Historic online party caps successful People’s World fund drive

People’s World is considered a major part of the independent press in the country and is a member of the International Labor Communications Association, a coalition of labor publications reflecting the views of unions and newer, independent labor organizations from coast to coast.

As CPUSA co-chairs Joe Sims and Rossana Cambron put it in one fund appeal: “People’s World’s unique role is looking under the hood of today’s class and democratic battles, from a revolutionary working-class point of view.”

CPUSA worked to build the fund drive in a determined effort that tested and successfully exercised its organizational capacity. Party clubs and districts across the country set fundraising goals, sent out their own appeals, contacted members and friends, and collectively brought together contributions.

Tremendous support for People’s World also came from people in the broader movements who appreciate the role of the publication for being a voice of workers rising up against Amazon, Starbucks, and other fast food giants, the mining and real-estate financiers, and in the struggles for peace, equality, green jobs, reproductive rights, and an end to racist police violence.

The $75K goal was set for May 1 and culminated in a spirited online festival, May Day: United to Fight Back! Attendees gathered for an after-party following various May Day actions taking place around the country. They heard music from progressive artists, interspersed with greetings from activists and supporters around the world. A slideshow presented class and democratic battles past and present and documentation of the newspaper’s long history—from yesteryear’s Daily Worker to its current online form.

The event was principally organized by Laura Cambron, left, and emceed by People’s World Social Media Editor Chauncey K. Robinson and Brandy Lintecum.

Principally organized by Laura Cambron, the celebration was emceed by People’s World Social Media Editor Chauncey K. Robinson and Brandy Lintecum, who energetically knit together the program with shout-outs to live donors and asked survey questions. The job they did helped raise $4,800 while the event was going on.

They also quizzed the audience on which anti-racist and labor leader co-led, with her husband Albert, the first-ever May Day demonstration in 1886, in support of the eight-hour workday. The answer? Lucy Parsons! (She was later recruited to the Communist Party, it is said, by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, an iconic leader of the CPUSA.) Parsons showed what it was like to be a real fighter for the people. When they banned her from speaking in the streets of Chicago, she boarded a barge on the Chicago River and spoke to people from there. Chicagoans lined the bridges over and the shores along the river to hear what she had to say.

Bea Lumpkin has been a reader of People’s World since 1933 when it was known as the Daily Worker.

Bea Lumpkin, now 105 years young, recalled reading the Daily Worker as a high schooler in 1933. She told of its role not only as a newspaper but as an essential organizing tool in building the million-strong hunger marches that descended on 38 state capitals, shouting “Black and white, unite and fight!” and winning welfare benefits for the poor.

“It was the Daily Worker that took the lead in organizing for the marches of the unemployed and building a new civil rights movement. Today, it’s People’s World we rely on to tell us what’s really going on around the world, with climate change disaster and war in Ukraine. A big upsurge in union organization is now at stake as we fight for the right to vote.”

Justine Medina, a member of the Amazon Labor Union organizing committee, introduced her comrade in the ALU, Lion Tristan, who performed his own rendition of “Union Train a’ Coming.” Medina added, “People’s World was believing in us, reporting on our struggle well before the mainstream press.”

Justine Medina, a member of the Amazon Labor Union organizing committee and a contributor to People’s World.

No better way than from the front lines

“There’s no better way to report on the people’s movements than from the front lines,” said CPUSA member Cameron Orr, speaking on a pre-recorded video from a Poor People’s Campaign rally and march near Wall Street. Orr played a key role in coordinating the People’s World fundraising campaign.

“We need a publication that represents our multiracial, multigender, multinational, multigenerational working class, that’s organizing unions, that’s struggling against racism and police violence, against oppression generally, that’s speaking out to end exploitation around this country,” said Dante O’Hara, a People’s World contributor in Washington, D.C. O’Hara introduced the group Jaraneros Youth, who sang for the online crowd.

Jaraneros Youth

A Starbucks worker sent a video of her co-workers on the picket line, demanding reinstatement of their co-worker Laila, who had been fired for organizing. She talked about how People’s World was a “consistent source of encouragement” in battling the corporation’s “constant flow of misinformation and intimidation tactics.” A UFCW shop steward agreed. “Coverage of working-class victories is the ammo I need to fight against the kind of hopelessness that the bosses try to instill and maintain.”

Mary Thigpen, a union activist in New Haven, N.J. She oversees distribution of the weekly print edition of People’s World at Yale University.

Mary Thigpen distributes the weekly print issue of People’s World to her sisters and brothers at Yale University in New Haven. She said the newspaper has helped strengthen the unions there. “It helps us understand the need for solidarity, especially in the past and most recent victory of settling our 2021 contract here at Yale. Woo!”

Haeden Wright, auxiliary president for United Mineworkers of America, Locals 2245 and 2368, spoke from Alabama about how the miners there have been on strike against Warrior Met Coal’s unfair labor practices since April 1, 2021. “We’ve only been able to hold the line, thanks to the generous support of workers, unions, and labor-positive publications across the country. So I would like to…thank People’s World for all the coverage they’ve done and all the support that they’ve given to our families,” she said. “We’re not giving up here in Alabama. We will continue to hold the line one day longer and one day stronger.”

Melissa Parks, who produces the mailed print issues of People’s World each week for incarcerated people and seniors, introduced Dorion Wallace. Wallace performed a piano improvisation on the Carlos Puebla tune “Hasta Siempre Comandante Che Guevara.”

Haeden Wright thanked People’s World for its coverage of the ongoing Warrior Met coal miners’ strike in Alabama.

Greetings from the Communist Parties in Swaziland, Australia, and Portugal, and the Tudeah Party of Iran emphasized solidarity with workers everywhere, and the struggles against war, racism, and oppression.

Pius Vilakati, of the Communist Party of Swaziland, praised “all the people who have worked in the U.S. to build its economy,” pointing out how they have battled heavy exploitation, low wages, poor working conditions, and slavery. “The struggles of those enslaved people who rebelled against the policy of slavery is also crucial to understand workers’ rights and all the rights that have been fought for over the years,” he said. “The unionization of workers is one of the crucial things that helped to unite the working class.”

Vilakati spoke of his own party’s efforts to build and strengthen the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland and referenced the importance of fighting for the emancipation of women and against all forms of discrimination. He congratulated the CPUSA for raising these questions in the U.S. while also “waging anti-imperialist struggles.”

He continued: “Working-class activism in Swaziland has increased in the struggle against the absolute monarchy, the struggle for democracy. Under the Democracy Now campaign, the people of Swaziland have stood up in over one million numbers to fight for freedom. Practical solidarity is absolutely needed in this regard.”

Elizabeth Hulm of the Communist Party of Australia opened with greetings “from the lands of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation in Western Australia, the elders past and present,” adding, “Sovereignty has never been ceded in this country.” Hulm noted a rise in workers’ militant strike action in Australia “to stop the attacks on their wages and conditions by neoliberal right-wing governments.”

Hulm congratulated the Amazon workers at Staten Island. “We know they had the support of the CPUSA. Your party, like ours, is in a period of rapid growth. … Solidarity to you and to all U.S. workers fighting for a livable wage.”

Analyzing the world situation

Cristina Cardoso of the Portuguese Communist Party gave an analysis of the world situation, highlighting relationships between imperialism, economic crisis, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, deepening injustices and social inequalities, and uneven development between countries.

“In many countries, a major offensive against the working class and all non-monopolist strata was launched.… The U.S., with the support of its allies, particularly NATO, the EU, and AUKUS, seeks…to counter the trend of its relative decline, fostering an offensive that involves betting on fascism and war,” she said.

Greetings to the People’s World May Day event came from Communist Parties around the world.

“It is up to the workers and peoples to fight for their rights. Communists and other revolutionaries have to be at the forefront of the struggle.” Cardoso said the PCP is fighting “for a break with the right-wing policy” in Portugal and for breaking the country’s “submission to the European Union and NATO, for an advanced democracy with the values of the April Revolution, for socialism.”

Navid Shomali, of the Tudeh Party of Iran, declared: “We are celebrating International Workers’ Day at a time when working people everywhere are being thrown ever deeper into poverty by the neoliberal policies of monopoly capitalism.” He said that in Iran, “the reactionary despotic regime has pushed millions of workers through the poverty line and any protest against it is met with brutal suppression.”

Turning to the international situation, Shomali said, “Imperialism and NATO are playing a dangerous game, the widening of the conflict in Ukraine and the threat of a nuclear catastrophe is of serious concern to peace loving forces everywhere. While Joe Biden and other Western leaders lecture the world on human rights, the record of interventions by U.S. imperialism, NATO and their allies is one soaked in blood.”

He pointed to the way that imperialism has shown “contempt for the UN Charter and international law” and listed out the “bloody invasions of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Mali, Somalia, Libya, Haiti, and other countries.”

Shomali said the Tudeh Party of Iran joins the CPUSA in “calling for peace and resolution of conflicts through direct and transparent negotiations based on the UN charter.” He called for “peace, democracy, human and democratic rights in Iran, the Middle East, and worldwide.”

Cameron Orr, who played a key role in the People’s World fundraising campaign, closed out the event with an original arrangement of the working-class anthem, ‘The Internationale.’

The program was concluded with an original arrangement of the working-class anthem, “The Internationale,” by Cameron Orr, who was introduced by Marilyn Bechtel, a long-time supporter and writer for People’s World from the San Francisco Bay Area.

“I have been writing for People’s World for 36 years,” Bechtel said.” I value People’s World because this publication tells the news that working-class people need to know, and tells it like it is with no holds barred.”

Watch May Day: United to Fight Back! on YouTube.



Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.