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This week in history: February 28-March 6

By , 28 February 2011

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

California’s budget crisis: a historical overview

By Jack Cody, 28 February 2011

California has been at the center of the transformation of the American economy from a system of producing socially useful commodities to one in which wealth is transferred to the financial class without going through the intermediate process of production.

Australian Labor government stakes pro-business credentials on new carbon tax

By Patrick O’Connor, 28 February 2011

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced she will introduce a carbon tax before July 2012, staking her political credibility on pushing it through the hung parliament.

As Libyan rebels close in on Gaddafi, US and Europe ramp up intervention

By Barry Grey, 28 February 2011

With dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s control over the country ebbing, the United States and its European allies are stepping up their intervention into the Libyan crisis.

The political issues in the fight against budget cuts

By Joseph Kishore and David North, 28 February 2011

The significance and implications of this conflict extend far beyond Wisconsin. The actions of the Walker administration, which have a distinctly dictatorial odor, are the spearhead of a ruthless nationwide assault on the working class.

German defence minister adopts the political style of Italy’s Berlusconi

By Ulrich Rippert, 28 February 2011

Right-wing political and media forces are demagogically exploiting the extraordinary arrogance of Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg to further undermine democratic rights in Germany.

North African uprisings force French foreign minister to resign

By Pierre Mabut, 28 February 2011

France’s minister for foreign affairs, Michèle Alliot-Marie, was forced to resign her post yesterday, amid the scandal over her relations with the deposed Tunisian government.

After demonstration of 100,000, union officials prepare to end Wisconsin struggle

By Tom Eley, 28 February 2011

While over 100,000 determined workers and youth demonstrated in Madison, union officials were preparing to put an end to their struggle against wage cutting and attacks on basic social rights.

Twenty-third Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan

By John Roberts, 28 February 2011

The Labor government greeted the death of two Australian soldiers in Afghanistan this month with further statements of unwavering commitment to the deeply unpopular war.

Education conference in Denver: A conspiracy against teachers and the public schools

By Isabelle Belanger and Walter Gilberti, 28 February 2011

The Advancing Student Achievement Through Labor-Management Collaboration conference revealed the line-up of forces that are seeking to impose the Obama administration’s reactionary “Race to the Top” education agenda on teachers and school employees.

University of Glasgow makes £20 million cuts

By Stephen Alexander, 28 February 2011

The University of Glasgow in Scotland has announced plans to merge a number of academic departments and axe courses as it looks to make £20 million in efficiency savings by 2012-2013.

Massachusetts governor leads attack on health care for public and private workers

By John Marion, 28 February 2011

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has filed bills attacking the health care benefits of municipal workers and advocating a cap on the amount insurance companies pay health care providers.

Police crackdown against protests in Egypt, Oman

By Patrick Martin, 28 February 2011

Egyptian military police attacked and beat protesters Saturday in Tahrir Square, the focal point of the mass popular movement that forced the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak two weeks ago.

Tunisia prime minister resigns amid mass demonstrations

By Patrick Martin, 28 February 2011

Mohammed Ghannouchi resigned less than 48 hours after 100,000 people marched through the capital demanding his ouster.

Massive anti-government vote in Ireland

By Jordan Shilton, 28 February 2011

Friday’s election in Ireland saw huge popular rejection of the outgoing Fianna Fáil-Green Party government.

Wisconsin workers and youth speak out

By Tom Eley, 28 February 2011

An on-the-spot report from Madison on the largest demonstration to date in the two-week struggle against Governor Scott Walker’s anti-worker bill.

US and Europe step up preparations for intervention in Libya

By Patrick O’Connor, 26 February 2011

The Obama administration yesterday announced a series of unilateral sanctions against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya, including suspension of US military cooperation.

Iraq “day of rage” protests shake US occupation regime

By Alex Lantier, 26 February 2011

Tens of thousands of people protested social conditions and official corruption in cities around Iraq.

Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution

By , 26 February 2011

Mehring Books is now featuring Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution by Harold Isaacs, an essential work for all those interested in understanding the history of modern China.

US vetoes UN resolution criticising Israel

By Jean Shaoul, 26 February 2011

The Obama administration was forced to use its veto to block a resolution at the United Nations Security Council condemning Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories as an obstacle to peace.

Canada’s union-backed NDP angling for budget deal with Conservatives

By Keith Jones, 26 February 2011

Canada’s social democratic party is offering to support the coming Conservative budget—a budget that will implement yet another round of corporate tax cuts and that is meant to initiate the government’s post-recession turn to “austerity” measures.

Bulgarian railway workers plan strike

By Anna Rombach and Markus Salzmann, 26 February 2011

The planned rail protest is directed against the drastic cuts being imposed by the Bulgarian government under pressure from the World Bank.

Wisconsin state assembly passes anti-worker bill

By Patrick Martin, 26 February 2011

The struggle against the right-wing attack on jobs, living standards and democratic rights is at the crossroads.

US downwardly revises fourth quarter GDP

By Barry Grey, 26 February 2011

In a further sign of economic weakness, the Commerce Department on Friday downwardly revised its figure for US economic growth in the final three months of 2010.

From Egypt to America: Revolution, class struggle & the return of history

By , 26 February 2011

The Socialist Equality Party (US) will be holding a series of meetings on the significance and implications of the reemergence of open class struggle on a world stage.

US retreats from strategic Afghanistan valley

By Bill Van Auken, 26 February 2011

The Pentagon is withdrawing forces from the northeastern Afghanistan’s Pech Valley, which it had previously insisted was strategically vital.

State of Michigan gives the green light to close 70 more Detroit public schools

By Walter Gilberti, 26 February 2011

Detroit has been given state permission to close up to 70 public schools, half of its remaining public schools, by 2013.

New mass protests against US-backed regimes in Egypt and Yemen

By David Walsh, 26 February 2011

Protests took place Friday in Egypt and Yemen, as masses of people press onward in an effort to rid themselves of brutal, tyrannical regimes.

Slideshow: The demonstrations in Madison, Wisconsin

By Andre Damon, 26 February 2011

During the week of February 14, tens of thousands of people attended demonstrations on the capitol square in Madison, Wisconsin, to voice their opposition to the budget cuts and other anti-working class measures proposed by Governor Scott Walker.

Sri Lankan government to slash spending to pay for flood damage

By W. A. Sunil and Jothipala Perera, 26 February 2011

The official IMF mission statement on Sri Lanka underscored the contempt of the global financial elite for the lives and plight of the poor masses.

Petraeus to probe claim that army attempted “psy-ops” against US senators

By Fred Mazelis, 26 February 2011

The military will probe charges that a top US general in Afghanistan demanded “psychological operations” to secure the cooperation of visiting US senators.

Death toll rises to 145 in New Zealand earthquake

By Tom Peters, 26 February 2011

While the number killed in the Christchurch disaster continues to climb many vulnerable people have received little or no assistance.

Defend Julian Assange

By Robert Stevens, 26 February 2011

The ruling by Judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh Magistrates Court in London that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden represents a grave threat to his liberty and even to his life.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 26 February 2011

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

US political establishment escalates attack on abortion rights

By Janel Flechsig, 25 February 2011

Two federal level bills would cut funds for family planning services and raise restrictions that would bar millions of low-income women from access to abortion and health care services.

Fossil discovery confirms “Lucy” walked upright

By Chris Talbot, 25 February 2011

A new 3.2 million-year-old fossil discovery at Hadar, Ethiopia shows that Australopithecus afarensis, an ancestor of modern humans, had arched feet and was “committed” to walking upright.

Greens back Australian government’s cost-cutting floods package

By Mike Head, 25 February 2011

By reaching an agreement with the government to vote for the package, the Greens underscored their determination to bolster the minority government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and assist it to deliver further sweeping cuts in the May budget.

Australian union leader stokes anti-Chinese chauvinism as he launches protectionist campaign

By Terry Cook, 25 February 2011

Anti-Chinese chauvinism dominates Australian Workers Union national conference.

Obama aide Rahm Emanuel elected mayor of Chicago

By Alexander Fangmann and Kristina Betinis, 25 February 2011

Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief of staff and long-time Democratic insider, was elected mayor of Chicago February 22, winning the position outright with 55.2 percent of the votes cast.

Top Argentine union leader arrested in murder of left-wing worker

By Bill Van Auken, 25 February 2011

Jose Pedraza, the president of Argentina’s Railway Union, was arrested Tuesday for the murder of Mariano Ferreyra, a left-wing worker, during a goon squad attack last October.

The significance of the SPD victory in Hamburg

By Peter Schwarz, 25 February 2011

The return of the German SPD to political prominence serves to prepare fresh attacks on the working population, which will put all previous attacks in the shade.

Wisconsin governor threatens to cut 12,000 jobs

By Patrick Martin, 25 February 2011

Democrats back down over anti-worker legislation.

Video: Queensland floods—Goodna residents speak out

By Richard Phillips, 25 February 2011

Residents explain flood damage to their homes on January 13 and their frustrations over the refusal of insurance companies to pay out claims.

Notes on the Egyptian Revolution

By Nick Beams, 25 February 2011

The following report by Nick Beams, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), was delivered to an aggregate meeting in Sydney.

Judge rules WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden

By Julie Hyland, 25 February 2011

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault, Judge Howard Riddle, sitting at Belmarsh Magistrates Court, London ruled Thursday.

Labour seeks coalition with Fine Gael in Ireland

By Jordan Shilton, 25 February 2011

As polling day approaches in the Irish elections, the Labour Party has made a coalition with the conservative right-wing Fine Gael its central message.

Calls mount for military intervention in Libya

By Ann Talbot, 25 February 2011

The British government is actively considering deploying Special Forces in Libya, as several Western governments consider plans for military intervention.

Iraqi officials fear national “day of rage” protest

By Alex Lantier, 25 February 2011

As anti-government protests spread throughout Iraq, leading Iraqi politicians tried to limit preparations for today’s “day of rage” protests in US-occupied Iraq.

One-sided war in Wisconsin

By Patrick Martin, 25 February 2011

Two incidents connected to the ongoing mass protests in Wisconsin underscore the utter ruthlessness of the ruling class in its determination to drive down the living conditions of workers, not only in that state but throughout the United States.

Class struggle emerges in Saudi Arabia

By Harvey Thompson, 25 February 2011

Over 600 construction workers employed by a major company on a project expanding the northern courtyard of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, are on strike.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 25 February 2011

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

Christchurch earthquake likely to be New Zealand’s worst natural disaster

By John Braddock, 24 February 2011

The devastation that laid waste to Christchurch has increased over the past 24 hours

Pakistan: Tensions rise as Raymond Davis revealed to be a CIA operative

By Ali Ismail, 24 February 2011

The New York Times revealed that Davis was part of a covert, CIA-led team responsible for gathering intelligence and conducting surveillance on militant groups in Pakistan.

Train drivers strike in Germany

By Ulrich Rippert, 24 February 2011

A two hour nation-wide strike by train drivers on Tuesday brought most of the morning rush hour rail transport in Germany to a standstill.

Berlin opera musicians strike against casual labour contract

By Bernd Reinhardt, 24 February 2011

The German Orchestra Union (DOV) is contracting its members to carry out unpaid assistance performances as well as accept a reduction in real wages.

Democrats and Republicans target state employees

By Patrick Martin, 24 February 2011

Many governors are demanding cuts even more severe than those which have sparked a major confrontation in Wisconsin.

Obama and the Libyan crisis

By Bill Van Auken, 24 February 2011

Faced with a popular uprising and mass slaughter in Libya, one of the world’s major oil producers, President Barack Obama Wednesday spoke of “freedom,” “justice” and “dignity,” while warning that his administration is preparing a “full range of options.”

Mass protests continue in Bahrain

By Niall Green, 24 February 2011

Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators took to the streets of Bahrain’s capital, Manama, this week. Defying government demands to end protests, amid vicious police attacks on crowds last week that left an estimated eight people dead and hundreds more wounded, crowds called for the fall of the regime and justice for slain protestors.

Cook County, Illinois to cut jobs and social services

By Kyle Turner and Alexander Fangmann, 24 February 2011

The newly-elected Democratic president of the Cook County Board, Toni Preckwinkle, has proposed to close a $487 million deficit through severe budget cuts, mass layoffs, and furloughs.

Borders bankruptcy, falling US home prices point to deepening slump

By Barry Grey, 24 February 2011

A report this week documenting a continuing fall in home prices, following last week’s bankruptcy filing by Borders, the country’s second largest bookstore chain, shows that the basic US economy remains mired in slump.

Greek workers mount eighth general strike

By Robert Stevens, 24 February 2011

Workers in Greece took part in a general strike Wednesday to protest the austerity measures being imposed by the social democratic government of Prime Minister George Papandreou.

Tasmania’s Labor-Green coalition government threatens to axe 10 percent of public sector jobs

By Oliver Campbell, 24 February 2011

In percentage terms, the cuts announced by Premier Lara Giddings are on the same scale as the sweeping austerity measures being carried out by governments across Europe.

Protests continue as Wisconsin politicians debate attack on public employees

By Tom Eley, 24 February 2011

With protests in Madison continuing, the Wisconsin legislature began debate on Tuesday on a bill that would force major wage cuts on government workers and further restrict their legal right to strike and organize.

Libyan protests outside BBC: “An amazing revolution is taking place in the Middle East”

By Robert Stevens and John Newham, 24 February 2011

Protesters are holding regular demonstrations outside the BBC’s HQ in Manchester city centre in north-west England against the Gaddafi regime.

Striking DSO musicians picket Detroit mayor’s state of the city speech

By Shannon Jones, 24 February 2011

Striking members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and supporters picketed Detroit Democratic Mayor Dave Bing’s annual state of the city address at Orchestra Hall after city officials refused to change the venue.

Letters from our readers

By , 24 February 2011

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

US and Europe weigh up Libyan intervention as oil prices spike

By Patrick O’Connor, 24 February 2011

The overriding concern of the imperialist powers is to re-establish stability in the North African state and ensure the continued flow of oil exports.

World oil prices soar, stocks tumble on fears of widening unrest in North Africa and Middle East

By Barry Grey, 23 February 2011

Global stock values fell broadly for the second day on Tuesday and crude oil prices surged as the social upheaval in Libya disrupted petroleum exports and ongoing protests in Bahrain and Yemen threatened to spread to Saudi Arabia.

Libya and the bankruptcy of Arab nationalism

By Bill Van Auken, 23 February 2011

The desperate attempt by the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to drown the uprising of the Libyan masses in blood constitutes yet another brutal and tragic proof of the bankruptcy of Arab nationalism.

Australia: Qantas pilots vote for industrial action to defend jobs

By Terry Cook, 23 February 2011

In a bid to fight the company’s aggressive cost-cutting, Qantas pilots have authorised their union to organise industrial action to insert a job security clause in a new enterprise agreement.

New York City budget to cut services, lay off teachers

By Sandy English, 23 February 2011

New York’s budget for the next fiscal year includes cutbacks in senior centers and fire stations as well as layoffs of teachers and other city workers.

UK’s PM Cameron talks “democracy” while peddling arms to Gulf despots

By Julie Hyland, 23 February 2011

British Prime Minister David Cameron made headline news Monday, becoming the first world leader to visit Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising.

Cedar Rapids: Does Hollywood know much about American life?

By David Walsh, 23 February 2011

Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) is a sheltered insurance agent from a small town in Wisconsin in Cedar Rapids, a comedy directed by Miguel Arteta.

More news of ties to North African dictators roils French ruling elite

By Kumaran Ira, 23 February 2011

New details of corrupt ties between French politicians and North African dictators are implicating the entire French political establishment.

US admiral tours Persian Gulf as protests spread

By Alex Lantier, 23 February 2011

Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited the United Arab Emirates yesterday amid a wave of mass revolutionary struggles in the Middle East that has forced dictators in Tunisia and Egypt from power.

Prichard, Alabama: 14 deaths follow pension cutoff

By Ed Hightower, 23 February 2011

The industrial town has failed to pay pensions for city employees for 17 months.

Dozens slaughtered by US forces in Afghanistan-Pakistan air attacks

By Patrick O’Connor, 23 February 2011

After a US air strike killed up to 51 civilians last Thursday in Afghanistan’s north-eastern Kunar province, General David Petraeus reportedly accused local residents of burning their children to fake evidence of civilian casualties.

Wisconsin protests continue

By Jerry White, 23 February 2011

Demonstrations continued in the state capital of Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday while protests inspired by the stand taken by Wisconsin workers spread to other states across the country, including Indiana and Ohio.

The International Socialist Organization gushes over unions’ role in Wisconsin

By David Walsh, 23 February 2011

The International Socialist Organization reacted to the explosion of working class anger in Wisconsin by encouraging illusions that the trade unions would resist Republican Governor Scott Walker’s attack on public sector workers.

Gaddafi threatens mass killings as popular rebellion spreads

By Patrick Martin, 23 February 2011

Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi threatened widespread massacres against his own people in an appearance on state television Tuesday.

Another earthquake devastates New Zealand’s second largest city

By John Braddock, 23 February 2011

Yesterday’s earthquake in Christchurch was the second disaster to hit the city within five months.

Egyptian junta clamps down on strikes

By Chris Marsden, 23 February 2011

Egypt’s military regime has threatened to illegalise strikes in the face of the ongoing social unrest in the aftermath of the removal of President Hosni Mubarak.

Columbus, Ohio rally against anti-worker legislation

By Tom Eley and Andrea Peters, 23 February 2011

About 5,000 workers protested at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio against a bill advanced by Governor John Kasich that would require workers to negotiate contracts as individuals and would raise contributions for health care coverage.

Detroit Symphony management threatens to replace striking musicians

By Shannon Jones, 22 February 2011

In the wake of the rejection by striking musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra of management’s provocative “final offer,” DSO officials say they plan to permanently replace strikers.

Letters from our readers

By , 22 February 2011

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

Eye-witness report from Libya

By , 22 February 2011

The World Socialist Web Site has received correspondence from a reader in Libya.

The Wisconsin struggle and collective bargaining

By Jerry White, 22 February 2011

In the course of the struggle in Wisconsin, the trade unions are focusing on the right to “collective bargaining,” even as they openly declare their willingness to accept all the concessions demanded by the Wisconsin governor.

Broadmeadows by-election highlights growing hostility towards Australian Labor Party

By our correspondents, 22 February 2011

Over the past decade, the Labor Party has seen its vote decline by more than 20 percentage points in Melbourne’s working class northern suburbs.

DTE Energy 2010 profits soar as utility shutoffs increase

By Debra Watson, 22 February 2011

Last week the Detroit-based utility giant, DTE Energy, reported a record $630 million in profit for 2010.

Israel’s sabre-rattling against Iran

By Jean Shaoul, 22 February 2011

Israel has responded belligerently to Iran’s sending of two warships through Egypt’s Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea, calling it a provocation and threatening retaliatory action.

Sri Lanka: Alongside the A9 highway to war-torn Jaffna

By , 22 February 2011

This photo essay records the devastation caused by a quarter century of civil war in Sri Lanka and the plight facing hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Detroiters speak out on DTE’s phony “customer assistance”

By Debra Watson, 22 February 2011

In the weeks after DTE Energy’s December Customer Assistance Day, members of the Committee Against Utility Shutoffs spoke to several Detroiters who had sought assistance.

India: Sanmina workers strike for higher wages and union recognition

By Sasi Kumar and Nanda Kumar, 22 February 2011

The strike launched one week ago today by more than a thousand workers at the Sanmina SCI plant in the Oragadam Special Economic Zone is part of a wave of workers’ struggles that have rocked the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu since last summer.

SPD wins Hamburg state election in Germany

By Peter Schwarz, 22 February 2011

The Social Democratic Party will now rule alone in the city-state of Hamburg for the first time in 18 years.

Michigan governor proposes massive cuts to fund business tax cut

By Andrea Peters, 22 February 2011

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder issued a budget proposal last week that will finance a $1.8 billion tax cut for businesses through budget cuts and tax increases targeting pensioners.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 22 February 2011

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

As Wisconsin protests continue, teachers union ends walkouts

By Tom Eley, 22 February 2011

As major demonstrations continued in Wisconsin, the head of the largest teachers union in the state has called on teachers to end their walkouts.

Bolivia’s Morales confronts general strike over food prices

By Bill Van Auken, 22 February 2011

After five years in office, the government of Bolivia’s President Evo Morales faced a nationwide general strike last Friday amid a growing popular rebellion against rising food prices.

US threatens “military option” against China over space arms race

By John Chan, 22 February 2011

The secret cables demonstrate deep concern within both the Bush and Obama administrations about China’s capacity to destroy US military and spy satellites.

Uprising spreads to Libyan capital

By Ann Talbot, 22 February 2011

The response of the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to the spread of the uprising to the capital Tripoli has been to kill and wound more protesters.