When Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor in Fort Worth, Texas, and party member Gerardo Sánchez were going door to door there April 1, warehouse worker Michael Perkins was in his truck, getting ready to go to his second job as a lawn care worker. As the capitalist economic crisis unfolds, more workers are finding one job is not enough to get by.
Sánchez showed Perkins Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes. “This book is about the struggles of workers and farmers who are Black and shows how it’s possible to change the conditions we face,” Sánchez said. It points a road forward for all working people.
“I always thought Malcolm X was more for the people,” Perkins said. “Martin Luther King wanted everyone to follow him to keep them from making trouble. Sometimes you have to fight to open doors.”
Pointing to the land behind his house, Perkins added, “My dad had cows, goats and he raised and trained horses. The city tried to get us to move out, but they couldn’t do it because we’ve been here for so long.”
“Workers and working farmers face deteriorating conditions and we’re seeing more examples of those who are saying, ‘Enough is enough,’” Kennedy said. “The Socialist Workers Party explains the problems we face are not because of the divisions between the Democrats and Republicans, but from class divisions between the wealthy capitalists and their upper-middle-class backers and working people.”
Perkins got a copy of the Militant and urged the socialist campaigners to come back next Saturday so he can get some of the books.
Continuing these discussions on the challenges working people face today and a road forward is important. It is at the heart of the international spring campaign to get at least 1,350 subscriptions to the Militant, sell 1,350 books by SWP and other revolutionary leaders, and raise $165,000 for the Militant Fighting Fund. The eight-week effort runs through May 16.
Members of the SWP in the U.S. and Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada and the U.K. are talking to workers on their doorsteps, at union picket lines and other protests. A key book they are introducing is The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us: The Socialist Workers Party Looks Forward by Barnes and SWP leaders Mary-Alice Waters and Steve Clark.
In Chicago, Ilona Gersh, SWP candidate for mayor, and campaign supporters presented the party’s program to those in the crowd at a March 30 rally where U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and a leader of the American Federation of Teachers encouraged people to vote for Democrat Brandon Johnson, who faces fellow Democrat Paul Vallas in the April 4 mayoral election.
“Both the Democrats and Republican parties represent the ruling rich,” Gersh told Tucker Millett.
“Yes, I agree, they are two wings of the same thing,” Millett responded. “So who should we support?”
Workers need a labor party
“We need a labor party that can champion union strikes and organizing drives, build protests for women’s emancipation, against racism, for immigrant rights,” Gersh replied. “We need to unite the working class to cut across the divisions that the bosses and the government impose on us.
“All of the capitalist candidates for mayor,” Gersh said, “offer schemes that they say will provide jobs and develop the economy, like opening more casinos and stores to sell cannabis.” The government’s push to get more people addicted to gambling and marijuana is pernicious, the SWP points out. It undermines the fighting spirit and morale of the working class.
“What we need is a federally funded jobs program, led by the unions, to build things working people need,” Gersh sad. “A guarantee that when inflation goes up, our wages go up too. Jobs that pay enough to support families of working people without the massive overtime we work now.”
Millett subscribed to the Militant. At a SWP literature table set up at the event, five others subscribed and three people purchased copies of The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us and several other titles.
SWP members Ned Measel and Jacquie Henderson and campaign supporter Valerie Libby went to Springfield, Ohio, March 28. A Norfolk Southern train derailed there March 4, just a month after the toxic derailment in East Palestine where workers have been fighting to control the cleanup and rebuilding of their town.
Derailment in Springfield, Ohio
“Of course we are concerned,” said Vicky Hamilton who has a small produce farm not far from where the train derailed. “My husband is out plowing the field now for planting and we hope to open with baked goods next month. But we haven’t received any answers from anyone. They announced that there is no problem with the rail cars on the ground. But how do we know we are getting the facts?”
Measel said, “Working people need to demand full access to the company’s records. And we should support rail workers’ demands for limits on length of the trains and for train crews of four, two on the front and two on the back.”
Hamilton subscribed to the Militant and invited socialist campaigners to come back to talk more and sample her baked goods and vegetables.
Getting fund off to a good start
The SWP in Chicago has been reaching out to win new contributors for the Militant Fighting Fund.
“Volunteers get together at our campaign headquarters to call people,” Gersh told the Militant. “The phone calls are a way to get to know our subscribers, discuss that week’s issue with them, and encourage them to renew and to participate in activities with us, and get contributions to the fund.”
“As of April 3, contributors have pledged $10,927 toward our local goal of $14,000,” she said, “and we’ve sent in to the Militant over half.”
To join in the campaign to expand the reach of the Militant and books contact distributors.