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Detroit American Axle plant to close

By Tom Eley, 30 April 2009

The closure of Detroit’s American Axle plant further underscores the reactionary character of the United Auto Workers. The UAW isolated and defeated last year’s strike at the company and told workers accepting massive concessions would “save” jobs.

Mexico: Epidemic deepens the social crisis

By Bill Van Auken, 30 April 2009

With the death toll in Mexico’s swine flu epidemic having risen to at least 159, measures taken to halt the spread of the disease are deepening the country’s economic slump. Meanwhile, criticism of the government’s handling of the crisis is growing.

Berlin meeting launches SEP European election campaign

By Our correspondent, 30 April 2009

The Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (Socialist Equality Party in Germany) opened its campaign for the forthcoming European election with a public meeting in Berlin last Sunday.

Politics and economics dominate response to swine flu epidemic

By David Walsh and Sean South, 30 April 2009

The outbreak of a swine flu epidemic that threatens to assume global proportions is exposing the disastrous consequences of the subordination of all aspects of social life to the capitalist market and the competing interests of nationally-based corporate elites.

South Africa: Zuma’s victory expresses deepening class tensions

By Chris Talbot, 30 April 2009

The election victory of the African National Congress and its leader, Jacob Zuma, is a distorted expression of powerful social tensions within South Africa.

Letters from our readers

By , 30 April 2009

A selection or recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site

Pakistan: Tens of thousands displaced by US-ordered offensive

By Keith Jones, 30 April 2009

Tens of thousands of Pashtun-speaking villagers have been forced to flee from their homes in recent days as the result of the punishing offensive the Pakistani military has mounted, at Washington’s urging, against pro-Taliban militants in the country’s North-West Frontier Province.

Imperialist hypocrisy over the Sri Lankan war

By Peter Symonds, 30 April 2009

The human tragedy unfolding in northern Sri Lanka has become the occasion for an outpouring of hypocritical concern, on the part of the major powers, for the plight of an estimated 50,000 civilians trapped in fighting between the army and the LTTE.

Sri Lankan military continues shelling “no-fire zone”

By Sarath Kumara, 30 April 2009

Sri Lankan troops have continued shelling the tiny area still held by Tamil separatists in the island’s north, killing and maiming scores more civilians, exposing the lie of the government’s assurance that it would stop the use of aerial bombardment and heavy weapons.

Wall Street rallies despite sharp contraction in US economy

By Barry Grey, 30 April 2009

Wall Street’s response to the dire gross domestic product report reflects the class divide that dominates American society. It is also an expression of the growing confidence of the financial elite that it has in the Obama administration a pliant defender of its wealth and power.

US requests New Zealand SAS troops for war in Afghanistan

By Tom Peters, 30 April 2009

The New Zealand National government of Prime Minister John Key revealed on April 19 that it had received an official request from the United States for the highly trained Special Air Services combat unit to return to Afghanistan.

Britain: Tories pledge “age of austerity”

By Julie Hyland, 30 April 2009

The British Conservative Party at its spring conference over the weekend outlined its plans for a new “age of austerity” in response to the global economic crisis.

Everlasting Moments: The world to be explored and preserved

By Joanne Laurier, 30 April 2009

At the age of 77, Swedish director Jan Troell is one of Europe’s more distinguished filmmakers. His latest film, Everlasting Moments, tells the story of Maria Larsson, a Finnish-born mother of seven and wife of Sigge, a flamboyant, militant docker.

Iceland: Social Democratic-led coalition secures victory in early elections

By Jordan Shilton, 29 April 2009

The ruling coalition of the Social Democrats (SDA) and Left Green Movement secured a parliamentary majority in Iceland’s elections.

Michigan auto workers denounce Chrysler-UAW concessions

By Andre Damon, 29 April 2009

WSWS reporters interviewed Chrysler Workers in Detroit on new contract revisions proposed by the UAW. Voting is scheduled for Wednesday, only 24 hours after details of the contract were released.

Jadup and Boel: The last banned film from the former East Germany

By Bernd Reinhardt, 29 April 2009

The Berlin film festival’s series of special feature films commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall twenty years ago, “Goodbye to Winter: Cinematic portents of the collapse of Stalinism,” featured Rainer Simon’s Jadup and Boel.

Contract betrayal will give UAW majority ownership in Chrysler

By Jerry White, 29 April 2009

The Obama administration will give the United Auto Workers a majority stake in Chrysler in exchange for its collaboration in slashing jobs and gutting the wages, benefits and working conditions of Chrysler workers.

British police spying operation caught on audio

By Steve James, 29 April 2009

Members of a unit associated with Strathclyde Police sought to recruit art student Tilly Gifford as an informant within the environmental protest group Plane Stupid.

Washington’s concerns grow amid Iraqi anger over US raid

By James Cogan, 29 April 2009

Protests in Iraq over a US special forces raid in the city of Kut on Sunday will add to the mounting concerns in the Obama administration and American military over the country’s ongoing instability.

“We wanted to make realistic films about the GDR”

By Bernd Reinhardt, 29 April 2009

At the Berlinale 2009 the WSWS had the opportunity to speak with Rainer Simon about his work as a film director in the GDR.

Sri Lankan SEP and ISSE to hold May Day meeting

By , 29 April 2009

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) in Sri Lanka invite workers and youth to a meeting in Colombo on May 1 to mark the international workers day.

Australia: Unions to police Labor’s new, employer-friendly industrial laws

By Terry Cook, 29 April 2009

Rudd Labor’s Fair Work Act retains all the essential features of the former Howard government’s hated “Work Choices” laws. It will be used by the government, employers and unions in an escalating assault on jobs, wages and conditions as the recession deepens.

What happened in the skies over New York City?

By Alex Lantier, 29 April 2009

On the morning of April 27, one of two Boeing 747 jetliners used by the US president flew at low altitude over downtown New York, escorted by fighter jets. The official explanations and media commentaries concerning this extraordinary event raise more questions than they answer.

Thai government offers a small olive branch to opposition parties

By John Roberts, 29 April 2009

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva last Friday lifted the state of emergency imposed to suppress anti-government protests that shut down the ASEAN summit, and called for political reconciliation between his government and the opposition.

Obama’s 100 days

By Tom Eley, 29 April 2009

Obama’s first 100 days have made clear the right-wing character of his administration and the class interests it serves.

Europe faces ever deepening recession

By Chris Marsden, 28 April 2009

The IMF has predicted a deepening recession in Europe, with the euro zone’s economy contracting by 4.2 percent this year, significantly worse than its January forecast of a 2 percent decline.

Workers Struggles, the Americas

By , 28 April 2009

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

France: Caterpillar workers in revolt against the unions

By Antoine Lerougetel, 28 April 2009

Workers at Caterpillar and Continental plants in France fighting to defend their jobs revolted last week against sackings negotiated by the trade unions with the employers and the state.

US college students face mounting debts, diminishing job prospects

By Jack Cody, Rosa Lexington and Dwight Stoll, 28 April 2009

With wages and employment falling but student debt increasing, US college students face increasingly difficult prospects finding jobs and starting families.

Defend jobs, wages and benefits! Vote “No” on Chrysler-UAW concessions! Oppose job cuts at GM!

By Socialist Equality Party, 28 April 2009

The Socialist Equality Party urges auto workers to reject the mass layoffs at General Motors and the sweeping givebacks being demanded by Chrysler, the Obama administration and the United Auto Workers.

Wall Street pay back to pre-crash levels

By Barry Grey, 28 April 2009

The Obama administration is seeking to create conditions for the banks to make more money than ever and resume the semi-criminal policies that precipitated the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Sri Lankan government rejects UN ceasefire call

By K. Ratnayake, 28 April 2009

The Sri Lankan government has rejected a UN call for a “humanitarian ceasefire” in the island’s north, but, in a small concession to mounting international pressure, announced yesterday that the military would no longer use heavy weapons or aerial bombardment.

Britain: Another “terror scare” revealed as baseless

By Julie Hyland, 28 April 2009

Only the most damning political conclusions can be drawn from the admission that 12 people rounded up in a major terror scare in Britain have all been released without charge.

Australia: Survivors of Victorian bushfires receive minimal compensation

By Will Marshall, 28 April 2009

Labor government promises to support the victims of the “Black Saturday” bushfires have proven hollow. The small amount of compensation for those whose homes were destroyed will mean that hundreds may never rebuild again.

World Bank president warns economic crisis poses “human calamity”

By Andre Damon, 28 April 2009

As finance ministers meeting in Washington failed to adopt any new policies to confront the deepening world economic crisis, the head of the World Bank warned that it threatens to unleash “a human and developmental calamity.”

British government denounced by charities for neglect of the poor

By Simon Whelan, 28 April 2009

Charities are calling for emergency action to deal with the growing social crisis in Britain.

Further evidence of huge Iraqi death toll

By James Cogan, 28 April 2009

A secret tally compiled by the Iraqi Health Ministry recorded 87,215 violent deaths in the country between early 2005 and February 28, 2009. However, the figure vastly underestimates the actual death toll.

State of Play: More of Washington’s conspiracies

By David Walsh, 28 April 2009

State of Play is a political thriller, based on a mini-series broadcast by the BBC in 2003. The filmmakers have transposed the events to the US and condensed six hours to two. The general shape of the events has remained the same.

Canadian Auto Workers union imposes draconian concessions on Chrysler workers

By Keith Jones, 27 April 2009

The Canadian Auto Workers union—acting in concert with the bosses of Chrysler and Fiat, the Obama administration, and the Canadian and Ontario governments—has granted concessions to Chrysler worth $250 million Canadian per year.

New York man receives 6-year “terror” sentence for Hezbollah TV broadcasts

By Peter Daniels, 27 April 2009

A New York man was sentenced last week to 69 months in prison on charges of assisting Hezbollah, the mass-based Lebanese Shiite movement, by providing satellite television services that included broadcasts by the party’s television station, Al Manar.

Sri Lankan government wins provincial poll

By K. Ratnayake, 27 April 2009

Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition won the Western Provincial Council election on Saturday in an atmosphere deliberately poisoned with communalism and militarism. None of the major opposition parties opposed the government’s criminal anti-Tamil war.

Germany: Union leader warns of social unrest

By Dietmar Henning, 27 April 2009

The chairman of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) has issued a series of warnings that the trade union may be unable to contain mounting social unrest as the economic crisis deepens.

Torture and Washington's policy of aggressive war

By Alex Lantier, 27 April 2009

The use of torture is itself inseparable from the central criminal act that was sanctioned by the entire US political establishment--the launching of illegal and aggressive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hillary Clinton makes crisis visit to Iraq

By Bill Van Auken, 27 April 2009

In the wake of a series of deadly bombings that have called into question Washington’s plans to transfer American troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a crisis trip to Baghdad on Saturday.

SEP and WSWS hold first of three regional conferences

By Tom Eley, 27 April 2009

On Saturday in Ann Arbor, the Socialist Equality Party, World Socialist Web Site, and the International Students for Social Equality jointly hosted the first of three regional conferences, “The World Economic Crisis, the Failure of Capitalism, and the Case for Socialism.”

Sydney’s blackouts: another sign of decaying infrastructure

By Chris Johnson, 27 April 2009

The central business district of Sydney—Australia’s largest city and financial centre—recently suffered three blackouts, causing significant disruption. Now the state government is moving to make consumers pay at least 50 percent more for electricity.

Millions of Iraqis displaced

By James Cogan, 27 April 2009

As many as two million Iraqi citizens are still refugees in neighbouring countries and at least 1.6 million are classified as internally displaced persons.

Sri Lanka: Vote for the SEP in the provincial election

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 25 April 2009

The Colombo District election takes place as the government is perpetrating terrible crimes against tens of thousands of Tamil civilians still trapped in the northern no-fire zone. A vote for the SEP is a vote against the government’s communal war and its assault on democratic rights and living standards.

US jobless claims soar, home sales decline

By Andre Damon, 25 April 2009

The Obama administration estimates that its economic stimulus plan will “create or save” 3.5 million jobs. This is equivalent to slightly more than five months’ job losses at current rates.

US escalates threats against Pakistan

By Keith Jones, 25 April 2009

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has warned Pakistani authorities that US-Pakistan relations will be imperiled unless they heed Washington’s admonitions and bloodily suppresses a growing Islamacist insurgency fueled by the US occupation of Afghanistan.

Letters from our readers

By , 25 April 2009

A selection or recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site

Sri Lankan SEP holds final election meeting

By Sujeewa Amaranath, 25 April 2009

The Socialist Equality Party and International Students for Social Equality held their final public meeting in Colombo for today’s Western Provincial Council elections.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 April 2009

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

French and German Continental workers protest against plant closures

By our reporting team, 25 April 2009

A large delegation of workers from the French Continental Tire Manufacturing plant traveled to the city of Hanover Thursday for a joint protest with German workers against plant closures and massive redundancies being implemented in both countries.

China’s naval display points to deepening global rivalries

By John Chan, 25 April 2009

China held an unprecedented display of its growing naval power this week to mark the 60th anniversary of the navy’s establishment.

Thousands rally in Toronto against Liberals’ rescinding of pension guarantee

By a WSWS reporting team, 25 April 2009

Thousands rallied at the Ontario legislature Thursday afternoon to protest the Ontario Liberal government’s reneging on a three-decades-old guarantee to protect retirees’ pensions in the event their former employer went bankrupt.

Obama, Democrats move to block torture investigation

By Tom Eley, 25 April 2009

Buckling before Republican attacks, President Obama and leading Democrats have signaled their opposition to any investigation, even a whitewash “truth commission,” into the torture of “terror suspects” under the Bush administration.

Mounting civilian death toll in Sri Lankan war

By our reporter, 25 April 2009

Despite the Sri Lankan government’s ban on any independent reporting from the island’s war zone, further evidence has emerged of the scale of the army’s crimes as it seeks to destroy the remaining pockets of resistance by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Spain’s Socialist Party government suppresses torture probe of Bush officials

By Paul Mitchell, 25 April 2009

The Obama administration and Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE) government are working in tandem to prevent the prosecution of top Bush administration officials.

Franklin Rosemont (1943-2009): Leading US surrealist and anthologist of André Breton dies

By Paul Bond, 25 April 2009

The death of Franklin Rosemont, American surrealist and populariser of the work of French poet André Breton, deserves some notice.

US: New Screen Actors Guild leadership caves in to studios

By Ramón Valle and David Walsh, 24 April 2009

Ten months after the expiration of the Screen Actors Guild contract with the major Hollywood studios, the union’s national board approved a new concessions deal April 19 by a 53 to 47 percent vote.

Hungary: Change of government head augurs massive social attacks

By Markus Salzmann, 24 April 2009

Former “Young Manager of the Year” takes over as new head of Hungarian government in a coup organized by the outgoing prime minister.

China challenges US dominance in Latin America

By Luis Arce, 24 April 2009

China’s recent announcement of multi-billion dollar deals with several Latin America countries will strengthen its already substantial presence in a region the US has historically regarded as its own backyard.

Chrysler could file for bankruptcy as early as next week

By Jerry White, 24 April 2009

The US Treasury Department is preparing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing for Chrysler LLC that could come as soon as next week. Meanwhile, GM is slashing production at its US plants in anticipation of its own bankruptcy filing.

Right wing threatens Obama over torture charges

By Patrick Martin, 24 April 2009

Wednesday’s lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal threatens President Obama with all-out opposition to any effort to hold Bush administration officials responsible for authorizing torture by the CIA and military.

Australia: Unanswered questions about refugee boat tragedy

By Mike Head and Linda Levin, 24 April 2009

The Rudd government is still refusing to release details of how five asylum seekers lost their lives when their tiny boat exploded and sank off Australia’s north-west coast on April 16.

Obama meets with bank, credit card executives

By Barry Grey, 24 April 2009

Obama’s White House meeting was typical of his public relations efforts to placate public opposition while taking no serious measures to rein in the banks.

IMF issues grim forecasts for 2009

By Patrick O'Connor, 24 April 2009

The International Monetary Fund’s updated World Economic Outlook, released Wednesday, predicts world economic growth of negative 1.3 percent this year, marking “by far the deepest global recession since the Great Depression”.

Britain: Propaganda campaign mounted to justify brutal G20 policing

By Julie Hyland, 24 April 2009

A concerted effort is being made to limit criticism of police actions during protests surrounding the G20 summit in London, and even to justify them.

Sin Nombre: The fate of Central American youth on their way to the US

By Luis Arce, 24 April 2009

Following the lives of two teenagers, Sin Nombre tells the story of thousands of poor youth in Central America trying to cope with a society that has nothing for them.

Sri Lanka: Vote for the SEP in the provincial election

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 24 April 2009

The Colombo District election takes place as the government is perpetrating terrible crimes against tens of thousands of Tamil civilians still trapped in the northern no-fire zone. A vote for the SEP is a vote against the government’s communal war and its assault on democratic rights and living standards.

Turkey: Metal workers protest threat of wage cut

By our correspondent, 24 April 2009

Turkish steel workers have demanded details of contract negotiations from the leadership of the Türk Metal trade union.

Chrysler Financial executives refused loans to avoid compensation caps

By Jerry White, 24 April 2009

Top executives at Chrysler Financial turned away a government loan because they did not want to abide by new federal limits on pay, according to findings by a federal watchdog agency reported by the Washington Post.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 24 April 2009

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

New York makes students pay for budget crisis

By A. Wood, 24 April 2009

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to students at SUNY Albany, the first university created in the state system, about the tuition hikes and budget cuts that have provoked anger throughout the state.

BBC bows once again before the pro-Israel lobby

By Jean Shaoul, 23 April 2009

The BBC Trust has bowed before its pro-Israeli critics by accepting the validity of criticisms of two articles by its Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen.

German “bad banks” plan to boost financial profits

By Stefan Steinberg, 23 April 2009

The German government has released a plan to set up “bad banks” that will use public funds to unload an estimated €853 billion (US$1.1 trillion) of toxic assets from the banking system.

Ahmadinejad speech provokes walkout at UN anti-racism conference

By Richard Phillips, 23 April 2009

Hysterical denunciations by the US, Israel and the European powers of the Iranian president’s speech to the UN’s anti-racism review conference were entirely predictable and part of a highly-orchestrated campaign against the event.

Bush, top cabinet officials monitored torture of detainees

By Tom Eley, 23 April 2009

A New York Times story and a Senate Armed Service Committee report brought forth more revelations surrounding the torture of suspects in “the war on terror”—among them, that Bush, Cheney and other top officials oversaw torture in its minute details.

British chancellor releases austerity budget in worst crisis since WWII

By Chris Marsden, 23 April 2009

Britain’s Chancellor Alistair Darling responded to the worst recession in 60 years with an austerity budget targeting working people.

Auto workers need a socialist strategy

By Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (Canada), 23 April 2009

The nationalist, pro-capitalist Canadian Auto Workers union has led auto workers into an impasse. To defend their jobs, wages and pensions, auto workers in Canada, no less than in the US, need a radically new strategy that involves a change in the activity, politics and philosophy of the labor movement.

Letters from our readers

By , 23 April 2009

A selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.

Halt the war crimes in Sri Lanka

By Wije Dias, 23 April 2009

The Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka denounces the terrible crimes now being perpetrated by the government against the Tamil population in the north of the island.

Somali teen faces life sentence on piracy charges

By Bill Van Auken, 23 April 2009

Abdiqadir Muse, a Somali youth whose family says he is 16, was brought Tuesday before a federal judge in New York, who ruled he will be charged as an adult on piracy charges, facing a sentence of life in prison.

France: Tamils arrested in protest against Sri Lankan mass killings

By Antoine Lerougetel, 23 April 2009

Monday evening French police attacked a spontaneous street protest by 500 Tamils in Paris’ La Chapelle district against mass killings perpetrated by the Sri Lankan army on their people. 

Britain: Third autopsy into G20 victim Ian Tomlinson’s death

By Julie Hyland, 23 April 2009

A third autopsy has been held on Ian Tomlinson, the 47-year-old father of nine who collapsed and died after police attacked protesters at the G20 summit of world leaders in London earlier this month.

Spain: Police repression against student protests

By Vicky Short, 22 April 2009

The Spanish government of José Luis Zapatero’s Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) is resorting to police repression in an attempt to silence students protesting its education “reforms”.

Hundreds dead as Sri Lankan army launches final assault

By K. Ratnayake, 22 April 2009

Aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian disaster as the fighting in northern Sri Lanka engulfs an estimated 100,000 civilians still trapped in the government-proclaimed “no-fire” zone.

Australia: Racism and the 47 Afghan asylum seekers

By Patrick O'Connor, 22 April 2009

The arrival of a boatload of 47 Afghan asylum seekers, five of whom tragically died in an explosion last week off Australia’s northern coast, has triggered an hysterical national security and anti-refugee campaign by politicians and the media.

Right-wing nationalists win Northern Cyprus elections

By Sinan Ikinci, 22 April 2009

The right-wing nationalist UBP (National Unity Party), led by Dervis Eroglu, won a landslide victory in Sunday’s early national elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC).

Torture memos provoke deepening political crisis

By Tom Eley, 22 April 2009

The Obama administration has made repeated assurances that it will not investigate top Bush administration officials or CIA agents, while leaving open the possibility of a whitewash commission.

The future of art in an age of crisis—Part 2

By David Walsh, 22 April 2009

WSWS arts editor David Walsh recently delivered a talk on “The Future of Art in an Age of Crisis” in a number of US cities. This is the second and concluding part.

Confidential Intelligence Unit: Unaccountable spying operation established in Britain

By Robert Stevens, 22 April 2009

With little press coverage, it was reported in February that a new police intelligence operation, the Confidential Intelligence Unit (CIU), had been established in Britain.

Democratic defender of NSA spying was wiretapped in Israeli spy probe

By Bill Van Auken, 22 April 2009

The revelation has further exposed the internecine struggles within the US state apparatus as well as the intimate involvement of the Democratic Party and the media in the assault on democratic rights.

“Shutting Detroit Down”: Country singer John Rich sings about the crisis, but also spreads confusion

By Hiram Lee, 22 April 2009

Country singer John Rich’s populist song “Shutting Down Detroit” takes on the Wall Street bailouts, mass layoffs and home foreclosures. At the same time, he hangs out in right-wing circles.

What the New York Times unwittingly reveals about the war in Afghanistan

By Alex Lantier, 22 April 2009

For anyone reading a recent series of Times articles on Afghanistan with a degree of historical consciousness, they depict a colonial war waged against an entire population.

General Motors accelerates job cuts as bankruptcy deadline approaches

By Jerry White, 21 April 2009

General Motors has begun to implement its plans to slash tens of thousands of jobs before the June 1 deadline the Obama administration has imposed for the company to drastically reduce its size and labor costs or face bankruptcy.

The significance of the European election

By Ulrich Rippert, 21 April 2009

The real function of the European parliament consists of providing a phony democratic cover for the activities of the EU institutions based in Brussels and its army of 40,000 highly paid bureaucrats who are not subject to any democratic control but rather at the beck and call of numerous business lobbyists.

Americas Summit ends with no agreement on economic crisis

By Bill Van Auken, 21 April 2009

While the media has focused its attention on the handshakes between Obama and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, what dominated the Americas Summit was the absence of agreement on policies to confront the deepening capitalist crisis.

The future of art in an age of crisis—Part 1

By David Walsh, 21 April 2009

WSWS arts editor David Walsh recently delivered a talk on “The Future of Art in an Age of Crisis” in a number of US cities. We are posting that lecture in two parts, beginning today.