Socialist Workers Party members Ved Dookhun and Candace Wagner visited East Palestine, Ohio, Feb. 19. They got into a discussion with a cook, Michael McIntosh, at his house a few hundred yards from the area where a 150-car Norfolk Southern freight train derailed and burned a couple weeks earlier.
“In the last decade rail companies have cut the workforce and made trains longer and less safe,” said Dookhun. Both Dookhun and Wagner are rail workers. “The interests of rail workers and those who live near the tracks are the same.”
McIntosh agreed, saying, “I guess Norfolk Southern is going to take a big hit financially.” Dookhun said that, in fact, their profits are expected to recover rapidly. “The only way change comes is when working people stand together.”
“Donald Trump is coming to East Palestine this week,” McIntosh pointed out. “Many say he fought for working people.” Dookhun asked, “What do you think?” McIntosh replied, “Actually, I think he fought for the money people.”
“Both the Democratic Party and the Republicans are the parties of the bosses,” Wagner said. They “voice the politics of resentment and use real challenges we face to push divisions in the working class.”
“Yeah, whatever happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave?” McIntosh responded. “I work with a lot of immigrants and they are hard workers and just like us.”
“The bosses want workers here without papers,” Dookhun said. “They just want them to be afraid and to put up with worse conditions. The Socialist Workers Party calls for an amnesty for all 11 million people here without documents the government recognizes.” That’s the road to strengthening the labor movement, he said.
McIntosh bought an introductory subscription to the Militant and the new book The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us: The Socialist Workers Party Looks Forward by SWP leaders Jack Barnes, Mary-Alice Waters and Steve Clark, which lays out the party’s perspectives for trade union and broader political work and highlights the opportunities ahead for class-conscious workers.
In discussions with fellow workers in cities and rural areas, at picket lines and protests, members of the SWP and Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada and the U.K are introducing the book. And Militant readers who get or renew their subscriptions can purchase it at half price for $5.
In Montreal, Katy LeRougetel and Al Cappe met Claudia Sarmientos in the lobby of her apartment building Feb. 18 while campaigning for Beverly Bernardo, Communist League candidate in the Quebec by-election in the Montreal Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne constituency. At the restaurant where I work, Sarmientos said, “We do two or three jobs. I clean tables, do the drive-through, and the cash. The boss said, ‘but you’re well paid.’ But tips don’t count, not everyone gets them.”
“We need unions to fight for solidarity,” LeRougetel said, “like the nurses at Montreal’s Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital who protested against forced overtime a few weeks ago.” Sarmientos was familiar with their fight. “They should hire more people,” she said. She signed the petition to put Bernardo on the ballot, took the campaign flyer and expressed interest in reading Militant articles online.
To help expand the Militant ’s reach and introduce books on revolutionary working-class politics as widely as possible, contact the SWP and CL branches near you.