Use the ‘Militant’ to build solidarity with Iran protests, rail workers’ fight!

By Vivian Sahner
October 17, 2022
Demonstrators at Oct. 1 Los Angeles rally in solidarity with protests in Iran discussed road forward with Socialist Workers Party campaigners, getting 11 'Militant' subscriptions, 8 books.
Militant/Deborah LiatosDemonstrators at Oct. 1 Los Angeles rally in solidarity with protests in Iran discussed road forward with Socialist Workers Party campaigners, getting 11 'Militant' subscriptions, 8 books.

Socialist Workers Party members and Militant supporters are joining with thousands around the world who have taken to the streets in solidarity with protesters in Iran, outraged after Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman, died after being detained by the “morality” police in Tehran for not “properly” covering her hair. Many are attracted to the paper’s coverage of the continuing protests in Iran, as well as union struggles in the U.S. and discussing the key questions on how best to defend the interests of working people across the globe.

“We oppose the Iranian bombardment of Kurdish villages,” Hikmet Baramani, a Kurd now living in Herndon, Virginia, told Arlene Rubinstein, at a protest of 300 organized by Kurdish groups in Washington, D.C., Oct. 1. Rubinstein is the SWP candidate for Washington, D.C., delegate to the House of Representatives.

The regime in Tehran has unleashed deadly attacks on villages in the Kurdish region of Iraq as part of its repression against those speaking out against the death of Amini. “We are not just speaking out for the Kurdish people,” Baramani added. “We are expressing ourselves with solidarity for the Iranian people who are struggling for freedom against a regime that opposes its people.”

Rubinstein showed Baramani the Militant, which along with articles on the protest movement in Iran, featured coverage of Moscow’s war on Ukraine. “I support the Ukrainian people, whose only crime is defense of their country,” he said.

Campaign to expand reach of Militant, ' books, SWP fund“It’s in the interests of all working people to act in solidarity with the fight for women’s freedom,” Rubinstein said. “The solidarity and unity of Iranians and Kurds is important.” That kind of unity is also important in Ukraine. “The fraternization between the workers of Ukraine and Russia has the power to end the war,” Rubinstein said. Baramani subscribed to the Militant.

Many at the protest headed to Farragut Square to join an action of 2,500. Chants in Farsi and English called out “Women, life, freedom.” At the two protests participants picked up 10 copies of the Militant and two Farsi language books, Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? and Pages from History: Women and Revolution by SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters. The Farsi books are published by Talaye Porsoo Publications, which has translated over 40 Pathfinder titles.

Members of the Socialist Workers Party and Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada and the U.K. are on an eight-week campaign to sell 1,350 Militant subscriptions and the same number of books and pamphlets that offer a revolutionary road forward. In the U.S. they are also raising $140,000 for the SWP Party-Building Fund. (See chart).

Everywhere they go — from Iran protests to knocking on workers’ doors, on union strike picket lines, rail yards where workers are discussing proposed national contracts, actions in support of the year-and-a-half long strike by Warrior Met coal miners in Alabama and other labor battles — they’re introducing people to the Militant and inviting them to join them in backing these strikes and taking part in other struggles.

Members of the Communist League participated with the thousands, many Iranians and Kurds, who filled Trafalgar Square in London Oct. 1, in solidarity with the protests in Iran.

Protests can make a difference

“The outcome of the struggle in my country will affect people in every country,” Azalia Khosravi told Dag Tirsén. She described how her mother had been part of the resistance in Iran, while being forced to wearing a hijab over 40 years ago as counterrevolutionary Islamist forces were consolidating their regime by rolling back the gains of the 1979 revolution. Khosravi was among the protesters who bought six subscriptions to the Militant and 19 books.

In East Orange, New Jersey, Joanne Kuniansky, SWP candidate for U.S. Congress, and SWP member Terry Evans knocked on the door of Antoinette Coke Oct. 2. Coke told them she had quit her job as a home care worker because of escalating costs for transportation and several on-the-job injuries.

“Too many people have to work two or three jobs,” Coke said, adding she wasn’t convinced there was anything unions alone could do to change that. But when Kuniansky — a member of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union — described some of the strikes her union was waging at Ingredion in Iowa and Corn Nuts in California, Coke wanted to learn more.

4-H members show animals at this year’s Brown County Fair in Ohio. SWP candidates and supporters met farmers at the event, discussed need for fighting alliance of workers and farmers.
Brown County 4-H4-H members show animals at this year’s Brown County Fair in Ohio. SWP candidates and supporters met farmers at the event, discussed need for fighting alliance of workers and farmers.

“Unions are our organizations,” Coke said. “They’re all we’ve got to defend ourselves.”

“Real change comes when working people join together to fight,” Kuniansky said, describing the Black-led working-class movement that overturned Jim Crow segregation in the 1950s and ’60s and the fight by coal miners to take back their union and use it to win health care and union control over working conditions underground in the ’70s.

“There’s a lot of history they don’t want us to know about,” Coke said. “We need to change the system.” She got a subscription to the Militant and Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes.

At the Brown County Fair in Georgetown, Ohio, Sept. 29, SWP member Anthony Dutrow introduced Jacquie Henderson, the party’s candidate for Congress, to Brenda Murray. Murray was at the fair with her family, helping her great-grandchildren exhibit their animals in the 4-H tent.

Campaigning at Ohio fair 

Dutrow explained the party was running candidates across the country, discussing with workers and farmers the need for us to come together in our millions and build our own party, a labor party based on our unions. Such a party could point a road forward toward working people taking political power.

“This is great,” Murray said, shaking hands with Henderson and looking through a copy of the Militant. “I do think people who work need to stand together. I have learned that from my own family’s experience.

“My dad was a coal miner in Kentucky,” she said. “He was part of the struggles with the coal bosses there and died of black lung. My husband was strong in the bakery workers union, the BCTGM, and he ended up dying from what he breathed in the factory.

“I just didn’t know that there was a party like yours, I want to know more,” she added as she looked over books by SWP leaders. She chose Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? and In Defense of the US Working Class along with a subscription. She donated $5 to the SWP Party-Building Fund and exchanged phone numbers with Henderson and Dutrow so they can continue talking.

Join in getting out the word about today’s working-class strikes and struggles and building solidarity, using the Militant to get out the truth. Contact the SWP or Communist League branch nearest you.