SWP campaigns for a program to unite workers and farmers in struggle

By Norton Sandler
August 28, 2023
“I want nothing but the real facts. We have to understand the world today,” construction worker Lorenzo Rainwater told SWP candidates Henry Dennison, left, and Vincent Auger, right, in Seattle Aug. 9, as he bought the Militant and asked them to come back for further discussion.
Militant/Jacob Perasso“I want nothing but the real facts. We have to understand the world today,” construction worker Lorenzo Rainwater told SWP candidates Henry Dennison, left, and Vincent Auger, right, in Seattle Aug. 9, as he bought the Militant and asked them to come back for further discussion.

FRESNO, Calif. — Laura Garza, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Senate from California, addressed a meeting of the African American Farmers of California at a local restaurant here Aug. 11. Thirteen people took part.

In brief remarks, Garza noted the increase in trade union strikes and the importance of workers and farmers supporting each other’s struggles. Workers and farmers need to defend constitutional freedoms, including the right to free speech, she said, which is under attack from the Democratic Party administration in its multipronged attempts to muzzle and to jail Donald Trump.

Garza distributed her campaign flyer and explained the Socialist Workers Party’s call for nationalization of the land, which would end it being a commodity, bought and sold by banks and other mortgage holders. With the land nationalized, farmers and their heirs would be protected from eviction and could stay on the land as long as they want to farm it. She cited the example of the Cuban Revolution where nationalization of the land ended the exploitation of the peasantry on the island and was a decisive part of forging a worker-farmer alliance.

Because of a tight schedule at the venue there was only a brief discussion after Garza’s presentation. One participant asked, “Do different communities in a city like Los Angeles get along?” Garza responded that the bosses foster divisions between workers who are Black, Latino, Caucasian or immigrant. “The Socialist Workers Party advances a program that unites the working class in struggle against our common oppressor, the capitalist ruling families and their government,” she said.

Garza added that the party’s program includes the necessity of organizing a labor party based on the unions that acts in the interests of workers and farmers, as opposed to the Democrats and Republicans who defend and protect the capitalist system.

Shirley Roman, an alfalfa farmer, told Garza the biggest issue she faces is access to water. Another concern emphasized was skyrocketing land prices.

Will Scott, president of the African American Farmers of California, said that equity for Black farmers is a pressing problem. Government funds for Black farmers are a “pittance. The government should be user-friendly. It isn’t.”

As SWP campaign supporters were eating dinner following Garza’s presentation, one participant came to continue discussing nationalization of the land. That’s an important idea you are raising, she said, “but wouldn’t it take a constitutional amendment to get it enacted?”

“It’s going to take a revolutionary struggle,” Garza said, “but the demand for nationalization of the land is part of a fighting perspective for farmers and workers to advance today.”


Seattle SWP candidates: ‘Amnesty for immigrant workers’


SEATTLE — “I support you and the labor movement but it’s going to be an uphill battle. They don’t need labor any more, they’re moving more and more to robotics,” Julian Dane told Socialist Workers Party candidates Henry Dennison and Vincent Auger, after they knocked on his door here Aug. 9. Dennison is running for King County Council District 2 and Auger is running for Seattle City Council District 1.

“The question is which class controls the technologies,” responded Dennison. Like they always have, the capitalist rulers use advances in machinery and technology to increase the exploitation of labor to boost their profits rather than to benefit the working class. SWP member Jacob Perasso added that workers still have the power to shut down production.

During the discussion Dane, a construction project manager who is Black, said, “immigration hurts minority workers, making it harder to unionize.”

“The labor movement needs to fight for an amnesty for all immigrant workers with or without official government papers so we can unite our class against bosses’ attempts to divide us,” said Dennison. To counter competition for jobs, workers need to combine in unions.

Dane said that it has been 100 years since the labor movement made any real progress. Union victories in the 1930s under effective leadership helped open the road to the rise of the CIO, which organized 30 million workers. One of the most important victories of the working class was the Black-led proletarian movement that overthrew Jim Crow segregation in the 1950s and ’60s, Dennison said. We’re seeing more working people using their unions today, ending a decadeslong retreat of the labor movement.

Dane said the Democratic Party has a long history of betraying Black people. When asked what he thought of the charges against Donald Trump, he said, “It’s political,” adding that Trump may win more of “the minority vote in the next election.”

Perasso said the Democratic Party was aiming to refurbish the image of the FBI and that the SWP opposes the attacks on constitutional freedoms, whether against Trump or anyone else.

Dane purchased a subscription to the Militant and two Pathfinder books, 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, and Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by Barnes.

Over the next several weeks, SWP members and others who distribute the Militant around the world will be talking to subscribers about why they should renew their subscription. To join in this effort and to campaign with the SWP candidates, see list of party campaign offices.