United States

“Enough is enough! We are the 99%!” This is the sentiment being expressed by the brave youth now occupying Freedom Plaza in New York City, just a few feet away from Wall Street. This is the pent-up feeling of millions—no—billions of people around the world. Enough unemployment! Enough war! Enough poverty! Enough discrimination!

To the courageous protesters, facilitators and sympathizers of the #occupywallstreet movement! Your bold action, inspired by the movements in Egypt, Greece, and Wisconsin, is a great effort in trying to capture the imagination of millions  of workers and youth around the world who are dissatisfied with the status quo. It shows that there exists in this country a layer of committed left-wing activists who are ready to challenge the injustices of capitalist society. As allies of the movement, we would like to offer our perspective.

According to a Harvard Medical Study published in 2009, nearly 45,000 people a year die in the United States  from preventable illnesses which go untreated due to lack of medical insurance. This represents approximately one person every 12 minutes, and serves as a huge counterexample to American claims of having “the best Healthcare system in the world.”

A deal to raise the debt ceiling has now been reached, after weeks of incredible fear-mongering on the part of both bosses’ parties and Wall Street, and will reach the President’s desk by the deadline on August 2nd.  The contents of the final agreement remain rather vague, but the broad outline is enough to make clear what it means for workers in the U.S. 

On Friday, June 24, 2011, the NY State Senate voted to legalize gay marriage in New York State. This is a victory for democratic rights!  Marxists oppose all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexuality and gender. The fact that marriage laws discriminate against same-sex partners is just the latest in the struggle for equality and democratic rights for the LGBT community under capitalism.

As ratings agency Moody's considers the possibility of cutting the US AAA debt rating, concerned that the US could default on its debt obligations, we publish a recent editorial statement of the US Socialist Appeal on the forthcoming wave of massive cuts in public spending in the United States. As the article points out, “the capitalists must impose a new normality on the U.S. working class. The crisis of their system means that small cuts or adjustments are no longer enough. The hatchet is out now...”

On Monday, June 20, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a massive class action sexual discrimination lawsuit filed against Wal-Mart by a group of current and former women employees. This blow against the rights of these 1.5 million workers should come as no surprise. Even a cursory review of legal history shows that the courts have a long tradition of siding with big business over workers. And no wonder: most of the supposedly “impartial” judges are very political indeed, most of them having been appointed by one of the two corporate parties!

Over 100,000 turned out for the March 12th mega rally in Madison, a city of only 230,000. The mood was incredible. It was very moving to see the once-dormant mass of the population, including all sectors (nurses, teachers, firefighters, etc.), out on the streets, many for the first time in their lives, trying with fresh breath to find their voice.

With Republican governors across the country carrying out a vicious and open assault against organized labor, many trade unionists and their supporters are looking toward the Democratic Party as a refuge from the anti-worker barrage. The Democrats pose as “friends of labor,” and are frequently on the stage at pro-union and solidarity rallies from Madison, WI to Keokuk, IA. But where they are in power, for example in New York and California, they are carrying out essentially the same policies as the Republicans.

Welcome to the “Ninja Generation”--No Income, No Jobs, and No Assets. How does this compare to the idea that under capitalism things are always getting better? History has falsified this claim time and time again. We were promised an ever-increasing standard of living, something which in our parents’ generation may have seemed reasonable. The fundamental instability of capitalism was temporarily stabilized through the manipulation of government policy and by the extension of credit to the general population.

Over the weekend of May 28th and 29th, the Second National School of the Workers International League took place at Lake Elmo State Park and Reserve near Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. Nearly fifty comrades participated in two full days of intense discussions, with topics ranging from the world revolution to the need for a mass party of labor in the United States. Representation from the WIL branches around the country was broad, with comrades from Minnesota, Iowa, Madison, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Boston, Washington, DC, Dallas, Northern California, Florida, Idaho, in attendance, as well as visitors from Canada and Britain.

In the wake of a worldwide series of austerity measures, the struggle against cuts in educational funding has intensified in the US. The state of North Carolina faces particularly crippling attacks on its public schools, community colleges, and universities, all of which are in jeopardy as state legislators attempt to reconcile a $3.7 billion budget deficit in the 2010-11 fiscal year.

In the past 48 hours American accounts of Bin Laden's death have come under intense scrutiny following White House admissions that early official reports claiming Bin Laden had been armed and cowered behind his wife during the assault were false. The past few days have revealed flaw after flaw in the White House reporting of the killing of Bin Laden. The US Government’s message has been full of contradictions from start to finish.

The economic slump is causing a crisis of state solvency. Entire countries like Ireland, Iceland and Greece are in way over their heads. This is also true of many cities and states here in the U.S.  

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of revolution and mass mobilizations. After a period of relative lull in the class struggle, during which it seemed to many that nothing would ever change, millions of people can now see with their own eyes that revolutions can and do happen. They can see that fundamental change is only possible when ordinary men and women, who normally have nothing to do with politics, act collectively to bring about a political earthquake on the streets, in the factories, workplaces, schools, and halls of power.

Weeks after Governor Scott Walker’s union-busting bill was introduced, mass demonstrations by public and private sector workers, students, and community supporters continue, and the spirit of class struggle is spreading across the country. 100,000 demonstrated in Madison on Saturday. The only way to defeat Walker is to mobilize the full power of the labor movement, starting with an all-out one day general strike in Wisconsin and to mobilize labor for mass demonstrations and solidarity actions around the country!