“They deported a friend of mine two days ago. ICE has been stepping up its activities here,” laborer Ryan Null told Socialist Workers Party member Deborah Liatos when she knocked on his door in Valley Acres, a small town in southern California April 6. Many of Null’s co-workers are immigrants.
“We should fight for an amnesty for all undocumented immigrants in the country,” Liatos said. “This demand is central to the fight to unify and strengthen the entire working class and labor movement.”
Null picked up a copy of the Militant and asked Liatos to keep in touch about the party’s campaigns.
Immigrants without what the U.S. government considers “proper papers” are treated like criminals, with most states denying them access to driver’s licenses. As they campaign around the country to expand the reach of the party, SWP members are encouraging workers and young people to join protests May 1 to demand driver’s licenses for all and for amnesty. It’s an issue for the entire working class.
Supporters of SWP candidates Amy Husk and Samir Hazboun, running for Kentucky governor and lieutenant governor, fanned out across the state and southern Indiana April 12-15 to discuss a working-class road forward. They joined in advancing the international drive to expand the readership of revolutionary books and the Militant, to increase the number of people working with the party, and to raise $115,000 for the Militant Fighting Fund.
“I’m surprised you came to Combs,” Shelly Hall, 60, a disabled retail worker told SWP campaigners Rachele Fruit and Maggie Trowe when they knocked on her door in eastern Kentucky. “This is known as a bad area. There are only two people on our street who have jobs. But we look out for each other. Sometimes there’s not enough food. If someone has a sack of potatoes, we share them.”
The two SWP members explained that the fight for working-class solidarity is advanced by building a movement to take power out of the hands of the capitalist rulers, as working people did in Cuba. Hall got a subscription to the Militant.
“Jobs are high on my priority list,” Paul Couch, a retired construction contractor and church pastor in Typo, Kentucky, told them. “People just can’t find work around here. I’m working with other churches and talking to anyone who will listen to try to get some companies to invest in our community and put people to work.”
“The SWP candidates urge a fight for a massive government-sponsored public works program to put millions to work at union-scale wages to repair the roads and bridges, build schools and hospitals and other things workers need,” Trowe replied.
Health care, not health insurance
“Have a seat,” Brandon Morris, a disabled factory worker and former coal miner from Austin, Indiana, told Jacquie Henderson and Jim Horne after they introduced the SWP’s Kentucky campaign. “I like what you say about working people needing to stand together. We work all our lives and end up with nothing.” Morris has black lung disease and lung cancer.
“I’m a lucky one,” he said. “They found it and removed part of my lung. My wife couldn’t get doctors to even take her condition seriously until it was too late. There’s no such thing as health care in this country.”
All the plans to reform health insurance presented by Democrats and Republicans, including “Medicare for all” touted by liberal Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination, would in fact boost the profits of the pharmaceutical companies and hospital bosses. In contrast, the SWP demands universal government-guaranteed health care for working people and explains why a fight is necessary to expropriate the for-profit drug, hospital and medical equipment companies and place them under the control of the workers who work there.
The socialist campaigners from Louisville, Kentucky; Atlanta; and Chicago sold 15 books, 10 subscriptions and received three contributions to the Militant Fighting Fund in Kentucky and Indiana.
When SWP campaigners Alex Huinil, Jacob Perasso and Beverly Hoggs visited the picket line of striking workers at Stop & Shop in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, they met striker Melissa Taylor. She told them she had tried to organize a union at the Price Chopper store she used to work at. “They called me ‘rebel girl’ and cut me off the schedule. I came here three months ago for more hours and a union,” she said. She subscribed to the Militant and bought five books the SWP campaigners showed her that are on special offer.
SWP members are offering all of Pathfinder’s books at 20% off. The books contain writings of SWP leaders on working-class politics today, of revolutionaries like Fidel Castro, Thomas Sankara and Malcolm X, and on the lessons of past working-class struggles.
Fund off to strong start
Over the first week of the seven-week drive, readers across the country and the world have sent in $12,553 to the Militant Fighting Fund. Another $1,780 is in the mail, getting the second week off to a good start. Keep the contributions coming! Readers efforts like this can ensure the fund drive will bring home the $115,000 goal by May 28.
Contributions from working people who value the Militant ’s coverage of working-class struggles and its presentation of a way forward independent of the bosses and their parties are the backbone of the fund.
Teacher’s assistant and student Erica Smith kicked in $5 to the fund and got a copy of In Defense of the US Working Class by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters, when Rebecca Wilson and Jeanne Fitzmaurice talked with her April 6 at her doorstep in Tenino, Washington.
Readers who want to join the effort can contact party branches or contribute online at the paper’s website, www.themilitant.com.