Less than a week is left in the drive to expand the readership of the Militant and books by Socialist Workers Party leaders and other revolutionaries and raise funds for the SWP. Campaigners are organizing to make or surpass the goals of 1,300 subscriptions and 1,300 books, and to raise $130,000 for the SWP Party-Building Fund.
With no end in sight to the dire impact of rising prices and with a number of strikes continuing against bosses’ assaults on our wages and conditions, more working people are discussing what is the way forward.
The shellacking that Democratic Party candidates received in the 2021 elections reflects the refusal of workers to accept being treated as “deplorables” who can’t be trusted to think for themselves, as well as their rejection of policies like “defund the police.” Bosses’ attacks on workers and our unions were at the heart of discussions SWP campaigners Joanne Murphy and Gabby Prosser had with Tyler Lewis at his apartment door in Brooklyn Park, just north of Minneapolis, Nov. 13. He is a cleaner for Metro Transit and a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union.
Lewis supports workers at Kellogg’s and other companies who are striking to get rid of wage tiers that have newer hires making less money for the same work as workers with more years on the job.
“Anything they say goes,” he said of the bosses. “It’s sickening.” Prices are rising so fast that “pay needs to be scaled. The amount we make needs to increase with the cost of living.”
Prosser agreed, and showed Lewis the book Teamster Rebellion, one of four volumes by Farrell Dobbs. They describe the forging of the class-struggle leadership in union battles of the 1930s that transformed the Teamsters in the Midwest into a fighting social movement and pointed the road toward workers organizing independently of the bosses’ parties.
Dobbs, a coal-yard worker in his 20s when the Minneapolis strikes began, emerged from the ranks as a leader of the Teamsters and then of the Socialist Workers Party.
The transformation of the Teamsters into a fighting union, “shows what is possible for our future,” Prosser said. She explained that in the course of working-class struggles, “leaders like Malcolm X will come forward.”
Lewis subscribed to the Militant and bought Malcolm X Talks to Young People. In it the revolutionary leader addresses the capitalist roots of racism and what can be done to eliminate exploitation and oppression. Lewis also got Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes, and Dobbs’ Teamster Rebellion.
Michel Prairie and Steve Penner, members of the Communist League in Canada, visited Militant subscriber Cam Hardy, a butcher in Toronto, Nov. 14.
“What I appreciate about the Militant is that it looks to working people as the key force in the fight for social change,” Hardy said. He has already read the four-volume Teamsters series by Dobbs.
This time he purchased Tribunes of the People and the Trade Unions by Dobbs, Barnes, Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, and V.I. Lenin and two other books by Barnes, The Turn to Industry: Forging a Proletarian Party and Cuba and the Coming American Revolution.
“I’m interested in learning more about your strategy that ties together socialist ideas with the experiences and struggles of working people,” he said.
In New York City, Róger Calero and Tamar Rosenfeld talked to taxi drivers waiting for fares Nov. 16, and showed them an article in the Militant about the recently concluded hunger strike by yellow cab medallion owners, demanding debt relief. A medallion is the license required to operate a yellow cab in the city.
New York cab drivers
While most drivers lease their cabs, thousands paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase medallions, which were presented as a guaranteed investment, until their price plunged on the market. Drivers found themselves unable to pay off their loans nor resell the medallion for anywhere near what they paid for it.
A driver from Egypt, “agreed with the perspective we put forward of the need for a union of all drivers,” Calero said.
“He told us the cost of leasing a yellow cab is going up as owners put fewer cabs in circulation. He had recently returned from Egypt and lit up when we told him that Socialist Workers Party members had gone to Egypt just after the 2011 uprising there and found much interest in the working-class politics the party presented.” The driver got a subscription to the Militant.
Along with subscribing to the paper and getting books, many workers are contributing $5, $20 or more for the Party-Building Fund when they meet the SWP. Many new readers will want to sit down with party members to continue the discussion on what is needed to build a party that can lead the working class to power and will want to make additional contributions to funding the party’s work.
Help the international drives go over the top!
To find the branch of the party nearest you see the directory. You can send a check or money order with your contribution directly to the Socialist Workers Party, 306 W. 37th Street, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10018. Earmark it for the Party-Building Fund.