SWP campaign wins hearing for party program, solidarity with UAW

By Vivian Sahner
October 2, 2023
Socialist Workers Party member Betsy Farley, right, discusses significance of United Auto Workers strike with Local 12 members on the picket line in Toledo, Ohio, Sept. 18.
MilitantSocialist Workers Party member Betsy Farley, right, discusses significance of United Auto Workers strike with Local 12 members on the picket line in Toledo, Ohio, Sept. 18.

At plant gates, demonstrations, on workers’ doorsteps and strike picket lines, Socialist Workers Party candidates and supporters get a serious hearing on the party’s program and respect for their efforts to get out the truth about working-class struggles and build solidarity with them.

Since the national UAW strike against the Big Three auto bosses began Sept. 15, autoworkers from all over the Midwest have joined picket lines at the three plants targeted so far. United Auto Workers member Adam McKinney, his wife, Sandy, and their daughter drove three hours to Toledo, Ohio, from Kokomo, Indiana. “This is a fight for the future, not just for me but for our daughter,” he told the Militant. “The time for solidarity is now.” 

After looking over the paper, Sandy McKinney, a teacher, said they talk “about the problems caused by capitalism and what can done about it” almost every night. They bought a subscription to the Militant  and a copy of Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? Class, Privilege, and Learning Under Capitalism  by Socialist Workers Party leader Jack Barnes. 

“Socialist? What do you mean by socialist?” Mark Grey, a railroad signalman asked Socialist Workers Party member Jacquie Henderson at the CSX yard in Cincinnati Sept. 15. He was interested in the front page of the Militant  and the flyer introducing the SWP candidates for Cincinnati City Council, Kaitlin Estill and Ned Measel. 

“We are a working-class party,” Henderson said. “Biden certainly showed rail workers this year what a friend of labor he is, didn’t he, when he ordered you not to strike and Congress shoved the contract that workers voted against down their throats. And the Republicans are no better. We need to break with both these parties. Workers need to unite in struggle on a road to taking political power ourselves, as a class.”

“Isn’t it true that while the railroad companies claim they have safety covered by remote devices and then cut jobs,” Henderson said, “it’s clear that their only concern is for their profits?”

“I agree,” Grey said. “These remote devices are no substitute for workers on the trains and on the ground, with eyes and ears to detect problems.”

He said he appreciated their discussion on the dangers to constitutional freedoms posed by the Democrats and the FBI’s attacks on former President Donald Trump. “You might be right there, too,” he said. “You’ve given me a lot to think about.” 

Grey bought a copy of the Militant  and took a subscription blank to fill out. Over the past several months more than a dozen rail workers have signed up for Militant  subscriptions at the yard. 

On Sept. 17 Laura Garza, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate from California, campaigned at a Mexican Independence Day celebration in Oxnard. “When a worker doesn’t show up, the work is divided among the rest and we work overtime,” Yolanda Salcedo, a member of the California School Employees Association, told Garza. “They have substitute workers on call but not enough.”

“We need to use our unions to fight against the worsening working conditions we face on the job today,” Garza said. “That’s what is happening more now with the strikes taking place by autoworkers, hotel workers and others.”

Participants at the event bought three Militant  subscriptions, eight Pathfinder books by SWP leaders and other revolutionaries, and nine signed the petition to place Garza’s name on the California ballot.

To meet an SWP candidate or join in campaigning with the party, contact SWP campaign offices listed in the directory.

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