MINNEAPOLIS — At a lively and well-attended public forum here March 20, the Socialist Workers Party launched its campaign of Doug Nelson for mayor of Minneapolis. Nelson and campaign spokesperson Kevin Dwire spoke, addressing the fight of locked-out Marathon Petroleum workers over safety here and the opening of the trial of former cop Derek Chauvin charged with killing George Floyd.
They explained that the campaign is organizing to get out widely in the Twin Cities, throughout Minnesota and elsewhere in the Upper Midwest, in collaboration with SWP campaigners in Chicago and Lincoln, Nebraska. They all worked together over the last few weeks to put Joe Swanson on the ballot for City Council in Lincoln and to build solidarity in the labor movement with the Marathon workers.
Nelson pointed to how Joe Swanson had come up from Lincoln last weekend, along with rail worker Lance Anton and furniture store worker Diane Dormer, bringing a solidarity message to the Marathon workers signed by over 100 Nebraskans.
Dwire told the crowd that as part of their campaigning, SWP supporters plan to get the signatures needed to get on the ballot.
Helen Meyers, organizer of the Twin Cities branch of the SWP, made a special appeal to raise funds for the party to open a new, attractive party hall and campaign headquarters in Minneapolis. Over $1,500 was raised, reflecting the enthusiasm about what the campaign can open up.
Nelson described the unfolding battle by Marathon refinery workers in nearby St. Paul Park, where 200 Teamsters are facing off against the largest oil-refining company in the U.S. “The workers are fighting for greater control over safety on the job, an issue that affects them and those who live around the refinery,” he said.
“The stakes in this fight are important for all workers.”
The trial of Chauvin, the cop who kneeled on the neck of George Floyd for over eight minutes, cutting off his breathing and killing him last year, began March 8.
Nelson said the trial revives the debate over how to mobilize the class forces needed to push back police brutality, pointing to the example of the leadership that was forged during the Black-led proletarian movement that toppled Jim Crow segregation. “Malcolm X, the most outstanding leader of that period, said he was for any method that was intelligent, disciplined and that worked,” he said.