At the heart of the political work of the Socialist Workers Party and the Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.K. is taking the Militant and books by leaders of the SWP out to working people on their doorsteps in cities, towns —large and small — and rural areas. We introduce the party and its program, along with discussion of political developments worldwide important to the working class. A big boost to this will be the launching of the party’s 2019 election campaigns.
We offer five books on special — Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power; The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record; and Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? all by Socialist Workers Party National Secretary Jack Barnes; Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters; and “It’s the Poor Who Face the Savagery of the US ‘Justice’ System”: The Cuban Five Talk About Their Lives Within the US Working Class.
These books explain that the carnage inflicted on working people today is the only future capitalism has to offer. They tell how working people need to break with the capitalist rulers’ political parties and state, to chart a course to take political power. And they draw on the lessons of past revolutionary struggles — including the two great revolutions of the 20th century, in Russia and Cuba — as examples for working people to emulate today.
SWP member Sara Lobman reported that she and Paul Mailhot knocked on apartment doors in the Marble Hill neighborhood of New York City Dec. 16. They discussed with workers how the decisions of tech bosses at Amazon and Google to draw tens of thousands of young professionals to work in their planned new offices in New York will cause rents to soar even higher.
This will make it even more difficult for workers to live there, let alone raise a family. “The crisis of capitalism is so deep and has gone on for so long that even in a ‘recovery’ workers can’t make ends meet,” Lobman said.
“I know exactly what you mean,” said Damaris Vargas, a dental hygienist who only gets 35 hours work each week. “It’s not enough to live on,” she said. After her mother became ill, she moved in with Vargas and her husband. “We only have a one-bedroom apartment. So it’s difficult.” Vargas decided to get a subscription to the Militant.
Another woman in the same building had heard about the yellow vest protests in France and was pleased to hear they had forced concessions from the government. Lobman and Mailhot explained that the protests, centered in the French countryside, are led by working people who face the same conditions as workers in the U.S. — those whom Hillary Clinton had described as “deplorables” during her 2016 presidential campaign.
“I think you’re right,” the woman said, getting a copy of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?
“These were useful discussions,” Lobman told the Militant. “But with a little more work, we could have made even better use of the books in explaining what young workers face if they want to raise a family today.”
She pointed to the section in The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record that describes how working-class families were devastated after the Clinton administration axed “welfare as we know it” in 1996. “Clinton’s 1996 act was the first time that an entire group of working people — single mothers and their children — has been eliminated from the kinds of protections Social Security is supposed to offer retirees, children, workers injured or thrown out of a job, and others vulnerable to the instabilities and devastations inherent in capitalism, both in good times and in bad,” Barnes writes. Today 25 percent of families are headed by single women.
SWP campaigns in 2019
Early in 2019, the SWP will be launching campaigns for state and municipal offices across the country. Party candidates will speak out as tribunes of the people, raising the disasters, large and small, afflicting workers and the rural poor that are a product of the workings of capitalism today. Party candidates will be outspoken supporters of the struggles of the oppressed and exploited all around the world.
They will point to the inspiring example of the yellow vest upsurge in France covered in the Militant.
The party will also be building the April 21 to May 5 international May Day brigade. It provides a unique opportunity for workers and young people to see the Cuban Revolution for themselves in its 60th anniversary year.
This column covers discussions among party members and workers we meet campaigning door to door every week. We welcome reports from readers on how fellow working people describe what they face today as well as exchanges that lead to expanding the reach of the party’s paper and books.
To join us in campaigning, contact the SWP or Communist League branch nearest you. (See directory.)