BY MAURICE WILLIAMS
Supporters of the Militant and Perspectiva Mundial (PM) ended the sales drive with a bang, selling 402 subscriptions to the Militant during the eighth and final week of the campaign to win new readers to the socialist press. The final results are 1,364 Militant subscriptions, 410 PM subs, and 620 copies of the Marxist magazine New International.
While the campaign fell short of the goal by just 3 percent, socialist workers, members of the Young Socialists, and other supporters have responded to fights by working people with sales of the socialist press at airports, shipping docks, factory gates, on the job, at political events, on campuses, and in working-class communities. Sales have gone up, resulting in higher bundle orders and extra orders by the distributors of the Militant and Perspectiva Mundial. Since the beginning of the year bundle orders for the Militant have risen by 50 percent.
"We organized a plant gate sale at Maple Leaf Foods to talk to ex-strikers in Burlington, Ontario, where we sold 14 papers in the pouring rain," reports Joanne Pritchard from Toronto. "We held up a that read `Meatpackers Fightback from the U.S. to Alberta: Read the Militant.' " Pointing to more working-class battles heating up, Pritchard said some 2,000 carpenters and drywallers demanding a wage increase have set up picket lines at construction sites in Toronto.
Stu Singer, a rail worker in Washington, D.C., reports, "We sold one subscription to the Militant and one copy of New International no. 4 at a May 12 meeting of about 100 Black farmers who attended a hearing on their suit against the Department of Agriculture. Eddie Carthan, a veteran fighter and former mayor of Tchula, Mississippi, bought the copy of New International. Eddie said he reads the Militant regularly - he has had a sub for 20 years."
Carthan has not been farming for a few years but helped organize a meeting in Mississippi of 300 Black farmers two weeks ago to support this class-action suit against the government. About 30 farmers who attended that meeting - from Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina - came to Washington for the hearing. Other farmers who bought copies of the Militant were from Louisiana, where they are planning a statewide meeting to involve others in this fight.
The sales team campaigned for the Iowa socialist slate: Tom Alter for governor, Maggie Trowe for U.S. Senate, Ray Parsons for agriculture secretary, and Amanda Ulman for Iowa State Assembly. We began with a plant-gate sale at the Oscar Mayer plant in Davenport, Iowa, April 24 where we sold 10 copies of the Militant. Those workers, who had just signed a contract that will increase their wages by $0.80 to more than $12 per hour, bought 10 Militants.
In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, we sold at the plant gate of the John Morrell plant and learned of a visit by Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) agents, where they waited outside the plant and arrested 18 workers.
Later in the week we drove to Columbus Junction, Iowa, and found the IBP plant there. The town of 1,000 people has a little main street with two Mexican stores and a Mexican restaurant. There we bought a local Spanish-language paper that announced a League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC) statewide conference in nearby Muscatine two days later. We sold at the IBP plant, to an almost all-Mexican workforce. There is no union now at the plant, and IBP did its best to defeat the last UFCW effort a few years ago. There have been no raids recently, but workers told us of being threatened with deportation when they tried to get workers compensation for carpal tunnel syndrome.
We went to the LULAC conference in Muscatine, attended by more than 50 people. The presence of a handful of workers, from IBP and a few other plants, added a lot to the conference. We were permitted to set up a campaign table, which helped in selling five Militant subs and a New International. In Marshalltown, Iowa, two of our Swift co- workers joined us for a class on the Mexican revolution that one of them presented.
DETROIT - -Last week we sold 69 copies of the Militant and in the last four days we sold 13 Militant subscriptions, one PM sub, and five copies of New International. On May 6 we met and drew up a daily battle plan to fight for the goals. Supporters took days off work to campaign on campuses in the region, sell the socialist press in working-class communities, follow up on 24 people who bought copies of the paper, and sent three special teams to talk to Northwest Airlines workers.
The highlight of the week was sales at the anti-KKK rally and the National Black Farmers Conference on May 9. The anti- Klan rally attracted more than 500 people, where we sold 14 copies of the Militant, four subscriptions, and five Pathfinder titles. Some 400 people attended the Black farmers meeting in the city, where participants purchased eight copies of the Militant, two subscriptions, one New International, and 14 Pathfinder titles.
Two supporters who are also members of the United Auto Workers stayed after work and made special arrangement with the Militant sales team at the plant gate that resulted in two co-workers buying subscriptions. Socialist Workers candidates Holly Harkness and Rosa Garmendia, who are meatpackers, have joined with their co-workers in a fight against the bosses in the ham boning department. They sold one Militant subscription and two copies of Perspectiva Mundial after participating in a union meeting, organizing a house meeting with their co-workers, and joining a sales team outside their plant gate after work.
SYDNEY, Australia - We sold the last Militant sub to reach our goal to a member of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) who is a reinstated wharfie. He has been a regular buyer of the paper at Port Botany before their fight erupted. During the course of the sales campaign Militant supporters sold 76 copies paper to MUA members and supporters at plant gates and on the picket lines. We sold five subscriptions on the picket lines, including three to MUA members and one to a coal miner. In the 10 weeks leading up to the mass sackings of the dock workers we organized regular sales at the plant gates at Port Botany. So when the picket lines were set up, the Militant was already known to a layer of MUA members.
We made a special effort to get teams to three May Day marches - in Wollongong, Newcastle, and Sydney. They were all much bigger, despite the heavy rain, than previous years. Solidarity with the MUA was the focus with spirited chants by the thousands of unionists who participated.
During the four weeks of the wharf battle, we sold 269
issues of the Militant. This is the highest sales ever of
the Militant in this country.
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