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Racism, Revolution, Reaction, 1861–1877 The Rise and Fall of Radical Reconstruction By Peter Camejo

Saturday, October 6, 2012

US Socialist Workers Party campaigns

Texas student club organizes meeting for SWP candidate
EDINBURG, Texas—"You should get the Militant paper every week," Christy Mendoza explained to a fellow student at the University of Texas-Pan American here. "It's for people like us, for working people."

Members of the Revolutionary Socialist Alliance, a newly formed campus club at the university, joined with Socialist Workers Party campaign supporters at a literature table in the Student Union selling the Militant and urging people to come to the first meeting of their group where the featured speaker was Steve Warshell, SWP candidate for Congress in the 18th District from Houston.

Pan American is known for an overwhelmingly working-class student body. More than 85 percent are Mexican or Chicano and over 80 percent receive financial aid.

"We aren't interested in reforming a capitalist system, we are interested in replacing it completely," Roxanne Carrion, one of the central organizers of the event, told the Militant. "Our goal is to spark political discussion on campus that's outside of the two-party system."

Carrion explained that she was introduced to the Militant by UTPA instructor David Anshen, who had taken a small bundle to show around at Occupy McAllen actions.

"I liked the information inside and I identified with the working class point of view, so I subscribed and started to show it around to friends of mine involved in a socialist discussion group," Carrion said. "When we formed the club two weeks ago, we contacted the SWP for a speaker to give a revolutionary viewpoint."

"The lives of hundreds of millions worldwide are being devastated by a crisis the likes of which we have never seen before," Warshell told the meeting.

"Capitalism is functioning the only way it can; the crisis is a product of its natural and lawful workings," he added.

The socialist candidate outlined the gains of the Cuban Revolution and the U.S. government frame-up of the Cuban Five. "The railroading of the Cuban Five was one more attempt by the U.S. billionaire class to punish revolutionary Cuba for having the audacity to make a socialist revolution and set an example for working people worldwide fighting against exploitation and oppression."

The socialist candidate urged everyone to join in explaining how defending the five is also a defense of democratic rights here in the United States. "Winning their freedom will be a victory for all working people," he said.

Some 45 people packed into the room Sept. 25, and more stood in the hallway to hear the talk and participate in the discussion, which continued for three hours until the building closed.

A literature table staffed by students and supporters of the Socialist Workers Party campaign sold 11 subscriptions to the Militant, along with three copies of Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power; three copies of The Cuban Five: Who They Are, Why They Were Framed, Why They Should Be Free; two copies of Women in Cuba: The Making of a Revolution Within the Revolution; and three copies of The Working Class and the Transformation of Learning.

Students and campaigners met to continue the discussion until midnight at a nearby restaurant. A number of them decided to take extra copies of the Militant and a package of sub cards to win new readers.

More readers join effort to win new subscribers
Militant readers are responding to the paper's call to take part in the big international subscription campaign getting under way aimed at expanding readership of the socialist newsweekly among working people.

The backbone of the effort will be selling the paper door to door in working-class neighborhoods in big cities, small towns and rural areas. This is the most effective way to talk with a broad cross-section of working people on the socialist paper's fighting perspective and win new readers to help get the paper around.

A key component of the drive will be talking about and winning support for the fight to free five Cuban revolutionaries jailed in the U.S. on trumped-up charges for their defense of the Cuban Revolution.

This effort will center on selling The Cuban Five: Who They Are, Why They Were Framed, Why They Should Be Free by Mary-Alice Waters and Martín Koppel. It is one of four books offered at reduced prices with a subscription to the paper. The others are Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power; The Working Class and the Transformation of Learning: The Fraud of Education Reform Under Capitalism; and Women in Cuba: The Making of a Revolution Within the Revolution. (See ad on page 3.)

"At one door," recounts Robert Beal about going door to door in a farmworkers neighborhood in Wenatchee, Wash., "we talked with the three generations of a Latino family.

"In the end, it was the high school student, a young woman, who bought the subscription. She said she thought change was needed. 'I don't really go for [incumbent presidential candidate] Obama. He promised changes and didn't do that.'"

Beal and another subscriber from Yakima, Wash., joined Militant supporters from Seattle in Wenatchee, in their first experience selling the paper door to door in a working-class community.

Wenatchee is a fruit-growing area of eastern Washington where for days forest fires have burned. The smoke has caused school closings, as well as air quality and breathing issues.

"Nevertheless the orchard owners and packing warehouse bosses demand the fruits be picked and packed by the mainly immigrant workers, who have been given inadequate paper masks," wrote Mary Martin from Seattle.

Over a day of talking to native-born and immigrant workers in discussions ranging from the war in Afghanistan to the need for legalization of all immigrant workers, the team sold eight Militant subscriptions and 15 copies of the paper, as well as two copies of the book on the Cuban Five.

From Los Angeles, Ellie García reported that new Militant subscriber Jesus Landeros, 17, brought two high school friends as they teamed up with Militant supporters Sept. 29 at a rally demanding that California Gov. Jerry Brown sign a so-called Trust Act into law.

Landeros subscribed to the Militant at a recent campaign event with James Harris, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. president.

The Trust Act would have set some limits on the implementation of Washington's anti-immigrant "Secure Communities" program, under which the fingerprints of every person booked into custody are sent to the Department of Homeland Security to be checked against its database, setting them up for deportation. Brown vetoed the law Sept. 30.

"I felt good to talk to people, to get them to open up, to raise their class consciousness," said Landeros. Militant supporters at the rally ended up selling nine subscriptions and 26 single copies of the paper, as well as 13 copies of the four books on special.

In the car on the way back from the rally, a discussion broke out on The Working Class and the Transformation of Learning by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes, which Landeros had just bought. The three students spoke about "the lousy education they and their family members are getting, as they are just trying to get through school," wrote García in a note she sent on the sale. "As a result, a class was organized to study the book for the next weekend."

Members of the Revolutionary Socialist Alliance who subscribe to the paper set up a literature table in the Student Union at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, Texas, before and after a meeting they organized for Steve Warshell from Houston, SWP candidate for Congress in the 18th District.

Joined by supporters of the SWP campaign from Houston, they sold 11 subscriptions to the Militant, as well as several copies of the books on special offer. (See article on page 4.)

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