LINCOLN, Neb. — “Our party is organizing solidarity with the locked-out Marathon oil workers fight in Minnesota and any other struggles by working people,” Joe Swanson, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Lincoln City Council, told a campaign meeting here March 21. Other speakers included Lance Anton, a railroad conductor and member of the SMART union’s Transportation Division, and Dan Fein, SWP campaign chairman in Illinois.
Anton described the trip he, Swanson and retail worker Diane Dormer made to St. Paul Park, Minnesota, the previous weekend. They went to deliver messages of support to the Marathon workers who are fighting bosses’ demands to contract out work involving hazardous chemicals, and for job cuts and combinations. Safety on the job and for those living near the refinery is the central question in their fight.
“I was blown away by the support the Marathon workers have gotten from teachers, nurses and others,” Anton said. Their union’s “food drive has distributed 1 million pounds of food, not just to families of the locked-out workers, but also to the community.”
“The SWP says no worker has to die,” Swanson told the meeting. “When we unite and fight for a union in our workplace we can have a say over our wages and working conditions. Work can be organized safely if workers and their unions fight to take control of production.”
Fein spoke about the upcoming car caravan in several cities March 28 to protest the U.S. rulers’ decadeslong economic war on Cuba, aimed at overthrowing its socialist revolution.
“By overturning capitalist rule, working people in Cuba ended domination by the exploiting class,” Swanson said. “It’s the clearest example of what is possible. Workers here need to emulate that course.”
During the campaign Swanson has been interviewed on KOLN/KGIN-TV, KFOR radio and is featured in the Lincoln Journal Star Voters Guide. The Student Union at the University of Nebraska invited Swanson to address a meeting there March 23.
Four Socialist Workers Party campaigners from Chicago spent the weekend in Lincoln campaigning with Swanson, Anton and others.
“Working people need to run the government,” Jerri Ellington told SWP campaigner Ruth Harris, when Harris knocked on her door in nearby Crete, “but we are a long way from that.”
“We can speed the day by organizing solidarity with workers’ struggles today,” Harris said, pointing out the need for workers to build their own party, a labor party. Ellington signed up for a six-month subscription and bought a copy of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? Class, Privilege, and Learning Under Capitalism by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes.
On their way to Lincoln, SWP campaigners from Chicago stopped at a large Amazon fulfillment center in Bondurant, Iowa, to talk with workers at the shift change. Many had been following the union organizing drive at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, thinking about whether they could do one too. The team sold 24 copies of the Militant.
Over the weekend, eight subscriptions to the Militant and 53 single copies were picked up by working people.