‘Best start to Militant, book, SWP fund drive in years’

By Brian Williams
October 18, 2021
At Brooklyn Book Fair Oct. 3, Róger Calero, SWP candidate for New York mayor, discusses party program. Volunteers sold 25 Militant subscriptions, 50 books, got donations to SWP fund.
Militant/Brian WilliamsAt Brooklyn Book Fair Oct. 3, Róger Calero, SWP candidate for New York mayor, discusses party program. Volunteers sold 25 Militant subscriptions, 50 books, got donations to SWP fund.

The drive to reach out broadly with the Militant and books by Socialist Workers Party leaders and other revolutionaries and to raise money to finance the work of the party got off to a great start over the opening weekend Oct. 2-3. Participants at demonstrations defending a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion got dozens of Militant subscriptions and books, and some kicked in to the SWP party-building fund.

In New York City, SWP candidates and campaign supporters joined the abortion rights marches, participated in the Brooklyn Book Fair and campaigned door to door in working-class neighborhoods. In just two days 40 subscriptions to the Militant and 60 books were sold, one of the best starts to a communist propaganda campaign in the city for many years.

“There was wide-ranging discussion on everything of interest to the working class,” SWP campaigner Seth Galinsky told the Militant, “from why backing the Democratic and Republican parties is a dead end; to today’s union struggles; the origin’s of women’s oppression and how to end it; and the example set by Cuba’s socialist revolution.”

“At the abortion rights protest Alison Morpurgo told me, ‘We thought with the election of Trump, the Republican Party was in crisis. But it turns out the party in crisis is the Democrats.’ Both parties are in crisis, I said, because neither party — including the socialist wing of the Democrats — has any answers except to make working people pay. Morpurgo said that while she aligns with ‘progressive positions’ of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she was concerned that ‘elements of anti-Semitism are taking cover in that movement.’

“I told her the SWP unconditionally supports the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. She subscribed to the Militant. I also told her about the book The Jewish Question by Abram Leon.” The book describes the class roots of anti-Semitism and explains why there is no solution to the Jewish question under capitalism. “She picked up a copy of the book at the SWP table,” said Galinsky.

Willie Cotton, SWP candidate for New York City public advocate, sold a subscription and books to a woman at the Brooklyn Book Fair and then asked her if she wanted to kick in for the Party-Building Fund. “Sure,” she said, and handed him $5. The seven-week drive to sell 1,300 subscriptions to the Militant and 1,300 books by SWP and other revolutionary leaders and raise $130,000 for the work of the party ends Nov. 23. Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are also participating.

One feature is building the SWP election campaigns. In New Jersey the Patch online newspaper ran an article on the campaign of Joanne Kuniansky, SWP candidate for governor, entitled “Joanne Kuniansky, a deli worker with a history of labor activism, says she’s trying to help ‘build a political party of our own.’”

Working-class road forward

SWP candidates and campaign supporters are discussing a working-class road forward with working people.

In Dallas, over 3,000 people marched and rallied against the Texas “heartbeat” law banning abortions in the state. “We spoke to many young people on a range of political issues,” said Alyson Kennedy, SWP campaign chair in Texas. “And we’ve already sold one-third of our goals of subscriptions and books.”

Tina Robinson, a machine operator in a threading company in Euless, Texas, attended the action. “I agree it’s a woman’s choice to have an abortion. Personally I wouldn’t do it,” she told the Militant, “but if a woman decides to do it, I am with her.” Robinson bought Is Biology Woman’s Destiny? by Evelyn Reed and The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.

Amanda Riddle came over to the SWP table at the protest in Minneapolis, and told David Rosenfeld, SWP candidate for City Council Ward 12, that she wanted her friend Wendy to get a subscription to the Militant. “I subscribed at George Floyd Square some time back. It’s the only paper worth reading,” she said. “It shows that it is possible for us to change things, the opposite of what we’re always taught.” Riddle’s friend subscribed on the spot.

At a protest of 200 in Lynwood, Washington, retired researcher Margo Clark told Rebecca Williamson, SWP candidate for City Council Position 9, that she wanted to read something by Leon Trotsky, a leader of the Bolshevik party that led workers and farmers to take power in Russia in October 1917. Williamson pointed to the book Tribunes of the People and the Trade Unions. “This is a book about experiences in building a fighting trade union movement and also a revolutionary working-class party,” she said. Clark purchased it along with Is Socialist Revolution Possible in the US? by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters and a Militant subscription. She contributed to the SWP Party-Building Fund.

Veterinarian Amanda McNabb also joined the action. She told Williamson about the conditions workers face where she works. “Mars candy has been buying up dog food brands like Pedigree for years and moved on from there toward buying clinics,” she said, as she signed up for a Militant subscription. “Last year workers at Blue Pearl clinic in Seattle organized a union,” which won support from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union,” she said. “Then the bosses at Mars closed the clinic down.”

Next week’s issue of the paper will print the quotas adopted by party branches for the propaganda campaign and the first week’s results. Let the Militant know about the discussions you’re having.

To get more information on how you can help make the drive a success, see the Socialist Workers Party or Communist League branch nearest you.