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In Defense of Leon Trotsky by David North now available

By , 31 January 2010

Mehring Books announces the publication of In Defense of Leon Trotsky by David North, a new collection of essays exploring Trotsky’s lasting contributions to the socialist movement and exposing the campaign of historical falsification against him.

US: Republican activist behind Acorn smear campaign faces felony charges

By Peter Daniels, 30 January 2010

James O’Keefe, the Republican activist who became a hero in extreme right-wing circles last year after he carried out a provocative sting-type operation Acorn, faces felony trespass charges.

Sri Lankan government cracks down on opposition

By Sarath Kumara, 30 January 2010

Despite winning re-election by a substantial margin, President Rajapakse’s position remains weak amid continuing divisions in ruling circles and popular resentment over declining living standards.

First “bad bank” set up for Eastern Europe

By Markus Salzmann and Wolfgang Weber, 30 January 2010

A so-called “bad bank” for heavily indebted East European countries had been established in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

City union prepares capitulation to Detroit mayor

By Jerry White, 30 January 2010

Hundreds of Detroit city workers gathered Thursday night at a meeting called by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 25.

Letters from our readers

By , 30 January 2010

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

Britain: Unions lobby Parliament to line up behind Labour

By Paul Mitchell, 30 January 2010

This week, one group of trade union bureaucrats after another has traipsed into Parliament to lobby MPs ahead of the upcoming general election due in May.

New York students and teachers speak out on school closings

By a WSWS reporting team, 30 January 2010

The World Socialist Web Site interviewed parents, students and teachers who attended Tuesday night’s Panel for Educational Policy vote at Brooklyn Tech on the closing of 20 public schools.

Obama’s guilty silence on Haiti

By Bill Van Auken, 30 January 2010

In his State of the Union speech Wednesday President Barack Obama barely mentioned the historic catastrophe unfolding on America’s doorstep, with the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Haitians and millions more left injured, hungry and homeless.

Tony Blair, war criminal, testifies before inquiry

By Chris Marsden, 30 January 2010

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s testimony before the Chilcot inquiry into the 2003 Iraq war marks him down once more as a war criminal.

New York City: In the face of intense opposition, Bloomberg closes 19 public schools

By Sandy English, 30 January 2010

Over intense opposition from students, teachers and parents, New York City’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) voted early Wednesday morning to close seven middle or elementary schools and 12 high schools.

Further questions raised in East Timor “assassination” trial

By Patrick O’Connor, 30 January 2010

An ongoing trial relating to the alleged failed assassination of East Timor’s president and prime minister has raised further serious questions about the murky affair.

Pennsylvania: Braddock hospital closes its doors for good

By Samuel Davidson, 30 January 2010

The University of Pittsburgh Medical System is closing Braddock hospital on Sunday, delivering another blow to this once thriving steel town south of Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River.


The real state of the union in 2010

By Barry Grey, 30 January 2010

In his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, President Barack Obama avoided any direct and concrete presentation of the actual state of US society.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 30 January 2010

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

US economic indices and layoff announcements point to protracted slump

By Tom Eley, 29 January 2010

A series of worse-than-expected economic reports and job cut announcements this week underscore that, despite official claims of an economic recovery, the prospects for working people in the US are likely to worsen.


Australia: Striking construction workers defy Rudd government’s laws

By Terry Cook, 29 January 2010

Construction workers are defying court orders, the Rudd government and its anti-strike Fair Work laws, and their trade unions, by continuing a strike over basic living and working conditions.

New York: Police brutality revealed in courtroom, on tape

By Dan Brennan, 29 January 2010

Three New York City police officers went on trial last week on charges of aggravated sexual abuse and cover-up for repeatedly sodomizing a suspect in a Brooklyn subway station in October 2008.

Tom Eley: The Revolution Betrayed is among the greatest political works of the 20th century

By Tom Eley, 29 January 2010

Mehring Books is continuing its Winter Recommended Reading Series, in which it invites WSWS writers to share their thoughts with readers about works of Marxist literature that have influenced them and explain why.

Mehring Books promotional sale ends Monday

By , 29 January 2010

On Monday, Mehring Books will be ending its promotion sale marking the launching of its new web site.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 29 January 2010

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

Haitian president says 170,000 bodies recovered

By Bill Van Auken, 29 January 2010

Haiti’s President René Préval told a press conference Wednesday that some 170,000 bodies have been recovered from the rubble of the January 12 earthquake. More than two weeks after the disaster, large numbers of its victims have yet to receive aid.

Mexican prints: revolution on paper

By Paul Mitchell, 29 January 2010

Mexican prints 1910-1960 will be shown at the British Museum in London through April 5, 2010.


London conference on Afghanistan: Occupation will last for years to come

By Chris Marsden, 29 January 2010

The London conference on Afghanistan laid down a scenario for the country’s military occupation stretching over at least 5 years and, according to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, as long as 15 years.

Villepin acquitted in France’s Clearstream trial

By Alex Lantier, 29 January 2010

The acquittal of ex-Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin on slander charges in the Clearstream trial brought by President Nicolas Sarkozy is a major blow to Sarkozy and to France’s political order.

The resignation of Oscar Lafontaine and the crisis of the Left Party

By Ulrich Rippert, 29 January 2010

The decision by Oskar Lafontaine to resign as chairman of the German Left Party and give up his parliamentary seat has thrown the party into a deep crisis.

Geithner stonewalls in AIG bailout hearings

By Andre Damon, 29 January 2010

In Congressional testimony Wednesday, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stonewalled over the critical role he played in the bailout of AIG and its counterparties—especially Goldman Sachs—while still serving as president of the New York Federal Reserve bank.

Behind Sri Lanka’s political infighting: US-China rivalry

By Peter Symonds, 29 January 2010

Following Tuesday’s presidential election, Colombo has become a hotbed of rumour and intrigue. Far from ending the campaign brawling, the election has set the stage for deepening political instability.

Venezuela: Two students killed in clashes

By Bill Van Auken, 28 January 2010

Two students, one a government supporter and the other an opponent, were killed Monday as demonstrations and counter-demonstrations took place across Venezuela following an order to suspend broadcasts by an anti-Chávez television channel.

German government falls in behind US strategy for Afghanistan

By Stefan Steinberg`, 28 January 2010

The “new approach” by Germany in Afghanistan is now clear, i.e., more of the same criminal military occupation that has already brought death and misery to hundreds of thousands of Afghans in a war that has already lasted twice as long as the First World War.

A socialist program to defend jobs at Opel

By Socialist Equality Party, 28 January 2010

The Socialist Equality Party distributed this statement, translated into Dutch, to workers at the Opel factory in Antwerp, Belgium.

Tensions high as incumbent wins Sri Lankan presidential poll

By K. Ratnayake, 28 January 2010

A tense political situation continued in Sri Lanka yesterday as Mahinda Rajapakse was declared the winner in Tuesday’s presidential election. Opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka announced he would challenge the result.

Belgium: Opel plant to close in Antwerp

By our correspondents, 28 January 2010

The trade unions and works council active in automaker Opel organised a sham protest in Antwerp to cover up their own role in the closure of the local factory

China’s credit tightening exacerbates global financial instability

By John Chan, 28 January 2010

China last week temporarily halted lending among some major state banks, sending shock waves through international financial markets.

US firms Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, announce 21,000 job cuts

By Tom Eley, 28 January 2010

In recent days US firms have announced layoffs and job cuts for 2010 numbering in the tens of thousands, while the Commerce Department reported Wednesday that new homes sales fell sharply in December.

Obama’s State of the Union Address: Cynicism, clichés and a call for austerity

By Barry Grey, 28 January 2010

The main aim of the speech was to find a rhetorical bridge between the packaging of Obama as the candidate of “change” and “hope,” and the reality of his presidency, which has been unswervingly devoted to the defense of privilege.

Britain: Illegality of Iraq war dominates Chilcot inquiry

By Ann Talbot, 28 January 2010

Former attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, has defended his position that the Iraq war was legal, following dissenting testimony from two top government lawyers to the Chilcot inquiry.

Troops fire on starving crowds in Haiti

By Patrick Martin, 28 January 2010

Troops under UN command have fired on crowds of hungry Haitians, a sign of impending confrontation between the people of the earthquake-wracked country and the armed forces sent there under the auspices of the imperialist powers.

Letters from our readers

By , 28 January 2010

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

Sharp rise in British child poverty before recession’s onset

By Robert Stevens, 28 January 2010

A report commissioned by the charity Save the Children documents a sharp rise in the number children living in “severe poverty” between 2004 and 2008.

Southern California homeless shelters struggle to cope with economic crisis

By our correspondents, 27 January 2010

Many non-profit groups in California that help homeless youth and single mothers suffering from domestic abuse are struggling to cope with the fact that their funding has declined even as an increasing number of families and individuals are seeking their help.

France’s Socialist Party calls for pension cuts

By Kumaran Ira, 27 January 2010

As sovereign debt markets worry about rising government deficits in the Eurozone, the Socialist Party’s call to slash pensions aims to reassure investors that no political party in France will oppose reductions in social spending.

Massachusetts governor promotes charter schools as districts face budget crisis

By John Marion, 27 January 2010

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has signed into law a measure increasing the cap on the number of charter schools allowed in the state and doubling the number of charter schools allowed in the poorest performing districts.

Sri Lankan government threatens to disqualify opposition candidate

By K. Ratnayake, 27 January 2010

The prospect of a bitter legal and constitutional feud following the Sri Lankan presidential elections heightened after the government threatened legal action to disqualify opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka.

US Marines in Haiti: Back to colonialism

By Bill Van Auken, 27 January 2010

The US Marines sent to Haiti by the Obama administration are being told to model their mission on the “success” of the 20-year occupation of Haiti by US Marines that ended in 1934.

The Sri Lankan election, the LTTE and Tamil nationalism

By Athiyan Silva, 27 January 2010

In Sri Lanka’s just concluded presidential election, much of the LTTE exile movement and the Tamil National Alliance supported the main opposition candidate, General Sarath Fonseka, over the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapakse, on the grounds that he is the “lesser evil.”

Obama to impose freeze on social spending

By Tom Eley, 27 January 2010

Signaling his determination to stabilize the national debt at the expense of the working class, President Obama will use his State of the Union address to call for a three-year freeze on social spending.

Armored, but not bulletproof

By Hiram Lee, 27 January 2010

In Armored, a struggling Iraq war veteran gets a job as a guard with an armored car company and agrees to take part in a heist planned by his co-workers.

Britain: Dr. David Kelly death evidence suppressed for 70 years

By Chris Marsden, 27 January 2010

Medical records relating to the death of government scientist Dr. David Kelly will be kept secret for 70 years.

New York Times columnist worries over Obama’s “credibility gap”

By Jerry White, 27 January 2010

Written a week after the Democrats’ electoral debacle in Massachusetts, a column by Bob Herbert, a liberal supporter of the president, expresses concern over growing popular opposition to the administration.

Germany: Demjanjuk trial sheds light on Nazi crimes

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 27 January 2010

The trial of the alleged SS guard John Demjanjuk has shed further light on Nazi crimes.

US Supreme Court rules against Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Hiram Lee, 27 January 2010

The US Supreme Court overturned on January 19 the ruling of a Philadelphia appeals court which had granted death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal the right to a new sentencing hearing.

Pamphlet on Haitian history available from Mehring Books

By , 27 January 2010

Mehring Books is pleased to make available to readers of the World Socialist Web Site a pamphlet from its archives that provides historical background to the events currently unfolding in Haiti.

Existing US home sales fall at record rate

By Andre Damon, 26 January 2010

Sales of existing US homes plunged in December, showing the fragility of the housing recovery and its dependence on government stimulus.

Britain: Abbeydale Grange School’s closure agreed by Sheffield Council

By Tania Kent and Liz Smith, 26 January 2010

The Liberal Democrat-led Sheffield Council voted unanimously to close Abbeydale Grange School on December 9. The decision was met with anger and dismay by many staff, students and parents who have campaigned tirelessly to save the school since the proposal for closure was officially announced in July.

A socialist programme needed to defend education in Britain

By Robert Stevens, 26 January 2010

Following spending reductions for education in December totalling £398 million for 2010-11, it is estimated that total cuts over the next three years in Britain will be around £900 million. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies the cuts may reach £2.5 billion.

Sri Lankan election sets stage for deep political crisis

By K. Ratnayake, 26 January 2010

Sri Lanka’s presidential election, which culminates with today’s national vote, has been marred by violence and bitter charges and counter-charges from the two principal candidates—the incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse and his rival, the former army chief Sarath Fonseka.

“Reconstructing Haiti” on starvation wages

By Bill Van Auken, 26 January 2010

Government ministers, international bankers and aid agencies gathered in Montreal Monday to discuss plans for reconstructing earthquake-ravaged Haiti. At the heart of their proposals is the exploitation of Haitian workers at poverty wages.

Fallout from Washington crisis rattles world markets

By Barry Grey, 26 January 2010

Stock prices fell precipitously in the US, Europe and Asia last week following President Barack Obama’s surprise announcement Thursday that he was proposing new restrictions on the operations of US banks.

How big business financed a radical right-wing party in Austria

By Markus Salzmann, 26 January 2010

More details have emerged about the way in which German banks funded extreme right-wing parties with the approval of a leading German political party.

Harper’s Magazine exposes Guantánamo cover-up

By Fred Mazelis, 26 January 2010

The forthcoming issue of Harper’s Magazine contains a devastating exposure of the alleged suicides of three Guantánamo Bay detainees in June 2006.

Sri Lankan election: the NSSP’s electoral cretinism

By Wije Dias, 26 January 2010

The Sri Lankan presidential election has underscored the unbridgeable class gulf between the Socialist Equality Party, and the Nava Sama Samaja Party and all other former radical organisations.

Criticism mounts over US response to Haiti disaster

By Jerry White, 26 January 2010

Two weeks after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, there is growing criticism of the US for undermining rescue and relief efforts by focusing almost entirely on the military occupation of the Caribbean nation.

Thousands protest Conservatives’ shutting down of Canadian parliament

By Keith Jones, 26 January 2010

Demonstrations and rallies were held in some 60 cities and towns across Canada last Saturday to oppose the minority Conservative government’s shutting down of parliament for two months, so as to prevent exposure of the Canadian Armed Forces’ complicity in the torture of Afghan detainees.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 26 January 2010

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

GM to close Antwerp Opel plant

By our correspondent, 25 January 2010

US automaker General Motors has closed down its Opel factory in the Belgian city of Antwerp.

US telecommunications giant Verizon plans more layoffs

By Samuel Davidson, 25 January 2010

US telecommunications giant Verizon plans thousands more layoffs in 2010 even as it records another year of massive profits. The layoffs will primarily hit workers in the wireline side of the business as Verizon moves away from traditional telephone service to concentrate on wireless and fiber-optic technologies.

Romania: Education system on the verge of collapse

By Diana Toma, 25 January 2010

The introduction of free-market relations into the states of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe 20 years ago has led to an unparalleled social and cultural decline.

Me and Orson Welles, but too much of the former

By Tracy Montry, 25 January 2010

Director Linklater wants it both ways: to associate himself with Welles’s well-known “anti-establishment” credentials, his most positive attributes, on the one hand, while shaking a politically correct finger at Welles’s personal ‘excesses,’ on the other.

The Nation praises US intervention in Haiti

By Alex Lantier, 25 January 2010

The Nation reacted to the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the earthquake in Haiti and exacerbated by the US military occupation of the country by praising the Obama administration.

SEP concludes presidential election campaign with successful Colombo rally

By our correspondents, 25 January 2010

The Socialist Equality Party concluded a powerful six-week campaign in Sri Lanka’s presidential election with a meeting last Saturday in Colombo. The main speaker was the party’s general-secretary and presidential candidate Wije Dias.

Walmart to cut 11,000 jobs at Sam’s Club subsidiary

By Andre Damon, 25 January 2010

Sam’s Club, a subsidiary of Walmart, announced Thursday that it would eliminate over 11,000 jobs, amounting to 10 percent of its total workforce.

After Massachusetts: Obama fakes anti-Wall Street stance

By Patrick Martin, 25 January 2010

In a public statement criticizing the major banks Thursday, followed by a speech on jobs in the industrial town of Elyria, Ohio, Friday, President Barack Obama has begun a transparent effort to posture as the defender of the people against corporate interests.

Haiti: Rescue effort ended as people still emerge from rubble

By Bill Van Auken, 25 January 2010

The Haitian government together with United Nations authorities announced the official end to efforts to rescue people trapped in the rubble from the January 12 earthquake, even as survivors were still being pulled out alive.

US: Minnesota to cut two health care programs for the poor

By Michael Stapleton, 25 January 2010

Two high-profile health care programs for the poor in Minnesota will soon end: General Assistance Medical Care and the Critical Access Dental Provider Program.

This week in history: January 25-January 31

By , 25 January 2010

This Week in History provides brief synopses of important historical events whose anniversaries fall this week.

The nationalist poison of the trade unions

By Dietmar Henning, 25 January 2010

From the start of the dispute over the future of Opel, the German trade unions have sought to spread the poison of nationalism among auto workers.

Spain: Youth unemployment tops 40 percent

By Marcus Morgan, 25 January 2010

In Spain’s worst recession for more than 50 years, official figures for the end of 2009 show nearly 4 million people out of work.

Israeli government supports continued prosecution of filmmaker Mohammed Bakri

By Danny Richardson, 23 January 2010

Israel’s attorney general has announced that the government will support the efforts of reservist soldiers to appeal the decision of a lower court that rejected their claim for libel against Mohammed Bakri, whose film Jenin, Jenin depicted atrocities committed against Palestinians in a West Bank refugee camp.

A socialist policy to defend democratic rights

By Socialist Equality Party (Canada), 23 January 2010

Demonstrations and rallies are being held in cities across Canada this Saturday to protest against the minority Conservative government’s two-month shutdown of parliament.

All-party conspiracy of silence on German army role in Afghanistan

By Ludwig Weller, 23 January 2010

The present discussions and agreements between Merkel and the faction leaders of the SPD, the Greens and the Left party, seek to strip parliament of any say on future military deployments. All parties are agreed that there should be no outlet for the anti-war sentiments of the majority of the German population.

As US prepares long-term occupation, Haiti’s quake victims still without aid

By Bill Van Auken, 23 January 2010

Washington indicated Thursday that it is preparing a long-term occupation of Haiti. In the immediate crisis confronting millions of homeless, injured and suffering people, however, the US military has yet to organize a viable distribution of aid.

US to hold 50 Guantanamo prisoners indefinitely

By Barry Grey, 23 January 2010

The US Justice Department has determined that nearly 50 of the remaining 196 detainees at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are to be held indefinitely, without charges or trial.

The Supreme Court ruling on corporate political spending

By Tom Eley, 23 January 2010

The ruling issued Thursday by the United States Supreme Court lifting long-standing restrictions on corporate financing of elections represents a far-reaching attack on democratic rights.

University of California students suspended for protesting budget cuts

By Marge Holland, 23 January 2010

Two students from the University of California, Berkeley have been suspended for participating in a protest at the campus residence of the school’s chancellor. One of them is being threatened with eviction from student housing.

Sri Lankan Tamil political prisoners stage hunger strike to demand their release

By Saman Gunadasa, 23 January 2010

Hundreds of Sri Lankan Tamil political prisoners recently mounted an 8-day hunger strike to demand their release or at least an end to their indefinite detention without proper legal recourse.

Sri Lankan union endorses SEP presidential candidate

By our correspondent, 23 January 2010

The executive committee of the Central Bank Employees Union has passed a resolution urging workers to vote for Socialist Equality Party candidate Wije Dias in the January 26 presidential election.

US plans to harness Internet to its hegemonic goals

By Alex Lantier, 23 January 2010

In a recent speech on Internet freedom, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled a global policy of Internet-driven regime-change, under the guise of freedom of speech.

Letters from our readers

By , 23 January 2010

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

US employment situation worsens

By Andre Damon, 23 January 2010

New claims for unemployment benefits in the US jumped unexpectedly last week, showing that, despite record bank profits, economic conditions for ordinary people continue to worsen.

Israel threatens Hezbollah and Lebanon

By Jean Shaoul, 23 January 2010

Israel has stepped up its warmongering against Hezbollah and the Lebanese government, worsening tensions throughout the Middle East.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 23 January 2010

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

US commander demands increased military commitment from Germany in Afghanistan

By Stefan Steinberg, 22 January 2010

The commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, US General Stanley McChrystal, gave an interview to the German newspaper Bild on Wednesday, calling for more commitment by Germany to the US-led war.

South Yorkshire firefighters strike against threats of mass dismissal

By Simon Whelan, 22 January 2010

The British Fire Brigade Union (FBU) has been forced to call a fresh series of strikes after its members rejected a compromise contract.

Germany: The Left Party and the parliamentary Defence Committee

By Marius Heuser, 22 January 2010

Christine Buchholz, a member of the International Socialist Tendency (IST), occupies a seat on the German parliamentary Defence Committee.

Another toothless bank “reform” from Obama

By Tom Eley and Barry Grey, 22 January 2010

President Obama announced new proposals that he claimed would limit the ability of the banks to profit from risky investments. The brief appearance, replete with bank-bashing demagogy, was a transparent effort to give his persona a populist gloss, two days after the Democrats suffered a humiliating defeat in the Massachusetts Senate election.

New York: Mayor Bloomberg hands out $2.4 million in bonuses

By Ali Ismail, 22 January 2010

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s payout of $2.4 million in bonuses to city employees and others for their work on his reelection campaign has sparked a controversy within the city’s political establishment.

Haitians dying by the thousands as US escalates military intervention

By Bill Van Auken, 22 January 2010

With thousands of Haitians dying every day for lack of medical care and supplies, the Pentagon has announced that it is expanding the US military presence in the country, maintaining its priority of troops over humanitarian aid.

Dutch inquiry finds Iraq war illegal

By Ann Talbot, 22 January 2010

A Dutch commission of inquiry has concluded that the US-led 2003 Iraq war was illegal under international law.

The lessons of the Massachusetts election

By Jerry White, 22 January 2010

The Republican victory in Tuesday’s Massachusetts Senate race was not only a major blow to the Obama administration and the Democratic Party, it was an expression of the widespread social discontent and anger that is building up in the US.