Step up pace to make fall books, fund, Militant drive

By Brian Williams
December 2, 2019
Communist League member Felicity Coggan, left, speaks with Jennifer Holmes Nov. 16 in Sydney, Australia. “The whole system needs an overhaul,” said Holmes, “I’m paying full market rent on my own.” She bought Militant subscription and The Turn to Industry book.
Militant/Baskaran AppuCommunist League member Felicity Coggan, left, speaks with Jennifer Holmes Nov. 16 in Sydney, Australia. “The whole system needs an overhaul,” said Holmes, “I’m paying full market rent on my own.” She bought Militant subscription and The Turn to Industry book.

Socialist Workers Party members are stepping up the pace of the international drive to expand the readership of the Militant and books by revolutionary leaders that explain the program of the party in the campaign’s final three weeks. An invaluable addition to this effort is promoting the new title The Turn to Industry: Forging a Proletarian Party by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes.

In Lincoln, Nebraska, Joe Swanson recently sold the book to rail conductor Lance Anton. “I start by showing the photos and captions,” said Swanson, “and then explain that workers need to read this book to educate ourselves and to be more confident to organize our class to fight the increasing assaults by the bosses.”

Anton liked the photos and description of the fight of union workers in the late 1970s against Milwaukee Road that was cutting rail jobs by pleading bankruptcy.

Electrician Jared Hayes also bought the book. He asked Swanson what workers should do if management’s books showed the company was going broke. “Workers can say to the bosses and their government that the business should be expropriated,” said Swanson. “Their system is in crisis and workers can run the factory better through workers control.”

‘System needs an overhaul’

After knocking on Jennifer Holmes’ door in Marayong in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 16, Communist League members Baskaran Appu and Felicity Coggan were invited in for discussion. Holmes, 42, has two children and is studying part time.

“The system needs an overhaul,” she said. “I’m paying full market rent on my own. We can’t afford to go out,” she told the CL members. “Thank God for help from my parents, but they are struggling, too. They are 75 and still working, running a small business.” Appu responded that workers need to fight the way the capitalist class imposes on individual families the responsibility for providing services that should be met by society.

“Our movement has a 100-year record of building working-class parties to help lead working people to fight the capitalist class,” said Coggan. “This book is about doing that,” she said showing Holmes The Turn to Industry. Holmes bought the book along with Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? also by Barnes, and a subscription to the Militant. She took extra subscription blanks for friends and family members.

In Manchester, England, Nov. 8, Communist League members Hugo Wils and Ogmundur Jonsson were collecting signatures to put CL candidate Caroline Bellamy on the ballot in the constituency of Wythenshawe and Sale East for the country’s parliamentary election, when they met taxi driver Diyar Kamil, a Kurd from Iraq who has worked with the CL. “He signed the petition and offered to drive us around to get the final signatures needed,” wrote CL member Pete Clifford.

“The party has always supported the Kurds,” Kamil told his Kurdish friends that evening, encouraging them to sign up to get Bellamy on the ballot. “This is part of our program aimed at increasing the unity and confidence of the working class here,” Jonsson added. After helping collect the signatures, Kamil purchased a copy of The Turn to Industry.

To encourage greater understanding of the party’s revolutionary program, all Pathfinder books and copies of the Marxist magazine New International are being offered at a 20% discount until Dec. 10 when the drive ends. In addition, eight titles are offered at half price when purchased with a Militant subscription.

Sales at ‘Hands off Cuba’ conference

“Delegates from around the world at the ‘Hands off Cuba’ conference in Havana Nov. 1-3 bought 16 subscriptions to the Militant and 116 books by Socialist Workers Party and other revolutionary leaders,” writes Jonathan Silberman, who participated in the event. Top sellers were Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power and Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? both by Barnes; Tribunes of the People and the Trade Unions; and Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters. Other titles sold included books on the Cuban Revolution, women’s emancipation and titles by Malcolm X and Thomas Sankara. Participants bought 22 books in French.

Among those purchasing a Militant subscription was Rodrigo Vivanco, a recent college graduate from Santiago, Chile. “Students demonstrate during the day,” he said, describing the massive protests in that country over living standards, jobs and political rights. “Then workers getting off work in the afternoon and everyone in the evening. This is not going to end soon.”

Those wanting to join the effort to broaden the reach of the Militant and revolutionary books can contact the SWP or Communist League branch in your area from the  directory.