MINNEAPOLIS — Doug Nelson, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Minneapolis, and SWP campaign supporters have been fanning out, bringing solidarity to labor battles, speaking out against police brutality and exchanging views with workers on their doorsteps about the need for working people to break with the capitalist parties, the Democrats and Republicans, and forge their own party, a labor party.
Nelson and campaign supporters visited the Marathon Petroleum workers picket line in St. Paul Park April 18 to extend solidarity with their fight. Nelson discussed with strikers how important it was that their union, Teamsters Local 120, joined the vigil for Daunte Wright in nearby Brooklyn Center, after he was killed by police there April 11.
On April 17 SWP campaign supporters participated in two rallies opposing police brutality. One was organized at the site where Wright was shot down, where community groups put up tables and various speakers addressed the crowd. The Socialist Workers Party campaign was well received. Dozens of people took campaign literature and 10 bought books by SWP and other revolutionary leaders, including three copies of Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the SWP.
That same day campaign supporters participated in a rally of 300 called by the NAACP at the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of Derek Chauvin, the cop who killed George Floyd, was held. Warehouse worker Mike Biskui discussed with campaign supporter Nick Neeser how police target workers. “This system and the police go right to the use of force if you don’t do what they tell you,” Biskui said, “or even if you do what they tell you.”
Rick Prez, a restaurant worker, told Neeser he came to the rally because “it’s important to me. I want to talk about why the government is corrupt, how they don’t care about their homeless. They only care about the rich and the big corporations.”
“The Republicans and Democrats are the same party,” he added. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris aren’t to be trusted any more than anyone before them.”
That’s why the Socialist Workers Party points to the need for workers to break from the Democrats and Republicans and build a labor party, Neeser said, based on fighting unions.
Nelson spoke to a packed Militant Labor Forum April 17 in St. Paul on “How to Fight Police Brutality: It’s Class Against Class, Not Simply Race Against Race.”
Nelson described the labor battles and social struggles he is participating in as part of the national slate of SWP candidates. “Workers ask us what these struggles have to do with socialism and where is all this going?” Nelson said. He pointed to the example of the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro, which showed that to put an end to police brutality and all the other scourges of capitalism it’s necessary to take power out of the hands of the capitalist class and bring to power a government of workers and farmers.
On April 18 the SWP campaign had a table at “Black and Yellow: Asian Solidarity Rally, Dedicated to Daunte” held at George Floyd Square. Their table was surrounded as soon as it was set up by participants wanting to talk about how to fight racism and police brutality.
Nelson joined campaign supporters to attend one of the nightly protests at the Brooklyn Center police station to protest the killing of Wright. He was asked where he stood on “defunding the police.”
“The idea that giving the police more training or less money will end police brutality avoids the reality of what the police are and their function under capitalism,” Nelson said, “which is to keep the working class in line. We have to replace the entire system.”
To get involved in campaigning with the SWP, contact the nearest party branch.