ALBANY, N.Y. — Socialist Workers Party candidates Ved Dookhun for Albany mayor and Kathie Fitzgerald for Albany Common Council president have been joined by supporters campaigning in working-class areas of the city since announcing their campaign at a press conference here May 19.
The following day WAMC-radio featured the campaign. Fitzgerald, a retail worker, “was inspired by the civil rights movement as a young teen. In 1964 she joined CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality, and has participated in protests against police brutality and racism,” reporter David Lucas said.
The council president, Fitzgerald told Lucas, “should use his or her position to mobilize support for organized workers or organizing workers. The SWP candidate “pointed to the one-day protest strike last December by nurses at Albany Medical Center hospital, fighting staffing ratios that are unsafe.”
Earlier this month Fitzgerald had visited the picket line of striking nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, to deliver a $60 collection and solidarity card from her Walmart co-workers.
“We need to organize solidarity with miners, steelworkers, nurses and others on strike,” Dookhun, a freight rail conductor, told Francesca Jones on her porch in Albany May 21. “As the unions become strengthened through fights like these, we need to build a party independent of the Democrats and Republicans.”
Jones voiced concern about crime and violence in her North Albany neighborhood. “How can we be free enough to walk the street?” she asked. “We need police reform and educating officers,” including “more police of color.”
“The role of the police under capitalism is to keep working people in line,” Dookhun said. “We need a different society and a different kind of police force. Reform is not going to change their function.” Jones took out a subscription to the Militant and purchased Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by SWP leader Jack Barnes.
SWP candidates help win new readers for ‘Militant,’ books
BY ROY LANDERSEN
Socialist Workers Party candidates and campaigners are talking to working people at their doors in cities, towns and rural areas; at union picket lines; protests against cop brutality; and car caravans opposing the U.S. economic war against Cuba. Communist League campaigners are doing the same in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Everywhere they report a good response as the party approaches mid-way in the nine-week international drive to sell 1,400 subscriptions to the Militant, 1,400 books by SWP and other revolutionary leaders, and to raise $145,000 for the Militant Fighting Fund. Those funds are crucial for meeting the paper’s operating expenses.
In Minneapolis the SWP began May 22 campaigning to put Doug Nelson, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Minneapolis, on the ballot. Thirty people have signed toward the 500 signatures needed.
In South Minneapolis, Amran Gutale thanked Nelson when he told her that his running mate, David Rosenfeld, had recently gone to Moorhead, Minnesota, to join a protest forum in the Moorhead mosque parking lot after the mosque was spray painted with anti-Islamic graffiti. Rosenfeld is the party’s candidate for City Council.
Gutale said she would like to invite Nelson to meet some friends in the Somali community at her house.
“We know that the problems facing the working class will not be solved by me or anyone else getting elected,” Nelson said. “To address these problems, we need to build a movement capable of replacing capitalism.”
SWP candidate files for N.J. ballot
“Joanne Kuniansky, Socialist Workers Party candidate for New Jersey governor, files over 1500 signatures on May 20th at the Office of Elections in Trenton,” headlined an article May 21 in the online publication Insider NJ. That number of signatures was nearly twice the official requirement.
The article noted the SWP charts “a course to replace capitalist rule with a workers and farmers government.” The May 25 online New Jersey Globe also featured the campaign.
Kuniansky campaigned in Clifton May 23, showing Maurice McCarthy the Militant at his house.
“I was just talking about the Indian farmers with my friends,” he said, noting the paper’s coverage of the massive protest by farmers in India to defend themselves from government moves threatening their livelihoods.
McCarthy smiled when Kuniansky described her campaign’s staunch opposition to the U.S. embargo of Cuba. “When my grandmother went blind, we sent her to Cuba for treatment and they cleaned it up,” he said.
To learn more about the Cuban Revolution he got the book Red Zone: Cuba and the Battle Against Ebola in West Africa along with a subscription to the Militant.
The book explains the difference working people carrying through a socialist revolution makes. It describes how the Cuban government responded to calls from three West African countries for help as they faced the largest recorded outbreak of the deadly virus, sending hundreds of medical volunteers to provide hands-on care. McCarthy said he has three or four friends who will be interested in meeting the SWP candidate.
Kuniansky also talked with Yarlyn Martinez on her porch in Clifton the same day. Martinez moved here from Puerto Rico six years ago to get medical treatment for her daughter that wasn’t available on the island.
“I was a teacher in Puerto Rico but my certificate is not recognized here,” she said. “Puerto Ricans are not treated equally. We pay for Social Security but only get half the benefits at retirement” that U.S. citizens receive.
Such second-class treatment shows that Puerto Rico is a colony of the U.S., Kuniansky said. Martinez agreed, pointing out that “electricity is still not restored in parts of Puerto Rico years after the hurricanes.”
Workers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. face a common enemy, Kuniansky said. That’s why working people here need to rally behind Puerto Ricans fighting for independence from U.S. colonial domination. Martinez subscribed to the Militant to read more about working-class struggles.
Boost to Militant Fighting Fund
In Chicago, Dan Fein spoke by phone with Michael Zimmerman, a retired veteran who lives in Westfield, Indiana, to discuss the Militant Fighting Fund May 24. Zimmerman subscribed to the Militant in November. He said his family “loves the paper.” They all read it aloud and discuss the articles. He contributed $100 to the fund and told Fein, “I like the fact that the Militant promotes class consciousness.”
Stephen Coenen, a subscriber in St. Louis who is a trainer at a pharmaceutical company, contributed $50 the next day. He told Fein he supports the Militant because “the only way to address the inequalities in society is to build a working-class movement and more unions.”
To help expand the readership of the Militant and books on revolutionary working-class politics, and to contribute to the Militant Fighting Fund, see the directory page 4 for the distributor nearest you. Or visit themilitant.com to purchase a subscription and contribute online.