Democratic Rights in the US

Trump delivers diatribe against press at CIA headquarters

By Barry Grey, 23 January 2017

Trump’s attack on the corporate-controlled press underscores the degree of tension and conflict within the state as the new administration takes office.

Massive police mobilization on eve of Trump’s inauguration

By Shelley Connor, 20 January 2017

Although the Department of Homeland Security cannot identify a “specific, credible threat” to the transfer of power on January 20, security for the inauguration will be particularly stringent.

NYPD to take over security at New York City homeless shelters

By Christopher Tiberio, 20 January 2017

With an explosion of the city’s homeless population, the NYPD has taken control of security in the shelters as a way to monitor and terrorize their temporary residents.

Chelsea Manning sentence commuted after seven years of brutal imprisonment

By Patrick Martin, 18 January 2017

Manning’s trial and imprisonment for leaking evidence of war crimes was itself a crime, for which the US military and Obama administration are responsible.

Unanimous US Supreme Court insists on broad immunity for police

By Tom Carter, 18 January 2017

The eight justices on the US Supreme Court complained that lower federal courts are not granting immunity to police officers often enough.

United States ends “Wet Foot, Dry Foot” policy for Cuban migrants

By Alexander Fangmann, 18 January 2017

The immediate end of preferential immigration policies for Cubans is entirely in line with Obama’s role as deporter-in-chief and Trump’s anti-immigrant stance.

From Selma to the CIA

John Lewis, Donald Trump and the demise of the “civil rights” establishment

By Patrick Martin, 16 January 2017

The former civil rights leader and longtime Democratic congressman has now joined the campaign to prepare US public opinion for war with Russia.

FBI informant at Best Buy’s Geek Squad conducted warrantless searches of customers’ devices

By Zaida Green, 14 January 2017

Best Buy’s “Geek Squad” central repair team had at least one supervisor that was an active FBI informant who was paid $500 and subsequently discovered allegedly incriminating evidence.

Congress grovels before the CIA as it escalates “Russian hacking” hysteria

By Patrick Martin, 6 January 2017

At Thursday’s congressional hearing, US Senators seemed to be in competition to demonstrate the most abject loyalty to the intelligence agencies.

Los Angeles legal defense fund provides meager aid to immigrants

By Toby Reese, 4 January 2017

A joint measure by the City and County of Los Angeles will provide $10 million in funding for legal assistance to residents facing deportation proceedings, far below need.

US government collecting social media accounts of visitors to country

By E.P. Milligan, 31 December 2016

The request is part of the online Electronic System for Travel Authorization, a visa waiver application that many visitors must complete before traveling to the United States.

Edward Snowden accused of having Russian intelligence ties

By Matthew MacEgan, 23 December 2016

A recently declassified House Intelligence Committee report smears Snowden as a dishonest miscreant who stole information for Moscow’s and his own personal gain.

Texas moves forward with plans to defund Planned Parenthood

By Shelley Connor, 23 December 2016

Thousands of low-income women will potentially be affected by the state’s decision to deny Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

Justice Department report estimates nearly 2,000 “arrest-related deaths” annually in US

By our reporter, 19 December 2016

The number of police killings, or homicides, recorded by the Bureau of Justice Statistics is more than twice the number reported by the FBI.

Bakersfield, California police shoot unarmed 73-year-old man

By Shannon Jones, 16 December 2016

The shooting of Francisco Serna, who was suffering from dementia, is the latest horrifying episode in the continuing wave of police violence in the United States.

Newly-enacted Ohio law designed to “end abortion in America”

By Ed Hightower, 15 December 2016

Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law a reactionary ban on abortions after only 20 weeks, with no exception for cases of rape or incest.

Security theater at Trump Tower in New York City

By Mark Witkowski and Philip Guelpa, 14 December 2016

Extreme security measures, representing a further “normalization” of a pervasive militarized police presence, have been established at Trump Tower.

US Supreme Court denies appeals of four death row inmates

By Kate Randall, 14 December 2016

On Monday, the US Supreme Court denied review in four death penalty cases, each of which had been relisted by the court multiple times.

A cabinet of generals: Trump appoints John Kelly to lead Department of Homeland Security

By Eric London, 8 December 2016

The unprecedented prominence of the military in the incoming cabinet is a dangerous sign that the American ruling class is preparing for war abroad and repression at home.

The political issues in the Standing Rock protests

By Patrick Martin, 8 December 2016

It is impossible to defend the environment or the rights of Native Americans within the straitjacket of the Democratic Party and the capitalist system.

Ohio legislature passes “heartbeat” anti-abortion bill

By Marcus Day, 8 December 2016

The law would criminalize abortions performed once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks after conception.

Georgia carries out its ninth execution of 2016

By Kranti Kumara, 8 December 2016

William Sallie was put to death by lethal injection in Georgia Tuesday night after the US Supreme Court rejected his plea for a stay of execution.

In counterterrorism speech, Obama hints at danger of dictatorship

By Patrick Martin, 7 December 2016

In a speech to a military audience in Florida, the US president twice cited the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal as a warning to the incoming administration of Donald Trump.

Trump transition team announces continued support for Dakota Access Pipeline

By Kevin Martinez, 6 December 2016

The announcement follows the Army Corp of Engineers’ decision to delay construction of the pipeline under Lake Oahe.

US Army Corps postpones confrontation over Dakota Access Pipeline construction

By our reporter, 5 December 2016

The announcement that the US Army Corps of Engineers will not grant an easement for construction essentially puts off a final decision until after Obama leaves office.

Tennessee woman charged in attempted coat-hanger abortion

By Naomi Spencer, 5 December 2016

A Tennessee woman accused of attempting to terminate her pregnancy with a coat hanger last year was arraigned late last month on three felony charges.

Trump declares support for Dakota Access Pipeline ahead of evacuation order against protesters

By Joseph Kishore, 3 December 2016

Under the watchful eye of the Obama administration, protesters have been subjected to brutal violence from the police and National Guard.

Canada’s Resources Minister threatens to use army against pipeline protests

By our reporter, 3 December 2016

The Liberal government has declared it is prepared to use force against those protesting expansion of Canada’s oil pipelines.

Obama administration defends indefinite detention of immigrants before Supreme Court

By Bill Van Auken, 3 December 2016

Obama, who earned the title “deporter in chief,” is handing over to Trump a massive and brutally repressive immigration enforcement system.

NYU’s corporate leadership bars socialist student group from campus

By Eric London, 3 December 2016

The decision by the Student Activities Board to reject the IYSSE’s application for group status sheds light on the ties between NYU, the US military and Wall Street.

Judge allows police to use grenades against Dakota Access Pipeline protesters

By Zaida Green, 2 December 2016

Police will continue to use water cannons, concussion grenades, lead-filled beanbags, and chemical agents against protesters.

US Navy punishes family that revealed Flint water poisoning

By Zac Corrigan, 2 December 2016

A family fighting to expose the Flint water crisis say they have been subjected to retaliatory intimidation and abuse by the US Navy.

North Dakota Governor orders “emergency evacuation” of Dakota Access pipeline protest site

By Kevin Martinez, 1 December 2016

The Army Corps of Engineers has set a deadline of December 5 for protesters to leave the encampment or face prosecution for “trespassing.”

President-elect Trump on flag-burning: The crisis of American democracy

By Joseph Kishore, 1 December 2016

Trump’s statement on flag-burning reflects not only the authoritarian disposition of the president-elect, but the far-reaching decay of bourgeois democracy in the United States.

The “fake news” furor and the threat of Internet censorship

By Kevin Reed, 1 December 2016

There is more than a whiff of McCarthyism in the crusade by the corporate-controlled media against “fake news” on social media and the Internet.

US president-elect says flag burners should be stripped of their citizenship

By John Burton, 30 November 2016

President-elect Donald Trump’s tweet that people who burn the American flag in protest should be stripped of their citizenship is a repudiation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Trump election boosts anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic attacks

By our reporter, 29 November 2016

Hundreds of hate crimes have been reported since election day.

Obama denounces recount effort

By Eric London, 28 November 2016

President Barack Obama is denouncing an entirely legitimate legal action to verify the outcome of the election in states where the result was exceptionally close.

Police attack on Dakota Access Pipeline protest results in 300 injuries

By Genevieve Leigh, 25 November 2016

Sophia Wilansky, 21, was severely injured by a police concussion grenade, and may require an arm amputation.

King Donald meets his media courtiers

By Patrick Martin, 23 November 2016

Trump gave the media executives and anchors a tongue-lashing, creating an atmosphere that one cowed participant compared to a “firing squad.”

Obama rejects pardon for Snowden

By Jerry White, 21 November 2016

In an interview with German media outlets, Obama rejected a presidential pardon for NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

A chilling attack on free speech

Trump attempts to bully cast of Hamilton over criticism of anti-democratic policies

By David Walsh, 21 November 2016

President-elect Donald Trump responded to concerns about his incoming administration as expressed by the cast of the Broadway show Hamilton with a series of thuggish, threatening Tweets.

Trump transition team discussing registry of Muslims

By our reporter, 19 November 2016

In the wake of a television appearance in which a Trump campaign activist said that a registry of Muslim visitors to the United States could be justified under the “precedent” set by the mass internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, a leader of the Trump transition team has revealed that a formal proposal for such a registry is under discussion.

Ohio judge declares mistrial in the murder of Sam DuBose

By Samuel Davidson, 17 November 2016

A former police officer was charged in the death of an unarmed black motorist during a traffic stop.

Cop who killed Philando Castile facing manslaughter charges

By Zaida Green, 17 November 2016

Officer Jeronimo Yanez faces charges of second-degree manslaughter and dangerous discharge of a firearm after shooting Castile seven times during a traffic stop in July.

High school walkouts, protests against Trump enter second week

By our reporters, 16 November 2016

The protests on Tuesday follow the press conference of Obama on Monday, when he urged Americans to “reconcile themselves” with a Trump presidency.

Trump’s candidate for Homeland Security chief calls for suppression of anti-Trump protests

By Tom Carter, 16 November 2016

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has unleashed a series of tweets calling for a “state of emergency” to be declared and for the ongoing anti-Trump protests to be violently “quelled” by the military.

Two death penalty propositions on California ballot

By Adam Mclean, 3 November 2016

From a class standpoint, it is impossible to support an anti-death penalty proposition that expands life imprisonment without parole and other forms of punishment of prisoners.

Popular support grows for anti-oil pipeline protesters in North Dakota

By Kevin Martinez, 2 November 2016

The mainly Native American protesters have received over $1 million in crowdsource funding, but only silence from Hillary Clinton and attacks from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

New York: Rikers Island prison guards found guilty in beating and cover-up

By Sandy English, 1 November 2016

Four guards at New York City’s Rikers Island prison complex were convicted of brutalizing inmate Carl Williams in 2013 and falsifying records.

Violent police attack on anti-oil pipeline protest in North Dakota

By Zaida Green, 29 October 2016

Police officers in riot gear from five states were supported by National Guard troops and armored vehicles, arresting 141 protesters.

Surveillance requests expand by 500 percent in Washington, DC

By Nick Barrickman, 27 October 2016

Court dockets released to the ACLU in July show that federal officials’ requests to conduct electronic surveillance on the population in the DC metropolitan region has skyrocketed in recent years.

The TV film “Terror” and the attack on democratic rights in Germany

By Johannes Stern and Peter Schwarz, 24 October 2016

The TV film “Terror—Your Verdict” was a deliberate political spectacle to promote German militarism, undermine the constitution, and nullify elementary democratic rights.

One out of two Americans in facial recognition databases

By Shelley Connor, 20 October 2016

A recent report by Georgetown Law Center reveals that half of American adults are in photo recognition databases maintained by law enforcement agencies.

Justice Department announces investigation into Alabama prisons as US prison strike continues

By Gary Joad, 13 October 2016

The investigation of prison conditions in Alabama coincides with the largest prison strike in US history, a protest action that is being virtually blacked out by the corporate media.

Yahoo spied on “hundreds of millions” of email accounts on behalf of US spy agencies

By Nick Barrickman, 6 October 2016

The revelation further reveals the near-seamless collusion of the major internet and telecommunications firms with the US intelligence apparatus.

Los Angeles police kill second man in two days

By Zaida Green, 5 October 2016

The unidentified young man was shot to death just a day after the fatal shooting of another youth, 18-year-old Carnell Snell, Jr.

Video raises questions in 2012 New York police killing of Ramarley Graham

By Sandy English, 5 October 2016

A new surveillance video obtained by the New York Daily News shows paramedics covering and then uncovering the corpse of Ramarley Graham, who was killed by police in 2012.

Death toll mounts in US police killings

By Patrick Martin, 3 October 2016

US police killed at least 19 men last week. Ranging in ages from 18 to 53, the victims were shot, tased or, in one case, beaten and asphyxiated.

Protests continue in El Cajon, California over the police killing of Alfred Olango

By Genevieve Leigh, 3 October 2016

Recently-released video shows an officer firing deadly shots at unarmed Olango less than two minutes after arriving on the scene.

Pasadena police kill father of eight during help call

By Dan Conway and John Andrews, 3 October 2016

Pasadena police officers dispatched to assist with a disturbed man, tased, beat and ultimately asphyxiated Reginald Thomas, Jr., a father of eight, in front of his family.

El Cajon, California police release video showing fatal shooting of Alfred Olango

By Kevin Martinez, 1 October 2016

The videos have been released in an effort to quell dissent, after the San Diego suburb saw three nights of protests and the deployment of riot police.

Notes on police violence

Louisiana police release video of officers killing six-year-old Jeremy Mardis in 2015

By George Gallanis, 30 September 2016

Mardis was shot as he sat in his father’s car when police emptied 18 rounds into the vehicle, severely injuring the unarmed man and killing the boy instantly.

Charlotte police release videos showing Keith Scott with arms down as he was shot

By Tom Carter, 26 September 2016

In an effort to quell ongoing unrest, officials in Charlotte, North Carolina released videos Saturday that show portions of Keith Scott’s fatal encounter with police officers on September 20.

Police kill 23-year-old man in Louisville, Nebraska

By Nick Barrickman, 26 September 2016

Authorities have refused to release information on whether Austin M. Baier had been armed or whether he had in any way threatened deputy Tyler Reiff.

Biden meets with Central American leaders on refugee crackdown

By Genevieve Leigh, 24 September 2016

Vice President Biden met with leaders of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to further draconian US immigration policies against the thousands of refugees fleeing the region.

UC Berkeley reinstates class on Palestine after protests

By David Brown, 22 September 2016

The class had been suspended after a campaign by right-wing Zionist groups and was reinstated when the actions of the UC administration became more widely known.

Tulsa, Oklahoma police release videos of slaying of unarmed man

By Zaida Green, 21 September 2016

Dashboard and aerial footage show Terence Crutcher surrendering peacefully to police before being shot and left to bleed to death on the road.

SEP candidate files motion for restraining order against West Virginia Secretary of State

By our reporter, 21 September 2016

On Tuesday, Naomi Spencer, the SEP’s candidate for West Virginia House of Delegates, filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to halt the distribution of ballots.

Governor deploys National Guard and state police after bombing in New York

By Philip Guelpa, 19 September 2016

Following the explosion of one bomb and the discovery of a second in an upscale Manhattan neighborhood, police and military presence is heightened throughout the city.

US prisons ration expensive hepatitis C drugs

By Brad Dixon, 17 September 2016

Fewer than 4 percent of US prisoners with hepatitis C receive the newer drugs for the disease due to their exorbitant price.

Columbus, Ohio 13-year-old gunned down by police

By Shannon Jones, 16 September 2016

A companion to the boy killed by police disputed claims that the victim brandished a weapon, as the wave of officer-involved killings in the United States continues.

Notes on Police Violence

Murrieta, California police caught on video savagely beating unarmed man

By Kevin Martinez, 13 September 2016

Three officers pinned Alejandro Rojo to the ground and yelled “stop resisting” before proceeding to punch and kick him repeatedly.

Obama pledges to veto legislation allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi government

By Tom Carter, 12 September 2016

This legislation, together with the Obama administration’s opposition to it, marks the continued unraveling of the official narrative of the September 11 attacks.

Political prisoner Chelsea Manning begins hunger strike

By Tom Hall, 12 September 2016

Manning began her hunger strike in military prison on Friday in protest against the abuse and harassment that drove her to attempt suicide in July.

Twenty-year-old Muslim recruit killed by officers at Marine boot camp

By Eric London, 12 September 2016

Raheel Siddiqui, the son of a Michigan autoworker, jumped out of a third-floor window after being abused by officers at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Baltimore police conducted privately-funded aerial surveillance of city for nine months

By Zaida Green, 10 September 2016

The technology was developed in 2007 for use in the Iraq War, and has now been deployed against the population of a major American city.

Chicago mayor plans to boost size of police force in response to social crisis

By George Marlowe, 9 September 2016

The call for greater policing and an escalation of law-and-order measures comes on the heels of growing public disaffection with the entire political establishment.

FBI director says agency preparing attack on data encryption after the elections

By Kevin Reed, 5 September 2016

In a keynote address to cyber security specialists, FBI Director James Comey elaborated on plans to force a backdoor into encrypted private data and communications.

California legislature votes to expand mandatory sentences for sexual assault

By Tom Carter, 3 September 2016

California’s barrage of law-and-order legislation underscores the reactionary content of the campaign over sexual violence promoted by the Democratic Party and its allies.

State trooper kills unarmed deaf man in North Carolina

By Shelley Connor, 26 August 2016

Daniel Kevin Harris, a 28-year-old deaf man, was one of at least 20 people killed by police across the US over the last week.

New video shows Los Angeles Police Department officers kill 56-year-old man in jail

By John Andrews, 22 August 2016

A recently released video depicts six officers Tasing and choking to death 56-year-old grandfather Vachel Howard in a Los Angeles jail in 2012.

In bid to quash anger, Chicago cops face firing over Laquan McDonald murder

By Alexander Fangmann, 22 August 2016

The seven cops are among ten recommended for termination in a recent city inspector general’s report issued even as police violence continues.

Sexual assault accusations used to oust leader at Tor Project

By Adam Mclean, 19 August 2016

The Tor Project, a network and tool for anonymizing one’s internet traffic, has been a repeated target of attacks from US intelligence agencies.

The 2016 elections and the crisis of American democracy

By Joseph Kishore, 18 August 2016

In the 2016 elections, the consequences of record inequality, unending war and the protracted crisis of American capitalism are coming to a head.

Hacker group releases malware codes attributed to National Security Agency

By Nick Barrickman, 18 August 2016

A group called the Shadow Brokers released computer code reportedly taken from the NSA, which had been used for hacking the networks of foreign rivals of the US.

The social roots of unrest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

By Niles Niemuth, 16 August 2016

The growth of poverty and inequality, the eruption of social anger and the build-up of the police forces are interrelated components of the same class dynamic.

Wisconsin governor mobilizes National Guard after eruption of protests over police killing

By George Gallanis, 15 August 2016

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in Milwaukee after protests Saturday night over the killing of 23-year-old Sylville Smith by Milwaukee police.

White House seeks to cover up Central American migrant crisis

By Andrea Lobo, 15 August 2016

The new deal with Costa Rica, which will temporarily receive 200 of the 140,000 seeking asylum in the US, is intended to give a humanitarian face to an inhumane policy.

The Justice Department’s whitewash of police violence in Baltimore, Maryland

By Niles Niemuth, 12 August 2016

The DOJ report on Baltimore is another in a series of investigations that will do nothing to stop the violence meted out by police on a daily basis.

Police violence in Los Angeles continues unabated

By Alan Gilman, 12 August 2016

An unarmed man mistaken for a carjacker, an unarmed homeless man on a bicycle and a 14-year-old youth allegedly engaged in graffiti are the latest victims.

New York City police commissioner Bratton resigns

By Philip Guelpa and Fred Mazelis, 8 August 2016

The abrupt resignation of the NYPD commissioner comes amid a counteroffensive in response to protests against police brutality and police killings over the past several years.

After the Paul O’Neal murder

Stop the police killings! Unite workers and youth of every race and nationality!

By Jerry White—SEP candidate for US president, 8 August 2016

Socialist Equality Party presidential candidate Jerry White issued the following statement after the release of video showing the brutal police murder of 18-year-old Paul O’Neal.

Chicago police warn of unrest after murder of teen

By Kristina Betinis, 6 August 2016

The July 28 murder of Paul O’Neal is the latest in a series of police killings around the US that have claimed the lives of nearly 700 victims so far this year.

US courts strike down “Voter ID” laws in four states

By Ed Hightower, 3 August 2016

Recent court rulings concerning attacks on the right to vote in several states underscore the deeply anti-democratic character of “Voter ID” laws

Texas recorded almost 7,000 deaths in custody since 2005

By Shannon Jones, 30 July 2016

Between 2005 and 2015, an average of 628 people a year died while in the custody of police or state corrections officials.

US army threatens whistleblower Chelsea Manning with indefinite solitary confinement

By Isaac Finn, 30 July 2016

According to the ACLU, Manning could face added time and other punishments on the basis of charges related to a failed suicide attempt.

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.