“They try to pit us against each other in competition for fewer jobs. The working class, labor, socialist campaign of James Harris and myself is putting forward a fight for a government-funded jobs program to put millions to work building schools, homes, hospitals, child care centers, roads—and other things workers need.”
Discussion continued after the class at a book table where two students subscribed to the Militant.
Michael Cox asked DeLuca how the public works program she outlined would be funded. “I like the idea but I don’t see where there is the money for it,” he said.
“There is no lack of resources,” DeLuca responded. “Workers create all wealth through our labor, much of which is taken away from us by the bosses.”
DeLuca also met here with activists in Stand With Dignity, a group that organizes to fight for affordable housing and jobs in the reconstruction of public housing, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“Black workers face a lot of competition for jobs,” said Charles Pitts, a construction worker and member of the group. “When we look for a job they use the excuse you’re a convicted felon, and you can forget about it.
“The majority of our communities are unemployed,” Pitts said. “Then the bosses turn around and exploit immigrants with bad conditions and low pay. They say that we are the law-breakers, but they break their own laws about immigrants. What can we do about this?” he asked.
“The laws against immigrants don’t only target these fellow workers, they are aimed at all workers, to keep us weak and divided,” DeLuca responded. “This is why the only answer is to fight for the rights of immigrants and legalization of their status.”
“What about gays and lesbians? Do you support same-sex marriage?” asked LaToya Lewis, a member of the group and a student at Southern University here.
“We oppose any discrimination against people for their sexual orientation,” DeLuca said. She pointed to a copy of the book Lewis was looking at, Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power, which talks about the 1967 Supreme Court decision declaring state laws that prohibited interracial marriage unconstitutional as part of the Black struggle. “We have to fight to keep governments out of our bedrooms and our lives.”
“Yes, we say to others, let’s join together,” said Alfred Marshall, the group’s organizer. “Books and papers like this can help. “Marshall and Lewis renewed their subscriptions to the Militant and took some copies of the paper to distribute. They also bought all four books on special.
“We are going to start a library here with these books and papers,” said Marshall. “I got books like this from Pathfinder when I was in jail in the 1980s and they were very helpful. We need to help spread the truth about our history and about our future.”
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