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Talking socialism

From a talk by Nancy Mitchell at the Dec. 2-3 Workers World Party conference

In the four years I've been around the party, we've won people over to socialism after first meeting them in struggles we've been part of through the International Action Center. From there we help them to connect whatever issue it is they're working on with the other struggles, and then to challenge the capitalist system as a whole.

We say things like: "Look, this system spends its resources promoting racism, bigotry and war while we have no health care and jobs. What does that say about the capitalist system?" It's often through that agitation and the trust established by our leadership of the mass work that people come to know the party and understand the need for socialism.

Many in the new anti-globalization move ment have already come to the conclusion that the whole system sucks. A lot of the rank and file are independent youths and others who are fed up with this system. They're looking around for alternatives.

The question is: How do we organize ourselves to reach out to these activists in a big way with the concept of socialism?

Many of the youths and students we're meeting want to talk about answers to the system first thing. And if we don't talk to them about it, others will.

So far our most important intervention has been to deal with the movement's biggest weaknesses: its largely white middle-class composition and petit-bourgeois leadership. Our role has been to show the movement that it's got to fight racism, the number-one issue that divides our class, and U.S. imperialism.

During the past year you could see people's consciousness changing in the streets. Almost no one could have left these huge protests without knowing who Mumia is and what his life means to the movement. We've had a huge impact through the April 15 protest in Washington against the prison-industrial complex and all those folks we've been in jail with. The analysis in Workers World newspaper has had a great impact at these protests too.

Those of us who came to the movement during this period of reaction and through the expansion and success of the IAC over the last decade have had a lot of experience fighting racism and imperialism. But we may feel a little less prepared to do mass agitational work on the need for socialism and building a communist party in the United States.

But I know I speak for the newer comrades when I say: I'm excited to start. I'm excited to strengthen my ability to talk about socialism, to get the paper out to the workers in my union, to build the branch meetings, to pass out palm cards with the www.workers.org Web site on them. And I'm really excited about having regular Marxism classes and doing introductory classes for students and workers, to show them that Marxism is not some field for academic study--it's a living struggle!

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