Democratic Rights in the US

Democrats oversee record level of extreme poverty in Philadelphia

By Genevieve Leigh, 25 July 2016

The Democratic National Convention opens Monday in Philadelphia, a city where the Democrat's preside over extreme poverty, massive inequality and a dilapidated education system.

Virginia Supreme Court orders revocation of voting rights for 200,000 felons

By Shelley Connor, 25 July 2016

The ruling, which passed 4-3, struck down an executive order that would have reinstated the voting rights of Virginians who had completed sentences for felonies.

Highest ranking officer acquitted in Freddie Gray killing

By Gabriel Black, 19 July 2016

Lieutenant Brian Rice joins a long list of police officers involved in murderous attacks who have been exonerated.

Ex-Marine guns down three police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

By Patrick Martin, 18 July 2016

The attack, five miles from the store where Alton Sterling was killed by police on July 6, is the second multiple shooting of police in the United States in the past 10 days.

US releases Saudi documents: 9/11 coverup exposed

By Bill Van Auken, 16 July 2016

The declassification of the section of the 9/11 commission report on Saudi ties to 9/11 point to a deliberate distortion and exploitation of the attacks as a pretext for war.

Fresno video shows police murder of Dylan Noble

By Patrick Martin, 15 July 2016

Two cops fired two shots into the white youth as he stood a few feet away, then two more, including a shotgun blast, as he lay twitching on the ground.

Amid nationwide protests against police violence

Officials prepare for mass repression at Republican National Convention in Cleveland

By Carlos Delgado, 13 July 2016

Security officials have been expanding police-state measures and deliberately targeting protesters for surveillance and harassment.

Immigrants in Los Angeles denounce police repression worldwide

By our reporters, 13 July 2016

Workers and youth from El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico expressed opposition to state violence, poverty and social inequality.

Hundreds arrested in US protests against police killings

By Shannon Jones, 11 July 2016

Thousands took to the streets across the United States to voice their outrage over two recent police killings of unarmed black men.

“I am against something wrong, regardless of what the color of someone’s skin is”

Protesters speak out on police killings

By Nick Barrickman and Matthew Taylor, 11 July 2016

Protesters in Washington DC and Jacksonville, Florida, among the thousands who demonstrated against police killings this weekend, spoke with the World Socialist Web Site.

New video shows off-duty New York cop murdering motorist

By Sandy English, 11 July 2016

A store surveillance video has surfaced that shows the killing of Delrawn Small by off-duty New York Police Department officer Wayne Isaacs at a traffic altercation.

Video exposes Fresno police lies in shooting death of Dylan Noble

By John Burton, 11 July 2016

Noble, an unarmed 19-year-old white youth, was killed by two police officers from Fresno, an impoverished city of about one-half million located in the heart of California’s Central Valley.

The police killings in Louisiana and Minnesota: The class issues

By Andre Damon, 8 July 2016

Millions of people around the world have reacted with shock, outrage and revulsion at the latest videos and images of police murder in the United States.

Protests erupt throughout the US against string of police killings

By Tom Hall, 8 July 2016

Philando Castile's fiancée livestreamed the aftermath of the grisly shooting, which occurred during a traffic stop Wednesday evening.

FBI director defends decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton

By Patrick Martin, 8 July 2016

FBI Director James Comey testified Thursday about his decision not to bring criminal charges against Clinton for her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

Protests erupt following brutal police killing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

By Tom Hall, 7 July 2016

The grisly execution-style murder is only the latest in an epidemic of police killings which have become a regular feature of American life.

Chelsea Manning hospitalized, then returned to prison

By Patrick Martin, 7 July 2016

While some media reports claimed a suicide attempt was involved, this has not been confirmed by the Army or Manning’s attorneys.

Wisconsin Department of Corrections force-feeds hunger strikers

By Gary Joad, 7 July 2016

The prisoners are protesting solitary confinement.

Family files lawsuit against TSA for violent arrest of teenage cancer patient

By George Gallanis, 5 July 2016

Hannah Cohen, who is partially deaf, blind and paralyzed, was arrested while traveling home from cancer treatment and suffered bruising on her face and bloody cuts on her head.

Notes on police violence in America

Louisiana sheriff uses anti-Semitic slur, threatens to shoot federal prosecutor

By E.P. Bannon, 4 July 2016

Despite the numerous federal probes and empty police reform initiatives, law enforcement continues to assume an increasingly arrogant and thuggish character.

Supreme Court overturns bribery conviction for former Virginia governor

By Tom Carter, 4 July 2016

The unanimous decision is a green light for the ever-more direct domination of corporate and financial interests over the American political system.

Law-and-order campaign follows sentencing in Stanford sexual assault case

By Eric London, 30 June 2016

The California state legislature is poised to enact new mandatory sentencing laws that will greatly expand the prison population and the police powers of the state.

US Supreme Court strikes down Texas anti-abortion law

By John Burton, 28 June 2016

In a 5-3 decision the Supreme Court invalidated two provisions of a Texas law that deliberately imposed burdensome requirements intended to close medical clinics that provide abortion services.

Divided Supreme Court rejects challenge to affirmative action

By Tom Carter, 27 June 2016

The protracted and embittered litigation over affirmative action highlights the policy’s central importance to the political, corporate and military establishment.

Congressional Democrats stage “sit-in” stunt on gun control

By Tom Hall, 25 June 2016

Congressional Democrats demanded that the House vote on reactionary legislation which would expand the repressive scope of the government's secret “no-fly” list.

Third Baltimore cop let off in Freddie Gray murder case

By Genevieve Leigh, 24 June 2016

The acquittal of Goodson is the third exoneration of a police officer charged in the killing of the 25-year-old African American man.

Landmark Supreme Court ruling backs illegal police searches

By Tom Hall, 22 June 2016

The 5-3 ruling removes penalties for illegal searches, effectively gutting the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, a core element of the Bill of Rights.

The social roots of the mass shooting in Orlando

By Barry Grey, 15 June 2016

The question that is imperiously raised by events such as the Orlando massacre is: What is it about American society that so frequently leads mentally unstable individuals to resort to mass murder?

Questions mount over FBI handling of Orlando gunman

By Patrick Martin, 14 June 2016

The FBI acknowledges having investigated Omar Mateen in 2013, after he claimed a connection to the Boston Marathon bombing, and again in 2014, but claims to have dropped any monitoring of his activities.

The Orlando massacre and the 2016 US election

By Bill Van Auken, 14 June 2016

Both major parties’ presumptive presidential nominees have rushed to exploit the tragedy in Orlando to promote war and reaction.

The right-wing campaign over the Stanford University sexual assault case

By Tom Carter, 11 June 2016

The media and political campaign that is unfolding in America around the sentencing of Stanford University freshman Brock Allen Turner is fundamentally reactionary.

Five New York City Rikers Island prison guards found guilty in beating

By Sandy English, 10 June 2016

A jury convicted guards at the Rikers Island jail complex this week on several counts in the vicious 2012 attack on inmate Jahmal Lightfoot.

New York court allows police to cover up mass surveillance operations

By Daniel de Vries, 10 June 2016

The NYPD's successful denial of an open records request about spying operation sets a potentially far-reaching precedent.

Wrongfully convicted Detroit teenager released after eight years in prison

By Tom Hall, 10 June 2016

Prosecutors refused to reopen Davontae Sanford’s case even after the real killer stepped forward only weeks after Sanford’s 2008 conviction.

Mass voter disenfranchisement in US elections

By Tom Carter, 9 June 2016

Voter ID laws are already in effect in 33 of 50 states. This year, new restrictions on voting will be operative in 17 states for the first time in a presidential election.

Police carry out militarized lockdown of UCLA after murder-suicide

By Adam Mclean, 3 June 2016

Multiple police departments, including several SWAT teams as well as the FBI, swarmed the California university in response to reports of a shooting on the campus.

The capitalist crisis and the defense of democratic rights

By Andre Damon and Alex Lantier, 23 May 2016

Underlying the global breakdown of democratic institutions is the world economic crisis, the growth of militarism and war, and, above all, the intensification of the class struggle.

Oklahoma governor vetoes bill that would make performing abortions a felony

By Kate Randall, 23 May 2016

If passed, SB1552 would have been the most sweeping anti-abortion bill in any US state since the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade

The controversy in the US over transgender access to public bathrooms

By Tom Carter, 18 May 2016

The actions of the Democrats with respect to the North Carolina “bathroom bill” reflect their strategy of using identity politics to provide a cover for their right-wing and anti-democratic policies.

Tampa, Florida area police operate as guardians of Walmart’s profits

By Matthew MacEgan, 16 May 2016

A recent investigation provides details on the extent to which police departments in the Tampa Bay area have become a virtual private security force for the retail giant.

Missouri carries out first execution of 2016, Alabama execution stayed

By Kate Randall, 13 May 2016

Earl Forrest died by lethal injection Wednesday in Missouri, while Vernon Madison received a stay just hours before his scheduled execution on Thursday in Alabama.

Islamophobic provocations on California campuses

By David Brown, 7 May 2016

Right-wing efforts to equate opposition to Israel with anti-Semitism have led to a series of provocations against student activists on several California campuses.

US intelligence agencies expand electronic surveillance worldwide

By Thomas Gaist, 6 May 2016

Congress is reviewing statutory changes to a little known “Rule 41” that will allow the FBI and other security agencies to hack and spy on computers and networks anywhere in the world, based on a single, non-specific warrant.

The 9/11 cover-up continues

By Andre Damon, 3 May 2016

Over the weekend, CIA Director John Brennan denied allegations of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the September 11 terror attacks and demanded that documents pointing to its complicity remain hidden from the American people.

May Day protest in Seattle results in nine arrests

By George Gallanis, 3 May 2016

News reports indicate that the protesters, dressed in black, threw rocks and bricks, among other things. Nine arrests were reported.

Political prisoner Gary Tyler freed from Angola prison after 41 years

By Helen Hayes, 2 May 2016

Gary Tyler’s frame-up and decades-long incarceration expose the brutal class character of the American judicial system and its vast prison complex.

Ruling upholds North Carolina anti-voting rights law

By Barry Grey, 27 April 2016

Monday’s ruling is part of an escalating attack on the right to vote and democratic rights more broadly.

Federal judge allows lawsuit to proceed against CIA contractors involved in torture

By Tom Carter, 25 April 2016

The case represents the first time a lawsuit in US courts based on the CIA torture program was allowed to proceed past the initial stages.

Illinois legislature agrees to fund higher education at 30 percent of last year’s level

By Alexander Fangmann, 25 April 2016

With no end in sight on the ongoing budget impasse, the agreement between state Democrats and Republicans may be the only money institutions receive for the year.

Microsoft sues US Justice Department over secret data requests

By Josh Varlin, 16 April 2016

The company’s complaint makes clear that it regularly receives requests from the government for its customers’ private data stored on Microsoft’s remote servers.

New revelations of violence at Chicago police “black site”

By George Marlowe, 13 April 2016

Internal Chicago police documents reveal violent abuse of detainees at the secret interrogation center in Homan Square.

Bruce Springsteen cancels North Carolina concert in protest against anti-LGBT laws

By Evan Blake, 11 April 2016

Springsteen has been joined by dozens of corporations who do not share his regard for democratic rights.

US Supreme Court hears arguments on corporate “religious right” to bar birth control to employees

By Tom Carter, 11 April 2016

The cases are based on a tendentious conception of “religious liberty,” as well as the pseudo-legal doctrine of supposed constitutional “rights” for corporations.

Alabama police gun down bipolar woman after family calls for help

By Shelley Connor, 7 April 2016

Melissa Boarts’ parents called 911 hoping someone would intervene to keep her from harming herself.

Mississippi governor signs anti-gay law

By Evan Blake, 6 April 2016

The law, which allows public and private businesses to refuse service to gay people, effectively legalizes discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Immigrant farmworker sentenced to 25 years to life for leaving her newborn in California strawberry field

By Eden Ferrera, 31 March 2016

Nineteen-year-old Rosalba Moran, an undocumented immigrant and victim of rape, was charged with first-degree murder.

US federal appeals court ruling could speed up executions

By Kate Randall, 29 March 2016

The Ninth US Circuit Court’s ruling comes as the number of death row exonerees continues to grow, including 156 individuals since 1973.

New York City Rikers Island prison guards on trial for viciously beating inmate

By Sandy English, 29 March 2016

The Democratic Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio has ruled out any reform of the prison system, including closing Rikers Island, the location of regular brutality and abuse.

Indiana and Florida pass new anti-abortion laws

By Gabriel Black, 28 March 2016

The two laws come amidst ongoing attempts to whip up hysteria over doctored videos that were intended to frame Planned Parenthood for allegedly selling fetal tissue.

New York prosecutor urges no jail time for killer cop

By Daniel de Vries, 28 March 2016

Brooklyn’s first African American district attorney is pressing for probation for the NYPD officer convicted of killing of Akai Gurley.

Obama high court pick Merrick Garland: A record of support for police powers

By Tom Carter, 28 March 2016

Garland’s judicial career parallels the rightward trajectory of the American judiciary over the past two decades, and especially since the launch of the “war on terror.”

University of California installs secret spyware system

By Norisa Diaz, 24 March 2016

The UC board president and ex-homeland security chief, Janet Napolitano, has overseen the installation of a massive spyware system.

Obama’s choice to replace Scalia on Supreme Court had won Republican praise

By John Andrews, 17 March 2016

President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland, a federal judge and former US prosecutor, to fill the Supreme Court vacancy caused by the death of arch-reactionary Antonin Scalia.

Obama backs attack on encrypted communication

By Evan Blake, 14 March 2016

Speaking at the South by Southwest festival, Obama sought to minimize the far-reaching scope of the FBI’s demands that Apple create anti-encryption software.

Pentagon deploying drone aircraft within the US

By Joseph Kishore, 12 March 2016

The use of military drones is part of a broader expansion of domestic military activity, under the cover of the “war on terror,” which is a serious warning to the working class.

Women inmates file lawsuit against New York state prisons for sexual abuse

By Robert Fowler, 11 March 2016

Officers are not searched upon entering the facilities, so they are able to bring in drugs and alcohol, which according to the lawsuit are then used to coerce prisoners.

Baltimore school police officers face felony charges for assaulting student

By Nick Barrickman, 10 March 2016

The student, whose name has been withheld from the public, endured injuries to his face and ribs.

Leading tech firms join Apple suit over iPhone encryption

By Thomas Gaist, 5 March 2016

FBI demands for access to Apple encryption systems are fueling divisions within the US political and corporate elite.

Albuquerque, New Mexico residents protest fatal shooting by US Marshals

By D. Lencho, 4 March 2016

Wide discrepancies exist between the US Marshals’ version of the shooting death of Edgar Camacho-Alvarado and witness accounts.

FBI director, Apple lawyer testify before Congress on encryption dispute

By Barry Grey, 2 March 2016

The hearing indicated that a majority on the House Judiciary Committee will support a law compelling tech firms to provide the government backdoor access to encrypted information.

Poor evicted under nuisance laws by New York City police

By Steve Light, 1 March 2016

The NYPD is carrying out housing evictions without warning using a “nuisance” law, even when no crime was committed.

Police refuse to release video showing shooting of Salt Lake City teenager

By David Brown, 29 February 2016

Protests have erupted in Salt Lake City, Utah after Saturday night’s police shooting of 17-year-old Abdi Mohamed, who was reportedly holding a broomstick when he was critically injured.

Apple counters government demands as White House expands NSA data sharing

By Tom Hall, 27 February 2016

Thursday’s court filing by Apple accused the government of seeking to establish a precedent to “conscript” American corporations into spying on the population.

US government case against Apple would create broad precedent to override phone encryption

By David Brown, 25 February 2016

Newly released documents highlight the spurious claim of the government that the issue of Apple encryption is limited to one case of terrorism in San Bernardino, California.

White House spearheads assault on cell phone encryption

By Andre Damon, 23 February 2016

The Obama administration’s demand that Apple hack a single iPhone is the spearhead of a concerted drive to undermine the use of encryption worldwide.

Solitary confinement and the brutality of the US prison system

“Angola 3” prisoner Albert Woodfox released after 45 years

By Kate Randall, 23 February 2016

The circumstances surrounding Woodfox’s trial and incarceration epitomize the brutality of the United States prison system, and the arbitrary and sadistic manner in which judicial authorities mete out their punishments.

Illinois inmates terrorized by prison guard unit

By George Gallanis, 22 February 2016

A class action lawsuit has been filed by hundreds of prisoners from four Southern Illinois state prisons over sexual humiliation and other forms of sadistic punishment by guards.

Antonin Scalia’s death during secret junket points to new ethical violations

By John Burton, 20 February 2016

Antonin Scalia died as he lived, violating legal ethics by hobnobbing with wealthy and powerful people whose interests are directly affected by decisions of the Supreme Court.

White House steps up drive to outlaw encryption

By Andre Damon, 19 February 2016

Tuesday’s ruling by a US judge demanding that Apple create a “backdoor” to its mobile device operating system is part of the drive to weaken, or even criminalize, encrypted communications.

FBI wins court order forcing Apple to install backdoor in iPhone security systems

By Thomas Gaist, 18 February 2016

The Obama administration is seeking to use last year’s attacks in San Bernardino to intensify the assault on democratic rights and expand the police-state spying powers of the government.

The glorification of Antonin Scalia

By Tom Carter, 16 February 2016

The sickening tributes across the official US political and media spectrum to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly on Saturday at the age of 79, are a barometer of the putrefaction of American democracy.

The legacy of Antonin Scalia

By Tom Carter, 15 February 2016

Scalia has personified the rightward march of the American political establishment over the past three decades, as it jettisoned what remained of its commitment to democratic institutions.

Supreme Court blocks Obama plan on climate change

By John Burton, 12 February 2016

The Supreme Court has issued a summary order that effectively invalidates the Obama administration’s new regulations to lower carbon emissions from power plants.

New Mexico: Relatives sue sheriff for the fatal pepper ball shooting of 88-year-old

By D. Lencho, 9 February 2016

Last September, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputies fired over 50 rounds of pepper balls at 88-year-old great-grandfather Fidencio Duran.

UN panel condemns detention of WikiLeaks founder

Stop the persecution of Julian Assange!

By Bill Van Auken, 5 February 2016

Despite a ruling that Assange has been subjected to “arbitrary detention,” both the UK and Sweden vow to continue his persecution.

Albuquerque, New Mexico police murder case moves towards trial

By D. Lencho, 5 February 2016

It has been nearly two years since the March 16, 2014 fatal shooting of homeless camper James Boyd by Albuquerque police officers.

US: Georgia executes oldest inmate on its death row

By Kate Randall, 4 February 2016

The Supreme Court denied a last-minute request for a stay, clearing the way for Brandon Astor Jones’ lethal injection early Wednesday morning.

CIA planned rendition operation to kidnap Edward Snowden

By Thomas Gaist, 30 January 2016

The CIA stationed a plane in Copenhagen for the specific purpose of seizing the whistleblower, documents published by Danish media on Thursday show.

Detroit schools’ injunction against teachers: An anti-democratic attempt to crush protests

By Eric London, 23 January 2016

DPS is threatening to fire all protesting teachers, encouraging teachers to snoop on each other and employing reactionary legal arguments to attack public education.

Illinois professor fired for expressing sympathy for Muslims

By Joe Williams, 18 January 2016

Wheaton College has begun termination proceedings against Dr. Larycia Hawkins, a tenured professor who wore a hijab during the Christian Advent period to protest anti-Muslim bigotry.

Obama’s State of the Union address and the breakdown of American democracy

By Eric London and Barry Grey, 14 January 2016

There is an objective significance to the reduction of the State of the Union address, an American political tradition that goes back to George Washington, to an empty and cynical media spectacle.

Supreme Court hears arguments in union dues case

By Shannon Jones, 12 January 2016

The lawsuit targets millions of dollars in union revenue from labor agreements that compel public employees to pay a fee to a union even if they choose not to be a member.

Obama seeks Silicon Valley aid to spy on social media

By Thomas Gaist, 9 January 2016

A delegation of top Obama administration officials met with tech industry leaders Friday as part of efforts to step up government spying on social media and other online communications.

FBI arrests mentally ill Rochester man in fabricated ISIS plot

By Josh Varlin, 9 January 2016

The FBI arrested Emanuel Lutchman, a 25-year-old man with a history of mental illness, based on a supposed plot to attack a bar in Rochester, New York, on New Year’s Eve.

New Zealand court approves Kim Dotcom’s extradition to the US

By John Braddock, 8 January 2016

The ruling is a significant legal victory for the US and New Zealand’s National Party government, which has operated in concert with Washington throughout the affair.

Chicago attorney resigns after judge rules he concealed evidence in police shooting case

By Alexander Fangmann, 7 January 2016

A Senior Corporation Counsel for the city resigned after a judge sanctioned him and overturned a jury verdict that found in favor of two police officers in a wrongful death lawsuit.