Walkout debates spread interest in communism

A comrade who works at Boeing describes conversations at work spurred by the anti-Trump high school walkouts. He used this opportunity to raise communism as the only solution. He asked, why don’t we walkout too?

A fuller report will appear as an article in a coming issue of Red Flag.

SEATTLE, WA  “Do you think this is right?” asked a Boeing machinist pointing to a big front-page picture of the student walkout in the Seattle Times. Five thousand students left classes a couple of days before to protest the racism, sexism and anti-immigrant stance of Trump.

“I think it’s great!” I answered.

“But will it stop Trump from becoming president?” she asked. We had been talking about the election for weeks. She’s an immigrant and had a lot of questions about the U.S. political system. For the first time, she’s had serious doubts about bosses’ “freedom and elections.”

“No,” I had to admit, “but it can lead to something even better.”

Many of my fellow workers welcomed the demonstrations with pride and enthusiasm for the brave students. The walkouts have helped defeat some hesitancy to struggle among our friends who know better than to just accept elections. In addition, comrades have broadened and sharpened our discussions about joining the party to mobilize for the only solution – communism.

My machinist friend represents a group in the center between those that support Trump and those who welcomed the demonstrations outright. This may very well be the biggest group.

We began to discuss what kind of education she wanted her children and other youth to have. Did we want schools where you sit passively in classrooms? Where your “success” depends on absorbing and parroting patriotic and “think-of-yourself-first” ideology? Or do we want communist education where mobilizing for the good of all will be part of the day-to-day curriculum?

She works a lot of overtime to help her daughter pay for her education at the University of Washington. She always complains how expensive it is, but is not willing to reject all capitalist education after such sacrifice. Now she has something more to think about. It was the first time I ever raised communism with her. We must be bolder with this vast center group.

By the end of the day, I began to say that not only were the students’ walkouts great, but that we should walkout also. I was encouraged by consistent discussions like those above. (and, frankly, how my friends were willing to confront the most reactionary Trump supporters).

“Will walkouts bring about communism?” No, but a walkout will open many more opportunities to present communist solutions.

We are a long way from a walkout at work. Workers understand the stakes are even greater than when students walk out. Nonetheless, these heated debates about political strikes have resulted in increased circulation of Red Flag and our leaflet entitled “Communism Means No more Trumps.” It never hurts when more workers are talking about what communism has to offer.


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