Socialist Workers Party member Susan LaMont and another party member in Atlanta took the Militant and visited a busy area truck stop Dec. 19. They had a discussion about the political situation in the Middle East with trucker Michael Wilson, who’s been driving tractor-trailers for 22 years and lives in Iowa.
“Things are tough in the Middle East,” Wilson said. “Working people should support Israel’s right to defend itself as a refuge for Jews in today’s world of growing Jew-hatred and antisemitic attacks,” LaMont responded.
“We discussed how important it is for working people to learn the facts about what’s happening in Israel’s war against Hamas and not just rely on big-business media, which is often slanted against Israel,” LaMont told the Militant. “Wanting to learn more about the war in Gaza and the fight against antisemitism, he decided to get a subscription to the Militant. and the book Teamster Rebellion by Farrell Dobbs.
Members of the Socialist Workers Party and the Communist Leagues in Australia, Canada and the U.K. are using the Militant to campaign against Jew-hatred, build support for today’s union struggles and present a revolutionary working-class program to workers on their doorsteps, at plant gates and strike picket lines, to students on campus and at public political debates and actions.
On Dec. 12, Margaret Trowe, SWP candidate for U.S. Congress from California’s District 12, and campaign supporters attended a Berkeley City Council meeting of hundreds considering a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.
“Over 50 supporters of Israel’s right to exist protested the loud and disruptive campaign by opponents of Israel at the meeting,” reported campaign supporter Carole Lesnick. The pro-Hamas forces had disrupted the last two council meetings.
Participants were only granted one minute to speak. When Trowe began by saying, “I wish to speak against a cease-fire resolution,” opponents tried to shout her down, Lesnick told the Militant. But they failed.
“The Oct. 7 massacre initiated by Iran and Hamas demands a decisive response from working people and unions around the world,” Trowe said.
“The pogrom had one objective — to kill and take hostage as many Jews as possible, with the goal of eliminating Israel and Jews in the Middle East and beyond,” she said. “The fight against Jew-hatred is a life-and-death question. Israel was born out of necessity after the Holocaust when Washington turned away boatloads of Jews.
“A cease-fire is handing over a victory to Hamas,” she said, as jeers and catcalls continued. “A victory against Hamas will be a victory for working people who are Palestinian, Jewish and others around the world.”
As Trowe returned to her seat, she was greeted with cheers and handshakes by supporters of Israel’s right to exist.
Berkeley resident Tania Schweig told the meeting her sons have been harassed while wearing their yarmulkes. “Since Oct. 7, I feel increasing fear around being a Jew,” she testified. “On my morning walks I see signs and graffiti calling Jewish people Nazis and ‘Jesus killers.’”
The council failed to pass any resolution.
“Later that night an 11-foot, 350-pound menorah used for a public Hanukah celebration at Oakland’s Lake Merritt was destroyed,” Lesnick said. “Pieces of the menorah were cut up and tossed into the lake. Antisemitic graffiti was left on the base.” This included a threat to Jews reading, “We’re gonna find you, you’re on f–king alert.”
“The night after the destruction SWP campaign supporters joined over 300 people gathered in a determined protest against the antisemitic vandalism and to light a new menorah,” Lesnick said. “Some people recognized us from the City Council meeting and thanked us for speaking out.”
In Carrollton, Texas, SWP members Josefina Otero and Dennis Richter spoke with members of United Auto Workers Local 2360 at the Stellantis distribution center Dec. 20. They had been part of the nationwide Big Three auto strike last fall. “A few workers remembered us from our solidarity visits to the picket line,” Otero told the Militant.
In the parking lot they met two of the workers who had subscribed to the paper during the strike and also got Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? Class, Privilege, and Learning Under Capitalism by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes. As they were talking, a company guard told Otero and Richter they had to leave. But the autoworkers told him, “We are their friends, and they are here with us,” said Otero.
Five workers bought the Militant and one subscribed. “The new subscriber said he couldn’t agree with us more on defending Israel’s right to exist and the importance of the fight against Jew-hatred,” said Otero. “He also agreed with the defense of Ukraine’s sovereignty, saying, ‘I’m with you!’”
SWP members are also calling people who subscribed to the Militant during last fall’s subscription and book campaign, seeing how they’ve liked the paper and if they want to renew.
For more information on the party, its program and activities, or to subscribe to the Militant, contact party branches.