BY LEA KNOWLS
This column is written and edited by the Young Socialists (YS), an international organization of young workers, students, and other youth fighting for socialism. For more information about the YS write to: Young Socialists, 1573 N. Milwaukee, P.O. Box #478, Chicago, Ill. 60622. Tel: (773) 772-0551. Compuserve: 105162,605
SEATTLE - Young Socialists National Executive Committee organizer Jack Willey spent two days in Olympia and Seattle, Washington, April 23-24 talking to students and workers about his participation in a Militant reporting trip to Egypt and the Balkans in March. The Seattle chapter of the Young Socialists set up speaking events for Willey on two campuses.
On April 23 at Seattle Central Community College (SCCC), Willey spoke about resistance by working people and students throughout the world, focusing on Kosovo. He pointed to the growing opportunities of revolutionary organizations like the Young Socialists to build the communist movement and link up with anti-imperialist fighters all over the world, from Cuba to Ireland to Namibia.
On April 24 Willey met with students at The Evergreen State College in Olympia. Youth discussed the struggles taking place in Yugoslavia today in the context of other developments in world politics. Tim Wetmiller asked if the leadership of the Yugoslav revolution in the 1940s was Stalinist, and if so, why there was a break between Joseph Stalin in the Soviet and Josip Tito, who headed the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. He also asked "Isn't the U.S. neutral?" referring to the U.S. and other imperialist troops that occupy parts of Yugoslavia today. Willey explained that the U.S. government has troops in Yugoslavia as part of preparing for the day they will have to militarily confront and try to smash the working class there. The ultimate target of U.S. imperialism in this intervention is overturning the Russian workers state.
A young woman came by the meeting to learn about what's happening in Yugoslavia after hearing about it the day before at a socialist literature table. She bought a copy of the Marxist magazine New International no. 10, which includes the article "Defending Cuba, defending Cuba's socialist revolution" and a three-month subscription to the Militant. She is especially interested in the Cuban revolution, and had questions for the speaker about the relationship between the government and working people of Cuba, the effects of increased tourism on the revolution, and whether there are people in Cuba who want the return of capitalism.
That evening Willey spoke at an event, entitled "Eyewitness report - Resistance in Yugoslavia and Albania," to raise money for the international Militant Fund Drive. The event was attended by 34 people. The discussion focused on the resistance by workers and farmers in Yugoslavia since the collapse of Stalinist regimes throughout Eastern Europe in the early 1990s and the openings to rebuild a revolutionary movement.
Members of the chapter have been participating weekly in plant gate sales with members of the Socialist Workers Party at a local rail yard and at The Boeing Company plant in Renton, Washington. Seven workers bought the paper at an April 22 Boeing plant-gate sale. The issue featured an article on the crisis facing the Boeing Company as it tries to compete in a world marked by sharpening competition. One worker from Ireland saw the lead article entitled "UK Troops out of Ireland!" and immediately stopped to talk about the recent agreement.
In building for Willey's tour, the YS organized a class April 22 entitled "Black Nationalism and Self- Determination," based on the book by communist leader Leon Trotsky. The class participants included four young people from SCCC.
A participant in the class asked what we can do to fight for Black rights today. One response was to defend the rights of all oppressed, including Blacks, women, immigrants, and others, as well as participating in actions to defend democratic rights.
Members of the chapter have been working with other activists to defend affirmative action - a central gain won in the civil rights movement in the 1960s and the women's liberation movement in the 1970s. This right is currently threatened in this state by a measure that will be on the ballot in November. One Black youth who attended the class was part of the recent fight by students at Roosevelt High School against racism. Another student, Michael, went to Willey's talk at SCCC the following day to learn more about Yugoslavia, the subject of a YS-organized class earlier in the month.
Jack Willey's tour was part of the efforts of the
Seattle chapter to raise money towards its $400 goal as a
part of the YS national fund drive. Willey received an
honoraria from one university for a speaking event.
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