United States

The US midterms are upon us and the 2020 elections just around the corner. Seen by many as a referendum on Trump and a preview of the next presidential elections, 2018 will also be a referendum on the political system as a whole. While it’s possible there will be an anti-Trump bump, tens of millions will simply sit it out, instinctively understanding that whether the Democrats or Republicans control Congress, no fundamental change will be forthcoming.

Two weeks ago, Trump announced tariffs on another $200bn worth of imports from China. The announcement was met with protests from the Chinese, as well as big business in the US. China responded with tariffs on another $60bn of imports from the US. This trade war reveals the frictions that have been developing for some time between the imperialist powers, and threatens to plunge the world into a new recession.

The current wave of electoral campaigns associating themselves with socialism to one degree or another is an indication of the dramatic shift that has taken place in the consciousness of the US working class. This was never predicted by bourgeois political analysts and just a few years ago would have seemed impossible.

“Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that.” The judgement of President Donald J. Trump delivered from the heights of Helsinki followed hard on the heels of his first summit meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin. If anything, it was even more bizarre than his visits to the NATO summit and the United Kingdoma few days ago. And it made even bigger waves.

Donald Trump’s visit to Britain could not have come at a worse time for Theresa May. In the days before he landed, May was busy facing down a rebellion over her Brexit plan, with Boris Johnson and David Davis – two senior cabinet members – having resigned. Threatened with a leadership challenge if she didn’t change course, May was desperately trying to patch up the split in the Tory Party.

In London, on the inauspicious date of Friday the 13th, Donald Trump was met by one of the largest demonstrations seen in the UK since the days of the 2003 Iraq war: hundreds-of-thousands strong. The enormous size of this protest is an indication of the real mood of anger and rebellion that exists within British society at the present time.

Calling to mind the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland,US President Donald Trump tweets no fewer than six impossible things before breakfast. But what we are living through is not impossible, and it is not a dream. This is the living reality of capitalism a century after it became an absolute fetter on human progress. Trump is merely the personification of this chaos and instability.

It was not supposed to happen. Incumbent New York Congressman Joe Crowley—the head of the Queens County Democratic Party machine, slated to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, should the Democrats retake the majority—was soundly defeated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old activist who identifies as a socialist and is a member of DSA.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration laid out its proposed 2019 budget. Although it sets out increased spending to address the national opioid epidemic, it includes drastic cuts to national public assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and Section 8 public housing. This will strike a major blow at millions of families whose main source of security is through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and other forms of public assistance. Given the stricter eligibility guidelines and $213bn in cuts over the next ten years—30 percent of current levels—some four million Americans will immediately lose access to SNAP benefits.

On Thursday the deadline passed for an agreement between Trump and Canada, Japan, Mexico and the EU on trade. Failure to reach an agreement meant that the steel and aluminium tariffs threatened by Trump came into force. With this, Trump has begun the process of unravelling globalisation. On Saturday, the G-7 finance ministers met and the 6 non-US ministers came together against the US, expressing their “unanimous concern and disappointment” over the US decision.

The 2018 midterm elections are already upon us and 2020 will be here before we know it. Although the left and labor leaders seem to have blanked 2016 from their memories, the takeaways from that earthshaking political cycle are clear: 1) People are fed up with the status quo; 2) Interest in socialism is skyrocketing; 3) You can’t fight evil with more evil. How can we combine all of this to fight and defeat Trump and everything he represents?

Teachers are on the move around the United States. By shutting down schools in every county in the state of West Virginia—even defying anti-strike laws that prohibit public sector employees from taking such action—teachers and other education workers have provided an exemplary lesson in class struggle for the labour movement to follow. Their inspiring victory has now set off similar actions in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona and other parts of the country.

50 years ago, on 4 April 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – the leader of the civil rights movement in America – was shot dead in cold blood. On that day, Dr. King was in Memphis, Tennessee, to lead a demonstration and rally in support of a three-month-long fight for trade union recognition by 1,300 local refuse collectors.

A series of school walkouts in the United States has given voice to a range of social demands that go beyond the typical gun-control debate that has prevailed in Washington and the media. More than a million high school, middle school, and even elementary students on over 3,000 campuses across the US staged walkouts on 14 March—exactly one month after 17 students and staff were killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The Parkland, Florida shooting marks a tipping point, transforming the shock and grief of thousands of students into outrage and a vow to put an end to the horrific pattern of school massacres.

Tom Trottier examines the rise and fall of the Labor Party, which was founded by an alliance of unionists in 1996 and won some support, but rapidly declined in the late-90s and early-2000s. Tom explains why the Labor Party failed and why Marxists must draw lessons from the past to start laying the foundations and framework for a future mass, working-class, socialist party in the United States.

Interest in socialism has skyrocketed over the last two years. Millions of people yearn for change and want to fight back against capitalism. They are looking for ideas and an organization that can help them do just that. But there is as yet no viable point of reference, no mass socialist party, no clear and confident exit indicated out of the burning building. As a result, most people doubt whether a serious challenge to the system and its institutions can be mounted, let alone its total overturn. This explains the revival of interest in reformism.

The student loan industry's parasitism is matched by the Democratic Party's unwillingness to take them on. Martin Scorsese’s classic 1991 film Goodfellas lays bare the basic operations of the mafia. In a classic scene, narrator and mobster Henry Hill describes the fate that befalls those who partner with the mob.

 Neither taxation nor privatization will keep our water clean, bridges safe, or roads intact. Taking control over these essentials means a fight against those who hold them–and us–hostage under a failing system.

En las últimas dos semanas, olas de protestas heroicas se han extendido rápidamente por los pueblos y ciudades de todo Irán. Esta fue una erupción espontánea de rabia por parte de la juventud de clase media-baja y de la clase obrera contra la pobreza, el aumento de los precios y la indigencia, así como contra la riqueza y la corrupción de la élite iraní, en particular del clero. Se estima que 21 personas han muerto en las protestas hasta ahora y más de 1.700 han sido detenidas. Inmediatamente, los líderes occidentales desde Washington a Londres levantaron un coro defendiendo los derechos humanos del pueblo iraní.