From California to Seattle: Volunteers Help Connect Boeing Workers

LOS ANGELES — “I have the paper,” said a Boeing worker as he drove from the parking lot, “but I just wanted to stop and thank you for being here.”

During shift change at this plant that builds military planes, students and teachers from the PLP Summer Project here distributed 120 copies of CHALLENGE and 500 leaflets, a reprint of the CHALLENGE article, “Bosses’ Imperialist Dogfight Sets Stage for Boeing Contract Fight.”

Men and women, younger and older, black, Latin, Asian and white workers took the literature. They were especially interested in the article since it was written by Boeing workers in Seattle.

Another worker exited his car to tell us that the bosses in his section had called a meeting earlier today “to get out misinformation about the contract fight.”  He thought they were trying to use SoCal Boeing workers as pawns to pressure Boeing workers “up north” to settle on the bosses’ terms.

One guy took a bunch of leaflets to distribute in the plant — “I’m on the inside!” he said.  Later he came out to say, “I’ve hooked you up!”

A Summer Project volunteer introduced CHALLENGE to another worker as “a communist paper” and he took it eagerly. This led to a long conversation about racism, exploitation and fighting back.  The volunteer then asked, “Do you have a friend who thinks like you do, who might also like a paper?” When the worker said he had, the volunteer asked, “How many friends like that do you have?”  The worker took five papers and gave her contact information to stay in touch with the Party.

Conversations were difficult because many workers were in cars and also because — as one volunteer noted — “these people looked more tired than anyone I’ve ever seen come out of work.” Almost nobody was hostile or even unfriendly. A student leafleting for the first time at such a plant, felt it was “good practice” but also said a discussion of the leaflet before-hand would have better prepared us for conversations.

This was a modest, very inspiring example of how PLP can unite workers around our newspaper and our Party.  Through the leaflet and the work of the Summer Project, SoCal Boeing workers now have a connection to Boeing workers in Seattle.

We’ll try to strengthen this connection by continuing to come to Boeing, following up our contacts, making more contacts and building ties with the anti-capitalist workers who are reading our literature.  We’ll try to win some to join PLP and build it “on the inside.”

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