OKLAHOMA CITY — The Socialist Workers Party campaign to expand readership of the Militant and books on the communist program by party leaders takes place during a rising wave of school strikes and protests across the country.
Thousands of teachers, other school staff, students, public employees and other workers gathered at the Capitol here April 2 to protest the lack of funding for public schools throughout the state. Socialist Workers Party members and supporters set up a literature table there.
“The two party system is against us,” teacher John Irons, 33, told me by a literature table set up by the Socialist Workers Party. “The Democrats and Republicans are anti-worker and we need to shift our allegiances. We are begging for crumbs.”
“I want that one about Clinton. Many of my friends still have illusions in him,” Irons said pointing to The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record. He also got Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? and a subscription to the Militant. The titles are two of the five books the SWP is offering at half price with a Militant subscription. (See ad below)
“I am excited about anything that unites the working class,” Mike Rogers told party member Jacquie Henderson as they discussed the large turnout at the strike rally. “Our power is in our numbers on the picket lines and in the streets,” said Henderson. “We need independent working-class political action.” Rogers got a subscription and a copy of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?”
At this rally and one the following day 35 Militant subscriptions were sold and 37 books, including eight copies of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?
The SWP is in the second week of its eight-week campaign that goes hand in hand with the Militant Fighting Fund, whose goal is to raise $112,000. The fund is made up of contributions big and small from working people who appreciate the paper.
‘Have to get out of their framework’
At an April 2 teachers’ rally in Frankfort, Kentucky, participants picked up four Militant subscriptions and two of the books on special.
SWP members also went door to door in Frankfort, Shelbyville and Providence, selling four subscriptions and five more books. A man who works with adults with special needs told Nadine Carr that he didn’t oppose the teachers’ actions, but was opposed to paying more taxes that the government says is needed to fund education.
“We have to get out of their framework, that there’s a limited pie that we have to fight over for crumbs,” Carr replied. “Our labor produces more than enough wealth to provide for the education and other things working people need, but under capitalism it goes into the pockets of the ruling class.” Carr reported that he liked what she said and got a copy of the Militant.
SWP members from the Bay Area knocked on doors of working people in Sacramento, California, March 25 to discuss the police killing of Stephon Clark, an unarmed Black man, the previous week. A nonunion construction worker told Joel Britton that what the cops did to Stephon Clark was “not right.” Originally from Mexico, this worker said there is “plenty of work now for people who want to work.” Too many people, he said, “are lazy.”
Britton explained that most fast food and retail stores have “now hiring” signs up and most of these jobs are part time and pay the state minimum of $11 an hour, not enough to live on. He said that with more people being drawn into the workforce, confidence among workers is increasing and pointed to issues of the Militant with front-page coverage of the West Virginia teachers and school workers strike. This worker got The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record and Are they Rich Because They’re Smart?
At a nearby house, Andrea Morell spoke with a teacher who was inspired by the West Virginia teachers strike and subscribed to the Militant.
Felicity Coggan reports from New Zealand that in the days leading up to the drive’s launch, a Communist League team traveled to Lyttelton, Christchurch, to build solidarity with Rail and Maritime Transport Union members on strike against the Lyttelton Port Company. Cargo handler Sam Reid bought a subscription, saying, “I’ve seen this paper a long time ago, and I like it.”
“It’s always good to have a world view,” said Polly Bysterveld, as she subscribed. The only woman crane operator at the port, she blazed the trail for several other women who have been employed there since she started in 2004. Bysterveld plans to share her Militant with a Spanish-speaking friend.
Members of the Communist League in Montreal and the Socialist Workers Party in Albany, New York, joined the picket line of aluminum workers locked out by ABI Bécancour in Trois-Rivière April 2. The workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 9700, are resisting company attacks on pension coverage, seniority and other conditions. Copies of the French language editions of Are they Rich Because They’re Smart? and Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible were sold on the picket line.
To join the party’s campaign, contact the SWP or Communist League branch nearest you listed in the directory.