Socialist Workers Party members and fellow supporters of the Militant are using the paper’s international renewal drive to continue discussions with readers on perspectives to defend the rights and needs of the working class, exchange views on the big political and social questions we face, and win new volunteers to help expand the reach of the paper and the SWP.
Socialist Workers Party members Jeanne FitzMaurice and Rebecca Williamson visited subscriber Latifah Sidney in Tukwila, Washington, Jan. 15. Sidney, an office worker, said she appreciated “the visit and the real-life exchange.”
Williamson told her about a strike by Teamsters Local 174 cement and dump truck drivers in King County and suggested they go together to bring solidarity. Sidney liked the idea.
When Sidney said she’d just ordered The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Williamson showed her Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes. Malcolm was a revolutionary leader of the working class, Barnes writes. He explains why the conquest of power by the working class will open the door to the final battle to win Black freedom.
Sidney bought the book, renewed her subscription and got a copy of Teamster Rebellion by Farrell Dobbs.
FitzMaurice and Michelle Smith stopped by to talk to Militant reader Cedric Pleasant, a worker at UPS and member of the Teamsters. His wife had bought the subscription and said Pleasant would like it too. She was right.
“We’re glad you’re getting out the news that the local papers don’t, and you build solidarity for the working man,” Pleasant said. He renewed and asked to be informed of Militant Labor Forums, where key questions facing the working class are discussed and debated.
Supporters of the Militant in Albany, New York, dropped by to see subscriber Terry Thompson Jan. 17. The 60-year-old worker said he didn’t agree with articles he had read in the Militant explaining why workers need to form our own party, a labor party based on the unions.
Thompson, who is Black and works two jobs to make ends meet, told SWP member Ved Dookhun, “The Democratic Party has a lot of flaws, they only ask for votes around election time. But they do some good for working people, not like the Republicans who serve the rich.
“If Democrats were the majority they could get things done, they could pass Biden’s ‘Build Back America,’” he said. “I don’t think capitalism needs to be brought down; it needs to be made better.”
The Militant explains the root cause of the problems workers face is capitalism. Founded on the exploitation of our labor, it can’t be bent to serve our needs. Both Democrats and Republicans defend and support capitalist rule.
In the coming weeks the paper will report on campaigns launched by the Socialist Workers Party for offices across the country. The party’s candidates will point to the capacities of working people to fight for protection from unemployment and rising prices, and to build a party to lead millions to replace capitalist rule with a workers and farmers government.
In contrast, Build Back Better is aimed at lining the pockets of big capitalist companies whose interests the government defends. Dookhun didn’t convince Thompson. But Thompson told him he would “support what aligns with my interests, which is why I am interested in you. Because you talk about unions.”
Thompson wants to learn more about the Cuban Revolution. “I know about the Cuban missile crisis from the American side but I always wanted to know what happened from the Cuban side,” he said. He renewed his subscription and bought two books by leaders of Cuba’s socialist revolution, To Speak the Truth by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, and October 1962: The ‘Missile’ Crisis as Seen From Cuba by Tomás Diez Acosta.
‘Bosses see us as machines’
“Workers all over the world are being exploited and in many places are fighting against the conditions they face,” a poultry factory worker told Communist League members John Steele and Beverly Bernardo when they visited him at his apartment in Sainte-Claire, Quebec, Jan. 16. “For the bosses we’re just like the machines. They don’t see us as human beings.”
The poultry worker was recently injured on the job and is on light duty, but the bosses keep trying to get him to do heavier work, against recommendations of his doctor.
That’s why working people need to keep fighting and strengthening our unions, Steele said. “At the same time we need to organize our own political party and forge a Marxist leadership.” Pointing to the leadership forged during the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the 1959 Cuban Revolution, Steele said, “That’s the type of party the Communist League is trying to build.”
The worker bought Tribunes of the People and the Trade Unions with articles by Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Farrell Dobbs and Jack Barnes.
Supporters of the Militant continue to reach out to win new readers. Katy LeRougetel and Philippe Tessier knocked on the door of Carol Jalbert, a 75-year-old health care giver.
In the 1960s, the company where she worked tried to stop women workers from wearing pants. After talking about this, Jalbert said, “We all went to work with pants for a week. After that we wore what we wanted.’’
They also discussed government moves to impose a quarantine on non-vaccinated Canadian truck drivers. “Truckers should get vaccinated,” Jalbert said. “But truckers should stick together against the repressive measures of the government.’’ She subscribed and bought two books by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes, The Turn to Industry: Forging a Proletarian Party and The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People.
Want to help introduce friends, co-workers, neighbors and relatives to the Militant and the Socialist Workers Party? Contact the party branch nearest you, or contact the Militant at firstname.lastname@example.org.