Members and candidates of the Socialist Workers Party and the Communist Leagues in Canada, Australia and the U.K. are joining in discussions about the danger of Jew-hatred, the importance of Israel as a refuge for Jews, the struggle of the Ukrainian people to defend their independence, and solidarity with strikes and other working-class battles. They’re going to workers’ doorsteps, union picket lines, demonstrations against antisemitism and setting up literature tables on campuses.
SWP members Dennis Richter and George Chalmers from Fort Worth, Texas, talked with autoworkers at the big GM SUV assembly plant in nearby Arlington Dec. 8. Five thousand members of United Auto Workers Local 276 there had joined thousands of other UAW members on strike against the Big Three auto bosses this fall.
In front of an overpass to the plant, Richter and Chalmers showed workers the Militant with the headline “Defend Israel’s right to exist as refuge for Jews!” and a statement by the SWP campaign, “Fight against Jew-hatred.” Next time “it would be good to bring a sign,” Richter told this Militant reporter.
They sold eight copies of the paper and spoke with a number of workers about the importance of Israel’s war to defeat Hamas. Richter said the workers were very receptive to the party’s stand against Jew-hatred and its place in the line of march of the working class.
A long-haul truck driver, who was taking a break in the plant’s parking lot, expressed concern about the condition of Palestinian workers and took a back issue of the paper to read. But then he came back to talk more and bought the latest issue. “Just because working people raise questions about what Palestinian workers and farmers face doesn’t mean they are against Jews having the right to a homeland,” Richter told the Militant.
“It’s important to use the Militant in explaining the terrorist aims of Hamas, and its roots,” he added. “This is no liberation organization. It’s in the interests of the Palestinian people for Hamas to be defeated, which will give working people there the space to fight for a leadership that can advance the rights of all workers.”
Gerardo Sánchez and Hilda Cuzco, two other SWP members from Fort Worth, took the Militant door to door in Richland Hills, selling two subscriptions. “Thank you for supporting Israel. It’s the right thing to do. People are forgetting what Hamas did to the Israelis,” one new subscriber, who preferred not to have her name printed, told them.
“One worker from Mexico was surprised to see the 1941 photo in the Militant of fascist dictator Adolf Hitler meeting with Nazi collaborator Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, one of the forerunners of Hamas,” Sánchez said. He bought a Militant subscription, telling Sánchez, “Hamas is a criminal organization.”
Dallas-Fort Worth SWP members also took the paper to two area campuses — Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Dallas.
“It was finals week, so we need to go back,” said Richter, who joined Cuzco at Southern Methodist. “At the office of the student newspaper a faculty adviser told us that Hillel had set up a long Sabbath table with 239 chairs representing the Israeli hostages, with posters of each hostage taped onto the chairs. They set up 1,400 Israeli flags around the tables to represent those who were massacred Oct. 7. She said many students visited the exhibit to talk. They also put a menorah in the window of the student center.”
On Dec. 8 Alyson Kennedy, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate from Texas, and Josefina Otero met with Fatimah Azeem, the editor of the Mercury, the student newspaper at the University of Texas at Dallas, and some of its reporters.
There is a widespread controversy there over the administration’s removal of “Spirit Rocks,” three large boulders that since 2008 have been used by students to debate their views on current issues. Recently that has included Russia’s war against Ukraine, Black rights, transgender issues and now, the unfolding developments in the Middle East.
After Oct. 7 students painted demands either against Jew-hatred or backing Hamas. One rock was decorated with a Star of David. Another rock read, “The Terror, Israel.” After another was painted with “Zionism = Nazism,” campus administrators had all the boulders taken away while students were gone for Thanksgiving break.
Azeem told Kennedy and Otero that students weren’t forewarned about the removal and they were surprised. “We’ve always been for free expression,” she said. The student government has resolved that the rocks be reinstated.
“I walk past the rocks every day, and I’ve even spray painted Stars of David on them,” Jewish student Oliver Hood told the Mercury. “No matter what side you’re on, the removal of the rocks is a removal of free speech on campus.”
On the way out of campus, Kennedy and Otero noticed that some students had put up “mini rocks” with pro-Hamas slogans and flags.
The debate continues.
In a number of areas SWP members are calling subscribers to discuss renewing. For more information on how to join in getting the Militant out in political discussions like these, contact the nearest party campaign headquarters.