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New York building cleaners oppose two-tier wage system

By Ali Ismail, 31 December 2011

Negotiations continue between New York City commercial building cleaners represented by the Service Employees International Union and building owners of the Realty Advisory Board.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 31 December 2011

Workers Struggles in Asia, Australia and the Pacific

US unions aid in corporate wage-cutting campaign

By Joseph Kishore, 31 December 2011

A New York Times article leading the newspaper’s business section on Friday praises the role of the trade unions in promoting an unprecedented decline in manufacturing wages in the US.

California Democratic Governor enacts “trigger cuts,” promising continued austerity

By Dan Conway and Allison Smith, 31 December 2011

California governor Jerry Brown has announced “trigger cuts” to the state’s budget as a result of less than anticipated revenue. The cuts, beginning on January 1, will slash nearly $1 billion from vitally needed social services.

For-profit company hosts “job fair” in Detroit area

By Sheila Brehm, 31 December 2011

A job fair on December 29 attracted hundreds of Detroit-area residents seeking work, but offered few openings.

Cooper Tire lockout in second month

By James Brewer, 31 December 2011

Locked out Copper Tire workers will remain on the picket line into the new year. Negotiations will not resume until at least next week.

Yemen “unity” government shaken by mass protests

By Will Morrow, 31 December 2011

The Yemeni political establishment, working closely with Washington, is attempting to put an end to continuing protests against the recent US-backed power-sharing agreement.

US threatens war in the Persian Gulf

By Peter Symonds, 31 December 2011

Having provoked Tehran with legislation for an oil embargo, the US is threatening Iran with military action if it retaliates by shutting down the Strait of Hormuz.

Letters from our readers

By , 31 December 2011

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

A blow against the Post-Soviet School of Historical Falsification

By Wolfgang Weber, 31 December 2011

The letter of 14 historians to the Suhrkamp publishing house in Germany calling on it to abandon publication of Robert Service’s biography of Leon Trotsky has opened the door for an honest and thorough examination of the role of Trotsky and the rise and fall of Soviet power.

Rising tensions as actions of ultra-Orthodox Jews spark Israeli protests

By Robert Stevens, 31 December 2011

Tensions provoked by the actions of extremist ultra-Orthodox Haredim groups have erupted in the town of Beit Shemesh, about 18 miles west of Jerusalem.

Favorite jazz recordings of 2011

By Hiram Lee, 31 December 2011

Some of the more interesting jazz albums of 2011.

Contract settlements announced between nurses and two New York medical centers

By Peter Daniels, 31 December 2011

Nurses are scheduled to vote on proposed contracts at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center and Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York

The ISO and the Cooper Tire lockout

By Barry Grey and Charles Bogle, 31 December 2011

In the face of the treachery by the United Steel Workers at Cooper Tire, the International Socialist Organization (ISO) is doing its best to disorient and confuse the rank and file and give a boost to the union leadership.

Advocates for people with disabilities speak out on Detroit transit cuts

By Shannon Jones and Debra Watson, 31 December 2011

Members of Warriors on Wheels, an advocacy group for people with disabilities, recently spoke to the WSWS on the impact of recent cuts in bus service in Detroit and surrounding areas.

New Zealand: Occupy Auckland evicted from city square

By John Braddock, 31 December 2011

The legal crackdown is a significant attack on basic democratic rights.

Arab League mission to Syria becomes focus of demands for military intervention

By Chris Marsden, 31 December 2011

The visit by Arab League observers to Homs, Hama, Idlib, the Damascus suburb of Deraa and other conflict zones has become the focus of demands for the Western powers to intervene militarily into the civil war in Syria.

Pop and rock music in 2011

By Matthew Brennan and Hiram Lee, 31 December 2011

The past year produced few meaningful efforts in the field of pop and rock music. Only a handful of works stand out.

France prepares ban on denying a Turkish genocide of Armenians

By F. Dubois, 30 December 2011

The National Assembly’s passage on December 22 of a law banning the public denial of the Armenian genocide has provoked a major diplomatic crisis between France and Turkey.

House fire caused by space heater kills three in Ohio

By Naomi Spencer, 30 December 2011

A Columbus, Ohio family was killed in a house fire on Christmas Eve after a space heater ignited the mattress they were sleeping on.

Best films of 2011

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 30 December 2011

If anything, the gap between social life and its artistic representation widened in 2011. Three years into the worst economic crisis in more than half a century, filmmakers largely remain insulated from, or perhaps overwhelmed by, the present realities.

75 years since the Flint sit-down strike

By Barry Grey, 30 December 2011

Today marks the 75th anniversary of a momentous chapter in the history of the American and international working class—the beginning of the Flint sit-down strike.

Poverty in Germany persists despite economic growth

By Dietmar Henning, 30 December 2011

Poverty in Germany remained at “a record level of over 14 percent for the past six years”, a new report reveals.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 30 December 2011

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

Sparrows Point, Maryland mill suspends steelmaking operations

By Kate Randall, 30 December 2011

RG Steel handed out pink slips to over 700 workers at its Sparrows Point, Maryland steel mill last Friday as the company suspended its steelmaking operations.

US menaces Iran over Strait of Hormuz

By Peter Symonds, 30 December 2011

The growing tensions in the Persian Gulf are the result of provocative steps by the US and its European allies towards blocking Iranian oil exports.

Schweppes Australia locks out workers

By Chris Sadlier, 30 December 2011

The pre-emptive lockout of the Schweppes workers in response to limited industrial action follows similar action recently taken by Qantas management and POAG stevedoring.

Oakland police shut down new Occupy encampment

By Jack Hood and Kevin Kearney, 30 December 2011

Oakland Police officers raided another occupy encampment Wednesday evening, only hours after occupy protestors had claimed the empty lot as a “winter safe haven” for occupiers and the San Francisco Bay Area’s burgeoning homeless population.

UK poverty entrenched and deepening

By Robert Stevens, 30 December 2011

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation survey, “Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2011”, reveals the terrible scale of entrenched poverty in the UK.

Strikes escalate in China

By John Chan, 30 December 2011

Industrial action by workers at Shenzhen Hailiang Storage Products is a sign that the recent strikes in China are taking more militant forms.

Australian State Coroner reports on three refugee suicides

By Will Morrow, 30 December 2011

The suicides are a tragic consequence of the Labor government’s refugee policy of compulsory detention.

Debt-burdened Illinois gives tax breaks to large corporations

By Scott Martin, 29 December 2011

Two major corporations based in Illinois have been granted hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks, as the state makes deep cuts to social services.

A personal perspective on the UK Occupy Movement

By , 29 December 2011

Mark was one of those who initiated the Occupy protest in Bristol, England. Below he gives his views on the strengths and weaknesses of the movement.

Sri Lankan commission whitewashes war crimes

By Wije Dias, 29 December 2011

The LLRC report is designed to deflect international pressure over war crimes and human rights abuses by the military during the country’s protracted civil war.

Indonesian police kill three protesters during anti-mine protest

By Mark Church, 29 December 2011

The protesters were part of the Anti-Mining People’s Front, which opposes mineral exploration in the area being carried out by Australian Arc Exploration.

Obama’s global Murder, Inc.

By Joseph Kishore, 29 December 2011

The Obama administration has erected a vast apparatus of global assassination that is run in secrecy, behind the backs of the American people and with virtually no congressional oversight.

Call for US intervention into Iraqi crisis

By James Cogan, 29 December 2011

The New York Times has published an appeal by prominent Sunni leaders denouncing the Iraqi prime minister and calling for a redistribution of power.

Tantalizing evidence of the Higgs boson

By Bryan Dyne, 29 December 2011

Physicists are close to confirming detection of the last undiscovered particle predicted by the “Standard Model” of particle physics.

The Economic Crisis and the Return of History

By , 29 December 2011

Mehring Books announces the publication in both print and pdf ebook format of The Economic Crisis and the Return of History, a collection of essays by World Socialist Web Site Chairman David North.

New Swiss government installed

By Max Schneider and Marianne Arens, 29 December 2011

The new Swiss government is the result of manoeuvres between the mainstream parties, its composition having practically nothing to do with ordinary voters.

Slideshow presentation: Afghan refugees in Paris speak out

By Shantan Kumarasamy, 29 December 2011

Homeless Afghan asylum seekers discuss their dangerous journeys to Europe and their desperate struggles for survival.

“Understatement never won a war”: British filmmaker Ken Russell (1927-2011)

By Paul Bond, 29 December 2011

British filmmaker Ken Russell, who directed Women in Love, The Music Lovers, The Devils and many other works, died last month aged 84.

Second recession looms in Spain

By Alejandro López, 29 December 2011

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos warned on Monday that Spain’s economy had suffered a “relapse” at the end of this year, and that the renewed weakness would continue into 2012.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 29 December 2011

The Christmas weekend saw numerous deadly house fires, a near-riot at the Mall of America, and other signs of mounting social distress.

Hundreds of Sears, Kmart stores to close

By David Walsh, 28 December 2011

Sears Holding announced the closure of 100 to 120 Sears and Kmart stores Tuesday, while layoffs in the financial sector continue, and a 122-year-old steel mill may be shutting down.

Hungarian government passes authoritarian new laws

By Markus Salzmann, 28 December 2011

Just before the Christmas break, the Hungarian parliament passed a number of authoritarian and nationalist laws.

Vita Cortex factory occupied in Cork, Ireland

By Steve James, 28 December 2011

Thirty-two workers have occupied a foam packing factory in Cork, Ireland in pursuit of redundancy payments.

Jazz drummer Paul Motian (1931-2011)

By Hiram Lee, 28 December 2011

Jazz drummer Paul Motian, a member of the classic Bill Evans Trio of the early 1960s, died recently at the age of 80.

Democrats and Republicans conspire to impose cuts on Detroit workers

By Socialist Equality Party, 28 December 2011

The campaign by sections of the Democratic Party establishment against a state takeover of Detroit has nothing in common with a defense of the rights of working people.

Congress seeks legal framework for Internet censorship

By Mike Ingram, 28 December 2011

Two bills aimed at establishing a legal framework for government and corporate censorship of the Internet are expected to be discussed in January when Congress returns from its winter break.

Unions pave way for jobs and services bloodbath in UK councils

By Paul Mitchell, 28 December 2011

A new governmental report declares that UK councils have no choice but to undergo “major restructuring” as a result of deep budget-cutting.

Deadly shootings over Christmas holidays in the US

By Kate Randall, 28 December 2011

A series of deadly shootings over the Christmas holiday period highlights the mounting tensions affecting individuals and families as the economic and social crisis deepens in America.

Mass opposition rally heightens political crisis in Pakistan

By Peter Symonds, 28 December 2011

Backed by sections of the ruling elite, Imran Khan is functioning as a useful safety valve to defuse mounting popular anger over the US-led Afpak war.

Australian state government announces 3,600 public sector job cuts

By Will Marshall, 28 December 2011

The Victorian Liberal government, acting in concert with the federal Labor government, is carrying out a major attack on public sector jobs.

Government of the rich, by rich and for the rich

By Patrick Martin, 28 December 2011

According to a study reported Tuesday, nearly half the members of the United States Congress are millionaires.

This week in history: December 25-January 1

By , 27 December 2011

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

US-China military talks fail to resolve tensions

By John Chan, 27 December 2011

At talks this month in Beijing, Chinese officials called on Washington to explain its plans to base troops in Australia.

Letters from our readers

By , 27 December 2011

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

French unions seek to end airport security workers strike

By Kumaran Ira, 27 December 2011

Union officials scrambled over the weekend to negotiate a sell-out to isolate a week-long strike launched on December 16 by airport security workers across France.

New research may show that Neanderthals did not go extinct

By Philip Guelpa, 27 December 2011

DNA derived from the Neanderthals has been found in many human populations around the globe

Iraq’s tragic encounter with US imperialism

By James Cogan, 27 December 2011

The US occupation of the country has amounted to a conscious policy of sociocide—the destruction of the very fabric of a society.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 27 December 2011

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

UK police to use live rounds, plastic bullets and water cannon in future riots

By Robert Stevens, 27 December 2011

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has recommended that police should be able to use water cannon, rubber bullets and live firearms during any future UK riots.

Gingrich, Perry fail to qualify for Virginia Republican ballot

By Patrick Martin, 27 December 2011

Only two of the seven active Republican candidates will be on ballot in the state’s March 6 primary.

Pro-market opposition holds Moscow rally

By Clara Weiss, 27 December 2011

On Saturday, tens of thousands of people gathered in Moscow to protest the rigged Russian parliamentary elections of December 4.

Poetry review: Carol Ann Duffy’s The Christmas Truce

By Jackie Warren, 27 December 2011

The latest work by Carol Ann Duffy, the UK’s Poet Laureate, is a book-length children’s poem that reflects on the moments, during World War One, leading up to the “Christmas Truce” of December 24 and 25, 1914.

The Nation and the National Defense Authorization Act

By Tom Carter and Barry Grey, 27 December 2011

A comment published on the web site of the Nation by columnist Robert Scheer demonstrates that the left-liberal layers for whom the magazine speaks are neither willing nor able to conduct a principled defense of democratic rights.

What is behind the Wulff affair in Germany?

By Ulrich Rippert, 27 December 2011

The media has been publishing new details about the close links between German President Christian Wulff and big business figures.

Portland teachers protest principal’s removal of Occupy speakers

By Hector Cordon, 27 December 2011

In the first week of December, a Portland Occupy education group invited by a sixth-grade teacher to speak to his class was ordered by a school official to leave shortly after their presentation had ended and discussion with the students had begun.

US admits partial blame in deaths of Pakistani soldiers, but defends airstrikes

By Keith Jones, 24 December 2011

The US military has grudgingly conceded its mistakes played a role in the November 25-26 NATO attack that killed 26 Pakistani soldiers. But the US continues to defend both the violation of Pakistani sovereignty and the deadly airstrikes themselves.

UK: Struggling families face astronomical interest on loans

By Eileen Rose, 24 December 2011

The queues forming outside credit unions to arrange loans show the extra stress that Christmas is bringing to already hard-pressed workers and their families.

US Congress passes two-month extension of jobless benefits and payroll tax cut

By Barry Grey, 24 December 2011

The very fact that it has become almost impossible to extend benefits to millions of long-term unemployed workers demonstrates the de facto dictatorship wielded by the financial oligarchy.

Ivory Coast elections bolster French recolonization plans

By John Marion, 24 December 2011

On December 11, the West African county of Ivory Coast held its first legislative election in 11 years.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 24 December 2011

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

Sri Lanka: Protest in Jaffna over “disappearances”

By our correspondents, 24 December 2011

Hundreds of Tamils “disappeared” in the months leading up to the end of the island’s civil war in May 2009 and have not been seen since.

California nurses strike against cutbacks and concessions

By Rafael Azul and Kim Saito, 24 December 2011

Some 6000 nurses in California went on a one-day protest strike on Thursday December 22. The nurses are demanding decent staffing levels, health benefits, and sick leave.

Letters from our readers

By , 24 December 2011

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

Occupy Tampa activist released from jail after protests

By Matthew MacEgan, 24 December 2011

A 23-year-old volunteer firefighter was released from jail in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, after spending several days in jail. A judge had threatened to have him held without bond until a March trial, on a trespassing charge.

Germany: Neo-Nazi terror and the secret service

By Dietmar Henning, 24 December 2011

New details continue to emerge about the murders carried out by the three far-right terrorists from Zwickau, responsible for killing nine immigrants and a police officer, three bomb attacks and 14 bank raids between 2000 and 2007.

Manning prosecution lays basis for terror charge against WikiLeaks founder Assange

By Naomi Spencer, 24 December 2011

The pre-trial proceedings against Army Private Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, Maryland concluded Thursday after less than a week of hearings. Manning is charged with leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents, including evidence of US war crimes, to WikiLeaks.

The siege of Wukan village in China

By John Chan, 24 December 2011

The protracted protest in the Chinese village of Wukan is a symptom of the country’s sharpening social tensions.

Occupy Albany encampment brutally attacked by police

By Philip Guelpa, 24 December 2011

Police staged a violent attack on peaceful Occupy Albany protesters Thursday, with mounted police using pepper spray and brutally tearing down the last of the occupation’s tents.

Canadian imperialism preparing for war in the Middle East

By Graham Beverley, 24 December 2011

Ottawa has recently deployed a navy frigate off the coast of Syria, instituted new sanctions against Iran, and negotiated closer military cooperation with Israel.

New Zealand meat workers, wharfies locked out

By John Braddock, 24 December 2011

The lockouts are in line with a wave of similar assaults in basic industry in other countries, including Australia.

Central Falls, Rhode Island: Retiree pensions slashed, but bondholders get paid

By Kate Randall, 23 December 2011

Retired city employees in bankrupt Central Falls, Rhode Island face cuts of up to 55 percent of their pensions, while municipal bondholders will get all that is owed to them.

Michigan politicians prepare new assault on Detroit workers

By James Brewer, 23 December 2011

Michigan State Treasury Department has announced a financial review of Detroit to prepare even deeper attacks on Detroit workers.

Retrenchments hit Australian universities

By Carolyn Robinson, 23 December 2011

Universities are slashing their budgets and restructuring their workforces in preparation for the Labor government’s new funding scheme.

Young Goethe in Love: In fact, just another love story

By Joanne Laurier, 23 December 2011

In Germany in 1772, young Johann Wolfgang von Goethe aspires to be a poet. After failing his law exams, his father banishes him to a provincial town, where he falls in love with Lotte Buff.

Christmas of crisis in America

By Patrick Martin, 23 December 2011

Poverty, unemployment and inequality are the dominant features of American society at the end of 2011

Waterfront workers disgusted by Australian government’s intervention

By our correspondents, 23 December 2011

WSWS reporters spoke to port workers about the lockout by stevedoring company POAGS and the government’s intervention, backed by the union, to end all industrial action

Union prepares to sell out Australian port workers

By Terry Cook, 23 December 2011

Having ended all industrial action following last week’s lockout, the union is now in backroom talks in the Fair Work Australia tribunal to deliver the productivity demands of the company.

Sri Lanka: SEP and ISSE hold meeting on political prisoners

By our correspondents, 23 December 2011

The meeting in Colombo was part of the campaign for the release of all political prisoners held by the Rajapakse government.

Workers Struggles: Europe & Africa

By , 23 December 2011

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

Rising demands for military intervention in Syria

By Jean Shaoul, 23 December 2011

The Arab League’s announcement of economic sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has set in motion a rapidly escalating crisis that is drawing in both regional and major powers.

A Christmas bonus for European financial elite, austerity for the masses

By Stefan Steinberg, 23 December 2011

As the Christmas holidays approach, the European Central Bank has undertaken to pump additional hundreds of billions of euros into the pockets of the European and international banking elite.

Russian President Medvedev appeals to free-market parties amid protests

By Clara Weiss, 23 December 2011

In his annual address before the Federal Assembly on December 22, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced limited concessions to the liberal free-market opposition.

Disabled man killed in Detroit-area apartment fire

By Lawrence Porter, 23 December 2011

A deadly fire erupted early Thursday morning in Hazel Park, Michigan, killing a retired auto worker and injuring three other people.

Death toll in Philippines flooding over a thousand

By Oliver Campbell, 23 December 2011

It appears that the collapse of dams contributed to the severity of the floods, along with deforestation, silting of the rivers and lack of government planning.

Bombings heighten sectarian tensions in Iraq

By Joseph Kishore and James Cogan, 23 December 2011

The attacks took place amid intensifying sectarian tensions, as rival factions of the Iraqi elite battle for power in the wake of the departure of US combat troops.

Cameron visits Afghanistan as UK prepares further interventions in region

By Julie Hyland, 23 December 2011

A strict media blackout was in force for Prime Minister David Cameron’s pre-Christmas visit to British troops in Afghanistan Tuesday.