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Monti to lead coalition in Italian election

By Alex Lantier, 31 December 2012

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has announced plans to lead an electoral coalition based on a pro-austerity “Agenda Monti for Italy.”

Cyclone Evan causes serious damage in Fiji

By Terry Cook, 31 December 2012

High winds flattened homes, destroyed farms, ruined crops, uprooted trees and tore down vital infrastructure.

Canada’s native peoples protest chronic poverty and government attacks

By Carl Bronski, 31 December 2012

A groundswell of protests has emerged against poverty and government measures aimed at opening up native people’s lands to capitalist resource-extraction.

This week in history: December 31-January 6

By , 31 December 2012

Obama spearheads social counterrevolution

By Patrick Martin, 31 December 2012

In an interview broadcast Sunday, Obama embraced cuts in entitlement spending and the imposition of “sacrifices” on working people and the poor.

Anti-Semitic outburst in the Hungarian parliament

By Markus Salzmann, 31 December 2012

The latest anti-Semitic outburst by the deputy chair of the far-right Jobbik party marks a further rightward turn in Hungarian politics.

UK High Court rejects inquiry into British role in Pakistan drone strikes

By Robert Stevens, 31 December 2012

The High Court in London has rejected a request for a judicial inquiry into the alleged role of the UK’s GCHQ spying operation in aiding drone strikes by the US in Pakistan.

China’s red aristocracy

By John Chan, 31 December 2012

Economic and political power in China is concentrated in the hands of a tiny super-rich elite associated with the Communist Party.

US, France deploy troops to Central African Republic

By Patrick O’Connor, 31 December 2012

The intervention is part of a ratcheting up of imperialist military operations across Africa by Washington and its European allies.

Homelessness soars among US Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans

By Shannon Jones, 31 December 2012

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 62,619 veterans are homeless on a given night.

Australian government rejects refugee protest letter

By Mike Head, 31 December 2012

At least 155 people, including about 30 children, are now detained on Manus Island, with many housed in tents and shipping containers.

Fear of food scarcity hits US capital, outlying suburbs

By Nick Barrickman, 31 December 2012

In the areas surrounding Washington DC, students qualifying for free or subsidized meals face a difficult period ahead.

NYC worker: “The fare is going up, but my salary is not”

By a reporting team, 29 December 2012

The WSWS spoke to New York City transit workers and to subway and bus riders in Brooklyn about the impact of the latest fare hike.

Unpaid wages spark strikes in China

By John Chan, 29 December 2012

Amid an economic slowdown, a number of strikes and protests have erupted.

Dismal holiday sales belie talk of US “recovery”

By Barry Grey, 29 December 2012

The poor holiday sales are an expression of the absence of a genuine economic recovery and the existence of an acute and deepening social crisis.

White House, Congress extend police-state FISA law

By , 29 December 2012

The US Senate voted Friday to renew the law, first passed in 2008 under the Bush administration, authorizing virtually unlimited domestic spying by the National Security Agency.

Tentative agreement reached as union calls off plans for US port strike

By Ed Hightower, 29 December 2012

A federal mediator announced on Friday that an agreement between the union and the shipping industry will extend the current contract for an additional 30 days.

The Scottish Socialist Party and the financial oligarchy

By Steve James, 29 December 2012

In alliance with wealthy social layers in Britain, the Scottish Socialist Party, as part of "Yes Scotland," advances a pro-capitalist perspective to divide the working class.

In wake of Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers hit with transit fare hike

By Alan Whyte, 29 December 2012

The MTA has voted to increase bus and train fares, as well as tolls on the bridges and tunnels it controls.

Best films of 2012

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 29 December 2012

The general state of the film world presents a sharper contradiction than ever, as underlined by a number of recently released films and the critics’ reactions to them.

Democrats, Republicans work toward “fiscal cliff” deal

By Joseph Kishore, 29 December 2012

Following a meeting between the president and Democratic and Republican congressional leaders, negotiations are continuing on a budget agreement.

UK: Peterborough city council’s social cuts target elderly, disabled

By Mary Smith, 29 December 2012

Peterborough City Council is again targeting the elderly and disabled, implementing budget cuts and austerity measures in line with government policies.

Favorite music of 2012

By Matthew Brennan and Hiram Lee, 29 December 2012

World Socialist Web Site music writers pick their favorite pop and jazz releases of 2012.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 29 December 2012

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

IMF demands deeper austerity in Pakistan

By Sampath Perera, 29 December 2012

The executive board report made clear that a further bailout will require unprecedented pro-market “reforms.”

Syria faces humanitarian catastrophe

By Bill Van Auken, 29 December 2012

After two years of escalating civil war, the people of Syria confront a humanitarian catastrophe, with an estimated four million people lacking adequate food and shelter.

Australian state government imposes fire station shut-downs

By Mark Church, 29 December 2012

Across Sydney and other urban areas, stations are being temporarily closed on a daily basis, increasing the danger of another fire tragedy.

Global split over telecom treaty

By Kevin Reed, 28 December 2012

The breakdown of talks at the IT summit signals intensified national conflicts in an increasingly interdependent world.

Iraq arrests spark mass protests

By Bill Van Auken, 28 December 2012

The rounding up of bodyguards and aides of leading Iraqi Sunni politicians sparked protests that blocked the main trade route to neighboring Syria and Jordan.

Social crisis intensifies in New Zealand

By John Braddock, 28 December 2012

In the week before Christmas, people on low incomes queued in record numbers for food parcels and donated gifts.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Growing up in the early 1990s

By David Walsh, 28 December 2012

In Stephen Chbosky’s film, based on his 1999 novel, the central character, Charlie, a 15-year-old high school student, narrates the story in the form of letters to an anonymous “friend.”

Longshoremen strike may shut down US East Coast ports

By Ed Hightower, 28 December 2012

A strike by 15,000 dock workers in the US, from 14 ports on the eastern seaboard, could begin as early as this weekend.

South Korean companies plan sweeping job cuts

By Ben McGrath, 28 December 2012

Major South Korean companies are planning to cut thousands of jobs as the economy is battered by deepening world economic turmoil.

Rape of Delhi woman sparks protests in India

By Deepal Jayasekera, 28 December 2012

Thousands of people, mainly students, protested last week in the Indian capital, New Delhi, against the gang rape of a young woman on December 16.

Democrats, Republicans prepare major cuts in workers’ wages, benefits

By Patrick Martin, 28 December 2012

Both the Obama administration and Republican leaders are whipping up a crisis atmosphere to justify policies that would otherwise be politically impossible to enact.

South Asia’s foremost Marxist of the second half of the 20th century

By Wije Dias, 28 December 2012

The second part of a two-part series about the political struggle waged for proletarian internationalism by the Sri Lankan RCL’s founding general secretary.

Currency wars to intensify in 2013

By Nick Beams, 28 December 2012

The monetary policies of the world’s major central banks threaten to repeat, in another form, the conflicts of the Great Depression.

Spanish Popular Party government launches assault on public education

By Alejandro López, 28 December 2012

Last Friday, the Spanish Popular Party government approved a new draft education law that slashes funding for public education.

UK police frame up Conservative MP

By Paul Bond, 28 December 2012

Three months after Andrew Mitchell MP resigned over allegations that he had abused police officers, it is clear that much of the evidence against him was fabricated.

More than 400,000 Californians could lose unemployment benefits

By Kevin Martinez and Norisa Diaz, 28 December 2012

If federal unemployment benefits are not extended at the end of the year, some 2 million people throughout the US will immediately lose this limited form of cash assistance.

US mayors’ survey: Food insecurity, homelessness rising across the country

By Nick Barrickman, 27 December 2012

The United States Conference of Mayors’ Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness released its yearly survey, which documented a sharp rise in these social ills throughout the country.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey—not so unexpected as all that

By Christine Schofelt, 27 December 2012

Filmed as a prequel to the Lord of the Rings series, this first part of The Hobbit covers approximately half the book as written by J.R.R. Tolkien (published in 1937).

South Asia’s foremost Marxist of the second half of the 20th century

By Wije Dias, 27 December 2012

This article is the first part of a two-part series about the political struggle waged by the RCL’s founding general secretary for proletarian internationalism.

Russian President Putin’s address to parliament promotes nationalism, austerity

By Clara Weiss, 27 December 2012

President Vladimir Putin delivered the first speech of his new term in office to the federal assembly.

Letters from our readers

By , 27 December 2012

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

US retools terror war in scramble for Africa

By Bill Van Auken, 27 December 2012

The Pentagon’s announcement that it is forming a new Africa brigade is a clear indication that US imperialism is escalating its interventions on the continent.

Wage freezes, school cuts in Connecticut budget

By John Marion, 27 December 2012

Connecticut’s public schools and social services, along with state workers’ wages, are targeted in the new fiscal year.

New right-wing Japanese government installed

By Peter Symonds, 27 December 2012

Prime Minister Abe has not resiled from the aggressive nationalist policies that he promoted during the election campaign.

US munitions cause spike in Iraqi infant birth defects

By Eric London, 27 December 2012

The Iraqi cities of Basra and Fallujah are experiencing an exponential rise in birth defects, linked to the use of depleted uranium ammunition by US and British invasion forces.

Unions isolate Portuguese dockworkers’ struggle against European port restructuring

By Paul Mitchell, 27 December 2012

Portuguese dockworkers have struck against the restructuring plans of the right-wing Social Democratic Party/Popular Party coalition government.

Australian utility companies disconnect thousands of households

By Terry Cook, 27 December 2012

Rising utility prices are hitting the most vulnerable people—the unemployed, disabled and the elderly.

West Coast longshoremen overwhelmingly reject grain handlers’ contract offer

By Hector Cordon, 27 December 2012

Dockworkers at four grain terminals rejected a concessions-laden contract described by the grain handlers association as its “last, best and final” offer.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 27 December 2012

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

Occupy protests targeted by FBI counterterror units

By Barry Grey, 27 December 2012

The direct attack on Constitutionally protected free-speech rights, begun under Bush, has been expanded by the Obama administration.

Australia: Christmas period highlights mounting social crisis

By Mark Church, 24 December 2012

The sharp economic downturn, compounded by federal and state government cuts, is driving new layers of the working class into poverty.

Australian analyst points to debate on alliance with Japan

By Patrick O’Connor, 24 December 2012

The Labor government has developed closer military ties with Japan as part of its support for Obama’s aggressive “pivot” against China.

This week in history: December 24-30

By , 24 December 2012

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

Robert Bork (1927-2012): Reactionary jurist and opponent of equality

By Patrick Martin, 24 December 2012

Bork was a key figure in ultra-right politics and jurisprudence for nearly half a century.

Report details massive growth of social inequality across US

By Nick Barrickman, 24 December 2012

Since 1989, inequality has grown in 49 of 50 US states, and 28 states have seen inequality increase simultaneously by measurements of education, income and poverty.

Big business clamour for Canada to adopt US-style “right-to-work” laws

By Carl Bronski, 24 December 2012

In the wake of “right-to-work” legislation being enacted in Michigan, right-wing politicians and commentators have taken up a drumbeat for anti-worker legislation in Canada.

Britain: Oppose the closure of Maltby Colliery

By , 24 December 2012

Campaigners from the Socialist Equality Party are circulating this leaflet at Maltby Colliery and the nearby village of the same name.

African National Congress anoints the butchers of Marikana

By Chris Marsden, 24 December 2012

The election of Zuma and Ramaphosa is an endorsement of the massacre at Marikana and the ensuing brutal assault on striking miners.

Berlin: A grim Christmas for many

By Ernst Wolff, 24 December 2012

Winter exposes the social decline in Berlin more revealingly than any other season.

Massive cuts at German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp

By Elizabeth Zimmermann and Dietmar Henning, 24 December 2012

ThyssenKrupp is preparing to cut thousands of jobs, lower wages and worsen working conditions.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood claims constitutional referendum victory amid mass abstention

By Johannes Stern, 24 December 2012

On Saturday, the final round of voting on Egypt’s draft constitution completed the referendum—a mockery of democratic process.

Implementation of US-Iran interim nuclear deal stalls

By Keith Jones, 23 December 2012

Negotiations on implementing the US-designed nuclear deal with Iran have stalled, leading Iranian officials to publicly question whether it will unravel.

Twenty-four dead in Mexican prison riot

By Rafael Azul, 22 December 2012

The death of 24 people in the course of an escape attempt at a Mexican prison shines a light on the deterioration of Mexican society during the drug war.

Privatisation agenda behind government threats against UK teachers

By Julie Hyland, 22 December 2012

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition intends to extend the conditions that exist in academies to all public schools, in preparation for the handing over of education to the private sector.

UN Security Council approves military intervention in Mali

By Ernst Wolff and Alex Lantier, 22 December 2012

On Thursday, the UN Security Council authorized foreign intervention in Mali under the pretext of freeing northern Mali from occupation by Islamist forces.

Obama nominates John Kerry as secretary of state

By Bill Van Auken, 22 December 2012

President Obama has nominated John Kerry, the richest individual in the US Senate and a trusted defender of the interests of the US ruling establishment, as secretary of state.

Mental health charity warns of “nightmare scenario” for North East England

By Mark Blackwood, 22 December 2012

A report reveals that when compared to the London area, the UK’s poorest region in the North East has almost three times the rate of self-harm/attempted suicide hospital admissions.

Obama, Boehner pledge to continue talks on social cuts

By Barry Grey, 22 December 2012

Whether a budget deal is worked out before the New Year or after, it will initiate an assault on all that remains of the social reforms enacted in the last century.

Michigan legislature enacts new attacks on workers, democratic rights

By Lawrence Porter, 22 December 2012

The Republican-controlled state legislature has passed a series of reactionary measures in its “lame duck” session.

Germany: PSG holds meetings in defence of Greek workers

By Marianne Arens, 22 December 2012

The Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (Socialist Equality Party) recently held a series of meetings in Germany under the slogan “Defend Greek workers.”

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 22 December 2012

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

The Libor swindle

By Andre Damon, 22 December 2012

Not only has the Libor swindle exposed the criminality of the banks, it has laid bare the nexus of corruption and complicity involving governments and financial regulators the world over.

Thousands affected by floods in Sri Lanka

By our correspondents, 22 December 2012

Most of those affected are poor farmers, fishermen and workers, who received no official forewarning.

Letters from our readers

By , 22 December 2012

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

Former Thai prime minister charged with murder

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 22 December 2012

The decision to prosecute Abhisit is another indication that the bitter political feuding in the Thai ruling elites has not abated.

A new film version of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (and Sean Baker’s Starlet )

By Joanne Laurier, 22 December 2012

British filmmaker Joe Wright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard have collaborated on a new film adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic novel. Starlet tells the story of a relationship between two women in California’s San Fernando Valley.

French president promotes corporate interests, Mali war in Algeria visit

By Alex Lantier, 21 December 2012

On December 19-20, French President François Hollande made a 36-hour visit to Algeria, to expand military and trade ties between France and its former colony.

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

By , 21 December 2012

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

UN admits Syria wracked by sectarian civil war

By Chris Marsden, 21 December 2012

A United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry has finally admitted that a sectarian civil war is raging in Syria.

Malaysian ruling party mobilises for crisis election

By John Roberts, 21 December 2012

The election next year is likely to be the closest since formal independence from Britain in 1957.

The German chancellor’s Christmas message

By , 21 December 2012

In an interview last weekend with the Financial Times, the German chancellor declares that the European welfare state cannot be sustained.

Australian refugee lawyer condemns deportations to Sri Lanka

By Mike Head, 21 December 2012

A lawyer involved in 16 recent Sri Lankan deportation cases explains that methods being used by the government are unlawful.

Forecast: 13.1 percent to be jobless some time in US next year

By David Walsh, 21 December 2012

The US jobs situation remains grim. Data released by the Economic Policy Institute indicate that more than one in eight workers will be out of a job at some point in 2013.

State Department officials sanctioned for Benghazi attack

By Bill Van Auken, 21 December 2012

The disciplining of four State Department officials and the report issued by the inquiry into the attack on US facilities in Benghazi, Libya amount to an official coverup of the real issues involved.

Australian government abandons budget surplus pledge

By Patrick O’Connor, 21 December 2012

Next year’s election is shaping up as a conspiracy against the working class—all the parliamentary parties are committed to a savage austerity agenda, but none will discuss it publicly.

US Congress drops measure banning indefinite detention of US citizens

By Bryan Dyne, 21 December 2012

Congress dropped an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act nominally protecting US citizens and permanent residents against indefinite detention.

Germany’s Left Party mobilizes for war against Syria

By Johannes Stern, 21 December 2012

Last week leading figures of the German Left Party signed a statement calling for intervention in Syria.

Social discontent grows in Greece against austerity

By Christoph Dreier, 21 December 2012

Workers are vehemently opposed to the implementation of the most recent cuts package, in particular the massive layoffs planned for the public sector.

Letters from our readers

By , 20 December 2012

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

Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty: Hollywood embraces the “dark side”

By Bill Van Auken, 20 December 2012

Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty brings to film-making what “embedded” reporting did for journalism—an uncritical embrace of and identification with the military-intelligence complex and its crimes.

US Department of Agriculture pushes for weaker rules on poultry industry

By James Brewer, 20 December 2012

Under new rules, the USDA will remove inspectors and speed up production lines.

Obama proposes Social Security cuts

By Patrick Martin, 20 December 2012

The cuts in Social Security and other critical social programs proposed Tuesday by Obama demonstrate the bipartisan agreement that the working class must pay for the crisis of American capitalism.

US, Arab allies call for intervention in Syria after bombing of Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp

By Jean Shaoul, 20 December 2012

All media reports of the bombardment of Yarmouk stress that the Syrian government is guilty of a crime and must pay a price.

Bangladesh factory fire report blames “sabotage”

By Oliver Campbell, 20 December 2012

The report covers up the responsibility of the government and the major international corporations that exploit cheap labour in Bangladesh.

Daughter of former South Korean dictator wins presidency

By Ben McGrath, 20 December 2012

Park Geun-hye’s election represents a turn to authoritarian forms of rule by the South Korean corporate elite.

Tsar to Lenin premiered in Berlin

By Elizabeth Zimmermann, 20 December 2012

An audience of well over a hundred attended the first public screening in Germany of the film Tsar to Lenin in Berlin last Saturday.