In the midst of 2020’s capitalist economic, social and pandemic crisis, and government-ordered lockdowns, the Socialist Workers Party did not skip a beat.
Its members went to work to organize with co-workers to fight to defend their wages and working conditions. They continued introducing the party to working people on their doorsteps in cities and towns, large and small, and in farm areas. Many of those they met were looking for ways to stand up to the bosses’ moves to shore up their profits on our backs and were keen to discuss what workers can do together.
The response to the party’s activity and program bodes well for its work in 2021. That begins with a two-month drive to win readers to renew their subscriptions to the Militant.
During 2020 SWP candidates and campaigners brought solidarity to picket lines of workers on strike — shipbuilders in Bath, Maine; fruit packinghouse workers in Washington state; sanitation workers in New Orleans; and more. They marched in protests against police brutality and carried out election campaigns, boldly presenting the party’s program.
The SWP’s steadfast activity defending working-class interests strengthened the party and won respect from many working people.
The SWP stood up to the threat of the Washington state government disclosing the names and personal information of the SWP’s presidential electors, winning broad support and beating back this attack on political rights. More than $20,000 was raised to help conduct this campaign, including $1,000 from the American Federation of Teachers in Washington. Its members had successfully waged a fight against an anti-labor group that sought to use the state’s disclosure laws to gain personal information about campus workers.
Party members were part of winning support for the Militant’s fight to overturn attempts by prison authorities in Florida and Indiana to suppress the paper.
Alongside the drive to win renewals, members of the SWP in the U.S. and the Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are extending offers on books by party leaders and other revolutionaries throughout the renewal campaign.
A retired nurse renewed her subscription when SWP members Joel Britton and Eric Simpson visited at her home in East Oakland, California, Dec. 30. She had subscribed earlier and gotten Red Zone: Cuba and the Battle Against Ebola in West Africa by Enrique Ubieta. It describes how Cuba’s revolutionary government provided what was most needed during that epidemic — 250 volunteer workers offering hands-on medical care, helping to virtually eradicate the disease.
She pointed to the disastrous consequences of the U.S. government’s handling of COVID-19, citing “the scandalous transferring of sick patients into nursing homes where no one had tested positive for the virus,” Simpson said.
Example of Cuban Revolution
Simpson pointed to what the conquest of power by working people in Cuba made possible. “That is why they set such an outstanding example in the fight against Ebola in Africa and in the fight in Cuba and numerous other countries against the current pandemic.”
Readers behind bars are also showing the paper to fellow inmates who then request their own subscriptions. “It means a lot to have news come in to see what is going on in the world,” a federal prisoner in California wrote to the Militant last week.
Tens of thousands of workers and farmers took copies of the party’s action program. It was distributed as part of the election campaign of Alyson Kennedy and Malcolm Jarrett, the SWP’s candidates for president and vice president, and local candidates. Thousands learned about the party from articles in local newspapers.
SWP candidates raised proposals that workers and our unions can fight for. They explained the rule of the capitalist class was the root of the problems workers face and why workers need their own party, a labor party, to take political power.
The SWP’s campaign set an example of what such a labor party would do to fight for what workers need, in contrast to the Democrats and Republicans who subordinate workers’ interests to those of the bosses. As workers fight together we gain confidence in our own capacities and deepen class consciousness.
In Washington, D.C., Omari Musa, the SWP’s candidate for delegate to the House of Representatives, received 6,702 votes, just short of the 7,500 needed to qualify the party for permanent ballot status there. Party branches will soon announce candidates for 2021 elections.
Higher financial contributions to the party’s work is another reflection of its advances over the last year. Working people who met campaigners often kicked in an extra $5, $10 or more, saying, “Here’s something for the cause.”
Many readers will want to kick in to the Militant’s special fund appeal, contributing their government “stimulus” payments to the paper. As of Jan. 5 the Militant had already received over $12,400 in contributions!
There will be further opportunities to join struggles in the year ahead.
Already SWP and CL members have joined demonstrations in the U.S, Canada and the U.K. in solidarity with farmers in India fighting to overturn attacks by the Indian government. The Militant was welcomed at actions in San Francisco Dec. 31 and nearby Union City, Jan. 3. “Person after person told us that they really liked our paper’s coverage of the farmers’ struggle and were interested in the articles on fights working people in the U.S. are waging,” reported Jeff Powers.
The Militant is your paper! Join us in getting it around! See the directory for the SWP or CL branch nearest you.