The next day, at the same location, nearly 300 people attended a public meeting on The War Party, Working-Class Resistance, and Building the Communist Movement. The weekend also included a mega-sale of books on Marxism and world politics, a gathering of young socialists, and teams that went across the city to sell the Militant, Perspectiva Mundial, and books on revolutionary politics to working people and youth.
A public appeal was launched at the meeting to raise $150,000 for building the new premises. Those present responded with pledges big and small totaling nearly $87,000 and contributions of more than $10,000funds needed now to pay the immediate construction costs.
The new space is located on the 10th floor of a building in the middle of an industrial district where approximately 10,000 garment workers are concentrated in some 850 manufacturing shops, dozens of which are organized by the UNITE union, which has its international and several local headquarters nearby. A number of these shops can be seen from the windows of the new offices.
The new space fits our political needs and, very importantly, fits our budgets, Norton Sandler, a member of the National Committee of the Socialist Workers Party told the volunteers. It is the right size for the movement today.
The volunteers included members and supporters of the communist movement from cities across the United States as well as Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. On Saturday they divided into a number of work crews. One crew took initial steps toward building the new premises in the open floor, which included hangingº fluorescent lights from the ceiling.
Other teams transported and arranged books for a second-hand book sale. It lived up to its billing as the book sale of the decade, as dozens snapped up books on Marxism, politics, and history. Most of the books came from the library in the building that housed the SWP national headquarters and the editorial offices of the Militant and Pathfinder Press until a year ago. A good number were donated from the personal collection of Arthur Lobman, a party member for nearly half a century, who died in June. Young socialists in particular walked out with big boxes filled to the brim with books.
Other crews set up photo and book displays for the public meeting on Sunday afternoon. Speakers included Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, and Mary-Alice Waters, editor of the Marxist magazine New International. Pete Connors from the Communist League in the United Kingdom and its newly established branch in Edinburgh, Scotland; Bill Schmitt from the Young Socialists in the Twin Cities, Minnesota; and Norton Sandler were also part of the panel. Martín Koppel, organizer of the executive committee of the New York SWP branch, and Arrin Hawkins of the Young Socialists in New York, co-chaired the event.
Waters and Barnes both noted that the event and the weekend were a celebration of two achievements: the hard work and long road that brought the movement to this point, and the coming publication of four new Pathfinder titles.
The new titles are Rebelión Teamster, the Spanish-language edition of Teamster Rebellion by Farrell Dobbs; Aldabonazo: Inside the Cuban Revolutionary Underground, 1952-58 by Armando Hart, in both Spanish and English; and Leur Trotsky et le nôtre, the French edition of Their Trotsky and Ours by Jack Barnes. (A report of the meeting will be published in a future issue.)
Barnes ended his talk with an appeal for volunteers to join the construction crews. Initial construction will enable the New York Pathfinder Books to be moved into the new premises by the end of December, the deadline for vacating their current location.
Barnes urged the volunteers not to skimp on providing a kitchen in the new hall. That will serve as a vital center for workers and young people who come in and out of the offices to sit down after a days work or in a break during their political work, and to relax, talk politics, and get to know each other and the communist movementwith a pot of chicken stew cooking, more often than not.
Hilda Cuzco contributed to this article.
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