“I remember you from last time, when I got a subscription to the Militant,” Pete Bastounes, a member of Operating Engineers Local 150, told Socialist Workers Party members Dan Fein and David Rosenfeld when they knocked on his door in Morris, Illinois, April 8.
Rosenfeld showed Bastounes 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. The book points to new opportunities for working-class struggles, Rosenfeld said, “as more workers say ‘enough is enough’ to the drive by the capitalist rulers and their parties to shift the burden of their crisis onto working people’s backs.”
“We need to regulate capitalism like they do in Europe,” Bastounes said.
“But government regulations are written by the corporations they’re supposed to regulate,” noted Rosenfeld. “We look to Cuba where they overthrew capitalism. They didn’t regulate it.”
Bastounes described the solidarity actions he participated in to support the strike by Operating Engineers Local 150 at three Chicago-area quarries last year. Some 300 unionists had walked out demanding improved work conditions and safety.
Rosenfeld showed Bastounes photographs from Teamster Rebellion by Farrell Dobbs, which recounts the class-struggle battles by the Teamsters in Minneapolis in the 1930s. They won a union, relied on themselves and extended solidarity to workers and others exploited by capital.
“This is the kind of unions we need today,” Fein said, “ones that rely on the mobilization of the workers — not reliance on capitalist politicians. We need a labor party based on our unions.”
Bastounes renewed his Militant subscription and purchased The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us, Teamster Rebellion and Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?
Discussions like this on the key political questions today with workers, farmers and youth is at the heart of the international spring campaign to get 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. 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 in cities, towns and rural areas; on union picket lines; and at other protests. The eight-week effort runs through May 16.
The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us and 10 other titles published by Pathfinder are available at substantially reduced prices for subscribers. All other Pathfinder books are discounted 20% during the campaign.
“Militant readers really appreciate the paper’s coverage,” SWP member Joe Swanson said by phone from Lincoln, Nebraska, April 10, “especially the articles on the fight for control over health and the cleanup in East Palestine, Ohio, following the Norfolk Southern derailment and release of toxic chemicals there. And articles on the Ukrainians’ fight for independence, demanding Russian troops out now.”
Lincoln is ahead of schedule through week three of the campaign. “All nine subscriptions we’ve gotten so far have been renewals,” Swanson said, “including at least two from rail workers.
“The majority of the books sold have been The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us,” he said, “through discussions at a coffee shop or while visiting people at their homes.”
SWP campaign in the news
In Fort Worth, Texas, the SWP campaign of Alyson Kennedy for mayor is drawing a lot of interest. “Meet the candidates for Fort Worth mayor: Challengers push platforms ranging from socialism to cultural divide,” headlined an April 6 article in Fort Worth Report, an internet news site.
Kennedy “is a perennial candidate who has run for president, senator and Dallas mayor,” the Report said. “Now, she’s taking her campaign to Fort Worth, where she is promoting the platform of the Socialist Workers Party.
“The big reason we do this is to be a voice for working people in the elections,” Kennedy said. What’s needed “is to build a working-class movement in this country, based on the unions.”
“Kennedy calls for a large public works program funded by the government to provide jobs with high wages and build necessary infrastructure, such as hospitals, affordable housing and railroads. Amnesty for workers living in the U.S. illegally is also key to Kennedy’s platform,” the news site reported.
“I think any worker who lives and works in the United States should be treated like anybody else,” Kennedy said. “Most workers we talk to have no confidence in the U.S. government or the politicians to do anything about our situation.”
Party members in New York have been campaigning weekly outside the UPS depot in Manhattan, getting the Militant into the hands of Teamsters union members. National negotiations between the Teamsters and UPS bosses begin April 17. Their contract expires July 31.
To join in the campaign to expand the reach of the Militant and books and contribute to the Militant Fighting Fund, see the party branch nearest you. Donations to the fund can also be made online at themilitant.com.