SWP: ‘Workers need a fighting class-struggle road forward’

By Roy Landersen
June 14, 2021
Joel Britton, left, Socialist Workers Party candidate for California State Assembly District 18, talks with Quenton Hilton, a mechanic, in Fresno May 29. “Only on the job can workers fight together for higher wages, safer working conditions,” Britton said. “Yes!” Hilton agreed.
Militant/Deborah LiatosJoel Britton, left, Socialist Workers Party candidate for California State Assembly District 18, talks with Quenton Hilton, a mechanic, in Fresno May 29. “Only on the job can workers fight together for higher wages, safer working conditions,” Britton said. “Yes!” Hilton agreed.

Socialist Workers Party candidates and campaigners are finding growing receptivity to their perspective for a class-struggle road forward against the attacks of the bosses and their government, and for workers to form their own party, a labor party.

This is true on workers’ doorsteps 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 find the same response in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

They are reaching out as part of the nine-week drive to sell 1,400 subscriptions to the Militant, 1,400 books by SWP and other revolutiona ry leaders, and to raise $145,000 for the Militant Fighting Fund. The socialist newsweekly relies on contributions by workers and farmers who appreciate its working-class coverage.

Supporters of Socialist Workers Party candidate Dennis Richter, running for governor of California, campaigned in Fresno May 28-29 in California’s Central Valley, Betsey Stone reported.

A severe drought has hit hard there, where much of the country’s vegetables, fruits and nuts are grown. The water comes from reservoirs and canals fed by rivers from the mountains . With this year’s rain and snow melt far below normal, farmers face water rationing.

“I worry about the small farmers not making it,” Robert Hernandez, a mechanic laid off because of government pandemic shut downs, told campaign supporters Carole Lesnick and Stone.

“As long as the wealthy agricultural and other capitalists are in control, everything will be decided for their profits, with little regard for family farmers and farm workers, or fishermen and Native American tribes who depend on the salmon, or the environment,” Lesnick said. “To solve the water crisis, like everything else, we need to build our own party, a labor party, to fight to take the political power out of the hands of the ruling capitalist families.”

Hernandez subscribed to the Militant. “I’ve always voted Democrat. But last election I didn’t vote. They all make promises, but nothing gets solved.”

Joel Britton, SWP candidate for state assembly in the 18th district in Northern California’s Alameda County, and campaign supporter Deborah Liatos met motorcycle mechanic Quenton Hilton, 22, at his door. To make ends meet he and his wife also deliver food.

“I’m a laborer and I work really hard. I disagree with socialism and communism,” Hilton said, skeptical at first. “We need to work, not get handouts.”

“We need a massive public works program to give people productive work at union wages to build the things we need, not more ‘stimulus’ handouts,” Britton said. Hilton agreed, “Yes!”

“Only on the job can workers fight together for higher wages, safer working conditions and for unions.”

“Coal miners and others are on strike today because they have no other option. We are urging support for their struggles,” Britton said.

“You never hear this from CNN or Fox News,” Hilton said. He subscribed to the Militant, saying, “I really got a lot out of talking with you.”

Black family farmers in Georgia

Rachele Fruit reports that she and Sam Manuel, SWP candidates for mayor of Atlanta and City Council president, joined several dozen Black farmers at a meeting in Fort Valley, Georgia, May 22. The farmers came to hear Joseph Biden administration representatives tout a $5 billion “rescue” package aimed at “socially disadvantaged” farmers.

What they found out was that farmers who took out loans to avoid defaulting on advances from the Department of Agriculture won’t be covered.

“How can you say you are here to help the farmer but then put conditions on who gets help,” Thomas Gosier, a family farmer and former truck driver, told Manuel. “It sounds good but turns out to be smoke.”

“There is a long history of these kinds of promises from the capitalist parties,” Manuel said. “We need to organize broadly enough to fight to win.” Gosier signed up for a subscription, saying, “Working people need to stick together.”

Fruit talked with Clarence Hicks, a student in plant science and biotechnology at Fort Valley State University. His family farms five acres in Reynolds growing blueberries, kale, cabbage, corn and peas. He subscribed to the Militant and got a copy of Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes.

Locked-out oil workers

George Chalmers reports that members of United Steelworkers Local 13-243, locked out by ExxonMobil at their refinery in Beaumont, Texas, were joined by unionists from the nearby Baytown Exxon facility May 26 going by bus to a rally in front of Exxon’s headquarters in Irving.

Dallas-area union supporters, including Socialist Workers Party campaigners Gerardo Sánchez and Hilda Cuzco, joined the protest. The district director of the Steelworkers in Baytown and two other Exxon refinery workers got Militant subscriptions. One also bought Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power.

When the bus arrived back in Beaumont to a warm welcome at the union hall, SWP campaigners Alyson Kennedy, George Chalmers and Jose Alvarado were there. Two more unionists subscribed to the Militant and got books, including Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?  also by Barnes, as well as a four-volume series on the lessons of class-struggle Teamster battles across the Midwest in the 1930s. A subscription to the paper was purchased for the union hall. The Militant is unsurpassed in its coverage and support for strikes and other labor struggles, here and around the world.

Militant Fighting Fund

Dan Fein reports that during lunch break in the Walmart store where he works outside Chicago May 27, Barbara Merchant, a co-worker and subscriber to the paper, handed him $20 for the Militant Fighting Fund.

“I like the Militant because it sticks up for those of us who don’t get the breaks in life,” she told Fein. She pointed to the way the paper covers strikes and “encourages solidarity.”

To subscribe to the Militant and get books on revolutionary working-class politics, and to contribute to the Militant Fighting Fund, see the directory for the distributor nearest you. Or visit themilitant.com to purchase a subscription and contribute online.