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   Vol. 67/No. 37           October 27, 2003  
‘Join the fight to bring down the final empire’
NAPA, California—In the days before, during, and after California’s October 7 recall election, Young Socialists for Britton joined other campaigners for the Socialist Workers Party candidate for governor of California, Joel Britton, to take their message to workers and young people around the state. They presented the revolutionary working-class alternative to the twin employers’ parties, the Democrats and Republicans.

One campaign stop was a post-election return visit on October 9 to the Napa Valley, home to thousands of farm workers and their families.

“We formed last spring to educate ourselves on the power we have, and to learn more about our past,” explained Rosalinda Ibarra, 20, co-president of the Latina Club at Napa Valley College. “Most of us were born here, and we don’t know much about our own history and culture.”

The campaign meeting organized by the Latina Club drew nine members. Britton explained the impact the rise of the Chicano liberation movement in the early 1970s had on radicalizing youth. The collection of Pathfinder Press pamphlets and books on the Chicano movement brought by the socialists to the meeting was of great interest. Chicanas Speak Out/Women: New Voice of La Raza; La Raza Unida Party in Texas; Chicano Liberation and Revolutionary Youth, and The Politics of Chicano Liberation were a few of the titles the young women pored over. The latter title continues to be available from Pathfinder.

The socialist candidate also described the current fight for a union by some 75 underground coal miners in Huntington, Utah.

“This is an example of how things are changing in the attitudes of working people today—the growing hunger for solidarity,” Britton said, “and the resistance we can expect will develop on a bigger scale as the crisis of capitalism deepens.”

“I thought Joel’s presentation on the miners and the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride was especially interesting,” said Ibarra after the meeting. “We had never heard of these things.”

The previous week, on October 1, a Socialist Workers Party campaign team at San Francisco State College bumped into a rally of 200 students in front of the Cesar Chavez Student Union. Organized by the Black Student Union, the action protested racist harassment directed against three Black women students, who were the targets of a watermelon and piece of paper with the word “nigger” placed in front of their dorm room. Several protesters bought copies of the socialist campaign paper, the Militant.

On October 4, socialist campaigners went to Oakland to speak with workers and youth there about the recent acquittal of three cops—part of a gang within the police department known as the “Riders”—charged with beatings, kidnappings, and falsifying police records.

A demonstration of 200 was held in front of Oakland City Hall the day after the October 1 verdict.

Teams also campaigned at Los Angeles Community College and among supermarket workers at strike authorization meetings in Los Angeles.

On October 7, Gov. Gray Davis was recalled from office by a 55 percent margin. Republican candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California, with 49 percent of the vote. Proposition 54 was defeated. Socialist Workers Party candidate Joel Britton received 655 votes.

On the Friday evening following the elections, Militant Labor Forums were held in Los Angeles and San Francisco to discuss the outcome of the recall vote and the revolutionary working-class perspective that the Socialist Workers Party candidates put forward. The featured speakers were Joel Britton in Los Angeles and Dennis Richter, a member of the Socialist Workers Party’s National Committee, in San Francisco.

“If you are a young person facing your future, you don’t have to accept a life of choosing one rotten compromise after another,” said Richter. “What our party offers you is being part of building a communist, working-class leadership that can forge a revolutionary movement capable of taking on the ruling capitalists and bringing our class to power by establishing a workers and farmers government.

“This is the life to be part of, the fight to bring down the final empire, U.S. imperialism, which until it is overthrown will remain the biggest threat to humanity.”

Richter was joined on the platform by Arrin Hawkins, a Young Socialist for Britton. She reviewed the accomplishments of the socialist campaign and invited others to join in continuing to campaign for the socialist perspective.

Deborah Liatos, Socialist Workers candidate for mayor of San Francisco, urged those present to be part of the socialist mayoral campaign in the November elections.

A collection at the meetings in San Francisco and Los Angeles raised $405 to send three of the full-time volunteers to Utah and Colorado to take the socialist perspective to miners and other workers in the Western coalfields.
Related articles:
Meaning of California election  
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