Democracy & the peoples press

ST. LOUIS — Local community leader Zenobia Thompson welcomed 80 labor and community activists to a Friday evening People’s Weekly World forum, “Working-class media and democracy,” held here Oct. 15.

Panelists included Terrie Albano, editor of the People’s Weekly World (PWW), Kevin Madden, reporter for the St. Louis Labor Tribune, and Jay Swoboda, founder of What’s Up magazine.

Albano spoke about the corporate control of mainstream media, media consolidation, embedded journalists, grassroots media as an organizing tool and the PWW’s role in the larger movement to defeat George W. Bush on Nov. 2. She also highlighted many of the struggles the PWW and its predecessors have been involved in since its founding 80 years ago.

Madden, a 30-year veteran reporter, spoke about the Labor Tribune’s role in the St. Louis labor community. He related how the Labor Tribune published a statement from local labor leaders encouraging Rep. Dick Gephardt to vote against NAFTA. Gephardt had originally intended to support NAFTA, but changed his mind, said Madden.

Swoboda spoke of the difficulties of running a nonprofit, advocacy magazine that fights for homeless people’s rights, provides information on homeless shelters and is used as a source of transitional income for many homeless people in the St. Louis area. He also stressed the importance of registering homeless people to vote and making sure that they have a ride to the polls on Election Day.

Guest speaker candidate for state Rep. John Bowman thanked the PWW for its coverage of his winning campaign during the Missouri primary. He added, “I subscribe to the PWW because it is a good tool for union members like myself to get real and complete information about what is happening to working people across this country. I encourage everyone here to subscribe to the PWW!”

The forum, held at the Postal Workers Union hall, raised $3,000 for the People’s Weekly World.

Members of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Service Employees International Union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, UNITE-HERE, Missouri Progressive-Vote Coalition and Show Me Equality, were among those who attended.

The author can be reached at tonypec@cpusa.org.