Americas

The crisis in housing is a product of the capitalist system. Yosef Mikhah looks at the effects it has on working people, and the need for a socialized plan of quality housing for all. From the latest issue of the US Socialist Appeal

On December 23, 2003 the US government officially acknowledged the outbreak of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in a herd of cattle in the state of Washington.This is officially the first case of mad cow in the US, but is in reality the second case of an outbreak in the integrated Canadian and US cattle industry.  The farming and cattle crisis is at root a reflection of the crisis of capitalism worldwide and a result of "globalization".

Bush's new plan for immigration "reform" will benefit only the ruling classes of the US and Latin America, Mexico in particular.  Working people will only see their conditions of life further deteriorate while big business pockets big profits. 

We publish here the statement of the founding of the Revolutionary Marxist Current in Venezuela. This country has been living through a revolutionary process for the last five years, the roots of which can be traced back to the semi-insurrection of 1989, popularly known as "Caracazo". The programme of moderate reforms and national sovereignty of president Chavez (land reform, literacy programmes, no privatisation of state companies, and above all no privatisation of the oil company) has clashed with the interests of the local oligarchy and imperialism. In this period of capitalist crisis and intensification of imperialist exploitation they cannot allow any country to apply even the

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Haiti celebrated the 200th anniversary of its independence on January 1, 2004. The history of Haiti is a long history of colonial struggle against imperialism and has recently been the scene of deep political and social unrest. It is not yet clear what the outcome of the situation in Haiti will be, what is clear however, is that the workers and peasants of Haiti can only rely on themselves to solve the problems they face.

Greg Oxley looks at the life of this labor pioneer and lifelong fighter for the working class.

There are an astonishing 44 million Americans without healthcare. Those who do have healthcare have to pay ridiculous amounts of money for it, and even then, they have to worry about co-payments, deductibles, etc. Never mind SARS and influenza - the entire for-profit American health care system is diseased.

My attention was recently drawn to an article signed by Luis Oviedo, entitled The Counterrevolutionary Position of Socialist Appeal(in Prensa Obrera nº 826).Having read the article, I could not decide whether it was the product of bad faith or simple ignorance. Certainly, the method used is contrary to every basic principle of Marxism and above all Trotskyism, which comrade Oviedo and the Partido Obrero (PO) claim to defend.

The brutal repression of the teachers' protest in Ecudaor in December highlights the fact that the period of waiting on the part of the Ecuadorian masses is over. The movement of 2000 brought Lucio Gutierrez to power, but he has merely continued with IMF policies. Now Ecuador is poised for a new movement on a higher level, comparable to that of Bolivia.

The election of Carole James as leader of the British Columbia New Democratic Party represents a victory for the status quo. James ran a campaign that concentrated on one thing and one thing only… Carole James. What we did not see were any commitments to actually do anything—no commitment to renationalize the Liberals’ sell-off of public assets, no commitment to reverse the Liberals’ regressive tax hikes (sales tax, medical plan fee, etc.) or negate the $2 billion tax cut to the rich, and definitely no commitment to do anything that would go beyond the position of the previous NDP government. This is of course intentional; the view of the party bureaucracy is that the BC NDP was

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Since 1993, more than 4,000 women - workers and students - have disappeared in Ciudad Juarez. According to Amnesty International, 327 of them have been found tortured, raped, mutilated and murdered, after having been kidnapped in the centre of the city at the end of their workday in the maquilas [assembly plants in the US border region], or leaving their computing academies, their bodies abandoned on vacant land.

"This government is not at all different from the government of Sanchez de Lozada. Carlos Mesa has not listened to the message of the El Alto Indian rebellion against the sale of gas" These are the words of one of the leaders of the Bolivian October insurrection, Roberto de la Cruz.  They sum up very clearly the real meaning of the bourgeois government of Carlos Mesa and the conclusions sections of the masses and most of the revolutionary vanguard are already drawing.

So far over 400 US soldiers have died in Iraq (during and after the "end" of the war). This is having a big impact on US public opinion. A further 1500 US soldiers have been injured in armed conflicts, and a staggering 9,341 have been flown out for various other health reasons, most importantly for mental stress. Fred Weston reports on the growing dissatisfaction in the US Army

There have been increasing rumours in the last few days of a fresh coup attempt in Venezuela. According to pro-government members of parliament, there is strong evidence that the CIA and the leaders of the counterrevolutionary opposition are preparing plans to try and overthrow President Chavez once again. In response, the government has put the army on full alert, however, in our opinion, the best way to counter any further coup attempts is by mobilising the workers and masses of Venezuela, the very people who defeated the first coup attempt back in April 2002.

The crisis of unemployment and poverty in America continues to worsen. Despite a nominal increase in jobs in recent weeks, what is not reported is what kind of jobs are being created. Manufacturing jobs, the backbone of any economy, continued to be lost for the 37th month in a row in October. For the vast majority of Americans, the days of high quality jobs with decent wages, security, and full health and retirement benefits are a thing of the past.  By John Peterson, from the US Socialist Appeal

In New York many firefighters did not receive protective gear during the first two weeks of the clean-up, which involved prolonged exposure to asbestos and the handling of thousands of body parts. 40 percent of the workers who cleaned up Ground Zero had no health insurance, and 75 percent have reported ongoing respiratory difficulties. By M.C. Perez, from the US Socialist Appeal

Many skeptics say that a socialist society could never exist in America. They say that Americans are greedy and unwilling to join together in common struggle. But US labour history is rich with examples of the heroism of the working class in their struggle for a better world.