborhoods across the city and surrounding areas, draw people into common activity, expand the circulation of the Militant and books by party leaders, and put Trowe on the ballot. They invite workers and young people to come and join in.
“There is a social crisis that takes the form of falling life expectancy for parts of the working class, an epidemic of opiate addiction and increased suicide rate,” Trowe said. “This will only get worse as the crisis of capitalism deepens.
“The Socialist Workers Party is the voice of the working class. Our program is one of solidarity and uniting working people,” she said. “My supporters and I are part of fighting the employers’ attacks, like the recent Honeywell lockout and the hard-fought Momentive strike, along with the ongoing fight to get the last of 26 workers fired during the strike back to work.”
Some 700 members of International Union of Electrical Workers-Communications Workers of American Local 81359 were forced on strike last November after voting down concession contract demands by the bosses. They went back to work in February, proud of how they strengthened their union in the fight. SWP members joined strikers on the picket line and helped build solidarity with their battle.
“The Paris climate accord, which claims to cut carbon emissions, is a sham,” Trowe said. “It’s a dogfight among the big capitalist powers for business and trade advantage while they try to suppress competition from countries their system holds in underdevelopment.
“Only working people have an interest in protecting land and labor,” she said. “Protection of the environment, like safety on the job, falls to the working class.”
Maria Diotte, a founder of Organize Your Actions who had invited Trowe to talk with her organization a couple weeks earlier and was at the press conference, told Trowe she wanted to discuss more about the climate deal.
While acknowledging the Paris Climate Accord was “flawed,” Diotte said, “It takes care of our planet by reducing emissions and transitioning to cleaner energy sources. It’s important to be part of that, regardless of who might be making money because of it.”
“Working people must fight for what we need, not what the capitalists and their politicians say is the best we can get,” Trowe said. “They try to blame us for damage to the earth and steer us toward moral witness and personal steps like sorting our trash, when they are the mega-polluters.”
“It’s their profit system that guarantees the destruction of life and limb on the job and contamination of the products, and of the air, water and land,” she said.
Diotte told Trowe her perspective was “eye-opening” and she wanted to explore it further.
Trowe had just returned from participating in a solidarity brigade to revolutionary Cuba. She condemned Washington’s continuing economic war against Cuba, calling for “Washington to get out of Guantánamo and end its criminal embargo.”
Campaigners fan out
The supporters of the campaign fanned out throughout the area to present the party to working people. SWP members came up from New York City to join in, including Osborne Hart, SWP candidate for mayor there.
As Trowe and campaign supporter Ray Parsons, a union electrician, were getting out of the car to campaign in Mechanicville, north of Albany, two of Parsons’ former coworkers recognized him and stopped to talk.
Max Clancy and Matt Landy, as well as Parsons, had walked the picket line in solidarity with Momentive strikers. “It sounds like the workers at Momentive didn’t get much from the strike,” Landy said.
“All the bosses are demanding concessions and going after the unions today. But Momentive workers I’ve talked with said they went back with their heads up, and their union stronger for having fought,” Trowe said. “They’ve won back the jobs of 25 of the 26 workers the company fired during the strike, and they’re fighting to get the last worker back. That doesn’t happen too often.”
“The politicians don’t care about us,” Landy said. “Now Hillary Clinton is blaming the Democratic Party for her election defeat. And the media is really going after Trump.”
“Neither Clinton nor Trump can solve the crisis working people face,” Trowe said. “But the relentless campaign by the liberals to get rid of Trump is really aimed at the working class, because the capitalist rulers fear the workers who voted for him. They saw workers’ anger at the ‘swamp’ of the rulers’ government, at the social disaster and depression conditions the bosses are shoving on our backs as their capitalist system’s crisis deepens, and they sense big battles are to come.” Clancy subscribed to the Militant.
“I saw you on television yesterday,” beer salesman Mike Gilbert told Trowe when they met. “Wasn’t Bernie Sanders doing the same thing as you — putting more focus on the working class?”
“No, Sanders defends the capitalist system. He proposes to raise taxes a little on the rich and make some reforms on health care and education in order to save capitalism,” Trowe said. “We think the working-class movement can grow in strength and numbers and do what they did in Cuba, make a revolution and end the dictatorship of capital. We can transform ourselves in the process, and fight to build our own workers and farmers government.” Gilbert got a copy of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart: Class, Privilege, and Learning Under Capitalism by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes and subscribed to the Militant.
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