As historic changes are taking place in the world — in Korea, the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere — members and supporters of the Socialist Workers Party are taking their class-struggle program broadly to working people. They knock on workers’ doors in cities, towns and rural areas to explain where these changes come from, and why workers need to chart an independent political course — from the capitalist rulers, their parties and their state — on the road to overturn their system and take political power.
Where bourgeois media and parties beholden to this oppressive system confuse and obfuscate, the SWP reaches out to discuss and contest the political issues and labor battles confronting working people today. The party speaks out against every attack, abuse and indignity aimed at the working class and the oppressed, and acts to advance the fighting unity of the working class.
“Neither party does anything. They have us going back and forth between them,” Enochio Taylor told Helen Meyers, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate from Minnesota, outside her home in St. Paul Aug. 12. Taylor works two jobs, as housekeeper in a hospital and as a personal care attendant. She said she didn’t think there was really a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the last election.
“I would have voted for Bernie Sanders,” Taylor said. “But he didn’t make it.”
Meyers said that workers have to break with the Democrats, the Republicans and all so-called independent pro-capitalist parties. “We need to unite and fight in our own interests,” she said. “The SWP believes working people are capable of taking power and running society.”
“Most people don’t know that Clinton signed the legislation that put all those additional people in jail — and they make money off them,” Taylor said, referring to the bipartisan legislation President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1996 that expanded mandatory federal prison sentences. She was looking at The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes, that Meyers showed her. It is one of five books party members offer on special. (See ad below.)
Taylor said she remembered Clinton also dismantled Aid to Families With Dependent Children the same year, ending “welfare as we know it,” one of the deepest attacks on Social Security in decades.
She decided to subscribe to the Militant and asked to be kept informed about what the SWP campaign was doing.
Amnesty for all immigrants
In April, immigration cops raided the Southeastern Provision meat-processing plant and arrested 97 workers in Morristown, Tennessee. SWP members Janice Lynn and Sam Manuel visited there Aug. 10-11 to talk to workers about the impact of the raid and explain why the party calls for amnesty for all workers without papers in the U.S.
“Growing up I used to believe what they tell you, that immigrants get free benefits that we don’t get,” Judy Holt, a 54-year-old former factory worker, told them outside her home in a trailer park. “They say they get free housing. No, they don’t. Welfare, food stamps. No, they don’t. I know, because my daughter married a Mexican immigrant. He has worked hard for everything he has.” She opposed the raid and deportations, and said many others there did too.
She also got a subscription and a copy of The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record.
Some workers thought the raid was good. Lee, who declined to give his last name, said he didn’t vote for either Trump or Clinton, but supports the deportations. “I think all immigrants should go,” he said. “They just come here for the benefits.”
“We support amnesty for all undocumented workers,” Lynn said. “Our party thinks all workers, no matter their country of origin, should be organized.”
Winning an amnesty is essential to unite the working class against boss attempts to divide us and drive down working conditions and wages for all, the two SWP members explained. And as workers live and work side by side and face attacks by the bosses side by side, they’ve become more and more open to this fight.
Lee decided not to get the paper, but thanked Lynn and Manuel for their discussion.
The two SWP campaigners met Keith West, 45, who works in a nearby coin mint organized by the United Steelworkers. He got into a discussion about the unions. “My union isn’t worth anything, but what can you do?” he asked.
Manuel said that the protests in West Virginia and elsewhere by teachers earlier this year, and the broad support they won from other workers, show that it’s possible to build a fighting labor movement that can change things.
The SWP points to how the class-collaborationist course of the union officials, identifying the interests of the workers with the fortunes of the bosses and their government, has severely weakened the labor movement for more than half a century.
The teachers strikes were a first glimmer of bigger struggles to come, Manuel said, where workers will transform the unions, drawing in millions. They’ll mobilize to fight the bosses, and unite with others to overthrow their government and take power.
West decided to try a subscription, saying he was interested in finding out more about how to fight for a road forward for the working class. He said he disliked both the Democrats and Republicans.
To find out more about the Socialist Workers Party or its sister Communist Leagues in other countries, check out the directory.