The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 68/No. 41           November 9, 2004  
Stumping for socialism from Reykjavík to Seattle
“Here in Iceland we only hear about Bush and Kerry and they are saying the same things,” said Gunnhildur Ólafsdóttir, a striking schoolteacher in Reykjavík. Ólafsdóttir was talking to Arrin Hawkins, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. vice president, on October 25, during Hawkins’s campaign visit there.

“Yes, they are both representatives of the war party,” Hawkins replied. “Kerry’s main point is that he would be better at carrying out the ‘war on terror.’ But we work to make it known that if you vote on November 2, you don’t have to vote between these two parties, there is a working-class alternative—the SWP ticket.”

As the 12-week drive to boost the readership of the Militant and its Spanish-language sister publication Perspectiva Mundial passes the two-thirds mark, partisans of the socialist publications around the world are getting out the word about that working-class alternative to the capitalist parties in the home stretch of the U.S. elections. The international drive is just ahead of pace on the Militant goal and 24 subscriptions behind target on the PM. Socialist campaigners in Iceland maintained their lead in the effort by making maximum use of Hawkins’s visit to get socialist books and newspapers into the hands of those who were attracted to what the candidate had to say.

At a pre-university in Reykjavík, 50 students filled a classroom during the lunch hour to hear Hawkins. Immediately after she spoke, hands were in the air for questions. One student asked: “If you get to power will your party not be corrupted like every other?”

“Working people need to overthrow the capitalist system to create a new society built on human solidarity, not the dog-eat-dog mentality we’re taught under capitalism,” said Hawkins. She pointed to the selfless internationalist course followed by the Cuban revolution as an example of how working people can start transforming social consciousness. Two students bought subscriptions to the Militant and a dozen signed up to get notices of the local Militant Labor Forums.

In the United States, meanwhile, socialist coal miners are leading the effort in the trade unions to win new readers to the socialist press. “We are now at 22 Militant subscriptions and 6 PM subscriptions,” reports Anne Nixon, a coal miner who is organizing the effort. “We are very close to making our goals of 30 Militant and 12 PM subs.”

In Seattle, SWP presidential candidate Róger Calero swung through the state October 24 to campaign alongside the SWP senatorial candidate from Washington, Connie Allen. On the picket line of striking cannery workers at the giant Snokist plant in Yakima Valley, Calero was well received by workers who’ve gotten to know the socialist campaign in the month they’ve been on strike. Since the walkout began September 23, eight Snokist strikers or supporters of their struggle have purchased subscriptions to the two publications, along with a number of revolutionary books and pamphlets. Socialist campaigners have visited the picket line many times.

The subscription drive will continue through November 21. Partisans of the SWP campaign say they won’t stop stumping for socialism after election day.

“For the Democrats and Republicans, the campaigning ends on November 2,” said Martín Koppel, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate in New York. “But not the socialist campaign. We will keep doing the same thing, standing with working people resisting the bosses’ offensive against our unions and the drive by imperialism against our brothers and sisters in the oppressed nations. We continue getting out the platform and perspective of building the working-class alternative to the parties of capitalism 365 days a year.”

Ólöf Andra Proppé in Reykjavík contributed to this article.

Fall Militant/Perspectiva Mundial Fall Subscription Drive chart (week 8)

Related articles:
SWP presidential candidate in L.A., on last stretch of U.S. campaign tour
SWP candidates: ‘Free locked-up Vieques protesters’
SWP candidates get good response at N.Y. college
Calero meets farmers in Tchula, Mississippi
SWP candidates in New York campaign among meat packers at Hunts Point Meat Market in Bronx
SWP candidate speaks to striking Iceland teachers
SWP campaign in Florida: ‘Vote No on parental notification act, Yes to increase in minimum wage’
Firebombed SWP campaign hall in Pennsylvania reopened
SWP candidate for Senate campaigns among cannery workers in Washington  
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