“We explained the devastation working people face as a result of the long-term crisis of the capitalist system; that workers who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and then voted for Trump, helping get him elected, didn’t suddenly become racists,” Fruit said. “They were looking for relief from unemployment, lack of health care, low wages, the scourge of opioid addiction and more. Above all, they were looking to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington that does nothing but makes things worse.
“We pointed to the gains won by working people, including major advances for women in the Cuba Revolution,” she said. “They were transformed in the process of making and defending their revolution, taking political power and maintaining it to this day. This is an example worth emulating here.”
The conference drew 558 NOW members and guests, many from chapters throughout Florida but also from as far away as Hawaii. Dozens stopped by the Socialist Workers Party table during the conference to talk and buy revolutionary literature.
Some were drawn to a photo display showing the activities of SWP candidates around the country. It also featured pictures from the Militant of young women from Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran and the Philippines buying communist literature at book fairs and other international political events the SWP has participated in over the past year.
Participants bought nine copies of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? and four copies of The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record, both by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes, and seven copies of Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters. Participants also got a number of titles on the Cuban Revolution, women’s liberation, Marxist classics, the Jewish question and other subjects. All told, $517 in literature and 11 Militant subscriptions were sold.
Jayna Fleming, a young African-American woman from San Antonio, Texas, spent some time at the table. SWP member Janice Lynn told her about the upcoming “In the footsteps of Che” brigade going to Cuba in October and the opportunity it presents to learn about the Cuban Revolution firsthand. “I got a lot out of our conversations,” Fleming said, picking up Malcolm X Talks to Young People and a subscription. “I want to learn more about the brigade.”
SWP members also joined political debate at several workshops.
“It’s been over 40 years since abortion became legal in the U.S. and look where we are today,” Cindy Jaquith, SWP candidate for Miami mayor, said at the workshop on “Reproductive Justice.”
“Governments at every level have chipped away at this basic right since the day it became legal,” Jaquith said. “NOW has advocated the same approach being put forth today — elect ‘feminist’ or ‘pro-woman’ candidates, meaning Democrats. It doesn’t work. We need a fighting women’s movement, independent of the bosses’ two parties that can mobilize broad support in the streets for women’s right to abortion.
“I am also concerned about the liberal’s relentless witch hunt against President Trump, which threatens political rights critical to working people,” she said. “The target is the working class, those who voted for Trump, looking for a change from the capitalist crisis today. It’s a lie that these workers — Caucasian, Black, Latino, women and men — are ‘deplorables’ who are anti-woman, racist, and homophobic, as Hillary Clinton said. Workers’ hatred for anti-working-class politics in Washington and the economic carnage they face means we can find allies to fight to defend our rights.”
One NOW member at the workshop asked Jaquith how she discusses abortion with workers who are opposed to it. “We go door to door in working-class communities nationwide and this is one of the questions we discuss,” Jaquith said. “We don’t challenge the moral or religious views that workers have, but explain that the government shouldn’t decide if a woman should give birth. Many, many workers agree that it should be up to the woman to decide, even if they are personally against abortion.”
That’s right, the questioner replied.
Socialist Workers Party steps up campaigning across the country
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