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Vol. 72/No. 12      March 24, 2008

(front page)
‘Workers will transform
ourselves through fights’
SWP candidate addresses Minnesota students
Militant/Robert Silver
Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. vice president Alyson Kennedy addresses March 6 class on the Cuban Revolution at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS—Twenty-five students at the University of Minnesota attended a March 6 discussion with Alyson Kennedy, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. vice president.

The theme of the class she spoke at is “The Cuban Revolution Through the Eyes of Cuban Revolutionaries.” Attendance at this session was optional.

A lively question-and-answer period followed Kennedy’s opening remarks.

“The U.S. is a large country, set in its ways,” said one student. “What strategy do you employ to get popular support?”

“Workers are capable of a lot more than what we initially understand,” said Kennedy. She described a union-organizing struggle she was part of as a coal miner in Utah. “At the start of the fight, some workers said, ‘We can’t change anything.’ But we had a deep impact on other miners in the West and set back the company we struck against. We accomplished far more than we ever imagined. And we changed ourselves in the process.”

A Somali-American student asked, “Is a revolution in the U.S. possible without violence?”

“In this country the ruling rich use violence to hold down the working people,” said Kennedy. In the late 1870’s for example, “in order to defeat the gains of Blacks and poor whites under Radical Reconstruction, the rulers launched the violence of groups like the KKK,” she said.

“In reaction to the ruling class offensive against working people and the spread of imperialist wars, in the years to come there will be mass struggles,” said Kennedy. “They will be defensive in character.”

The same student later asked, “Is a revolution possible short of a big economic crisis?”

“All evidence is that we are in the beginning stages of an economic crisis,” said Kennedy. “It will have its ups and downs, but it will force workers in the U.S. to fight to defend ourselves. The big question will be whether or not there is a leadership that will lead the workers to victory. This is exactly what the Socialist Workers Party is preparing for.”

After the class, several students stayed around for informal discussion. Seven signed up to be on the mailing list of Young Socialists for Calero and Kennedy. One bought a subscription to the Militant and joined socialist campaigners at a conference in Chicago to defend the rights of immigrant workers two days later.

Kennedy also spoke along with Rebecca Williamson, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s 5th District, at a Militant Labor Forum here. Local radio station KFAI also interviewed her.
Related articles:
Socialist candidate speaks on ‘Elections and Immigrant Rights’ at Midwest conference
Seattle-area warehouse workers organize against firing of socialist campaign supporter  
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