North America

On eve of State of the Union speech

Obama pushes austerity in the guise of defending the “middle class”

By Patrick Martin, 12 February 2013

Obama is calling for further deficit-reduction measures, including cuts in core social programs.

US Postal Service announces plan to end Saturday mail delivery

By James Brewer, 7 February 2013

The postmaster general announced a $2 billion cost-cutting measure that would end Saturday mail service by August.

Firms make billions as middlemen in government cover-up of Wall Street crimes

By Andre Damon, 7 February 2013

US financial regulators increasingly rely on “independent investigators” who, in the guise of helping regulators find wrongdoing, help financial firms cover up their fraudulent activities.

Bloomberg presses attack on striking New York City school bus drivers

By Jerry White, 7 February 2013

The strike by nearly 9,000 New York City school bus workers entered its fourth week today with the Bloomberg administration preparing to accept bids from private school bus contractors without long-standing job and wage protections.

Democrats join bid to strangle New York City bus drivers strike

By Bill Van Auken, 7 February 2013

Pretending to support both striking bus workers and parents, New York City’s Democratic politicians have joined the union in calling for a “cooling-off period” and negotiations on cost-cutting givebacks.

School shooting in Connecticut leaves 27 dead, including 20 children

By Kate Randall, 15 December 2012

The massacre is the worst in the US since the 2007 rampage at Virginia Tech University, which left 33 dead. Less than five months ago a shooting rampage at a theater in Aurora, Colorado resulted in 12 deaths and 58 people wounded.

Rice abandons bid for secretary of state nomination

By Bill Van Auken, 15 December 2012

Dropping the bid to name Susan Rice as secretary of state reflects the administration’s desire to avoid both a protracted debate on Benghazi and a partisan fight with the Republicans.

US military trial to censor testimony on CIA torture

By Naomi Spencer, 15 December 2012

While evidence obtained through torture may be introduced into the courtroom, no evidence of the torture itself is to be permitted.

Detroit area auto workers speak on passage of Michigan right-to-work law

By a WSWS reporting team, 15 December 2012

Reporting teams interviewed workers at two auto plants on the significance of the reactionary legislation passing in Michigan.

Syria in the crosshairs

By Joseph Kishore, 15 December 2012

The US and its imperialist allies are building up to a direct intervention in Syria, with the deployment of Patriot missile batteries in Turkey and the official recognition of the opposition.

Obama, CEOs join forces in budget-cutting campaign

By Patrick Martin, 14 December 2012

Obama and a large group of top corporate executives are supporting a combination of minor tax increases on the wealthy and enormous spending cuts in social programs like Medicare and Social Security.

US Federal Reserve expands “quantitative easing”

By Andre Damon, 14 December 2012

The Federal Reserve announced a significant expansion of its bond-buying program and low-interest-rate policy, in a move to prop up the assets of the super-rich.

Uninsured in Detroit speak on health care crisis

“It is like they are trying to find a way to kill us off”

By a WSWS reporting team, 14 December 2012

A WSWS reporting team recently spoke to medically uninsured Detroit residents participating in a free health screening.

Washington, DC charter school wins Race to the Top grant

By Nick Barrickman, 14 December 2012

The US Department of Education announced that the Knowledge Is Power Program has been declared the winner of a grant from the Obama administration.

Above the law

By Barry Grey, 14 December 2012

The financial robber barons of today are a law unto themselves.

Michigan’s right-to-work law

By Jerry White, 13 December 2012

The inability of the United Auto Workers and other unions to mount any serious opposition to the anti-worker legislation demonstrates the bankruptcy of these organizations.

Sweetheart settlement for HSBC bank on drug money laundering charges

By Barry Grey, 13 December 2012

The financial mafia that bestrides the American economy and controls the political system is, in practice, above the law.

Oregon students face massive debt

By Lauren Hughes, 13 December 2012

Oregon, student, student debt, Stafford loan

Massachusetts governor outlines new round of budget cuts

By John Marion, 13 December 2012

The Democratic governor of Massachusetts, a close friend of the president’s, is calling for major cuts in social programs to close a state budget gap.

Illinois grad assistants union pushes through concessions contract

By Marcus Day, 13 December 2012

The new contract is part of an overall attack on public education throughout the state of Illinois and across the country.

Michigan enacts right-to-work law

By Andre Damon and Jerry White, 12 December 2012

The inability of the UAW and other unions to mount any serious opposition to the anti-worker law reflects the political bankruptcy of these organizations and the erosion of support among workers for them.

Michigan protesters denounce right-to-work law

By a WSWS reporting team, 12 December 2012

Several thousand workers marched on the state capitol building in Lansing, Michigan Tuesday to protest the right-to-work law signed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder.

Hearing on Bradley Manning’s pre-trial confinement concludes

By Naomi Spencer, 12 December 2012

Manning was arrested May 26, 2010, accused of the largest leak of classified military and government documents in history while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.

Stockton, California: Bankruptcy judge poised to rule against workers

By Kevin Kearney, 12 December 2012

Bond insurers have filed a petition to force the city of Stockton to abrogate its pension obligations before filing for bankruptcy.

Conviction of Quebec student strike leader sets stage for broader attack on students’ rights

By Keith Jones, 12 December 2012

Workers and all those concerned with the defence of democratic rights should condemn the contempt-of-court conviction of Quebec student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

Washington discovers terrorists in Syria

By Bill Van Auken, 12 December 2012

In branding one of the principal anti-Assad militias as a terrorist organization, Washington is exposing the character of the US-backed war in Syria.

Doha climate summit concludes without agreement on emission reductions

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 December 2012

The failure of the conference was anticipated by everyone involved and met with widespread indifference on the part of the international media.

UAW provides Obama a platform for his austerity assault on workers

By Jerry White, 11 December 2012

President Obama gave a speech at a suburban Detroit auto factory Monday afternoon, enlisting the support of the United Auto Workers union for his attack on basic social programs.

The extortionate operations of NML Capital

By Ernst Wolff, 11 December 2012

A New York court ordered Argentina to settle debts totalling $1.33 billion with hedge fund NML Capital by December 15.

Obama inauguration to allow unlimited corporate donations

By Andre Damon, 11 December 2012

In a reversal of its 2009 policy, the Obama administration announced Friday that it will put no limits on corporate donations to finance its second inauguration.

Patriot Coal to end mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia

By Clement Daly, 11 December 2012

Patriot Coal has announced it will phase out its mountaintop removal coal mining operations as part of a $440 million settlement with environmental groups.

The “fiscal cliff” and the dismantling of Medicare

By Kate Randall, 10 December 2012

The introduction of means testing signifies the transformation of Medicare from a universal health care program into a poverty program, the first step in its being starved of funds and ultimately dismantled.

New York City police arrest artist who created drone satires

By Sandy English, 10 December 2012

Last week, The New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested Essam Attia, an artist who had designed and surreptitiously placed satirical posters dealing with the NYPD’s potential use of pilotless drone aircraft.

Peabody closes Illinois mine after miner’s death, laying off 400

By Clement Daly, 10 December 2012

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy has announced it will permanently close its Willow Lake Mine in southern Illinois, laying off 400 miners after a miner was crushed to death last month.

For an independent political struggle by the working class

No to Michigan’s ‘right-to-work’ legislation

By Socialist Equality Party, 10 December 2012

The Michigan right-to-work bill is a fundamental attack on the right of the working class to resist attacks on jobs, wages and living conditions

Mounting evidence of US plans for military intervention against Syria

By Chris Marsden, 8 December 2012

Unsubstantiated claims that Syria intends to use chemical weapons are as transparent a pretext for military aggression as the lies a decade ago about Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction.”

Tepid US jobs report points to ongoing slump

By Andre Damon, 8 December 2012

The US unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent in October, but only because 350,000 people left the labor force.

Cleveland, Ohio police killing sparks outrage

By David Brown, 8 December 2012

A public forum in Cleveland Thursday night exploded in anger over the police killing of two people last week.

Washington DC parents and teachers express outrage over schools plan

By Ed Hightower and Nick Barrickman, 8 December 2012

At a public meeting held by school authorities, parents and teachers spoke out against the consolidation of the district and the shutting down of 20 schools.

Letters on the British royal pregnancy

8 December 2012

Letters in response to the December 7 perspective, “The American establishment and the British royal pregnancy.”

US tightens military noose around Syria

By Bill Van Auken, 7 December 2012

Amid an escalating drumbeat about a supposed threat that Syria is preparing to use chemical weapons, Washington has deployed a naval armada off the country’s coast.

Michigan woman killed in blaze near closed fire station

By David Brown and Andre Damon, 7 December 2012

A 73-year old Alabama woman visiting relatives in Taylor, Michigan burned to death in a mobile home Thursday morning in a fire rescuers believe could have been ignited by a space heater.

Michigan legislators pass right-to-work bill as police attack protesters

By Shannon Jones, 7 December 2012

The WSWS and SEP condemn the police attack on workers protesting Michigan’s right-to-work legislation.

Behind the growth of D.C. charter schools

By Trent Novak and Nick Barrickman, 7 December 2012

An examination of the personnel behind the charterization of the Washington, D.C. school system reveals private profit as the motive.

The American establishment and the British royal pregnancy

By David Walsh, 7 December 2012

The announcement that Kate Middleton, wife of Britain’s Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge, is expecting a baby has produced unseemly squeals of delight from the American media and establishment generally.

Locked out American Crystal Sugar workers reject contract again

By Michael Stapleton, 7 December 2012

Sixteen months into a lockout, workers at American Crystal Sugar Company rejected the company’s contract demands for the fourth time.

Citigroup to cut 11,000 jobs

By James Brewer, 6 December 2012

Citigroup’s announcement of global layoffs, the first step in the restructuring plan of its new CEO, was met with enthusiasm by investors.

Who are Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles?

By Andre Damon, 6 December 2012

The co-chairs of Obama administration’s deficit reduction committee are millionaires committed to make the working class pay for the crisis of the capitalist system.

ISO leader endorses Chicago school closings

By Alexander Fangmann, 6 December 2012

Anyone who may still harbor illusions that the International Socialist Organization has anything to do with socialism should take a look at the video of ISO leader Jesse Sharkey’s appearance on Chicago Tonight.

Large turnout at meeting on attacks on public schools in Michigan

By Walter Gilberti, 6 December 2012

A meeting on state legislation aimed at further expanding charter and online education schemes drew a large crowd in Rochester, Michigan Monday.

Congressman Jack Brooks, Rex ’84 and the Iran-Contra affair

By Patrick Martin, 6 December 2012

Former congressman Jack Brooks, a liberal Democrat who represented an east Texas district for 42 years, died Tuesday at the age of 89.

ILWU ends Los Angeles port strike

By our reporter, 6 December 2012

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union on Tuesday ended the eight-day strike by clerical workers, which had shut down the major US ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California.

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.