Halfway through the Jan. 1 to Feb. 15 international Militant renewal drive, more than 200 readers have renewed their subscriptions. Members of the Socialist Workers Party in the U.S. and Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, as well as other Militant partisans have been visiting subscribers to exchange views on the way forward for the working class today.
“I worked in hospitals for decades,” Militant reader Jannie Jackson told SWP members Kaitlin Estill and Jacquie Henderson when they stopped by her home in Cincinnati Jan. 18. “Then the one I was working at closed down a few years ago and threw us all out of work.”
Jackson followed the Militant’s coverage of the 10-month-long strike by nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, which ended in victory. The strike “made me think about what a different outlook on life these hospitals have,” she said. “Those of us who work there think about the well-being of the patients and everybody. All the companies care about is how they can make more and more money from our hard work.
“They don’t care if you have a family or anything else,” she said. “If you get hurt on the job and don’t have a union to go to, you’re on your own. It’s your problem.”
“That’s the outlook of their governments, too,” Estill said. “The capitalist class offers working people nothing but exploitation and oppression. Working people can realize our own worth, as Malcolm X explained, as we gain confidence through our struggles and organize to take power out of the capitalists’ hands.” She pointed Jackson to Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by Jack Barnes, the SWP’s national secretary. Jackson had previously bought the book and loaned it to her granddaughter.
“I need to get that book back,” Jackson said. “She read it before I was finished and gave it to her friends to read.”
Jackson renewed her subscription and said she looks forward to attending the weekly Militant Labor Forum series starting up there.
What Cuban Revolution shows
When SWP member Samir Hazboun told Yolanda Alvarado, a factory worker in Cincinnati, that he is studying Spanish in preparation for participating in the Havana International Book Fair later this year Alvarado had some questions.
“In Cuba there are food shortages,” she said, adding that Cuban-born workers she knows have told her about mounting difficulties working people face on the island. Some blame the Cuban government.
Hazboun agreed that working people there face increasing challenges. “But the revolution is alive,” he said, “because Cuba’s workers and farmers overthrew a U.S.-backed dictatorship in 1959 and opened the road to a socialist revolution. They have been building a society based on human solidarity, not on the dog-eat-dog values of capitalism.”
The U.S. economic war on Cuba makes everything more difficult, from importing fertilizer and machinery, to getting food and medical supplies. Despite that “Cuba developed its own vaccines against COVID-19,” Hazboun pointed out. As of Jan. 25, nearly 90% of the population is fully vaccinated. That’s just one example of what is possible when working people have a government of our own.
“I want to hear about your experience in Cuba when you return,” she told Hazboun.
Alvarado renewed her subscription and bought The First and Second Declarations of Havana by Fidel Castro to learn more. Castro’s two speeches, given in 1960 and 1962, explain what made a socialist revolution possible. They describe the program of the revolution and reaffirm the determination of millions of working people to defend their conquests arms in hand.
Just two sexes?
In Minneapolis, Socialist Workers Party members Helen Meyers and Edwin Fruit met up with subscriber Laryssa Marquardt in a coffee shop in Hudson, Wisconsin, Jan. 20. Marquardt, a Walmart worker, first subscribed to the Militant at a rally in support of women’s right to family planning, including access to safe and secure abortion.
“I didn’t know anything about the John Deere strike until I saw it in the Militant,” she said, referring to the strike by United Auto Workers members at the agricultural machinery company last year.
Marquardt said one thing she didn’t agree with in the Militant were articles that explain there are two sexes — male and female — with distinct biological differences. “I think there is a whole range of what is defined as sexes and not just two,” Marquardt said.
The SWP explains recognizing this biological reality is essential to understanding the oppression of women under class society and building the fight to advance women’s emancipation and working-class solidarity.
Reducing “men” and “women” to categories that can be changed at will, the Militant explains, blurs the reality of the oppression of women, a key lynchpin of capitalist rule. One example is in women’s sports, where men who call themselves transgender women use their genetic differences and greater physical strength to beat biological women they compete against.
These are important questions. “No revolution can be made in this country without uniting the large majority of the working class,” Fruit said. Fighting for women’s emancipation is a central part of that struggle.
Marquardt renewed and bought The Turn to Industry: Forging a Proletarian Party by Barnes. “This book may help me see what your party is all about,” she said.
Labor, Nature, and the Evolution of Humanity: The Long View of History has just come off the press and will interest Militant readers. The book is an aid to all those looking for a scientific view of history and a road forward to put an end to the class exploitation that warps every aspect of social relations and moral values.
The launch of the Socialist Workers Party’s 2022 campaign all across the country over the next several weeks will also boost the renewal drive. Many Militant readers will be interested in finding out about the SWP candidates, the party’s working-class program and help spread the word. Key to doing that will be expanding the paper’s readership.