Deep interest in teachers’ fight fuels ‘Militant,’ book, fund drive

By Dan Fein
April 23, 2018

“After hearing the speakers and discussion tonight, I’m doubling my pledge to the Militant Fighting Fund,” said Wisconsin grain farmer Randy Jasper as he wrote out his check for $200. Jasper was referring to the Militant Labor Forum held in Chicago April 6 where Laura Anderson and I gave firsthand reports on the rallies by teachers and their supporters in Frankfort, Kentucky, and Oklahoma City. Twenty-three people attended the meeting.

Socialist Workers Party members and supporters from around the country have traveled to West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona to join a rising wave of teachers strikes and protests. As they stand with the school workers, they have also been introducing books by party leaders and the Militant to other workers inspired by these labor battles.

The Militant Fighting Fund is raising $112,000 to help cover the paper’s expenses, as well as to upgrade its website. The eight-week drive goes from March 24 through May 22.

Malcolm Jarrett, a chef in Pittsburgh, pledged $100 to the fund. “The political perspective in the Militant is decisive. I just love it,” he said. Jarrett went to West Virginia during the nine-day teachers strike several weeks ago to show solidarity. When teachers struck in Oklahoma April 2, he drove 16 hours to get to their rally that day. He joined SWP members at a party literature table, helping to make books on the lessons of previous working-class struggles available to fighting school workers attending the rally.

A medical practitioner gave $CA20 for the fund to members of the Communist League going door to door in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Jacquie Henderson and I met Alejandra Sanchez and Sergio Gomez when going door to door in their working-class neighborhood in the small town of Marietta, Oklahoma, April 4, the third day of the statewide strike by teachers there. Gomez was born in Mexico and worked in California as a welder before moving to Marietta with Sanchez and their children and getting a job as a chef. “I fully support the teachers strike,” he said. “Where I work they don’t pay us enough. But the real problem is the immigrants who keep coming and coming. They drive the wages down for all of us.”

“The capitalists get labor as cheap as they can.” I replied. “That’s why the unions must fight to organize undocumented workers into their ranks and fight for amnesty for all workers without papers. The capitalists benefit from divisions in the working class — we don’t.”

Sanchez and Gomez got a subscription to the Militant and a copy of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes.

The book is one of five titles on special at half price with a subscription to the Militant. Members and supporters aim to sell 1,400 subscriptions to the party’s newspaper, and 1,400 copies of the books on special. (See ad below.)

Henderson also joined Helen Myers campaigning in Elk River, Minnesota, where teachers have rejected an offer from the school board. While going door to door there they sold a sub to Scott, a construction worker, who also got a copy of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?

A team organized by the Washington, D.C., branch of the SWP sold four Militant subscriptions knocking on doors in Ashland, Kentucky, including two to school cafeteria workers. Although they don’t have a union, one of the a new subscribers said she’s been joining teachers’ protests and will let the Militant know about the next one.

“I’m one of those single women Clinton kicked off of welfare,” said another new subscriber. “In Kentucky, there’s a two-year lifetime limit, but only if you work.” Team member James Harris replied, “This attack and its consequences are aimed at the working class, to divide us,” pointing to the cover photo of the book, The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record by Barnes. “I’ll get that book when you come back,” she replied.

“The whole system needs to be overhauled. It should be ‘we the people’ making decisions,” Sandra Vint told Susan Anmuth when she knocked on her door in Wharton, West Virginia, April 6. Vint picked up a copy of Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible and signed up for a subscription.

Anmuth was part of a two-day team of party members and supporters from New York and Philadelphia who traveled to coal-mining areas of West Virginia and sold 12 subscriptions to the paper and two of the campaign titles.

SWP members and supporters will continue getting out to towns, cities and states where working people are putting up a fight. Look for reports in next week’s issue!

If you would like to contribute to the fund, checks can be made out to The Militant and addressed to 306 W. 37th Street, 13th floor, New York, NY 10018. To join the party campaign contact the SWP branch nearest you listed in the directory.