The Socialist Workers Party calls for the immediate, unconditional and total withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the Middle East,” Ned Measel, a member of the party in Louisville, Kentucky, told a rally of 50 people there Jan. 4. “The U.S. government has tens of thousands of troops in the Mideast and is sending more. We should say, ‘Out now!’”
“We have to speak out against this act of aggression,” said Steven Gardiner, representing Veterans for Peace, which organized the action to protest Washington’s Jan. 2 airstrike in Iraq, killing Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and Tehran-backed Iraqi military leaders.
SWP candidates and campaign supporters joined and built protests against U.S. military intervention in the Mideast Jan. 4 and 5. Actions took place in over 70 cities across the country and were organized by a number of anti-war organizations.
Speaking out against Washington’s foreign policy, which defends the class interests of the U.S. rulers abroad, is a crucial part of the working-class course advanced by the SWP candidates.
In addition to participating in actions demanding U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East, SWP members also raised this discussion with fellow workers on their doorsteps as well as among co-workers on the job. They introduced the Militant, books on revolutionary politics and the party’s statement “For Recognition of a Palestinian State and of Israel.”
Supporters of Gerardo Sánchez, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate from Texas, campaigned in Stephenville where they talked with Jordan Carpenter, who works at McDonald’s. The SWP “is for building a labor party,” SWP member Hilda Cuzco explained, and for getting all U.S. troops out of the Mideast. Carpenter replied, “The Democratic Party is the reason why there is no labor party. Are you an independent party?”
SWP member George Chalmers explained that working people did need to organize independently of the Democrats and Republicans. “The way we’re going to change things is through building a powerful working-class movement that fights to take power.” Carpenter got a copy of the Militant and asked the SWP campaigners to call back.
Naomi Craine, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate from Illinois, reports that she and campaign supporters knocked on doors in Stone Park, near Chicago. “We met one guy who said he, his wife and daughter had been debating the U.S. military action. He got a copy of the Militant and the supplement “Revolution, Counterrevolution and War in Iran” by SWP leader Steve Clark. The supplement explains that rising unrest among working people in Iran is rooted in opposition to the bitter toll of the Iranian rulers’ military intervention across the Mideast.
Craine’s statement for the party, “U.S. hands off Iran and Iraq” — printed in this issue — is being used by party members and supporters across the country.
“The SWP says, ‘U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, Korea and the Middle East. End U.S. colonial rule in Puerto Rico,’” party member John Benson told some 200 people at a protest in Atlanta. “The road to end imperialist war as well as the war against working people here is to break with the capitalist two-party system, both the Democrats and the Republicans, from Trump to Sanders.”
Some 500 joined a New York demonstration Jan. 4. “One student at the action told me that he was shocked to see another participant carrying a sign that portrayed Soleimani as a hero,” SWP member Seth Galinsky reported. “He told me, ‘I’m totally opposed to the U.S. assassinating him. But he was not a good guy.’”
Galinsky agreed. “We don’t need to pretend the Iranian government is a friend of working people to oppose U.S. intervention.”
SWP members built and joined a march and rally of 2,000 people in San Francisco and actions of hundreds in Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Seattle. Socialist campaigners report widespread interest among many attending the action in the party’s campaigns, including issues of the Militant and books on revolutionary politics.
Some 100 people joined a protest in Albany, New York, Jan. 5, reports Jacob Perasso. “I came to the protest because I wanted to tell people that this was an imperialist action,” restaurant worker Lee Ferrini told Perasso. “It’s the people of Iran who are going to feel the brunt of this.” Ferrini picked up a couple of books by SWP leaders.
Two Militant subscriptions, several copies of the paper and the books The Jewish Question by Abram Leon and two copies of Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes were bought by participants at an anti-war rally of 100 in Montreal, from members and supporters of the Communist League there.