United States

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!

A first-hand account of the February 26 mega rally against the attack on public sector workers in Madison, WI.

A brief report from a WIL member on the ground in Madison, WI, written just before the big demos planned for Saturday, February 26th

After more than a week, demonstrations by public sector workers defending their pay, benefits and their right to union representation continue to grow. The struggle in Wisconsin is rapidly becoming a nation-wide struggle, a kind of American "Tahrir Square," a point of reference for workers under attack around the country.

On Friday, February 11th, recently-elected Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) announced that he is prepared to use National Guard troops as part of his plan to rob public workers of their right to have a union. According to the Governor, the National Guard will be put on alert “in preparation of any problems that could result in a disruption of state services.” But public sector unions and students in Wisconsin have responded in a big way, flooding the state Capitol building with over 30,000 protesters, and with students taking action at five high schools. See also a recent leaflet from Socialist

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Amid mostly worrying news on the economy, one bright spot has emerged over the past two months. Ford, GM and Chrysler, the long-troubled “Big Three” auto makers, have seen big increases in profits and are adding new jobs, investing in, and expanding plants. The business media credits the “fresh thinking” of new management for the turnaround. But auto workers know better after more than 5 years of massive concessions and layoffs. So, we’re left to wonder: if there was “shared sacrifice” during hard times, shouldn’t there be shared gain when things improve?

According to a study published in the academic journal Health Affairs, the United States now ranks 49th in the world in overall life expectancy, a dramatic fall from just a few years ago. In 1999, the US ranked 24th.

The ruling class has always been telling us that we need to make cuts in order to eliminate the national deficit.  They have talked about cutting taxes and government spending in order to accomplish this.  In addition to this, they are in favor of cutting "entitlements" such as Social Security and raising the retirement age, thereby making the working class pay for their crisis.

On October 2nd, some 175,000 union members, activists, students and others converged on the National Mall in Washington, DC to demand jobs, funding for health care, education and public services. The One Nation rally was the first national demonstration organized by the AFL-CIO union federation since 1981.

In the recent midterm elections, the Republicans made a dramatic comeback after their electoral routing just two years ago. They gained several governorships, seats in the Senate, and took full control of the US House of Representatives. How was this possible?

In spite of all the promises about “change” when he was elected, Barack Obama has not improved the lot of working people in the USA. On the contrary, things have got a lot worse. What the workers of the USA need is their own political voice, their own party. We publish here last week’s statement by the Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor which explains the need for such a party.

The past few years have been life-changing for the American working class. Attacks on our quality of life by the bosses and their government have been non-stop.

One could easily be forgiven for thinking the Baby Boomers appeared out of nowhere. The way it’s presented in the media, it would seem they just suddenly appeared -- near retirement, of course -- with their hands cupped firmly open, waiting to be paid. They’re going to break Social Security! Ever since I can remember, this has been the spin. Because “big government” can’t do anything right, all the money you paid in is hopelessly lost. This is a fundamental, and cynical, misunderstanding of Social Security. It’s a distortion of both what it is and how it works -- and convenient cover for those who want to dismantle and privatize it.

Nine years ago the whole was shocked by the dramatic suicide attacks on the Twin Towers in New York. That event was subsequently used as an excuse to increase massively spending on arms, to invade Afghanistan and Iraq and step up military operations in other parts of the world, all encapsulated in the idea of the “war on terror”. Today the world, far from being a safer place, has become more unstable, more dangerous. This is a clear symptom of the sickness that afflicts capitalism in its senile phase.