“Socialist Workers Party members across the country join with, and speak out in defense of, all those who are hit by attacks from the bosses and their government — like the striking Marriott hotel workers; workers who lost everything in Paradise, California, the victims of a social catastrophe caused by a dog-eat-dog system that puts profits before the lives of working people; and former prisoners who reconquered their right to vote by a big majority in this fall’s referendum victory in Florida,” Harry D’Agostino, who was the party’s candidate for New York lieutenant governor, told the Militant Nov. 20.
“We take word of these fights — and the need for independent working-class political action — to working people on their doorsteps in cities, small towns and rural areas.”
“We plan to step this up in the final weeks of our eight-week international campaign to win 1,400 Militant readers, sell 1,400 books by SWP leaders, and to raise $100,000 for the SWP 2018 Party-Building Fund,” D’Agostino said.
“The restoration of the right to vote for workers who have served time on felony convictions, supported by a massive vote in a Florida ballot measure, is something the SWP has long championed,” Dennis Richter, who ran as the SWP candidate for U.S. Senate in California, told the Militant Nov. 19. “When my supporters and I were campaigning outside the Farmer John meatpacking plant in Los Angeles before the election, I talked with Kelly Evans, who told me, ‘I can’t vote because I served 16 years in prison for a felony conviction.’”
She said the cops had come to her house on reports there was someone with a gun. It was her, preparing to commit suicide. She shot herself but survived. She was charged with endangering the lives of the cops, convicted and imprisoned.
“I told her my party supported the Florida measure. The capitalist rulers and their parties try to deny workers behind bars civil rights while they’re in prison and afterward,” Richter said. “The SWP opposes all attacks on the right to vote and fights for the labor movement to take up this struggle.” Evans told Richter she was glad to meet him and very much wanted to get the right to vote. She asked for his campaign literature and got a copy of the Militant.
Example of Cuban Revolution
In discussing the road for workers to fight to take political power out of the hands of the bosses and their parties, SWP members often point to the example of the Cuban Revolution made by workers and farmers in 1959.
“We visited an apartment complex in Niskayuna, New York, near Albany, and met Yailene Welden, a call-center worker born in Puerto Rico,” D’Agostino said. “She was interested in our description of the response of the government in Cuba, where workers and farmers made a revolution and took control of their own destiny, sharply counterposed to that of the administration in the U.S. colony of Puerto Rico, as both prepared for last year’s deadly hurricanes and then faced rebuilding.
Welden knew how thousands had died in Puerto Rico, left to their own devices by the rulers in both Washington and San Juan. “I explained how Cuba’s government, with a revolutionary history of mass mobilizations, had organized to evacuate people in the path of the storm, made sure they all had places to stay, and began rebuilding as soon as the storm ended,” D’Agostino said.
“She said she wanted to get together again to discuss this more,” the SWP campaigner said. “And to look more closely at the Militant and other literature I had.”
Is socialist revolution possible?
In the South Tottenham neighborhood in London, England, Nov. 15, Communist League members Hugh Robertson and Dag Tirsén knocked on David Powell’s door. Powell said he was an admirer of Maurice Bishop, who led the 1979 revolution in the Caribbean island of Grenada that overthrew the U.S.-backed government of dictator Eric Gairy and established a popular revolutionary government.
“But revolutions can’t be done today,” Powell said. “The rulers are too powerful. Look what they did in Grenada when they killed Bishop, and in the U.S. when they killed Malcolm X.”
“I have a different view of what happened,” Tirsén said. “The murder of Bishop, a revolutionary leader of integrity, was the product of the counterrevolutionary course of a secret Stalinist group in the government led by Bernard Coard. It wasn’t engineered by the CIA. Malcolm X was assassinated by partisans of the Nation of Islam, a group he had broken with as he evolved as a working-class revolutionary.”
“But the lessons and inspiration of the Grenada Revolution and of Malcolm X live on. Today, world capitalism is in deep crisis. Both the Conservative and Labour parties are in turmoil in the U.K., and so are the Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. They are trying to solve the crisis of their system on our backs.”
“I don’t agree with everything you say,” Powell said. But after looking over Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power and Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? — books by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes — he bought the subscription and those two books, taking advantage of the special offer, while making a modest donation to the Communist League. He said he appreciated what the working-class organization was doing. All five books on special are featured in the ad on this page.
As we go to press, branches of the SWP and of the Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.K. have sent in 935 subscriptions and sold 625 books, a little behind schedule. Party members and supporters in the U.S. have sent in $61,187 on the SWP’s $100,000 Party-Building Fund. The drives continue through Dec. 4.
Mounting a stepped-up effort to knock on doors and take part in labor and social struggles over the next weeks will help communist campaigners meet more workers eager to discuss how the working class can resist the bosses’ offensive and advance along the road to political power. This will lead to more new readers of the party press and financial backers of the party’s work.
To join in, contact the SWP or Communist League branch nearest you.