LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — At a special Militant Labor Forum here Oct. 2, the Socialist Workers Party announced its members in Louisville were moving to Cincinnati to take advantage of opportunities to deepen their involvement in the labor movement and build the party. Eighteen people attended, including four workers from two Walmart stores where members of the SWP had worked. A young woman, who met party members earlier that day at an action to defend a woman’s right to choose an abortion, brought a friend.
Anthony Dutrow, a member of the SWP National Committee and the party’s candidate for mayor in Miami, described how resistance to boss attacks has grown over the last year, pointing to examples like the United Mine Workers strike at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama; United Steelworkers fighting a lockout by ExxonMobil in Texas; distillery workers on strike against Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Kentucky; and the recent walkout by members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union against Nabisco.
“Communists need to be in the unions, especially as our class is reaching to use them to defend ourselves and advance our interests,” Dutrow said.
Opportunities in Cincinnati
“We think in Cincinnati we’ll have greater opportunities to join in union battles and at the same time build a branch of the SWP in a city with a long tradition of class struggle, an industrial center in the Midwest,” Dutrow said. “And where there have been important struggles against racist oppression and police brutality, like those we’ve been part of in Louisville.”
The SWP has built branches in both Cincinnati and Louisville before. In the 1970s and ’80s, the party was part of the successful fight to desegregate Louisville schools when city leaders and the Ku Klux Klan fought federal court-ordered busing. “That victory helped change the working class here and reinforced the fight against racism nationally,” Margaret Trowe, the SWP branch organizer in Louisville and its candidate for mayor, said.
Since 2018, the branch here built solidarity for coal miners who struck against Blackjewel Coal in Harlan County when the company stole their last paychecks as it declared bankruptcy, she said. And during other strikes and political actions, like the fight against the cop killing of Breonna Taylor, here and throughout the region.
“Moving to Cincinnati to build a branch there will advance the building of the SWP and our involvement in the labor movement,” Trowe said. “And we’ll keep in touch with struggles in Kentucky, and throughout the region.” Meeting participants donated $315 to help in the move.
“Please tell everyone that I am looking so forward to them moving to the Queen City!” Dave Perry, a Teamster unionist in Cincinnati, said in a message to the meeting.