PORTLAND, Ore. — Hundreds of participants at the 2023 Portland Book Festival, held at the Portland Art Museum, came to the table featuring the Militant and books from Pathfinder Press. Many were drawn to books by Socialist Workers Party leaders and other revolutionaries, as well as headlines in the Militant on the deadly Oct. 7 pogrom in Israel. They joined in discussing politics with members and supporters of the party staffing the table.
“I got The Jewish Question because I’m Jewish and I want to understand this history better,” Tzipporah Snyder, a resident advisor at a Jewish gap-year program, said. “I’m glad to see that books like these are available here.” She also got Fascism and Big Business by Daniel Guerin.
Many of the 23 people who bought copies of the Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation by Abram Leon were interested in the party’s explanation why the fate of Jews is inextricably tied to the fate of the working class as the crisis of capitalism deepens.
Visitors to the fair bought a total of 66 books, including nine 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. Twenty-three people got Militant subscriptions.
After browsing the table, Jo Thompson got an introductory subscription and a copy of The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us. She said she agreed with the title of the book. “Yes, all these strikes going on lately, after a while you have to ask yourself, ‘What’s wrong with the system?’”
Thompson described her recent visit to the Netherlands and the impact a visit to the Anne Frank House there had on her and her husband. Anne Frank was a teenage Jew whose family hid from the Nazis after Hitler’s forces occupied the country. She was caught and died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Her diary was found, translated into 70 languages and read by millions worldwide.
Thompson said she was convinced working people need to stand up against Jew-hatred and for the right of Israel to exist.
After wide-ranging discussions at the table, many who purchased a subscription or bought a book signed up to keep in touch and learn more about the SWP.