Socialist Workers Party members and other readers of the Militant newspaper have been getting back to the paper’s hundreds of new subscribers, visiting them on strike picket lines and at their homes, meeting in coffee shops and staying in touch by phone.
We’ve been exchanging views on what’s happening in the labor movement, how to build support for the strikes taking place today, discussing the big political questions working people face and interesting subscribers in working together with us to increase the paper’s reach in the working class, as well as getting and studying books by leaders of the party and other revolutionaries.
Not waiting to get back in touch with new subscribers, making sure they are getting their papers in the mail and finding out what they think about what they’re reading will ensure that the international renewal drive, which officially begins Jan. 1, is off to a good start.
John Hawkins, Leroy Watson and Dan Fein visited the Kellogg’s picket line in Battle Creek, Michigan, Dec. 19. They were greeted by strikers Damion Kreger, Christopher Hebner and Mike Cramutolo — members of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 3G — who subscribed to the Militant during previous visits bringing solidarity to the strike.
“Where else besides the Militant can you read the information you need to know to fight effectively,” said Kreger, who has 12 years seniority in the plant and subscribed during the first week of the strike in early October. He renewed his subscription on the spot. Four other strikers signed up for a subscription on the picket lines and at the union hall.
Over the Dec. 18 weekend, SWP members and supporters of the Militant in Dallas visited three workers who subscribed to the paper on their doorsteps during the fall subscription, book, and party fund drive.
“When we knocked on Martha Banda’s door, she was in the middle of making tamales,” reports Josefina Otero, “but she told us she really liked the paper and renewed her subscription. She wants us to come back to discuss what she’s been reading.”
Another subscriber, Marrie Martinez, also said she wanted to renew, asking them to come back when she would have the money.
When Otero and Alyson Kennedy stopped back by later in the week, Martinez told them, “I like the articles on the strikes,” but she expressed reservations about the Militant and Socialist Workers Party’s support for a woman’s right to choose abortion.
“Most working people want to have children, but often feel they face insurmountable obstacles,” Kennedy said. “Many working people can’t afford to raise a family today with the cost of rents and food going up and low wages.”
Fights for wages, conditions
The Socialist Workers Party points to the need for workers and our unions to continue fighting for higher wages and better working conditions; for government-funded public works programs to provide jobs while building what workers need — affordable, comfortable housing, child care centers and other infrastructure; and family planning service centers offering help with children; safe, effective contraception, and access to abortion for those who need one.
Arianna Ortiz, who helps Martinez with house cleaning and taking care of her husband, who has had a number of strokes, joined the discussion. She said that when the schools were closed because of COVID, “I had to quit my job as an after-school project worker, because I had no one to care for my two boys. My rent went up $65 a month. It goes up every year.”
Martinez said that she wants to read the Militant article on “A Working-Class Course Is Needed to Support Our Families, Women’s Rights” from the Dec. 27 issue when it comes out in Spanish (it’s in this issue) and to continue the discussion.
In New York City, supporters of the paper have been getting back in touch with new subscribers every week. A striker at United Metro Energy renewed when Sara Lobman went by the Teamsters Local 553 picket line to show support for their fight.
Fight the scourge of Jew-hatred
This worker-correspondent and Willie Cotton took the paper and books out to Brooklyn to knock on doors and talk to subscribers and win new readers. The first person who answered was a young ultra-Orthodox Jewish Talmud student. He told us his cousin would be interested and called him to come down to meet us. We had a lengthy discussion on everything from women’s rights, abortion, fighting against the scourge of Jew-hatred, the Cuban Revolution and capitalism vs. socialism.
Among the books we showed them was the The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation by Abram Leon, a young Belgian revolutionary who was killed in the Nazi gas chambers at Auschwitz in October 1944. The book describes the social roots of Jew-hatred and explains why there is no solution for it under capitalism. We also highly recommended the introduction by SWP leader Dave Prince.
“Will the introduction give me a good idea of what your party is all about?” the cousin asked. When we assured him it would, he bought the book with a subscription to the Militant.
“And he kicked in a extra few bucks,” Cotton said.
Want to help introduce friends, co-workers, neighbors and relatives to the Militant and the Socialist Workers Party? Great! Contact the party branch nearest you, or contact the Militant at firstname.lastname@example.org.