Raising spirits and funds from coast to coast

From one end of the country to the other, readers of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo have come together to show their support for this newspaper. Over waffles, pancakes, buffet dinners and more, they’ve honored local heroes while raising money for the PWW Fund Drive.

Our readers in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Wisconsin deserve special mention. They overfulfilled their fundraising goals through a variety of methods, including by gathering funds for group ads and by making individual appeals to the paper’s supporters.

As the year ends, and the Fund Drive wraps up, we’re still reaching towards our goal of $200,000. While all of the events, big and small, helped get us to where we are today, you can help us get to where we need to be.

Keep the PWW in mind for your holiday gift-giving. Your support will help us gear up for the important struggles in the coming year.



NEW YORK – The New York bureau of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo hosted a luncheon with the theme “No More Stolen Elections: Democracy vs. Bush in 2004,” where PWW Washington correspondent Tim Wheeler spoke. The meeting, which also included a speaker from the local chapter of the National Organization for Women, raised nearly $7,000 for the paper.

Throughout the boroughs of New York City, smaller meetings were held on topics such as the role of Latinos in the upcoming elections, the necessity of defeating racism, and the situations in Korea and the Middle East.



BAY AREA, Calif. – A rainbow crowd filled a Berkeley restaurant ballroom Nov. 9 for the annual People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo banquet. The event honored unions, participants in the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride and Bay Area youth groups in the struggle for equality, workers’ rights, democracy and peace. Some $7,000 was raised for the paper’s 2003 fund drive.

Each honoree received a special congressional certificate from Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, in whose district the banquet was held. Berkeley Vice Mayor Maudelle Shirek extended a welcome to all the honorees and guests.

The 50th anniversary of the great labor film, “Salt of the Earth,” was celebrated with a moving tribute to Lorenzo and Anita Torrez, participants in the zinc miners’ strike and the film. A special birthday salute to 99-year-old champion PWW distributor Jim Moore was followed by a tribute to other area circulators of the paper.

Many speakers echoed the slogan that hung beside the stage: “Terminate the Exterminators – Recall Bush and the Far Right in 2004!”

“We want a nation in which we who create all the wealth are in charge,” declared Northern California Communist Party Chair Juan Lopez. “An America with union jobs, public health care, housing and equality for all, free public education from infancy through college – an America truly of, by and for the people, at peace with the world.” But to win this, Lopez said, “we’d better start by getting rid of Bush and Republican control of Congress in 2004.”

Henry Graham, president of ILWU longshore Local 10, called the Republicans’ aims “dictatorship” and “tyranny,” and declared, “We cannot let that happen.”

Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 2 Secretary-Treasurer Tho Do spoke for Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride participants from her local and other locals in the Bay Area. Despite government-inspired immigrant bashing, Tho Do said, “We have seen a lot of hope. … We met many families, many communities that are organizing to make changes for the years to come.” The audience gave warm applause to Judy Goff and Walter Johnson, heads of the Alameda County and San Francisco Labor Councils, which strongly supported the IWFR.

A group of union members accepted the award for SEIU Local 1877, representing janitors throughout the Greater Bay Area who won a recent contract victory.

In accepting their awards, Anita and Lorenzo Torrez emphasized building the PWW’s circulation as important to defeating the far right in 2004.

Also honored were Youth of Oakland United, Kids First and Asian Youth Promoting Advocacy and Leadership. The audience enjoyed presentations by poet Sharita Cobb, singer-songwriter Eliot Kenin, singer Andrea Chambers, hip hop dancer David Johnson and the youth singing group The New Generation Singers.



CHICAGO – The beat of salsa music pulsed through the spacious hall at UNITE! headquarters here as activists and leaders from the area’s labor, peace, student and equality movements streamed in for the 15th annual People’s Weekly World/

Nuestro Mundo banquet on Nov. 15.

They came to honor Anita and Lorenzo Torrez, lifelong fighters for social and economic justice, and to carry on the fight against the ultra-right in the 2004 elections. The two were participants in the historic Empire Zinc strike in New Mexico in 1950 and in the movie, “Salt of the Earth.” They were introduced by Jesse Rios, vice president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

Also honored were Margaret Caples of the Community Film Workshop of Chicago, Ella Hereth and other leaders of the Chicago Student Labor Action Project, and veteran labor journalist and PWW editorial board member Fred Gaboury. All were recipients of the Chris Hani/Rudy Lozano Awards, named after two people’s leaders who gave their lives in the fight for democracy and justice.

Katie Jordan, a member of the Central States Joint Board of UNITE! and chair of the Chicago Coalition of Labor Union Women, welcomed the audience and underscored the importance of uniting a broad coalition to defeat George W. Bush next November.

Greetings were brought by Shelby Richardson Jr., a leader of the Communist Party USA in Illinois, who also stressed the importance of a broad, united front to defeat the GOP in 2004, and paid tribute to the PWW as a key tool in that fight.

Cesar Casamayor, a student leader at Malcolm X College, delivered a powerful, spoken word performance dramatizing the militant rebellion of youth against the ravages of unemployment, cuts in educational programs, and racism.

Over $6,700 was raised for the PWW Fund Drive.



SEATTLE – In Washington State, PWW supporters held four events to benefit the drive. First was a “Summer Celebration in the Park” in late August, with Communist Party USA National Chair Sam Webb as the speaker.

Judith LeBlanc, a CPUSA vice chair, spoke at a waffle breakfast in September, and at a house party in nearby Bellingham. Another waffle breakfast on Dec. 7 featured Hanne Gidora from British Columbia speaking on the Canadian health care system and the fight to stop its privatization.



BALTIMORE – Doug Allan, a Canadian trade union health care researcher and activist, told a sizable and spirited crowd at Stony Run Friends Meeting in Baltimore, Dec. 8, that Canada’s national health care system is central to the Canadian people’s sense of themselves as an independent nation. They have defended their health care system against furious attempts by corporations and the ultra-right to undermine or privatize it, he said. Privatizers, he said, had high hopes that a Royal Commission set up to study the system would come back with a report advocating steps to open the way for privatization. “Instead, the Royal Commission actually proposed extending and strengthening the system, adding new benefits,” Allan said.

Present in the audience were many members of the Baltimore Chapter of Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN). Bill Harvey, a leader of UHCAN, said Canada’s example proved that a government-funded single-payer system can be won in the U.S.

Health care worker Jim Baldridge, who chaired the meeting, introduced four Dennis Kucinich supporters who were on a transcontinental walk from Portland, Maine, to San Francisco to popularize the candidate’s message. Baldridge said, “We are attracted to Kucinich not only because he opposed the invasion of Iraq but also for his support of universal, single-payer health care under Medicare.”

In an appeal for contributions to the PWW fund drive, Tim Wheeler blasted George W. Bush and reminded the audience, “This is an election year. There is no task more important than removing these right-wing Republicans from office.” Over $1,200 was raised.



DALLAS – On Dec. 5, PWW supporters in West Dallas, Texas, hosted a fund-raising reception. The speaker was Margarita Del Cid, who spoke about her experiences in the anti-FTAA protests in Miami. She said that U.S. workers were in danger of dropping to the levels of exploitation already faced in Central and South America.



PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia’s annual People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo banquet took place on Nov. 4. Those in attendance heard Toronto trade union health care activist Doug Allan describe the struggles of the Canadian people in their fight to keep universal health care.

Sylvia Metzler, a nurse and peace activist, was honored for her leadership in the Philadelphia Area Committee to Defend Health Care, which recently led a successful campaign to pass a ballot initiative calling for universal health care. The same day, Philadelphia voters approved a change in the City Charter that requires the Department of Health to draw up a plan for universal health care for all Philadelphians. Also honored was Nate Walton, a biomedical technician at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. A member of the CPUSA, he has been a longtime fighter for civil rights and peace.

While chairing the program, Dennis Barnebey compared the articles in the local newspaper to those in the PWW.

“Where else can you read about what’s really going on throughout this country and the world?” asked Barnebey.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Labor leaders, grass roots activists, elected officials and young people crowded into the New Haven People’s Center Dec. 7 with energy and enthusiasm to “Push Bush out the door in 2004!” The occasion was a reception celebrating the 84th anniversary of the Communist Party USA, hosted by the PWW in Connecticut.

A miniature of the Amistad statue “Make Us Free” was presented to each of five leaders on the front lines of the grassroots movements to defeat George Bush and the right wing in the 2004 elections and win economic justice, equality and peace. As each recipient expressed their appreciation and solidarity, the strength of the recent strike at Yale and struggles to open jobs to Latino workers, the fight to save jobs at Pratt & Whitney, the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, and vigils for peace filled the room with hope and optimism.

Keynote speaker Denise Winebrenner Edwards, member of the Borough Council in Wilkinsburg, Pa., detailed the pain and suffering in her community and called for the defeat of the Bush administration. “The Bush administration is not just an obstacle to achieving peace, but is aggressive in waging war,” she said, calling for maximum unity to win peace, living wages, health care and senior security.

Awards were presented to Mark Wilson, Local 35 Federation of Hospital and University Employees; New Haven Alderwomen-elect Migdalia Castro and Dolores Colon; John Harrity, International Association of Machinists District 26 organizer; and Joyce Hamilton, executive director of DemocracyWorks.

Five Hartford area high school students, activists in the Young Communist League, inspired the audience as they were presented with Amistad posters. “What Bush is doing in Iraq is wrong,” said Corina Gouch. “We have to do something about it.”

Over $4,000 was raised to put Connecticut over the top in its $10,000 goal for the PWW Fund Drive.



BOSTON – Massachusetts readers held a picnic in July to raise money for the PWW. In early November they hosted a visit by Canadian health care expert Doug Allan to Cambridge, Lawrence and Boston. During the summer, PWW supporters helped sponsor a bus to the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride rally in New York, and raised $1,400 for the PWW in the process. They are currently mobilizing for a PWW phonathon.



LOS ANGELES – The war in Iraq, like conflicts in which the United States has been engaged for more than a century, is not about spreading democracy but global corporate expansionism, author Michael Parenti told a standing-room-only crowd at a fund-raiser for the Peoples Weekly World/

Nuestro Mundo held Oct. 13 here.

Over 250 people packed the UNITE! union hall to hear Parenti speak on “Democracy vs. U.S. World Domination.”

Despite the recent recall election victory for Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, the audience showed that the people’s fighting spirit and hunger for progressive views are not curbed. The event raised $4,700 for the PWW.

Also appearing on the program was a group of union grocery workers on strike. One of the strike leaders said that she and 70,000 of her UFCW brothers and sisters were determined to win their fight.



SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Local supporters of the PWW sponsored a “Blueberry Pancake Brunch Bonanza” on Dec. 7. The brunch consisted of fabulous blueberry pancakes, maple syrup, sausages, orange juice, coffee, and fruit salad. But the real “meat” of the event was the talk by Scott Marshall, national labor secretary of the Communist Party USA, on labor’s role in defeating Bush in 2004.