Over 100 international workers, soldiers and students participated in our Summer Project here with the goal of strengthening our organizing efforts amongst industrial workers and soldiers. We have distributed over 8,000 CHALLENGES and over 15,000 leaflets in the past three weeks at factories, transit divisions, hospitals, schools and military bases. Our communist message was enthusiastically welcomed and over 50 people gave us their contact information to get involved.
The Project specifically focused on the opportunity that exists to organize workers in the concentration of subcontracted aerospace shops found in southern California. These non-union, mainly immigrant, workers play an important role in war production and for this reason must play an important role in the long-term struggle for workers’ state power. Industrial workers and soldiers are central both to capitalism and to the fight to destroy it and build communism, workers’ rule.
Summer Project volunteers met workers from a garment shop where the Party has maintained ties for many years. We asked about the conditions in the factory. The workers questioned the volunteers about the kinds of class struggle they organized back home in the places where they worked. The workers eagerly provided specific details about conditions in the plant including a recent work stoppage on the factory floor. The years of friendship, and the distribution of CHALLENGE, with these workers laid the basis for this vigorous discussion.
As a result a communist leaflet was produced and passed out at the factory. As the volunteers distributed the literature an angry boss came out to snatch it from us. One taller worker, who just received literature, held his CHALLENGE and leaflet high so his boss could not grab them. This young leader inspired us all to distribute more literature. In learning from the working class we are also having a concrete effect on our class brothers and sisters by influencing the class struggle, on a modest but significant level, with communist politics.
Another key aspect of the Project was to start building the worker-student-soldier alliance. At LA colleges and high schools we passed out a leaflet that linked police brutality to the nature of capitalist exploitation in the factories. At one high school, a parent approached and asked what we were distributing. The comrade gave the parent a leaflet and a CHALLENGE. They discussed the problems of elections, then the police, and how they are systematically used to terrorize black and Latino youth. The parent was enthusiastic about our presence and encouraged us to return. At the same high school, a student who got the paper then asked for five more to distribute to his friends and gave us his contact information.
<h2>Students Discuss Communist Revolution with U.S. Marines</h2>
Our visit to a Marine base in California was preceded by political discussion within the Project about the true nature of the lives of soldiers in the bosses’ military. More experienced comrades shared their experiences in working on military bases in order for the younger comrades to feel confident when distributing CHALLENGE to soldiers and marines. Engaging marines in conversations about the role they can play in turning the guns around on the capitalist system, not workers of other nations, and fighting for working-class power instead of imperialism, was a valuable learning experience.
Project volunteers found that many marines do not agree with the U.S. imperialist agenda in the Middle East. The majority of these young marines come from the working class and joined the Marine Corps because they needed a job. Despite the bosses’ intense ideological effort throughout their military training to win these working-class youth to racist, fascist ideas, many soldiers we met were not only open but eager to discuss communist revolution. Five of them gave us their contact information and want to keep in touch. Many thanked us for being there. One young marine came to have lunch with us. We got a better response to CHALLENGE and to GI Notes than we’ve gotten here before. The response shows that we need to do this much more often.
<h2>Investing in a Communist Future</h2>
Young comrades provided communist leadership in all aspects of this Summer Project. Bridging language barriers, students and workers discussed that students come from the working class and unity between students and workers is important to building the communist movement. A group of new comrades described their participation in a community organization that focuses on education. Collectively we discussed the contradiction between reform and revolution and how they can fight to strengthen the revolutionary communist side of that contradiction in the community organization.
The Summer Project has shown the potential and openness of workers to communist politics in the face of the bosses’ proclaiming it dead. Whether Obama or McCain is elected the intensifying rivalry between imperialists and widening wars means more attacks on workers in the form of an increase of police terror and exploitation at the workplace. These sharpening conditions make workers, students, and soldiers open to talking about alternatives to capitalism. The Project inspired all who participated to return home committed to increase their own organizing of class struggle on the job. Our goal is to turn our Summer Project experiences into a lifetime commitment to serving our class.