Joelle Fishman, the chairwoman of the Connecticut section of Communist Party U.S.A., pleaded for “no cuts, no layoffs, no war” at a rally Sunday.

The rally took place at the New Haven People’s Center. With the theme of “Stand Up — Keep Fighting!” the rally commemorated five deceased grassroots leaders and asked those in attendance to continue supporting the party. The rally, sponsored by “People’s Weekly World,” the Communist Party’s magazine, is an annual event celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party U.S.A.

Fishman said the event sought to raise awareness of the needs of working people in the United States.

“Sid, Lem, and Minnie were such important human beings because they were communist,” Fishman said, speaking about Sid Taylor, Lem Harris, and Minnie Jones, three deceased Connecticut leaders.

Fishman said everyone is fighting for jobs against what he called U.S. President George W. Bush’s inhumane administration.

Al Marder, president of Progressive Research and Associates, an organization created to maintain the people’s center, said the corporation rents out the building to trade unions so they can organize. He said the Yale union Local 34 held a meeting at the center on Friday.

“If these walls could talk, it would be a tremendous story of labor struggle,” Marder said.

Marder said he feels the Communist Party is an ally.

Connecticut State Rep. Toni Walker spoke at the rally and said she believes in the causes of the Communist Party. Walker said she thinks being poor in America means not being able to pay for housing, not being provided with adequate education, and not being alone. She said admonishingly that Gov. John Rowland wants to cut funding to rent assistance, education, and hunger-curing programs. Walker also accused Republicans of voter suppression.

Walker compared Republicans in the state legislature to children, saying they listen when someone tells them what to do but disobey as soon as that person is not looking.

“Do not stop putting your finger in [your leader’s] face,” Walker said.

Blair Bertaccini, a member of the Working Families Party who spoke at the rally, said citizens with lower incomes do not vote because politicians refuse to talk about issues that affect the working class. He said the WFP is accountable to ordinary working families, not corporate donors.

Patricia Scales sung a pro-labor duet in the program. A member of the Communist Party, she said she thinks the party seeks to help the state of workers within a capitalist system, not to overturn the nation’s current economic system.

Ernestine Mouzon, a worker at the rally, said she has been coming to the annual rally for a long time. She said the best part is listening to comments from the speakers. She also said the people’s center helps workers organize for strikes.

Those in attendance were asked to contribute a minimum of $10 to the Communist Party.