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Vol. 81/No. 43      November 20, 2017

(front page)

‘Militant’ gives insight into uniting working class

“It seems like the Militant gives insight into how working people handle things and what they’re involved in,” striking silver miner Boyd Dotson told Socialist Workers Party members at the United Steelworkers Local 5114 union hall in Mullan, Idaho, Oct. 31.

“I’m a Desert Storm era veteran. When I got home, I worked as a card dealer on a riverboat back east, then in a nuclear power plant in Illinois. When I came back west I worked in a sawmill and a fiberglass plant before becoming a miner,” he said. “We need to find a way to make our load lighter in life. The only way I see to do this is to work together.”

Dotson and Kristie Cline, his niece, whose husband is also a striking miner, were staffing the union hall while other strikers were holding a rally outside the Hecla Mining bosses’ headquarters in Coeur d’Alene. They pooled their money to get a subscription to the Militant along with a copy of The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes. The strike against Hecla is in its eighth month. (See article on front page.)

Party members were in Idaho to bring solidarity to the striking miners, join their rally and knock on workers’ doors in the area to discuss the strike, the deepening capitalist economic crisis, and its effects on working people, and to introduce the party and its publications.

We met Brandy Baldwin in Smelterville. She and her husband worked in a garment shop 50 miles from home until the company announced it was closing and sending the work to Mexico. She told SWP members Edwin Fruit and Michele Smith that even before their jobs disappeared, they were already struggling to cover the heating bill and other expenses.

“We don’t have any health insurance now,” Baldwin said. “I think we will need a revolution in this country to change what is happening to working people.” Her husband said he knew some miners who had died in fires and explosions in area mines and backed the silver miners strike for union control over safety wholeheartedly. They signed up for a subscription.

We also visited Becky Altman at her home in Mullan. She renewed her subscription. Altman said her sons, a striking silver miner and a gold miner in Alaska, had to leave home to find work because the mines dominate the area and there aren’t many other jobs.

“I support the miners strike because I understand the importance of safety. Too many have died over the years,” she said.

Altman said she had backed President Donald Trump in the elections because he seemed to stand for the working class, but was having second thoughts. “I’m not so sure now that he’ll help working people,” she said.

Over two days in the area six people signed up for subscriptions and we were able to get back in touch with a number of strikers and their relatives we met during their battle with the silver bosses.

Members of the SWP and Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and supporters elsewhere are in the home stretch of a nine-week campaign to increase readership of the Militant and books by party leaders.

Our discussions on workers’ doorsteps focus on the disastrous effects of the capitalists’ economic, social and political crisis, their ongoing wars abroad and the need for working people to chart a road to take power out of their hands and run the country ourselves.

Five books are offered at special discount when bought with a subscription. In addition to The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record, they are: Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? and Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power, all by Jack Barnes; Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters; and “It’s the Poor Who Face the Savagery of the US ‘Justice’ System” by five Cuban revolutionaries who were framed up and imprisoned in the U.S. for up to 16 years for their actions in defense of their revolution.

Reaching out to Walmart workers

Party members and supporters who work at Walmart continue to reach out to co-workers and others to introduce the party and its publications. SWP member Jill Hendricks and party supporter Morrie Dietrich went door to door near Walmart stores in Burnsville and Bloomington, Minnesota. By the end of the week they had sold six subscriptions and one of the books on special.

The drive runs concurrently with the SWP’s $100,000 fall fund to finance the party’s ongoing work. Below is a chart showing fund goals and progress in meeting them.

Hendricks reports that party members in the Twin Cities have collected $46 from 12 different co-workers at Walmart and by going door to door in neighborhoods around the stores where they work.

SWP branch quotas are currently $750 short of the $100,000 fund drive goal. We need increases from places like in Albany, New York, where pledges are now $314 over its quota. Contributions from Militant readers are a big help.

“A hotel worker on the picket line in front of the Albany Hilton contributed $5 to the party fund, and a worker we met knocking on doors in Troy also kicked in $5,” Maggie Trowe reports.

Janet Post writes that she and party member John Staggs organized a house meeting with Ezequiel Hernandez, a member of Transport Workers Union Local 234 who is laid off from Hyundai Rotem rail car assembly plant in Philadelphia. Hernandez wanted to renew his Militant subscription and talk about what workers face in his native Puerto Rico where they are living through an ongoing social disaster after Hurricane Irma.

He pointed to a headline in the Militant — “U.S. Colonialism Is Root of Carnage in Puerto Rico” — and showed it to his mother Carmen, who greeted us with fresh coffee and joined the conversation.

“I think the U.S. government is letting Puerto Rico bleed because they are not sure how much more they can exploit from the island,” Hernandez said. He told us they haven’t been able to reach his aunt, who lives in one of the areas hardest hit by the storm. “I sent a money order to my cousin, but who knows if he got it because there still is no communication service.”

If you would like to sign up for a Militant subscription or to order the books on discount, contact the office of the Socialist Workers party nearest you listed on page 8.  
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