Hundreds of political activists around the country are pooling their resources to ensure the establishment of three regional centers that will be hubs for working-class study and activism.

A coordinated campaign of the New York-based Chelsea Fund for Education and the Workers Education Society (WES) in Chicago to raise $400,000 in “capital” to provide the physical homes for these hubs reached close to 20 percent of its goal within days of its launch.

In Chicago, the editorial office of the People’s Weekly World and the Communist Party USA’s Labor Commission adjoin the party’s Illinois district office. They share space in the Workers Education Society’s newly renovated building with Affordable Power for the People, a community-based organization fighting winter heating shutoffs.

The WES’ Unity Center, in the working-class Bridgeport neighborhood, celebrated its grand opening Feb. 12. On a recent evening, a forum on Social Security in the center’s library competed for space with a lively gathering in the center’s meeting room of young people helping to organize the U.S. delegation to the World Youth Festival in Venezuela this summer. Three teenagers from the neighborhood stopped in to get help with organizing against military recruiting in their high school.

Last weekend, the center hosted a two-day Young Communist League school where dozens of youth from across the Midwest talked about the whys and hows of coalition building, among other things.

The completion of the recent renovation of the Chicago center has spurred efforts in New York and Los Angeles. The New York hub, also called Unity Center, houses the national offices of the Communist Party, its New York district, and the YCL. It is the site of a major Marxist reference library and home to International Publishers.

In Los Angeles, the Workers Center is already a hub for mobilization in the campaign to protect Social Security, focusing on the circulation of the AFL-CIO petition to activists who stop by for meetings. The center houses the Southern California district of the Communist Party, the “Phil and Esther library” for Marxist studies and the L.A. bureau of the PWW.

Restoration of the historic center has made it possible to open up the space for music and graphic arts events as well as classes on labor history. Several groups have expressed interest in sharing the facility.

“We are creating a lively, dynamic center right here in the middle of working-class Los Angeles,” said Rosalío Muñoz, chairman of the center’s board.

The capital campaign aims to meet its goal by the July 4th weekend, according to WES board member Roberta Wood. Participants run the gamut from student activists to retirees, union rank and filers and PWW and CPUSA staff members. The most common contribution is in the $1,000 range, an unusually strong expression of confidence in the potential of people’s struggle. Many have signed up to fulfill their pledges in monthly increments over a one-year period.

“It’s the same kind of commitment you make to buying a house for your family,” she said. “You make the investment because you’re in it for the long haul.” To contribute or for information contact the Chelsea Fund at 235 West 23 St., NY NY 10011 and the Workers Education Society at 3339 S. Halsted St., Chicago IL 60608.

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