Branches of the Socialist Workers Party across the U.S. are stepping up campaigning among working people as they begin the fall seven-week drive to sell 1,300 subscriptions to the Militant, 1,300 books by SWP and other revolutionary leaders, and to raise $130,000 to finance the work of the party. The Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are also participating. The drive ends Nov. 23.
In the face of the worldwide capitalist economic and social crisis today there is increased interest in the Militant, which explains all political questions from the point of view of the working class and champions labor and social struggles being waged today. Lessons from previous union and revolutionary movements, in books by authors like Fidel Castro, Malcolm X, Thomas Sankara, Karl Marx, Frederick Engels and SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes, are being offered at discount so workers can dig deeper into what we face today and how we can fight successfully.
Party members and supporters of SWP candidates will take the three intertwined drives to working people in small towns and rural areas as well as cities large and small; to picket lines of workers on strike; to protests to defend women’s rights to make their own decisions on family planning, including contraception and safe abortions; to actions demanding an end to the U.S. rulers’ economic and political war on Cuba.
“There is no other newspaper like the Militant,” says Militant editor John Studer. “The working class needs a class-struggle paper that points a road forward, that champions the battles of all those exploited and oppressed by capital, that explains the need to break with the bosses’ parties — the Democrats and Republicans — and to fight in our millions to take political power out of the hands of the capitalist class.
“We want to increase the number of workers, farmers and young people who are reading the Militant and these books. Who begin to see the Militant as their paper and the Socialist Workers Party as their party,” Studer said. “These are the ones who will want to join in assuring the party continues its invaluable work.
“Getting contributions, large and small, from working people is the only way to build a workers’ party,” Studer said. “The SWP has no other place to turn to for income.”
Solidarity with workers’ battles
Rachele Fruit, SWP candidate for Atlanta mayor, and campaign supporter Marklyn Wilson met Anthony Gillis, who works on household appliances, after knocking on his door in Decatur, Georgia, Sept. 25. “I used to work for Sears, but I left nine months ago,” he said. “Conditions were bad, and everything is worse with COVID. At least they have a union up north, but we didn’t. I really agree with you that we need a union in every workplace.”
“We have to start with solidarity with the struggles that exist today to begin to build the kind of working-class movement that can make a revolution to get rid of the capitalist system,” said Fruit.
“People are very upset about the conditions, but we are not being heard,” Gillis said. “We need to support each other to make change and not sit and wait for the fire to spark. Everyone needs this information,” Gillis said as he got a subscription.
While campaigning in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Cincinnati Sept. 18, Socialist Workers Party members Kaitlin Estill and Ned Measel met nurse Pamela Edwards.
They showed her the Militant’s coverage and support of the nurses strike at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. “Their fight for better staffing ratios is a glaring example of how the for-profit health care system isn’t meant to meet the needs of working people,” Estill told her.
“You can also see that with the insurance system too,” Edwards said. “The kind of insurance people have dictates what kind of care they get.” Edwards was interested when she heard SWP candidates run in the elections to explain the need for working people to organize themselves to take power out of the hands of the capitalist class.
Workers need a labor party
“When you talk about working people taking power, you mean voting workers into office?” she asked.
Fundamental changes won’t come through elections, Estill explained. “There’s plenty of examples of people from working-class backgrounds running for office but they just become a cog in the capitalist machine and nothing changes for working people.” Workers and their allies need to break with all the capitalist parties and organize their own party, a labor party.
“You say we need to become the government but it’s not about getting elected, so how do we do it?” asked Edwards.
“We need a mass working-class movement,” Measel said. He pointed to how the fight for Black rights in the 1960s and ’70s was able to overturn Jim Crow segregation and transform social relations all across the country.
“We need to replace capitalism,” Measel said. “It’s going to take a revolution to do it.” Edwards subscribed to the Militant and got Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power, one of the many books on special during the drive. (See ad on page 6.)
Communists in the U.S. and around the world will have thousands of discussions like these as part of the international propaganda drive and raise tens of thousands of dollars to build the party. They will get back with many of the people they meet to continue and deepen the discussions, and to involve all who are convinced of the importance of what the party is doing to join in.
The first scoreboard with subscription, book and fund goals for each area will be printed in next week’s Militant. To get more information on how you can help make the drive a success, see page 8 for the Socialist Workers Party or Communist League branch nearest you.