In many areas campaigners are redrawing plans to make the most of the sales opportunities between now and June 1. To pick up the slack will require daily organization and participation, along with alertness to political developments.
Socialist workers, young socialists, and others in 36 cities and 11 unions from six countries enter the home stretch with some 280 Militant subscriptions to sell. For Perspectiva Mundial, its 100 to go. Those make for challenging, but reachable, goals.
Special attention will be required to make up the lag in sales of Capitalisms World Disorder: Working-Class Politics at the Millennium by Jack Barnes, and several issues of New International, all of which are available at generous discounts when purchased with a subscription. Campaigners have sold just over a third of this target so far.
The final stretch of the drive coincides with a modest uptick in labor resistance. Union strugglesincluding contract fights and union organizing drivesright now in the United States involve meat packers in Wisconsin, chemical workers in Texas, garment workers in Florida, and GE electrical workers in Massachusetts. These and other fights center around resistance to the results of a deepening deflationary crisis.
Unionists in a number of European countries are also taking strike actionin some cases on a large scale, such as in France, Germany, and Swedenand joining demonstrations to defend public health care and other social programs that are under fire by the capitalists. Similar skirmishes are taking place in Australia, Iceland and other imperialist countries.
As workers and farmers feel the impact of the bosses layoffs and attacks on the social wage, more begin to seek newspapers and books that can arm them politically with facts, Marxist analysis, and a revolutionary action program.
Midwest packing team sets example
A team that took the socialist periodicals to meat packers in the Midwest in recent days was welcomed by a number of workers, reported Kevin Dwire from Des Moines.
Volunteers from Des Moines, Omaha, Chicago, Twin Cities, and Sioux City joined the team, which sent squads through the northwest Iowa, northeast Nebraska, and South Dakota area, he wrote.
One squad traveled to Cherokee, Iowa, to participate in a benefit social for United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 789 on strike against Tyson Foods in Jefferson, Wisconsin.
Before the fund-raiser Militant supporters went door-to-door with the paper, and met a fighting-mad retired meat packer, Dwire continued. As he filled out the subscription card, he explained that his health insurance coverage is so poor that his life savings had been wiped out in four days during a recent health crisis. The wife of another meat packer bought a single copy of the paper. Her husbands pension had been recently cut off, and they are now facing payment of medical insurance premiums of more than $400 a month.
Team members also took the paper to workers at an IBP-Tyson plant in Denison, Iowa, and went door-to-door in Storm Lake, in the same state, meeting many meat packers. All told, they sold 15 subscriptions to the Militant in three days, along with 25 subscriptions to Perspectiva Mundial and 7 books. The majority of sales were to meatpackers.
Packinghouse workers in North Carolina also appreciated the efforts of another on-the-road team that visited the area over the Memorial Day weekend, reported Seth Galinsky.
To reach workers at the giant Smithfield Packing plant in Tar Heel, we canvassed door-to-door in nearby towns and trailer parks, some of which were bordered on three sides by huge cornfields and strawberry plantations, he wrote from Charlotte, North Carolina. Aside from meat packers, we met workers in the textile, construction, and chicken processing industries, and farm workers who were there to pick blueberries.
Some 6,000 Smithfield workers live in the area, Galinsky said. The UFCW has been fighting to win union recognition for more than a decade, in the face of company harassment that has included collusion with local police and physical assaults on union supporters. One worker recounted one argument the company uses to turn workers away from the union. He said, The company claims that the union will take out $6 in dues a week, but there wont be any pay raises. Other workers explained how the company discriminates against Latino workers at the plant. In one case they fired a pregnant worker to avoid paying medical and maternity benefits, claiming that her work papers were not in order.
Discussions on fight for union
Every one of the couple dozen Smithfield workers we spoke to has been involved in discussions about the union on the job over the last several months, noted Galinsky. He reported that the team sold two Militant subscriptions and a number of single copies of both the Militant and Perspectiva Mundial.
From Los Angeles, Nan Bailey described Militant supporters stepped-up efforts there that have given the campaign momentum. Were concentrating on taking the papers and the books door-to-door in the working-class community where the Pathfinder bookstore is located, she said. Four teams have gotten out for a couple of hours each, bringing back three subscriptions and a similar number of names to call back for further discussions.
Weve also sold several subscriptions to young people who are building, and plan to participate in, the Cuba-U.S. Youth Exchange in July, Bailey reported, and weve put in a renewed effort to get out teams to meet workers at two garment plants on a weekly basis.
Militant supporters in all areasincluding those where the goals have been attainedwill need that kind of organized approach and fighting spirit in this final week. To help them track the international drives progress, the Militant will post a new subscription drive chart each night on its web site, www.themilitant.com. Organizers should send in new subscriptions by e-mail at the end of each day so the chart can be updated and posted the next morning. All subscriptions received at the Militant business office by noon on Tuesday, June 2, will be counted for the final scoreboard.
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