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Letter: Fighting for communism, rain or shine!

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08 June 2024 281 hits

After 30 days of lip service from the Rutgers University-Newark administration and their refusal to remove ROTC from campus, as one of the encampment leaders demanded, Progressive Labor party members pushed the limits with a rally on Memorial Day at the nearest recruitment center–the National Guard Armory. Although this action was announced spontaneously, the night before Memorial Day, hundreds were bombed and burned by Israel at a safe house in Rafah. The urgency to have a demonstration, especially on one of capitalism’s most hypocritical holidays to honor veterans they sacrificed to prop up their imperialist system, proved even more of an opportunity to emphasize why we need communism. 

While we called for students and workers to join us at the armory, other Rutgers students called for people to rally in NYC at a bigger march led by nationalist misleaders who previously put students in the line of fire with police. Another element amidst these decisions was a forecast of thunderstorms approaching. Most PL’ers and friends were hesitant to continue with the rally because of the forecast but followed the lead of an adamant comrade who had heard other PL’ers confirm that we would go out rain or shine. Of course, we didn’t want to risk anyone’s life to go out and rally during a thunderstorm, but only light rain fell during the whole period of thunder. In planning this rally, we agreed to watch the weather and cancel if it didn’t look right. Although we canceled officially and publicly to our friends at Rutgers, most of the PLP and a few friends still showed up. As a light sprinkle of rain fell, one comrade suggested that we lead a CHALLENGE sale at the nearby stores while we were there.

Three of us walked into a braiding shop and spoke to a Black woman worker blow drying a little girl’s hair in preparation for her appointment. Our friend started by sharing that we’re here to talk about issues stemming from the system. The woman coldly replied, “What issues are those?” Undeterred, we shared with her that we originally came out to make the connections between the student-worker encampments at Rutgers, pushing the institution to divest from the war in Israel to the neighborhood recruitment of students in Newark by protesting outside of the armory across the street. She mentioned that the youth just need more to do. Then she went on to share that although she doesn’t completely agree with Biden, she thinks not voting for Biden would be like voting still, or in other words, still making a choice. I shared with her that we do have other ways to have our voices heard; like protesting at the Democratic National Convention in August and building for communism long term. 

She went on to share that she used to be in cosmetology school under former liberal Mayor-now NJ Senator, Cory Booker, and once she got close to completing the program, the funding and program were cut with short notice. As we spoke more with her, she shared that she lives in an apartment building, “the Spires,” formally known as Garden Spires, with a long tenant organizing history. From this conversation, we exchanged contact information and invited her to a study group, to which she responded that she likes to stay up on what’s going on. As we were leaving, we even overheard her telling her aunt about speaking to people trying to do good in the community. From this experience on, we agreed that we would be ready to go out like we do on May Day, rain or shine. As we often boldly chant in Spanish, Ni con lluvia, ni con balas! Nor rain nor bullets will stop us. Power to the working class.