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Vol. 78/No. 24      June 23, 2014

Workers, youth prepare for
Active Workers Conference
“There is so much I want to learn. That’s what I expect from the conference,” said Shirelynn George, one of several hundred workers and young people preparing to take part in the June 19-21 Active Workers Conference in Oberlin, Ohio, sponsored by the Socialist Workers Party.

The gathering will bring together regular readers of the Militant, participants in labor and political struggles, those active in defense of the Cuban Five, and members and supporters of the communist movement from the U.S. and Canada, several countries in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Conference reports panels, classes and informal discussions, aim to strengthen the work to increase readership of the Militant and books on working-class struggles and the fight for socialism around the world; recruit members and a widening milieu of co-militants and supporters to the communist movement; and increase involvement in workers struggles and other political activity.

“I came across the Militant in the early 1990s and had a subscription,” said George. “But then I lost it and couldn’t find it again for many years. But a few years back I came across it when I attended the Brooklyn book fair and signed up for a subscription. Since then I’ve been reading it.”

Over the last couple years she has been part of building events in support of the Cuban Revolution and joined other activities with members of the SWP.

A health care worker in New York and member of Service Employees International Union Local 1199, George came to the U.S. from Grenada 25 years ago. As a teenager, she was among tens of thousands of working people who actively participated in the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution, led by Maurice Bishop.

“The revolution was and still is very important to me,” she said. “I saw how ordinary farmers and workers suddenly meant something and how people across the whole island were drawn into it. And I saw how the Cuban revolutionaries stood in solidarity with our revolution.”

“I really respect the Militant. I learn a lot from it,” said Manuel Aguilar, 34, who works for a company that produces specialized oil field vehicles in Houston. “I read that there will be a discussion about Ukraine at the conference and I am especially interested in this. People there did very positive things fighting for their rights and their country.”

Aguilar is active in Estamos Unidos Mexicanos, a community group that fights abuses by the cops, the bosses and the government, with focus on helping children whose parents have been deported, and supports workers’ struggles.

The fight for Ukrainian sovereignty and for democratic rights there, in Russia and throughout the countries of the former Soviet Union demonstrate the space that has opened up for working people in the region to organize, discuss and engage in political activity — something that was closed under decades of Stalinist rule by a privileged bureaucracy that falsely claimed to be communist.

The conference will discuss how the communist movement can respond to the greater political space open for workers, farmers, women and oppressed nationalities throughout the world — from eastern Europe to Egypt and India, from Bangladesh to Turkey.

Organizing to win broader support in the working class for the fight to free the Cuban Five and the moral example of the Cuban Revolution will also be central to discussions.

Six classes will supplement the main political talks given by central leaders of the SWP. Classes are:

There Are No “Laws” for the Transition From Capitalism to Socialism

Chernobyl, Angola, Rectification, and the Course Led by Fidel and Che: The Weight of Subjective and Moral Factors in the Proletarian-Led Transition to Socialism

The Fight for Women’s Emancipation, 1986 and 2014: What’s Changed?

The Westward Expansion of Communism in Canada Comes Closer

Defending the Party and Its Program: Socialism on Trial and 50 Years of Covert Operations in the US

Communism and Revolutionary Centralism: In Defense of Marxism and Struggle for a Proletarian Party

“I think the conference is an opportunity to get intense information, perhaps a lot more than I can absorb in two or three days,” said Yasemin Aydinoglu, a nurse in Elmira, New York, who came to the U.S. from Turkey 13 years ago. “I will find some answers to my questions, for example from the second trip to Ukraine.

“I’ve read the Militant off and on for several years. Over the last period I’ve read it more carefully,” she said. “The news is from the point of view of the workers, which you cannot find in the popular media. It helps me to create a link between the workers of the country I grew up in and the one I live in now.”

For information, contact Militant supporters in your area, listed on page 6, or write to the Militant, 306 W. 37th St., 13th Floor, New York, NY 10018.  
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