Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre of Jews in Israel, members of the Socialist Workers Party and the Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada and the U.K. have been using the Militant to explain why workers and our unions have a stake in fighting Jew-hatred wherever it appears, and discussing what can be done to end it for all time.
In every area, party campaigners are joining protests backing Israel’s right to exist as a refuge for Jews, bringing solidarity to union picket lines, and knocking on doors in working-class neighborhoods in cities and rural areas.
They completed an eight-week fall campaign by selling 1,423 subscriptions to the Militant, 1,870 books by SWP and other revolutionary leaders and raising $145,942 for the SWP’s annual Party-Building Fund.
The final campaign chart will be printed in next week’s issue of the Militant.
In the coming days party members will build on that success, taking the paper far and wide to discuss the party’s working-class program and its activities.
Several hundred students, mostly Jews from Concordia and McGill universities, rallied at the Concordia campus in downtown Montreal Nov. 16. They were protesting a wave of antisemitic attacks against synagogues, Jewish schools and on campuses in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 pogrom.
Participants chanted “Bring them home!” referring to the 240 Israeli hostages taken by Hamas.
In the weeks before the action, one McGill student attending a pro-Hamas action had boasted, “We have terrified them. We will make them afraid, make them feel uncomfortable.”
“I am not afraid,” Julia, a McGill student, told the crowd. “I am here to bring a simple message from Jewish McGill students. We are not Jews with trembling knees! This is not 1933, this is 2023 and antisemitic hatred is not welcome!”
As Communist League members set up a table to display the Militant newspaper and books on revolutionary working-class struggles, a cop demanded they move the table because he claimed it wasn’t part of the action. One protest organizer came over to the table, attracted by signs carried by the CL members that said, “No to Jew-hatred. Defend Israel’s right to exist!” and “Call for cease-fire = Support to Hamas.”
“I really like your slogans,” he said. The cop left.
The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation by Abram Leon caught the attention of many participants. The book explains the roots of Jew-hatred, its virulent character in the imperialist epoch, and why it will take a struggle of millions to make a socialist revolution to end it once and for all.
Ukraine, Israel: Two fronts, one war
SWP members Candace Wagner and Tony Lane from Pittsburgh went to Parma, Ohio, where they spoke to Mykhailo Olkhovskyi, a taxi driver originally from Ukraine, at his doorstep. He described waking up Feb. 24, 2022, in Kharkiv to the sound of bombing. “I looked out my window and realized that the war had started. I didn’t think this could be happening in the 21st century.”
Wagner asked him if he thought there were similarities between the Vladimir Putin regime’s assault on Ukraine and Hamas’ war to exterminate Jews.
“Russia is terrorist. Hamas is the same thing. They don’t want peace; they want to destroy,” Olkhovskyi said. But following Oct. 7 “the focus of the world will be on Israel, not on Ukraine.”
“The fight by Ukrainians for their sovereignty helps the defense of Israel,” Lane replied, pointing out that workers had an interest in the defeat of both genocidal assaults.
“At the beginning of the war, Zelensky tried to speak with Putin, but he didn’t want to,” Olkhovskyi said. “Russia had the second-strongest army in the world; now you see they’re not so strong.” As a result, “we don’t need to give up territory in Ukraine.”
He told the SWP campaigners his first job in the U.S. was at Amazon, where it was “work, work, work, just like a robot. They said you would be working 10 hours a day for a 40-hour week. Then they wanted a 50-hour week.”
Olkhovskyi decided to subscribe to the Militant and got On the Jewish Question by Leon Trotsky.
Bringing campaign to truck drivers
Socialist Workers Party campaigners from Washington, D.C., went to a truck stop in Jessup, Maryland, Nov. 20. Truck driver Justin Rios rolled down his window to talk with SWP members Arlene Rubinstein and Glova Scott. “I grew up in a small town in North Carolina and joined the army,” he said. He left the army three weeks before Oct. 7. “I was glad about that, big time. There’s not much discussion in the army about U.S. wars, but there needs to be.”
“The wars to defeat Hamas and against Moscow are in the interest of workers everywhere,” Rubinstein said.
“I support Israel. They have a right to defend themselves,” Rios agreed.
A copy of The Jewish Question was sold to another trucker “who told us he had friends in a kibbutz who were murdered by Hamas,” SWP member Arrin Hawkins said. All told, truckers got three subscriptions to the Militant; two copies of 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 a copy of Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by Barnes.
To join members of the SWP or CL campaigning, contact the nearest branch.