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Germany: Incoming government prepares attacks on working class

By Peter Schwarz, 30 September 2009

The results of Sunday’s federal election herald a period of intense social struggles in Germany.

Sri Lankan army fires on Tamil detainees

By Sarath Kumara and Subash Somachandran, 30 September 2009

Sri Lankan soldiers last Saturday shot at unarmed Tamil civilians being held in the country’s huge military-run internment camps.

Spain: Unions and PSOE government prepare austerity measures

By Vicky Short, 30 September 2009

Spanish trade unions are collaborating with the Socialist Party government and employers in preparing a programme of austerity measures.

Director Roman Polanski faces months in Swiss prison

By Hiram Lee, 30 September 2009

Film director Roman Polanski could spend months in a Swiss prison following his September 26 arrest in Zürich. Protests against the detention of the renowned filmmaker continue to mount.

GM shuts down assembly plant in Pontiac, Michigan

By Jerry White, 30 September 2009

Tuesday was the last day of work for most of the 1,100 workers at the General Motors Pontiac East Assembly Plant, just north of Detroit.

Polarization and protest

By David Walsh, 30 September 2009

To make useful sense of an event as large and contradictory as the Toronto film festival, which screened 273 feature films from 64 countries this year, is no easy matter.

Israeli Arabs to launch strike against discriminatory policies

By Jean Shaoul, 30 September 2009

Israel’s 1.4 million Arab citizens are to stage a one-day general strike on October 1 to oppose the racist and discriminatory policies of the government.

US Census Bureau report: 40 million living in poverty

By Kate Randall, 30 September 2009

The overall poverty rate in the US rose to 13.2 percent in 2008 as more workers lost their jobs across all sectors of the economy.

“Cheats and Deceivers”

By Bill Van Auken, 30 September 2009

In an editorial published Sunday, the Financial Times of London joined the media onslaught against Iran, calling its rulers “cheats and deceivers” who “cannot be remotely trusted” in relation to the country’s nuclear program.

Typhoon causes widespread destruction in the Philippines

By John Roberts, 30 September 2009

A major storm struck the Philippines last Saturday killing at least 250 people and causing over 435,000 to flee their flooded homes.

German Interior Ministry plans to expand the powers of the secret police

By Justus Leicht, 30 September 2009

The Interior Ministry, currently headed by Wolfgang Schäuble, plans to expand the authority of the German state to spy on its own citizens.

Obama: The Class Issues

By , 30 September 2009

The International Students for Social Equality calls this public meeting to discuss the historical origins of the Obama administration’s policies, as well as the perspective by which workers and students can oppose them.

German election: The collapse of the Social Democratic Party

By Ulrich Rippert, 29 September 2009

The most important feature of Germany’s Bundestag (federal parliament) elections last Sunday was the dramatic loss of votes by the Social Democratic Party.

Severe dust storm hits Australian coastal cities

By Alex Safari, 29 September 2009

A huge dust storm blanketed large areas of Australia’s southeastern coast last Wednesday, covering cities and towns in the states of New South Wales and Queensland, before moving out to sea towards New Zealand.

What does reality require from fiction?

By Sandy English, 29 September 2009

Aravind Adiga’s new book of interrelated short stories, Between the Assassinations, exhibits many of the strengths of his Booker Prize-winning novel, The White Tiger, and fewer of its defects.

Honduran regime imposes state of siege

By Bill Van Auken, 29 September 2009

In a bid to crush popular resistance, the Honduran coup regime imposed a state of siege, suspending basic democratic rights for 45 days. On Monday it put the decree into effect, repressing demonstrations and closing down opposition media.

70 years since World War II: Origins & consequences of a historical catastrophe

By , 29 September 2009

SEP National Chairman David North will speak on the lessons of World War II and their implications for the present period.

Australian government lawyers demand Guantánamo compensation case be stopped to protect US alliance

By Richard Phillips, 29 September 2009

The government has intensified its efforts to stop Mamdouh Habib, a 53-year-old Australian citizen and father of four, from suing over its role in his illegal detention and torture in Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay between 2001 and 2005.

Letters from our readers

By , 29 September 2009

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

Sri Lankan SEP to hold election meeting in Galle

By , 29 September 2009

As a part of its campaign for the Southern Provincial Council elections, the SEP will hold a public meeting in the provincial capital of Galle on Sunday, October 4.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 29 September 2009

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

US, NATO reach “consensus” to sanction rigged election in Afghanistan

By Jerry White, 29 September 2009

The US and NATO countries involved in the occupation of Afghanistan have signaled their willingness to recognize the re-election of Afghan President Hamid Karzai despite evidence of massive fraud in the August 20 elections.

Once again, on the ex-left and Iran

By Joe Kishore, 29 September 2009

The latest orchestrated provocation over Iran’s nuclear program exposes the reactionary role of the middle-class backers of the “green” opposition in Iran.

A dramatic account of the death of Jean Charles de Menezes

By Paul Bond, 29 September 2009

A review of Kieron Barry’s play Stockwell: The Inquest into the Death of Jean Charles de Menezes.

US Army abandons effort to court-martial Iraq war resister

By Peter Daniels, 29 September 2009

The US Army has abandoned its three-year effort to punish First Lt. Ehren Watada for refusing to deploy to Iraq, allowing him to resign from the military on October 2.

The political significance of the Balmoral Estate Action Committee

By Wije Dias, 29 September 2009

The courageous step taken by tea plantation workers on the Balmoral Estate in Sri Lanka in establishing their own action committee, independent of the trade unions, has broad political significance for workers throughout the island and internationally.

ISSE meeting: Health care–the socialist response

By , 28 September 2009

This meeting will analyze the character of Obama's health care overhaul and explain the socialist response—which proceeds from the interests of social need, not corporate profit.

Historic defeat for Social Democrats in German federal election

By Stefan Steinberg, 28 September 2009

The German federal election held Sunday produced a historic defeat for the Social Democratic Party and a sharp drop in support for all of the parties involved in Germany's outgoing coalition government.

Obama follows Bush’s modus operandi on Iran

By Peter Symonds, 28 September 2009

In a manner chillingly reminiscent of the Bush administration’s buildup to the Iraq war, top White House officials yesterday intensified the US propaganda offensive against Iran.

Britain: Behind the disciplinary action in the Unison trade union

By Julie Hyland, 28 September 2009

The disciplinary action taken by the public sector union Unison against several of its members raises important issues of political perspective.

UN: Record number of Afghan civilian deaths in 2009

By Tom Eley, 28 September 2009

The UN reported about 1,500 civilian deaths resulting from the war in Afghanistan during the first six months of the year, a record in the eight-year-old war.

United States halts food aid for Somali women and children

By Barry Mason, 28 September 2009

The World Food Programme has closed twelve feeding centres for women and children in Somalia as a result of US restrictions on aid to areas that are under the control of groups designated as terrorists.

The PSG and the German Left Party: An exchange of letters

By Peter Schwarz, 28 September 2009

Peter Schwarz replies to a letter from a reader on the attitude of the Socialist Equality Party of Germany (Partei für Soziale Gleichheit—PSG) to the German Left Party and various middle-class organizations on its periphery.

International protests against arrest of film director Roman Polanski

By Barry Grey, 28 September 2009

Expressions of shock and anger are mounting internationally over the arrest Saturday night of Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski.

Sri Lankan SEP campaigns in southern rural villages

By our correspondents, 28 September 2009

The SEP has intervened in the southern coastal town of Hikkaduwa and surrounding villages, including Udumulla, Thotagamuwa and Seenigama, as part of its campaign for the Southern Provincial Council elections on October 10.

US: Thousands line up for free health care in Texas

By Andre Damon, 28 September 2009

Over two thousand people attended a free healthcare clinic in Houston, the largest one-day event of its kind in the US.

Britain: Businesses to control more state schools as government-backed academies fail

By Harvey Thompson, 26 September 2009

The start of the new school term has seen a welter of government activity in support of the expansion of its privately run academies programme, even as the educational value of these institutions is discredited.

ISSE members speak on education cuts at rally

By , 26 September 2009

Members of the International Students for Social Equality denounced cuts to public education at a rally on Thursday.

Revolt and “dialogue” in Honduras

By Bill Van Auken, 26 September 2009

The turn to “dialogue” by ousted President Zelaya and those who overthrew him is aimed at quelling a mounting popular revolt against the coup regime that is calling into question the governability of Honduras.

G20 summit sets stage for sharpening of international tensions

By Barry Grey, 26 September 2009

The Pittsburgh summit of the Group of 20 leading economies concluded Friday with the issuing of a joint communiqué contrived to mask sharpening conflicts between the major powers over policies to revive the world economy and stave off another financial meltdown.

Five more US soldiers killed in Afghanistan

By Tom Eley, 26 September 2009

Five more US soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Thursday, as debate raged in Washington over the character of the next US “surge.”

Obama comes to aid of Israel over UN war crimes charges

By Jean Shaoul, 26 September 2009

An authoritative and highly critical United Nations inquiry released last week concluded that Israel “committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity” during its three-week offensive against Gaza in December last year.

US and European powers threaten Iran

By Patrick Martin, 26 September 2009

With all the hallmarks of an orchestrated political provocation, the US, Britain and France, with the support of Germany, denounced a supposedly secret Iranian nuclear plant, threatening stepped-up economic sanctions and possible military action.

Police attack protesters at G20 summit in Pittsburgh

By Joe Kishore, 26 September 2009

Over 80 have been arrested, and police have deployed batons, sound cannons, rubber bullets and OC gas to attack demonstrators.

Austria: Collapse for Social Democrats in Vorarlberg state election

By Markus Salzmann, 26 September 2009

In the election in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg last Sunday the Socialist Party (SPÖ) obtained its worst result in the history of the post-war Austrian Second Republic.

ISSE holds rally in San Diego in defense of public education

By Reem Nour, 26 September 2009

The rally on the campus of San Diego State University was called to opposed budget cuts to higher education throughout California.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 26 September 2009

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

France: Brutal eviction of migrants from Calais encampment

By Antoine Lerougetel, 26 September 2009

Hundreds of police officers carried out a brutal raid Tuesday on a camp near Calais, France, home to some 800 undocumented immigrants, mostly Afghans trying to emigrate to Britain.

Video: German SEP candidate calls for defence of jobs at Opel

By , 26 September 2009

Dietmar Gaisenkersting, a candidate of the German Socialist Equality Party (Partei für Soziale Gleichheit—PSG) in the current German federal election, addresses the situation at GM-Opel.

Sri Lankan plantation workers speak out against pay sell-out

By our correspondents, 26 September 2009

Speaking to the WSWS, workers from several tea estates angrily condemned the pay deal and all of the unions, including those that nominally claimed to oppose it.

“Fair Work Australia”: A union-enforced straitjacket on workers

By Mike Head, 26 September 2009

The trade unions are enforcing Labor’s industrial legislation that goes far beyond the previous government’s “Work Choices” laws in prohibiting nearly all strikes.

California students and faculty denounce education cuts

By Andre Damon, 25 September 2009

Thousands of students, faculty, and workers rallied throughout California Thursday in opposition to budget cuts, tuition hikes, and faculty layoffs.

US heightens threats against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 25 September 2009

The US and its European allies exploited this week’s UN session to threaten tough new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programs.

US Senate Finance Committee deliberates Baucus healthcare proposal

By Kate Randall, 25 September 2009

The healthcare hearings have been characterized by cynical posturing, as committee members jockey to push amendments to the Baucus proposal.

Thousands line up for utility bill assistance in Detroit

By Shannon Jones, 25 September 2009

In a sign of the immense social crisis in the United States, thousands of Detroit residents lined up Wednesday seeking assistance with utility bills.

The significance of the German elections

By Ulrich Rippert, 25 September 2009

None of the problems confronting working people can be resolved through the Bundestag (federal parliament) elections this Sunday. The working class needs a new party based on an international socialist programme. This is the significance of the participation of the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG—Socialist Equality Party), the German section of the Fourth International.

Detroit residents speak on utility bills, social crisis

By , 25 September 2009

Several thousand Detroit residents attended an event hosted by DTE Energy to provide assistance to customers with difficulties paying their utility bills.

Tamil detainees in Sri Lanka: “Almost living in hell”

By our correspondents, 25 September 2009

WSWS correspondents again visited the military-run camps in Vavuniya where hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians have been detained in appalling conditions for four months.

Stella D’Oro workers face shutdown in hedge fund deal

By our reporters, 25 September 2009

Stella D’Oro workers in the Bronx, New York, face the shutdown of their bakery and the loss of their jobs. An 11-month strike blocked the hedge fund that bought the facility from imposing drastic concessions, so it is selling it to another company.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East and Africa

By , 25 September 2009

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

Opel workers demonstrate in Antwerp in defence of jobs

By our reporters, 25 September 2009

On Wednesday, 3,500 Opel employees demonstrated in front of the factory gate at the Opel plant in Antwerp, Belgium, to defend their jobs. Trade union leaders cynically exploited the rally to prepare job cuts.

Obama asserts power to detain suspects without trial

By Tom Eley, 25 September 2009

The Obama administration announced this week that it intends to continue the Bush administration policy of holding terrorism suspects indefinitely without charge or trial.

Britain: Nationalist campaign by Unite union bureaucracy over Vauxhall-Opel takeover

By Robert Stevens and Julie Hyland, 25 September 2009

The sell-off of General Motors’ European operations, Opel and Vauxhall, to the Canadian-Russian consortium Magna has elicited a poisonous “us first” response by the trade unions involved.

France: Opportunist “lefts” unite with CGT to derail fight for jobs

By Pierre Mabut, 24 September 2009

A demonstration of auto industry workers provides an object lesson in how the trade unions, aided and abetted by the middle class opportunists of Lutte Ouvrière and the New Anti-Capitalist Party, are leading workers into an impasse.

Scottish National Party prepares deep spending cuts

By Jordan Shilton, 24 September 2009

The Scottish National Party minority government in Edinburgh is set to launch deep public spending cuts as a result of the economic crisis.

France: Petty-bourgeois “lefts” unite with CGT to derail fight for jobs

By Pierre Mabut, 24 September 2009

A demonstration of motor industry workers fighting plant closures and mass sackings provides an object lesson in how the trade unions, aided and abetted by the middle class radicals of Lutte Ouvrière (LO) and the NPA, are leading workers into an impasse.

Germany: SEP holds election campaign meetings in four cities

By our correspondents, 24 September 2009

The Socialist Equality Party has held a series of meeting across Germany as part of its intensive campaign for the German federal election on September 27.

US troops out of Afghanistan

By Bill Van Auken, 24 September 2009

With the US commander in Afghanistan set to deliver a request for tens of thousands more troops, all sides in the Obama administration’s so-called strategy debate are pushing for increased bloodletting in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Appeasing right wing, US Justice Department launches ACORN probe

By Jerry White, 24 September 2009

The Inspector General of the US Justice Department has agreed to open a formal investigation into whether the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) sought or received any Justice Department grant money.

Letters from our readers

By , 24 September 2009

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

Great power conflicts overhang G20 summit in Pittsburgh

By Barry Grey, 24 September 2009

As political leaders gather for the Group of 20 summit of major economies, to be held today and Friday in Pittsburgh, they face the task of papering over increasingly open and embittered conflicts over policies to revive the world economy and prevent another financial disaster.

At UN general assembly, Obama urges international support for US wars

By Tom Eley, 24 September 2009

In his first address to the UN, Obama at once defended US unilateralism and demanded foreign capitals provide further support. Obama also menaced Iran and declared Israel to be a “Jewish state.”

The Australian media and the Julian Moti case

By Patrick O’Connor, 24 September 2009

The Australian media has imposed an effective blackout on proceedings brought before the Queensland Supreme Court by former Solomon Islands’ Attorney General Julian Moti.

Obama gives Israel carte blanche on settlement construction

By Chris Marsden, 24 September 2009

Tuesday’s meeting between Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was widely regarded as little more than a photo opportunity before it began.

Massive police buildup for Pittsburgh G20 summit

By Samuel Davidson, 24 September 2009

A massive police buildup is well underway in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as thousands of police, National Guard, FBI, secret service and other law enforcement officials flood into the city in preparation for the G20 summit this week.

Sri Lankan unions collaborate in police witch-hunt of plantation workers

By M. Vasanthan, 24 September 2009

Leaders of plantation-based trade unions have assisted the police in bringing charges against workers opposing last week’s pay agreement.

For a fight against education cuts in California!

By International Students for Social Equality, 23 September 2009

This statement will be distributed to California university faculty, students and staff participating in a one-day walkout on September 24 to protest layoffs, pay cuts, and tuition increases. The ISSE at San Diego State University has called a rally on the same day.

On eve of G20 summit: Economic danger signs

By Andre Damon, 23 September 2009

One year after the onset of the financial crisis and on the eve of the G20 summit, the political establishment is proclaiming imminent recovery from the greatest economic crisis since the Second World War. But reality is something different.

Economic crisis, geopolitical rivalries overshadow Ukrainian election campaign

By Niall Green, 23 September 2009

As in the disputed presidential election of November 2004, bitter disputes between rival sections of the ruling elite—and the interests of foreign powers—are dominating the campaign for Ukraine’s presidential election to be held in January.

Former Taiwanese president jailed for life

By John Chan, 23 September 2009

In a highly political court decision on September 11, former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian was sentenced to life imprisonment, fined $6.1 million and stripped of his civil rights.

No agreement between major powers on carbon emissions

By Tom Eley, 23 September 2009

Tuesday’s global warming summit failed to ease differences among the major powers in advance of a December treaty conference in Copenhagen.

Britain: Three major parties pledge to slash public spending

By Chris Marsden, 23 September 2009

The Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties in Britain have all agreed that public spending will have to be slashed. Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the Trades Union Congress last week that cuts would have to be made.

Honduran regime meets Zelaya’s return with “state of siege”

By Bill Van Auken, 23 September 2009

The return to Honduras of deposed President Zelaya, who has called for “dialogue” from his refuge in the Brazilian embassy, has been met with violence and repression from the coup regime.

Labour government in Britain increases state control of the Internet

By Marcus Morgan, 23 September 2009

The Labour government is proposing draconian new measures on Internet usage. If implemented, the state would be given sweeping powers over what can be accessed and by whom.

Newly repaired Hubble telescope releases first images

By Bryan Dyne, 23 September 2009

The first images from the repaired and upgraded telescope include a dazzling combination of planetary nebula, star clusters and galaxies.

German election to usher in government of austerity and confrontation

By Ulrich Rippert, 23 September 2009

Comments by leading politicians and sections of the media make clear that the incoming government following Sunday’s federal election, irrespective of its composition, will implement unprecedented austerity policies.

Lessons of the Oakland University professors’ strike

By , 23 September 2009

The SEP and ISSE will be hosting this public meeting in Rochester, Michigan on September 24 to discuss the crisis of education and the lessons of the Oakland University professors’ strike.

US: 2008 census figures show severe impact of recession on workers

By Jerry White, 23 September 2009

The US Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey Data provides a picture of the social distress produced by the worst economic recession in decades.

Sri Lankan SEP public meeting on the struggle of plantation workers

By , 23 September 2009

The Socialist Equality Party will hold a public meeting on “The World Economic Crisis and the Plantation Workers’ Struggle” in Hatton on September 27.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 22 September 2009

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

Obama administration shields CIA torturers

By Tom Eley, 22 September 2009

In response to a public campaign waged by the CIA, the Obama administration has scaled back the already narrow investigation into CIA torture announced last month by Attorney General Eric Holder.

World War II: The essential lessons

By , 22 September 2009

World War II engulfed the entire European continent, pitting all of the continental powers in the bloodiest slaughter in world history.

US, Europe reject bank pay limits ahead of G20 meeting

By Stefan Steinberg, 22 September 2009

In advance of this week’s G20 summit in Pittsburgh, the Obama administration and the major European governments have fashioned a compromise to block any effective limits on the pay of leading international bankers.

US commander pushes for rapid escalation of Afghanistan war

By Bill Van Auken, 22 September 2009

With the release of a declassified version of Gen. McChrystal’s recommendations for a change of course in Afghanistan, the Pentagon command is pushing for Obama to approve a rapid escalation of the US-led war.

Spain: Judge Garzón faces prosecution for investigating Franco-era crimes

By Paul Mitchell, 22 September 2009

Investigative Judge Baltasar Garzón has appeared in court as a result of a prosecution brought by far-right organisations for investigating crimes committed during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

Scotland: Diageo presses on with 900 job cuts

By Stephen Alexander, 22 September 2009

Drinks company Diageo has announced it intends to press ahead with restructuring plans at a cost of 900 jobs.

Seventy years since World War II

By , 22 September 2009

World War II was the bloodiest and most tragic event in world history. Up to 70 million people lost their lives during the six year conflict. It witnessed unimaginable barbarism, including above all the mass murder of 6 million European Jews by the Nazis. The war ended with the dropping of the atomic bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Behind the “day of action”: Australian university union enforces government agenda

By Mike Head, 22 September 2009

The purpose of the limited “day of action” called by the National Tertiary Education Union was to suppress any political struggle against Labor’s agenda, while cementing the union’s place in implementing it.

Open letter to Opel and Vauxhall auto workers from German SEP candidate

By Ulrich Rippert, 22 September 2009

The following statement will be distributed September 23 at a demonstration of Opel and Vauxhall workers in Antwerp.

Canadian Auto Workers offers concessions to Ford

By Carl Bronski, 22 September 2009

Negotiations between the Canadian Auto Workers and Ford Motor Company of Canada are set to re-start at the end of September after initial talks between the two broke down earlier this month. The company has demanded that the union re-open its 2008 contract in order to impose concessions.