Socialist Worker is where we arm ourselves against the attempts of our rulers and bosses to divide us. It is where people who want to fight back against this rotten symbol turn.
More importantly Socialist Worker isn't like the Daily Mirror or certainly The Sun. They have it easy. They offer cheap entertainment and cater to the existing prejudices in society. Socialist Worker challenges those ideas. It offers a different view of the world in a way which makes sense to working people questioning this system.
If someone is angry about the betrayals of New Labour, or what is happening to the National Health Service it does not mean they automatically reject racist ideas. Socialist Worker explains that many black people were brought to Britain to work long hours for low wages in the NHS. Black and white working people built the NHS, they use the NHS and we need to stand together to defend it. Similarly just because you oppose cuts in benefits does not mean you support rail workers striking over pay. Socialist Worker makes the connections.
But Socialist Worker tries to do more. It offers you something to do about fighting back. That might mean organising solidarity for strikes and helping mobilise for demonstrations and marches. Because we are out in every major town or city in Britain selling thousands of papers people know what is happening.
Socialist Worker is an organiser. A socialist paper cannot be produced by a group of people sitting in isolation from everyone else as happens in Rupert Murdoch's Wapping plant. As Socialist Worker editor, Chris Harman explains:
"It depends all the time on the feedback from people who sell the paper, people phoning in reports from their workplaces, people saying what they want to see in the paper. That's the only way you can gauge whether you are doing the right thing."
The paper connects socialists with a wider layer of working people who want to fight back. The connection between people who already understand the need to struggle for socialism and those who only agree with some of what we say. That's why selling Socialist Worker is so important. It is not because we're like religious maniacs who believe the scales will fall from people's eyes in a flash and they'll rush towards their self appointed saviour.
Rather we want to get stuck in alongside all sorts of people who don't agree with us. We don't just dismiss them but neither do we accept whatever they say. Instead, we will collect for a strike alongside them but argue over a coffee later. What is great about Socialist Worker is that it will carry a hundred and one arguments and give a hundred and one answers! Chris Harman puts it this way:
"I'm convinced that in any big city in Britain today there are a couple of thousand people who agree with most of what the SWP argues. The problem for socialists is finding these people, showing each one of them that there are another thousand people with the same ideas and pulling them together into a critical mass who feel confident enough to stand together and fight. Selling a socialist paper on the streets is key to that."
What is also important is people selling Socialist Worker in their own particular workplace, school or college. Someone working in a factory or an office can't just stand up on their own and announce their opposition to management. They have to find other people who agree or half agree with them. Selling the paper is the way to locate those people. The techniques of learning to sell the paper can vary from the most elementary - leaving it in the canteen and seeing who picks it up to read - to building the confidence to sell openly and, in some situations, moving from being the only Socialist Worker reader in a factory or office to sales of 50 copies at certain points in the struggle.
Sometimes things go slowly. A few people might buy the paper, others smile at you or occasionally sign a petition or give money, others hurry past. At other times events burst forth and we find ourselves playing a role way beyond or size. At times like that you suddenly find the people who bought the paper are selling it themselves, the people who grinned at you are buying the paper and the people who hurried pass are stopping to sign the petition, give money or take a leaflet.
When you sell Socialist Worker you are leaving something behind. That way you can connect with the people in your area who gave money to a strike or campaign. We get to know them and build a relationship with them. That way if a racist attack takes place or we want to build a demonstration to save the local hospital we know where to begin - with an established network of Socialist Worker readers. We can do that on every housing estate, in every workplace, every college and in every city or town, whatever their size!
We are glad you have looked at Socialist Worker online - but the whole point of the paper is to use it to make an intervention in political arguments in the real world. It is the best weapon we have to organise resistance to Blair and the bosses. If you want to subscribe, or better still help to build the readership of Socialist Worker, click here