North America

Public tussle over US deficit plans masks bipartisan agenda

By Barry Grey, 5 December 2012

The profound and reactionary implications of the changes being negotiated are concealed behind a stage-managed show of partisan warfare.

Hurricane Sandy compounds crisis facing public schools in New York City

By Steve Light, 5 December 2012

When New York City schools re-opened for their 1.1 million students and 100,000 staff a week after Hurricane Sandy hit, 57 of 1,700 school buildings in New York City remained closed due to damage and 29 due to lack of electricity.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 5 December 2012

Jobless parents jailed for manner of transporting their children, Michigan mother harassed for deceased son’s student loans, more homeless risk hypothermia, study released on homeless students and an Ohio state road falls into sinkhole.

Obama administration to allow further US media consolidation

By David Maynard, 5 December 2012

The Obama administration is quietly planning to pass changes proposed under Bush and permit even greater media consolidation.

Washington floats chemical weapons charge as pretext for Syria buildup

By Bill Van Auken, 4 December 2012

The Obama administration and the media have cited unspecified “intelligence” about chemical weapons to issue new threats against Syria.

The historical significance of the gathering world slump

By Nick Beams, 4 December 2012

The OECD has warned that a major economic contraction cannot be ruled out.

More data pointing to slowdown in US economy

By Barry Grey, 4 December 2012

A fall in US manufacturing coincides with slumping consumer spending.

New study details growth of income inequality across US

By Clement Daly, 4 December 2012

Income gaps between the richest and poorest US households have widened significantly since the late 1970s and continue to grow at a dizzying pace.

NHL union lays the basis for massive concessions for hockey players

By Alexander Fangmann, 4 December 2012

The hockey players’ union has agreed in principle to massive reductions in salary and changes in contract structure, with negotiations continuing over their implementation.

Los Angeles area port workers’ strike continues

By Thomas Gaist, 4 December 2012

The 800 clerical workers on strike have shut down 10 of 14 terminals of the country’s most heavily trafficked port complex. Several thousand dockworkers in Los Angeles and Long Beach have refused to cross picket lines.

University of Illinois graduate assistants:

Reject the sellout contract! Fight to defend the right to higher education and decent living standards!

By Socialist Equality Party, 4 December 2012

The SEP calls on graduate assistants to reject the concessions agreement the Graduate Employees Organization has reached with the University of Illinois administration.

In “fiscal cliff” talks, Democrats offer cuts now, cuts later

By Patrick Martin, 3 December 2012

Leading Democrats have agreed to discuss cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the biggest federal social programs, as part of ongoing budget talks with congressional Republicans.

The death of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif

By Tom Carter, 3 December 2012

The failure of the US legal system to enforce the most basic rights of Latif, who died in September at the Guantanamo prison camp, underscores the collapse of democratic legal institutions and the expanding machinery of a police state.

Doha conference highlights national divisions over climate change

By Bryan Dyne, 3 December 2012

The Doha 2012 climate conference, which began November 26 and will run through December 7, has been characterized by national divisions and no serious proposals to address climate change.

Thousands protest as new Mexican president takes office

By Rafael Azul, 3 December 2012

Across Mexico, workers and youth greeted the transfer of power to President Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI with protests.

US birth rate falls to lowest since 1920

By Kate Randall, 3 December 2012

Among wide layers of the US population, increasing numbers are putting off parenthood due to poverty, job loss and other economic stresses.

The “rule of law” and state killings

By Bill Van Auken and David North, 3 December 2012

The leading newspaper of American liberalism proposes to sanction a criminal policy of state assassinations by establishing a set of administrative procedures.

The PQ budget and the 2012 Quebec student strike

By International Youth Students for Social Equality (Canada), 3 December 2012

Continuing the nationalist-protest perspective that resulted in the Quebec student strike being suppressed, the organizers of the Nov. 22nd protest made no mention of the newly introduced PQ austerity budget.

Grain haulers’ lockout of Northwest longshoremen postponed

By Hector Cordon, 3 December 2012

Northwest grain terminal operators accede to union’s request to postpone contract deadline.

November sales slump in US reflects worsening social crisis

By Andre Damon, 1 December 2012

Exuberant reports of record-breaking crowds storming the stores and buoyant sales volumes are belied by the dismal results reported Thursday.

Bipartisan group in US Congress promotes drone killings

By Patrick Martin, 1 December 2012

Drone strikes ordered by President Obama have killed more than 2,500 people over the past four years, according to a New York Times report.

Bradley Manning speaks on abuse

By Naomi Spencer, 1 December 2012

Accused whistleblower Bradley Manning told the military court of sleep deprivation, isolation, and torment by guards.

US bankruptcy judge approves $1.75 million in bonuses for Hostess executives

By David Walsh, 1 December 2012

Nineteen Hostess Brands executives, if they meet certain criteria while liquidating the company, will receive bonuses averaging $92,000. Some 18,500 workers are set to lose their jobs.

One month since Hurricane Sandy

By Philip Guelpa and Fred Mazelis, 1 December 2012

The reality of families left to their own devices by a political and economic system that is utterly indifferent to the plight of working people emerges more clearly with each passing day.

Los Angeles and Long Beach port clerical workers on strike

By Thomas Gaist, 1 December 2012

Office workers at the southern California ports went out on a strike action this week, shutting down large portions of Los Angeles’ heavily trafficked seaports.

Workers protest low wages at New York City fast-food restaurants

By Sandy English, 1 December 2012

Hundreds of fast-food workers and their supporters protested against low wages and lack of benefits at McDonald’s and Burger King restaurants in New York City.

After the elections: Obama escalates war drive in the Middle East

By Bill Van Auken, 30 November 2012

The Obama administration is escalating its intervention in Syria as part of a broader strategy of neocolonial conquest.

“The eight-hour day is a thing of the past”

UAW sanctions “alternative” work schedule at Chrysler

By Jerry White, 30 November 2012

In an effort to pump ever-greater productivity and profits out of auto workers, Chrysler is implementing a so-called Alternative Work Schedule (AWS) at its stamping, assembly and parts plants throughout the country.

Detroit bankruptcy threats escalate as bonds are downgraded

By Shannon Jones, 30 November 2012

A major credit rating agency further downgraded Detroit’s debt as city officials advance new proposals for cuts.

Bradley Manning testifies on his detention

By Naomi Spencer, 30 November 2012

Bradley Manning took the stand to speak on his pre-trial detention Thursday. It was the first public statement from the accused whistleblower in over two years.

Washington, D.C. parents and teachers oppose school closings, charter schools

By Ed Hightower and Nikolai Barrickman, 30 November 2012

Parents, students and teachers have reacted in anger to a plan to close 20 public schools in Washington, D.C.

US fiscal cliff talks target the working class

By Barry Grey, 29 November 2012

As the deadline for the so-called “fiscal cliff” grows nearer, indications mount that the artificial fiscal emergency is the starting point for deep structural cuts in social programs.

Hostess unions line up with Wall Street asset strippers

By Jerry White, 29 November 2012

A week after a US bankruptcy court approved the liquidation of Hostess Brands, a slew of private equity firms and buyout specialists are seeking to cash in on the carve-up of the baked goods producer.

Judge orders dismissal of Toronto's right-wing populist mayor

By Keith Jones, 29 November 2012

An Ontario Superior Court judge has ordered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to vacate the office on December 10 after finding him guilty on conflict of interest charges.

Bradley Manning hearing focuses on unlawful pre-trial punishment

By Naomi Spencer, 28 November 2012

The Army’s pre-trial hearing resumed Tuesday against Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

The “fiscal cliff” fraud

By Andre Damon, 27 November 2012

Using the pretext of the “fiscal cliff,” the American ruling class is preparing an unprecedented attack on entitlement programs.

ISO paves way for Chicago school closures

By Kristina Betinis and Jerry White, 27 November 2012

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Public Schools district (CPS) are moving ahead with plans to close as many as 120 public schools, and open up 60 new charter schools over the next few years. About 140 schools have been identified by the district as half-empty, and are expected to be the first targeted for closure. The closings would eliminate the jobs of thousands of teachers and school support staff.

Hurricane Sandy and the criminal failure of the utility companies

By Philip Guelpa, 27 November 2012

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, popular outrage has grown over the failure of the government and corporations to adequately prepare for and respond to the storm’s devastating impact.

Under threat of bankruptcy, Detroit escalates assault on working class

By Bryan Dyne, 27 November 2012

Detroit Mayor David Bing and the city council are using the threat of potential bankruptcy to escalate the assault on city workers.

The growing impact and dangers of global warming

By Bryan Dyne, 27 November 2012

The impact of climate change on all aspects of life has been more concretely analyzed in reports issued over the past decade.

Obama administration pushes ahead with drone killings

By Patrick Martin, 26 November 2012

The New York Times estimates that US drone strikes have killed more than 2,500 people.

The New York Times continues its campaign: Breast cancer screenings cause more harm than good

By Kate Randall, 26 November 2012

An opinion piece in the New York Times argues that regular mammography screenings to detect breast cancer are “not all they’re cracked up to be.”

Protests hit Walmart stores

By our reporter, 26 November 2012

Protests were held at Walmart stores around the US on November 23 to oppose management abuse, irregular working hours and the poverty wages paid by the giant retailer.

US spy agencies edited Benghazi “talking points”

By Patrick Martin, 24 November 2012

Their purpose was to conceal the connections between the US intelligence apparatus and gunmen linked to Al Qaeda.

Ontario high school teachers union accepts concessions

By Carl Bronski, 24 November 2012

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation has reached agreement with seven provincial school boards on a series of major concessions demanded by the Ontario’s Liberal government.

Chicago Transit Authority proposes large fare hike

By Jeff Lusanne, 24 November 2012

CTA has announced steep fare hikes for riders who use passes, while the need for service improvements and major infrastructure upgrades continues to go unmet.

The social crisis in the US

By Andre Damon, 24 November 2012

As President Barack Obama and Congress prepare to slash social programs that keep millions out of destitution, the prevalence of hunger and poverty in the United States has reached rates unseen in decades.

Nurses in California go on two-day strike

By Joseph Santolan, 23 November 2012

On November 20, over 3,000 nurses and hospital tech workers in the California Nurses Association (CNA) Union went on a two-day strike at eight Sutter Health facilities. It is seventh such strike since September 2011.

Big business applauds Quebec budget

By Louis Girard and Keith Jones, 23 November 2012

Big business and the corporate media have enthusiastically applauded the austerity budget the Parti Québécois provincial government presented this week.

Clinton outlines global US economic offensive

By Peter Symonds, 22 November 2012

Obama’s pivot to Asia is part of a comprehensive campaign to maintain US dominance in Asia on every front—diplomatic, economic and strategic.

The “Black Friday” protests at WalMart

By Phyllis Scherrer and Jerry White, 22 November 2012

A series of pickets and protests are planned throughout the US against the giant retailer Wal-Mart for “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving and traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

Nurses in California go on two-day strike

By Joseph Santolan, 22 November 2012

On November 20, over 3,000 nurses and hospital tech workers in the California Nurses Association (CNA) Union went on a two-day strike at eight Sutter Health facilities. It is seventh such strike since September 2011.

Judge approves Hostess liquidation, eliminating 15,000 jobs

By Patrick Martin, 22 November 2012

A federal bankruptcy judge issued a ruling endorsing the immediate liquidation of Hostess Brands, closing dozens of plants and distribution centers.

“This is a case of corporate harvesting”

Striking Hostess workers speak

By David Brown, 22 November 2012

Bakers on the Picket line in Sacramento, California spoke with the World Socialist Web Site about the Hostess bankruptcy.

Firefighter says budget cuts are “killing people.”

Elderly couple dies in Detroit fire

By Lawrence Porter and Bryan Dyne, 21 November 2012

A fire on the west side of Detroit early Sunday morning resulted in the deaths of an elderly couple in their 70s, Kyle and Theresa Bozeman.

SEC announces settlement with JPMorgan over mortgage fraud

By Andre Damon, 21 November 2012

JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse will pay $416.9 million to settle charges by the Securities Exchange Commission that they lied to investors about the quality of mortgage-backed bonds.

Thousands of miners to lose health care, pensions in Patriot Coal bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 21 November 2012

Patriot Coal is seeking to discharge health care and pension obligations for more than 22,000 miners through bankruptcy.

California state police to deploy in Stockton

By Julien Kiemle, 21 November 2012

After a year of record numbers of homicides, California Highway Patrol officers will be brought in to aid local law enforcement police the city's streets.

Obama’s trip intensifies US push into South East Asia

By Peter Symonds, 20 November 2012

The US focus on the region is part of a broader diplomatic offensive aimed at undermining China’s position throughout Asia.

“There are a lot of people here who need help”

Thousands line up for winter coat distribution in Detroit

By Shannon Jones, 20 November 2012

The huge turnout at a winter coat distribution in Detroit is another sign of the dire hardship facing residents in the city and surrounding suburbs.

Murray Energy lays off 160 miners in response to Obama’s reelection

By Clement Daly, 20 November 2012

Murray Energy, the largest privately owned coal mining company in the US, announced layoffs in response to the so-called “war on coal.”

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 20 November 2012

The DC housing voucher wait list is more than two decades long, Colorado child welfare workers are “at the breaking point,” and people in poverty are twice as likely to suffer depression.

Drone squadron planned for Niagara Falls Air Force base

By Isabelle Belanger, 20 November 2012

The US Air Force is proposing the installation of a drone squadron at the Air Reserve Station in Niagara Falls, New York, which has been under repeated threat of closure since 2005.

University of Illinois graduate assistants authorize strike

By Marcus Day, 20 November 2012

Last week, members of the Graduate Employees Organization at University of Illinois voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike.

Petraeus resignation fuels political warfare over Benghazi attack

By Barry Grey, 19 November 2012

Congressional Republicans have seized on the Petraeus resignation to accuse the administration of a cover-up in connection with the Benghazi events.

New York Times acknowledges conspiracy of silence over “fiscal cliff”

By Andre Damon, 19 November 2012

In an article published Thursday, the New York Times claims that the Democrats and Republicans colluded to bury discussion of the cuts to social spending planned after the election.

Deadly oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico

By Bryan Dyne, 19 November 2012

An explosion on board an oil rig owned by Black Elk Energy in the Gulf of Mexico has killed at least one worker, with another missing and presumed dead as of Sunday afternoon.

Canadian government proposing draconian criminal sanctions for masked protesters

By Ed Patrick, 19 November 2012

Canada’s parliament is on the verge of adopting a law that would make persons wearing a mask at a police-designated “unlawful assembly” liable to a 5-year prison term.

Michigan voters reject union-backed constitutional amendment

By Lawrence Porter, 19 November 2012

On Election Day, Michigan voted overwhelmingly to reject Proposal 2, a union-backed constitutional initiative promoted as a measure to defend collective bargaining rights.

Washington, DC chancellor announces closures of dozens of public schools

By Nick Barrickman, 19 November 2012

The planned closures, consisting of mostly elementary and middle schools, would largely fall on the impoverished southeast section of the city.

A new “irrepressible conflict”

SEP holds post-election meeting in New York

By our reporters, 19 November 2012

The public meeting focused on the significance of the elections and the measures taken by the Obama administration immediately afterward.

West African states prepare intervention in Mali

By Ernst Wolff, 17 November 2012

The Economic Community of West African States has reiterated its readiness to deploy 3,300 soldiers to the north of Mali before the start of the rainy season.

Obama begins bipartisan talks on spending cuts

By Patrick Martin, 17 November 2012

The so-called “fiscal cliff” is a pretext for a reactionary onslaught against Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other social benefits.

BP settles for $4.5 billion in federal criminal charges

By Bryan Dyne, 17 November 2012

BP has reached a settlement on all criminal claims with the US Department of Justice and on all securities claims with the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

Rent strike threat after deaths at storm-ravaged New York housing complex

By a WSWS reporting team, 17 November 2012

Residents of Knickerbocker Village had called for a rent strike over the lack of electricity, heat and hot water, conditions that led to the deaths of two elderly residents last week.

Poverty and the American two-party system

By Kate Randall, 17 November 2012

The new Census report showing 50 million Americans living in poverty is a damning indictment of American capitalism.

The class issues in the “fiscal cliff”

By Andre Damon, 16 November 2012

With the 2012 presidential election over, the Obama administration has turned to its first order of business: the slashing trillions of dollars from Medicare, Medicaid, and other social spending.

Nearly 50 million living in poverty in US

By Kate Randall, 16 November 2012

The news that nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty received little attention in the media or from the Obama administration a little more than a week after the 2012 elections.

Parti Québecois to deliver austerity budget

By Keith Jones, 16 November 2012

Having worked to defuse the political crisis precipitated by the student strike, the PQ is now pivoting to directly implementing the bourgeoisie’s austerity agenda.

Where the International Socialist Organization stands on the 2012 election results

By David Walsh, 16 November 2012

The ISO has responded to the recent US election with general satisfaction over Democrat Barack Obama’s return to the White House and an ever-greater obsession with race.

The SEP vote in the 2012 elections

By our reporter, 16 November 2012

The workers and youth who voted for the SEP made a class-conscious decision to support a socialist alternative to the two big business parties.

Leaked “grand bargain” document details Obama's plan for cuts in entitlement programs

By Barry Grey, 15 November 2012

The far-reaching and reactionary substance of Obama's social policy emerges very clearly in secret documents that were leaked last weekend.

Army pre-trial hearing into March 2012 Afghan massacre concludes

By Naomi Spencer, 15 November 2012

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers, could face the death penalty if the Army recommends a court-martial.

Survivors describe bloodbath in Afghan atrocity

By Naomi Spencer, 15 November 2012

In testimony from Afghanistan, witnesses to the March 11 massacre described scenes of terror and grief.

Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy: Hoboken, New Jersey residents seek aid

By A. Woodson, 15 November 2012

Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit Hoboken, residents of the New Jersey city came to the local high school seeking aid from FEMA and other agencies.

Additional education cuts on horizon after passage of California tax proposition

By Dan Conway, 15 November 2012

Even the most optimistic analysts admit that the proposition’s passage will not in any meaningful way increase public education funding.

US: Hostess to close three plants as strikes continue

By Shannon Jones, 15 November 2012

Snack maker Hostess said it is permanently closing three plants as strikes by members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union continue.

Union leaders meet with Obama, back austerity drive against workers

By Barry Grey, 14 November 2012

The hour-long meeting at the White House was the first act in a carefully orchestrated campaign to convince the public that unprecedented social cuts are the only alternative to economic disaster in the form of the “fiscal cliff.”

What is the “fiscal cliff”?

By Patrick Martin, 14 November 2012

The purpose of propaganda about the “cliff” is to create a sense of financial emergency and override opposition to measures Obama and Congress will put forward to avert it, including cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Top US commander in Afghanistan implicated in Petraeus probe

By Bill Van Auken, 14 November 2012

Gen. John Allen is now under investigation in connection with the woman whose complaint initiated the probe leading to David Petraeus’ resignation as CIA director.

Ohio carries out third execution since lifting of moratorium

By Kate Randall, 14 November 2012

Brett Hartman was the third person put to death in Ohio since the state ended a six-month moratorium on executions.

Concessions imposed on Chicago-area teachers

By Shane Feratu and James Brewer, 14 November 2012

Following the sellout of the Chicago teachers' strike last September, suburban teachers have been hit with concessions contracts.

After the US election, Syria war threats mount

By Bill Van Auken, 13 November 2012

One week after the reelection of President Barack Obama, the drumbeat for war against Syria has escalated sharply.

Obama loan repayment scheme maintains crushing debt burden on students

By Nancy Hanover, 13 November 2012

The Obama administration has continued the overall trend of pricing the working class out of higher education.

Urban Shield exercises in Boston test police-state tactics

By John Marion, 13 November 2012

Police S.W.A.T. teams, public transit police, the Coast Guard, “intelligence” personnel, and bomb disposal units conducted Urban Shield exercises in subway stations, abandoned movie theaters, and other public locations in Boston.

Israel launches missile strike against Syria

By Niall Green, 12 November 2012

With the US elections out of the way, Washington and its allies have stepped up their campaign for regime-change against Syria.

The Petraeus affair

By Barry Grey, 12 November 2012

The claim promoted by both the media and the political establishment that Petraeus’ resignation has no political dimension is not credible.

US Supreme Court to consider challenge to 1965 Voting Rights Act

By Tom Carter, 12 November 2012

The 1965 Voting Rights Act ranks among the most significant reforms that emerged from the upheavals of the civil rights period.

Anger erupts over continuing power outages two weeks after Hurricane Sandy

By Philip Guelpa, 12 November 2012

Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy’s landfall, hundreds of thousands are still suffering from the lack of response to the storm.

Thousands line up at Chicago job fair for less than 60 positions

By Kristina Betinis, 12 November 2012

The city of Chicago’s first job fair was quickly revealed to be a media stunt, with more than 3,000 workers lining up to apply online for 55 positions.