SWP speaks in interests of working people

Welcome to the 1,404 new readers of the ‘Militant’!

By Maggie Trowe
December 17, 2018
Irma Carpio, a high school student in Louisville, Kentucky, speaks with SWP member Amy Husk Dec. 1. Carpio had organized with other students to support teachers’ strike last spring.
Militant/Dan FeinIrma Carpio, a high school student in Louisville, Kentucky, speaks with SWP member Amy Husk Dec. 1. Carpio had organized with other students to support teachers’ strike last spring.

The Militant welcomes the 1,404 readers who subscribed over the last eight weeks! A final scoreboard on the drive to sell 1,400 subscriptions and an equal number of books on working-class politics by leaders of the Socialist Workers Party, along with an evaluation of the drive, will appear in next week’s issue.

We want to offer a special welcome to the  37 new readers among workers behind bars. These come as we’re fighting — with some success — against censorship by prison authorities in Florida.

Most of our new readers signed up for the paper when members of the Socialist Workers Party knocked on their doors in cities, towns and rural areas across the country. This is the best way today for party members to discuss and debate politics and the road forward for working people, to make lasting contacts and to recruit. Party members also expanded the reach of the Militant and the books to workers, while joining in labor struggles and social protests.

As the drive ends, the party is getting ready to field candidates in 2019 statewide and municipal elections, to pose the need for working people to fight to take political power into their own hands.

“Our door-knocking is helping us gear up to organize a bold campaign for governor of Kentucky,” Amy Husk, SWP organizer in Louisville, told the Militant Dec. 4. There will also be elections for mayor in Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia, and other offices nationwide.

“Last week Dan Fein, who ran as SWP candidate for governor in Illinois in the 2018 elections, and other SWP members from Chicago came to Louisville to campaign with party members here,” she said. “Dan and I met Irma Carpio, a 17-year-old Fern Creek High School student. We discussed the teachers’ actions in West Virginia, Kentucky and other states last spring as an example of the kind of fight that workers need to support.”

“I went to Frankfort [Kentucky’s capital] last spring along with other students to back the teachers,” Carpio said. “I really support their fight.”

“My parents don’t make enough money to pay all the bills, so I work at a restaurant every day after school to pitch in,” she said, adding that she also takes care of her siblings while they’re working. “We need unions for hotel workers. My mom only makes $10 an hour cleaning rooms.”

Fein showed her the Militant’s coverage on hotel workers on strike around the country, and their demand: “One job should be enough!”

“The Socialist Workers Party will be running candidates for governor of Kentucky and other offices across the country where we’ll take up issues like this and be the voice speaking out in the interests of the working class,” he told Carpio. “We invite young people and others to get involved in the campaign.”

“That sounds great,” Carpio said. “I know some other people at my school who would be interested. Maybe we could have your candidate speak at my high school.” Carpio wanted to subscribe to the Militant, and asked Husk to come back the next day for the money. “She had her $5 in her hand when I dropped by,” Husk said.

Hotel strikers in San Francisco and elsewhere were interested in the Militant’s coverage also. UNITE HERE Local 5 in Hawaii put one of the paper’s articles about the strike on its webpage.

Members of the SWP branch in Oakland, California, joined more than 1,000 strikers and supporters in a Dec. 1 San Francisco march and rally called by three Bay Area county labor councils, Carole Lesnick reported Dec. 4.

Lesnick, the party’s candidate for U.S. Congress in the 13th district this fall, spoke with John Lacap, a striking Marriott banquet worker. Lacap said he’s a strong supporter of the union, UNITE HERE Local 2. “I used to be a parking valet getting $11 an hour,” he told her. “There was no union, no seniority and the pay was about favoritism and control. It’s better with a union. There’s more security, unity and higher pay.” Like six other workers at the rally, Lacap signed up for a subscription.

“We presented the books alongside the Militant, using them to tie into the key political discussions going on today,” Alyson Kennedy, from the SWP in Dallas said about the drive there.

“For example, in talking about the need to fight for amnesty for immigrant workers here,” she said, “we would point to the section in The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record on how their administration presided over the highest number of deportations in U.S. history.” 

Party-Building Fund

“When we get into political discussions with workers, a number decide to contribute to the Socialist Workers Party fund,” Ned Measel, a retail worker who had been the SWP candidate for District of Columbia delegate, wrote Dec. 3. “Knocking on doors in apartments today, not many people were home, but we got a total of $10 in contributions from the three Cameroon-born workers we talked with.

“We explained our class has to do something different from what we’ve been doing. We have numbers, but the numbers are our strength only if we organize a movement independent of the bosses,” he said.

“We gave the examples of the hotel strikers and the ‘yellow vest’ protesters in France to everyone we talked to. A nurse gave us $5 for the paper. We told her the extra $4 would go to the Party-Building Fund. She liked that. Another woman got a single copy, and gave us $5, saying, ‘I like what you’re doing!’”

The final chart for the Party-Building Fund will be printed next week, to allow checks that are in the mail to arrive.

This weekly column on the exchanges between SWP members and workers they meet campaigning door to door will continue as the 2019 SWP election campaigns get going. We welcome reports describing what workers say they face today and discussions about how to build the working-class movement, increase solidarity and class-consciousness, and break from the capitalists’ parties and fight to take political power.

To get involved, contact the SWP or Communist League nearest you.