Members of the Socialist Workers Party are starting the new year with a bang, organizing teams to take the party, its program and its support for working-class struggle to working people on their doorsteps. They are traveling to cities small and large, towns and farming areas in different parts of the country. They are discussing how to resist the only future offered by the political parties of the capitalist rulers — the worsening consequences of debt and wage slavery.
The launching of SWP election campaigns across the country will help advance this work, the central axis of the party’s activity. SWP members — and members of sister Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — introduce the Militant and books by leaders of the SWP and other revolutionary working-class fighters. They offer to keep in touch and work together to join labor struggles, actions against police brutality, for the rights of women, and more.
Paul Mailhot, Willie Cotton and Sara Lobman from New York went to Middletown and Ellenville, 80 miles north of the city, Dec. 30 where they met with Rey Virgen, a hardwood floor finisher. He had subscribed to the Militant and got a couple of books from Lobman at a national protest in support of the rights of immigrant workers in Washington, D.C., a year ago.
“I used to work more with groups in New York City,” he said. “But they weren’t interested in the things that were most important to us, especially the ability of immigrants to get driver’s licenses to work and get around. In NYC people take the subway and buses. They’re more concerned with the cost of housing and things like that. But here, if you can’t drive, you can’t do anything.”
He was excited to discuss the yellow vest protesters in France, who pushed back against a rise in gas taxes making it harder for workers to drive.
Virgen renewed his Militant subscription for six months and purchased The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes. He was interested in its explanation of the 2016 elections. “We need people who come out of our struggles to run for office,” he said.
This is one of five books SWP campaigners offer at a special price, along with Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power and Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? also by 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 are central to understanding the economic and political crisis wracking the capitalist system today and a course to change it.
Virgen invited Seth Galinsky, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Public Advocate in New York City, to speak at his group’s next meeting.
US rulers’ wars abroad and at home
Campaigning in Spanaway, Washington, Socialist Workers Party members Rachel Wilson and Jeanne Fitzmaurice met Drake, a young hydraulic mechanic. Conditions in Spanaway, an hour’s drive south of Seattle, are interlinked with the sprawling Lewis-McChord joint army and air force base nearby.
Wilson and Fitzmaurice asked Drake’s opinion about President Donald Trump’s intention to withdraw some U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan. “They should stay to help secure the area and to rebuild,” he said, adding that he was “not for U.S. forces being there, but they can’t leave like this.”
Wilson explained that “the magazine New International describes how reactionary Islamic State and al-Qaeda terror groups emerged because of the vacuum of working-class leadership today.”
“The war needs to end for workers to begin to organize. It’s working people who have to deal with the problems they face, from rebuilding to preventing the return of IS and confronting their own ruling capitalist class. The U.S. rulers care only for their imperial interests against their rivals. They care neither for the needs of working people there nor for all too many of the vets who come back shattered.”
“I am against how they treat the vets,” Drake said. He got two issues of the Militant, asking to stay in touch.
Many workers ask SWP campaigners if there is any place in the world where workers and farmers fought successfully to control their own destiny. We explain that the Cuban Revolution is an example for all workers and farmers. It shows how we can make a socialist revolution in the U.S. and elsewhere.
SWP members join with others to defend the Cuban Revolution and build the April 21-May 5 International May Day brigade, an opportunity for workers and young people to learn about the revolution and its 60-year history firsthand.
This column reflects discussions SWP and Communist League campaigners have among working people they engage with every week. Readers are welcome to send in reports about door-to-door experiences and plans to expand the reach of the party, its campaigns, newspaper and books.
To join with us and to find out more about the May Day brigade, contact the SWP or Communist League branch nearest you. (See directory.)