SWP, books, ‘Militant’ spark interest among working people

By Dan Fein
May 21, 2018

When teachers and other school workers went on strike May 7 in Pueblo, Colorado, Walmart worker Helen Meyers and a team of other Socialist Workers Party members and supporters were there to join in solidarity and introduce the party, its paper the Militant and books by party leaders.

They got into a discussion at a noontime rally with Tina Gurule, a school counselor, about the need to unify the working class and others in struggle to build a strong working-class movement to organize independently of the Democrats and Republicans, the parties of the bosses.

Gurule agreed. If the teachers could deepen their struggle alongside those fighting against police brutality, in defense of immigrants and the rights of women and gay people, “we can make a change,” she said. Gurule got a copy of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes, along with a subscription to the Militant.

The strike in Pueblo is just the latest manifestation of the uprising of teachers and other school workers that is shaking up class politics in the U.S. — from Arizona to West Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado, North Carolina and elsewhere. It reflects the fact that the propertied rulers’ relentless attacks on working people, as they try to prop up profit rates on the backs of workers, is getting a response. And that generates greater interest in the SWP, its publications and the fund drive party members are organizing for the Militant.

The party is asking workers to join them in building and attending a big statewide rally May 16 in Raleigh, North Carolina, called by the teachers’ union there. If you can go, contact the party branch nearest you.

Knocking on workers’ doors in Pueblo that evening, team members met warehouse worker Rudy Romero, and his 9 year old son. “I want this paper because I need to know what’s going on in the world,” Romero said, as he got a subscription.

The party is on an eight-week drive to win 1,400 new readers to the Militant and to sell an equal number of five campaign books. (See ad below). The subscription drive, now in its seventh week, is ahead of schedule, partly because of the response of workers to the teachers’ battles. The Militant Fighting Fund is seeking to raise $112,000 for the ongoing publication of the paper. The party is appealing for workers and youth to join in the drive, which ends May 22.

“I appreciate getting the analysis and the coverage through the socialist lens,” Adam Bailey told SWP member George Chalmers at the May 1 rally for immigrant rights at City Hall in Philadelphia. Bailey picked up a subscription along with Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power. Party members got a similar response at May Day actions across the country.

“I’m not interested in politics,” Magdalena Halliday, a housekeeper and member of Local 1199SEIU, told SWP members Terry Evans and Seth Galinsky when they knocked on her door on the Lower East Side in New York May 4. “It’s bad that Trump is trying to get rid of immigrants,” she said.

“He doesn’t want to deport all the immigrants. Like Obama and Bush before him, he’s trying to scapegoat and drive them down as a way of deepening divisions in the working class,” Galinsky replied. “The bosses need immigration, but they want workers who live in fear of deportation. That’s why the SWP fights for the unions to organize all workers, against deportations and for amnesty for workers without U.S. documents.”

After further discussion on the history of the class struggle in the U.S., Halliday purchased Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power and a subscription.

In West New York, New Jersey, Lea Sherman and Róger Calero met Seferina Santana May 7. She invited them in to her home to discuss the ongoing fight by teachers around the country, and the need to build and use industrial unions to defend workers everywhere.

“It has to begin somewhere,” said Santana, commenting both about what the teachers are doing and the work of the SWP to expand the party’s reach. “We need to have a voice. The politicians in government are doing what they want,” she said. Like millions of workers, Santana supports President Trump because she’s attracted to his call to “drain the swamp” of capitalist politicians in government. “They’re all scoundrels,” Santana said. She said she used to be a supporter of Hillary Clinton, but she looks down on the workers.

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Santana works part time as a home health aide worker. “I need the medical insurance,” she said. “If I don’t have food, I can scrape something together from a relative or friend, but if I can’t buy my medicine, I can’t get it anywhere else.”

“Everywhere people are going out in the streets to protest because they’re fed up,” she said, talking about what workers face worldwide.

Santana got a subscription to the Militant, saying she looks forward to hearing about the Socialist Workers Party election campaign in New Jersey, and to introduce us to her son, who is also interested in social and political issues.

Join in the SWP’s efforts to win more readers to the Militant and its books, and give a contribution to help the Militant get around!