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Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 31 August 2012

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

Sri Lanka: US SEP presidential candidate speaks in Kegalla

By our correspondents, 31 August 2012

The candidate’s speech provoked an important and lively discussion in the question-and-answer session.

Latest Australian refugee disaster worsened by slow response

By Mark Church, 31 August 2012

Only 54 people have survived the sinking, after being stranded in the water for almost 24 hours before help arrived.

UN Secretary-General: Washington’s emissary at Tehran summit

By Peter Symonds, 31 August 2012

Ban Ki-moon used the Non-Aligned Movement gathering to criticise and press the Iranian regime on a range of issues, from nuclear programs to the civil war in Syria.

Sardinian miners occupy coal mine

By Marianne Arens, 31 August 2012

On Sunday evening over 100 miners began an occupation of the Carbosulcis coal mine, which is situated on the southwest coast of Sardinia.

Five Australian soldiers killed in “worst day” in Afghanistan

By Mike Head, 31 August 2012

While feigning sympathy for the men’s families, Prime Minister Gillard declared there would be no early withdrawal of troops.

On the 2012 Election and the SEP Campaign

By , 31 August 2012

Published here is the second resolution adopted unanimously by the Second National Congress of the Socialist Equality Party (US), held July 8-12, 2012.

France, Turkey push for Syrian no-fly zone at UN

By Chris Marsden, 31 August 2012

Turkey’s appeal to the United Nations Security Council for the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria is laying the ground for military intervention.

Hurricane Isaac … and the seven years since Hurricane Katrina

By David Walsh, 31 August 2012

Whatever the ultimate damage caused by Hurricane Isaac, it has underscored once again the social crisis in America and the failure of its political system.

US Justice Department cites abuse of students’ constitutional rights in Mississippi schools

By Nick Barrickman, 31 August 2012

According to the US Department of Justice, school officials in Meridian, Mississippi have been running a “school-to-prison pipeline” for youth in the public school system.

Brazil’s public workers end strike

By Bill Van Auken, 31 August 2012

The majority of Brazil’s federal unions have called off a nearly four-month strike that pitted some 350,000 workers against the Workers Party government of President Dilma Rousseff.

SEP campaigners in Detroit discuss attacks on jobs, public education

By our reporters, 31 August 2012

Supporters of SEP candidates Jerry White for president and Phyllis Scherrer for vice president recently won support for the socialist campaign at Detroit’s Eastern Market.

Romney outlines right-wing agenda in acceptance speech

By Joseph Kishore, 31 August 2012

Romney’s speech closed a three-day convention, in which the Republican Party put on display the extreme right-wing program upon which it is campaigning.

South Africa to prosecute strikers targeted by police massacre at Marikana

By Alex Lantier, 31 August 2012

In an act of naked class justice, South Africa is using an apartheid-era law to lay bogus murder charges against striking miners targeted by police in the Marikana massacre.

New York’s Woolworth building to be turned into luxury apartments

By Philip Guelpa, 31 August 2012

The $150 million deal to create new apartments in one of New York’s first skyscrapers is an index of inequality, which continues to widen in the midst of the growing economic crisis.

New fossils support a multiple-species view of early human evolution

By Philip Guelpa, 31 August 2012

Newly reported fossils from East Africa indicate multiple branches in early human evolution.

Spain restricts aid to long-term unemployed

By Alejandro López, 31 August 2012

The Spanish government will impose new restrictions on aid to 600,000 long-term unemployed workers.

Letters from our readers

By , 30 August 2012

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

Homelessness, social misery on the rise in US capital

By Nick Barrickman, 30 August 2012

As the impact of the economic crisis on working class families deepens, millions across the country are confronting the threats of foreclosure, bankruptcy, and homelessness. Those who fall through the cracks of society are being met with attacks on safety net programs at every level of government. The budgetary assault is accompanied by legislation aimed at criminalizing the poor, such as drug testing for welfare and food aid, laws against panhandling and homeless encampments, and aggressive use of child protective services against families who fall on hard times.

US SEP presidential candidate speaks with Sri Lankan plantation workers

By our correspondents, 30 August 2012

Visiting presidential candidate Jerry White discussed the necessity for the unity of the American and Sri Lankan working class.

Art History with a capital A and H: Art critic and social historian Robert Hughes (1938-2012)

By Clare Hurley, 30 August 2012

Australian-born art critic and social historian Robert Hughes (The Shock of the New, The Fatal Shore) died August 6 in New York City after a long illness.

Stockton workers support SEP presidential campaign

By Karl Eisner, 30 August 2012

Socialist Equality Party campaigners spoke to farm workers in East Stockton, California.

Republican National Convention: A celebration of reaction

By Patrick Martin, 30 August 2012

The convention adopted an ultra-right platform and rubber-stamped the nomination of Mitt Romney as the Republican presidential candidate.

Hurricane Isaac pounds Gulf Coast

By Andre Damon, 30 August 2012

Hurricane Isaac made landfall in eastern Louisiana Wednesday morning, forcing thousands of people to flee, leaving hundreds of thousands without power, and causing untold millions in property damage.

Nixon-Whitlam tapes shed light on current Australian rifts over US-China conflict

By Mike Head, 30 August 2012

An essay documents acrimonious exchanges in 1972–73 between the Nixon administration in the US and the Australian government of Gough Whitlam.

Israeli court rules army not responsible for Rachel Corrie’s death

By Jean Shaoul, 30 August 2012

Haifa’s district court has dismissed a civilian suit brought by the parents of Rachel Corrie against the Israeli security forces for the death of their daughter in March 2003.

The tripling of US arms sales

By Bill Van Auken, 30 August 2012

The massive rise in US arms sales is driven by the accelerating turn toward aggressive war as a means of achieving the strategic objectives of US imperialism.

US appeals court upholds Texas ban on Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood

By Ed Hightower, 30 August 2012

In a ruling handed down August 21, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a Texas regulation that effectively cuts off funding to clinics operated by Planned Parenthood.

Socialist Equality Party (US) holds National Congress

By , 30 August 2012

The SEP National Congress adopted a series of resolutions on the world economic and political situation and the perspectives and tasks of the party.

Socialist Party leads polls in Dutch elections

By Sven Heymann and Peter Schwarz, 30 August 2012

Polls predict that the (former Maoist) Socialist Party (SP) will win the Dutch parliamentary elections due on September 12.

HRW report details persecution of Burma’s Rohingya Muslims

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 30 August 2012

The Human Rights Watch report found that the Burmese security forces stood aside when communal violence erupted, then went on a rampage against the Rohingya.

Perspectives of the Socialist Equality Party

By , 30 August 2012

Published here is the main resolution adopted unanimously by the Second National Congress of the Socialist Equality Party (US), held July 8-12, 2012.

Right-wing think tank calls for sale of UK council housing

By Marc Milton, 30 August 2012

Downing Street has endorsed a proposal by the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange that empty council housing in Central London be sold off.

Quebec’s major parties advance rival right-wing agendas

By Keith Jones, 29 August 2012

In the run-up to next week’s election, Quebec’s major parties are trading accusations of corruption, promoting right-wing policy planks, and engaging in mutual finger-pointing as to who is responsible for the perilous state of the province’s public health care system.

US SEP presidential candidate declines to meet LSSP

By , 29 August 2012

The WSWS publishes a letter from the Lanka Sama Samaja Party in Sri Lanka and the reply by US presidential candidate Jerry White.

US, UK and France threaten military intervention against Syria

By Chris Marsden, 29 August 2012

The Obama administration is treading a well-worn path by citing “weapons of mass destruction” as a pretext for waging war against Syria.

German shipyards face insolvency

By Elizabeth Zimmermann, 29 August 2012

Key shipyards in a region of Germany hard hit by unemployment face bankruptcy although their order books are full.

No prosecution of US troops for defiling Afghan corpses, burning Korans

By Bill Van Auken, 29 August 2012

Three US Marines and six soldiers escaped criminal charges in connection with the videotaped urination on the corpses of slain Afghans and the burning of copies of the Koran, incidents that provoked bloody unrest earlier this year.

Max Ophuls’s Caught and Edgar Ulmer’s Ruthless: Remarkable postwar films about wealth and power

By Joanne Laurier, 29 August 2012

The disheartening collection of new movies this summer prompted us to bring to the readers’ attention films from a different period in Hollywood’s history.

US drone attacks escalate inside Pakistan

By Peter Symonds, 29 August 2012

At least four CIA drone attacks took place last week in North Waziristan, killing more than 35 people.

Hurricane Isaac takes aim at US Gulf Coast

By Kate Randall, 29 August 2012

Hurricane Isaac was expected to make landfall on the Gulf Coast early this morning, exactly seven years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the region on August 29, 2005.

Islamist thugs attack Tunisian unemployed workers’ protest in Sidi Bouzid

By Antoine Lerougetel, 29 August 2012

Police stood aside last week as hundreds of Salafist thugs attacked workers and youth in Sidi Bouzid, the starting point of the Tunisian Revolution and the Arab Spring.

Lufthansa cabin crew on strike

By our correspondent, 29 August 2012

Lufthansa flight attendants have been on strike since Tuesday against massive wage cuts.

Australia: Police attack picketing building workers

By Terry Cook and Mike Head, 29 August 2012

At a major Melbourne construction site, police horses were used against workers and capsicum spray was fired at them.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 29 August 2012

This week we report a police killing in the nation’s capital, the untenable cost of child care, Florida’s effort to purge unemployment insurance rolls of hundreds of thousands, the doubling of the Georgia high school dropout rate, and the crisis in home energy assistance funding.

Wisconsin board approves ballot access for SEP candidates

By our reporter, 29 August 2012

Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board has approved placing Jerry White and Phyllis Scherrer on the state’s ballot in November, reversing an earlier recommendation from the board’s staff.

More join South African strike as autopsies show miners were shot in the back

By Julie Hyland, 29 August 2012

Many more have joined the strike at South Africa’s Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, scene of the brutal police massacre of 34 workers on August 16.

SEP candidate campaigns among Chicago teachers

By a campaign team, 28 August 2012

SEP vice presidential candidate Phyllis Scherrer and a campaign team spoke to Chicago teachers at an informational picket outside of a middle school.

Letters from our readers

By , 28 August 2012

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

Indian government gifts tens of billions to big business through privatization

By Kranti Kumara, 28 August 2012

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has released a series of damning reports that accuse India’s Congress Party-led government of facilitating the looting of public wealth by private corporations to the tune of $75 billion.

German chancellor visits Moldova

By Markus Salzmann, 28 August 2012

German chancellor Angela Merkel visited Moldova and raised the issue of the impoverished country’s possible accession to the European Union.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 28 August 2012

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

Lively discussion with US presidential candidate at Colombo meeting

By our correspondents, 28 August 2012

The questions pointed to an understanding among workers and youth that the political situation in Sri Lanka is intimately bound up with broader international processes.

Amidst cutbacks in mental health, California hospital faces closure

By Thomas Gaist, 28 August 2012

As part of the attack on social services, the Sonoma Developmental Center in northern California is threatened with permanent closure.

Rising incidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in South Africa

By Eric Graham, 28 August 2012

The increase in the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in school-aged children in the Wellington area of the Western Cape is bound up with the appalling levels of social inequality in South Africa.

US moves toward two-track education system

By Isabelle Belanger, 28 August 2012

Test developer ACT, Inc., in partnership with Pearson, is creating a new series of tests to measure the aptitude of students as young as five years old for college or a career.

Fed minutes point to a bankrupt economic order

By Nick Beams, 28 August 2012

The latest FOMC meeting amounted to an acknowledgement that while the financial system continues to operate on a day-to-day basis, in a longer-term, historical sense it has completely broken down.

Corporate bribery and political corruption on display at Republican, Democratic conventions

By Barry Grey, 28 August 2012

There is in this year's quadrennial conventions an unabashed flaunting of the role of corporate money in what passes for American democracy that goes beyond even the debased levels of previous presidential campaigns.

Australia: Labor loses office in the Northern Territory

By Patrick O’Connor, 28 August 2012

The result is another blow to the crisis-stricken Labor Party following devastating losses in three state elections over the past 18 months.

100 years since singer Woody Guthrie’s birth

By Clement Daly, 28 August 2012

This year marks 100 years since the birth of American folk singer Woody Guthrie. The anniversary has become the occasion for commemorations and conferences held throughout the US, as well as the opening of a new museum and archive.

French President Hollande calls for formation of Syrian opposition government

By Alex Lantier, 28 August 2012

Hollande’s comments are an official declaration by the French government, backed by Washington, that it is pursuing regime-change by military force in Syria.

BBC’s Panorama shows how disabled are targeted by government

By Dennis Moore, 28 August 2012

Panorama’s “Disabled or Faking It?”, screened by the BBC, gives a graphic account of the problems millions of people in the UK face when trying to claim Employment and Support Allowance.

Death toll in Venezuelan refinery blast rises to 41

By Bill Van Auken, 28 August 2012

President Chavez urged the public not to engage in “speculation” on the cause of the disaster, even as union officials charged that Venezuela’s state-owned oil company had neglected maintenance and safety.

Sri Lankan government shuts universities to break strike

By Kapila Fernando, 28 August 2012

Even as the government is threatening striking university teachers, their trade union FUTA is preparing to betray the struggle.

Australian government pushes electricity privatisation

By Terry Cook, 27 August 2012

The Gillard government is using public hostility over skyrocketing electricity prices to push for the selloff of all remaining state power assets.

IAEA talks with Iran break down

By Peter Symonds, 27 August 2012

The failure of the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programs has prompted new threats from Israel.

Searching for Sugar Man: Detroit musician connects with mass audience in South Africa

By James Brewer, 27 August 2012

An amazing story documents the popularity of the music of Sixto Rodriguez in South Africa, music virtually unknown in the US.

Britain’s Socialist Workers Party and Socialist Party back extradition of Assange

By Chris Marsden, 27 August 2012

Britain’s largest pseudo-left groups have lined up behind the demand that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be extradited to Sweden.

UK trade unions seek to block wider campaign against care home closures

By Mary Smith, 27 August 2012

Peterborough Council is in the process of cutting £2 million from its Adult Social Care provision budget.

Legal Aid forced to lay off 750 workers in US

By Alan Gilman, 27 August 2012

Eight percent of the lawyers and support staff will be laid off from the federal legal services nonprofit due to congressional budget cuts.

Egyptian President Mursi seeks IMF loan

By Johannes Stern, 27 August 2012

On August 22 the Egyptian government officially requested a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

This week in history: August 27-September 02

By , 27 August 2012

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

Support the Dundee, Michigan Chrysler workers

By Barry Grey, 27 August 2012

The Dundee workers’ rejection of a sellout UAW local contract is part of a growing national and international movement of workers against the old trade union organizations.

Ten years since Germany’s Hartz IV labor reform

By Sybille Fuchs, 27 August 2012

Ten years ago the social democrats and trade unions introduced the Hartz reforms, creating a huge pool of cheap labour in Germany.

US West Nile virus cases double in one week

By Naomi Spencer, 27 August 2012

Over the past week, documented cases of West Nile virus have doubled across the US, with most cases in the South and Southwest.

American writer and liberal thinker Gore Vidal, 1925-2012

By Sandy English, 27 August 2012

Gore Vidal, novelist, playwright, essayist and one-time television personality, died July 31 at his home in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles.

New York police kill gunman, wound nine bystanders in midtown Manhattan

By Philip Guelpa and Fred Mazelis, 27 August 2012

The second police shooting within two weeks on the busy streets of midtown Manhattan underscored the readiness of the authorities to use police-state tactics to maintain “law and order.”

US “Fifty Wealthiest Lawmakers” list: A Congress of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich

By Eric London, 27 August 2012

Last week’s report by Washington D.C. political blog The Hill details the vast wealth of House and Senate members.

Wage cuts hit millions of US workers

By Patrick Martin, 27 August 2012

Millions of American workers who lost their jobs after the 2008 Wall Street crash have failed to find work, while millions more have taken jobs at much lower wages.

Sri Lanka: Colombo public meeting hears US SEP presidential candidate

By our correspondents, 27 August 2012

US presidential candidate Jerry White addressed a well-attended meeting in Colombo yesterday.

Norwegian mass murderer Breivik sentenced to 21 years

By Jordan Shilton, 25 August 2012

The Oslo District Court yesterday ruled that fascist mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik was sane and handed down the maximum sentence of 21 years imprisonment for his homicidal attacks in July 2011.

German energy company to shed 10,000 jobs despite huge profits

By Elizabeth Zimmermann, 25 August 2012

Germany’s second largest energy group, RWE, recorded a huge half-year profit of €5 billion, but nevertheless plans to shed 10,400 jobs.

US SEP presidential candidate begins international tour

By our correspondents, 25 August 2012

Jerry White received a warm welcome from the Sri Lankan SEP on his arrival in Colombo yesterday.

The US Medicare debate

By Kate Randall, 25 August 2012

The election campaign debate on Medicare is a façade behind which the two big business parties are preparing an unprecedented attack on not only Medicare, but Social Security and all that remains of the social welfare programs enacted since the New Deal.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 25 August 2012

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

South Africa’s day of mourning fails to stem anger over Marikana massacre

By Julie Hyland, 25 August 2012

Anger continues to mount over the August 16 massacre of 34 striking miners at South Africa’s Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana despite official efforts to lower tensions.

A letter on the South African NUM

By , 25 August 2012

A South African reader responds to the August 24 perspective, “The unions, the pseudo-left and the South Africa massacre.”

Dundee Engine Plant workers boycott special union meetings

By James Brewer, 25 August 2012

Workers at Chrysler’s Dundee Engine Plant in southeast Michigan largely boycotted special meetings called by union officials after the decisive rejection of a local contact.

Australian prime minister under pressure over union corruption allegations

By Patrick O’Connor, 25 August 2012

Murdoch’s Australian newspaper published new details on an incident that occurred 20 years ago, when Gillard was an industrial lawyer.

New Zealand court ruling a setback to the US Megaupload case

By John Braddock, 25 August 2012

The High Court stated that the US government must provide evidence to justify the extradition of the founder of the Megaupload file sharing site.

German chancellor demands tougher austerity in Greece

By Christoph Dreier, 25 August 2012

In his first official visit abroad, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras travelled to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Pakistani court threatens to disqualify PM

By Sampath Perera, 25 August 2012

Supreme Court contempt of court charges could oust a prime minister for the second time this year.[

Letters from our readers

By , 25 August 2012

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

Survey shows continuing hunger across US as Congress prepares to cut food stamps

By Peter Daniels, 25 August 2012

A Gallup poll shows many parts of the country with more than 20 percent of families facing hunger, while drought conditions push food costs further beyond the reach of millions.

Layoff announcements, employment data point to worsening US jobs crisis

By Barry Grey, 25 August 2012

Major layoff announcements in the US and internationally point to deepening slump and intensifying attacks on workers’ wages and living standards.

SEP wins support in Wisconsin ballot status fight

By Niles Williamson, 25 August 2012

A team of SEP supporters campaigned with the vice-presidential candidate Phyllis Scherrer at the Milwaukee Area Technical College in West Allis, Wisconsin. This was the first day of classes and the students were eager to discuss the campaign.

Why Western politicians support Pussy Riot

By Clara Weiss, 25 August 2012

Western leaders are using the Pussy Riot affair to pressure the Russian government.

The struggle at Dundee Engine: A fight for all workers

By Socialist Equality Party, 24 August 2012

In voting down the local contract pushed by Chrysler and the UAW, workers at Dundee Engine are giving voice to the anger and opposition of auto workers throughout the country against the attack waged by the corporations, supported by the unions, and spearheaded by the Obama administration.

Quebec: Thousands protest Liberals’ tuition hikes, user fees and privatization

By Keith Jones, 24 August 2012

The large turnout in Wednesday’s demonstration attests to the fact that youth and workers are as determined as ever in their opposition to the Liberal government’ rightwing agenda, but CLASSE made no effort to draw the political lessons of the past six months of struggle.

Washington and its allies work to destabilise Lebanon

By Jean Shaoul, 24 August 2012

This is the conclusion of a two-part examination of the background to the current crisis in Lebanon.