United States

Ever since we founded of the Workers International League and published the first issue of Socialist Appeal, the need for a mass party of labor has figured prominently in our program and work. The objective need for such a party has been explained in countless editorials and articles. The lack of independent political representation for the US working class is an urgent problem and contradiction, which can only be resolved if the labor movement breaks with the parties of big business and forms a party of, by, and for the working class majority.

Happy Labor Day! We're proud to announce the launch of the Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor (CMPL). Over the next few weeks we will be unrolling the campaign, adding to the website, holding local launch meetings in cities across the country, and above all, spreading the word about the need to break with the big business parties and build a mass labor party. We invite you to learn more about, join, and work with us to help build the CMPL. Read more about the CMPL and ...

Recently, TV and talk radio have been obsessed with stopping the construction of an “Islamic Center and Mosque” which will be located two blocks away from where the World Trade Center used to be. The right wing, including former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and NY Republican Gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio, have seized on this issue, attempting to gain political support...What Gingrich, Lazio, Reid and other right-wing commentators are practicing is a well known method known as “divide and rule.”

For over a year, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been threatening to “terrorize” the financial sector by creating new stipulations that would redefine how it operates. However, despite the Democrats’ attempts to claim otherwise, the finance reform bill passed by the Senate on May 20th leaves a number of loopholes open for Wall Street Banks to continue their shady lending behaviors and speculative schemes – the same kind of speculation that led to the financial meltdown in the first place.

New York Governor Patterson was trying to get the state work force to accept a one-day-per-week furlough. This would have meant a 20% cut in pay! The unions went to court and the furlough plan was stopped. Now, Patterson threatens 10,000 state workers with lay-offs on January 1, 2011. This is on top of many education and service cuts. The Metropolitan Transit Authority is laying off 475 station agents and plans to lay-off 500 subway conductors and bus drivers. Many local governments in NY State are also making deep cuts.

A recent Pew Research Center poll, arguably by the most respected polling company in the USA, asked over 1,500 randomly selected Americans to describe their reactions to terms such as “capitalism” and “socialism.” Pew summarized the results of the poll with the title: “Socialism not so negative; capitalism not so positive.”

“Please wake me up when the recession is over.” This sentiment, expressed on a T-shirt, sums up the mood of many American workers. They are anxious for what they assume to be a temporary disruption in the “normal” course of their lives to be over. Unfortunately, this is the new “American Dream,” a living nightmare of stress and constant insecurity, of unemployment and homelessness.

This past May 1st, thousands demonstrated in support of immigrant rights in over 70 cities across the U.S. Since 2006, rallies have been organized around this traditional workers’ holiday in order to demand full and unconditional legalization for all workers, regardless of immigration status... This year, however, labor, community, and civil rights organizations had a single rallying cry: opposition to the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 (SB1070), otherwise known as the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods” Act.

Back from a recent trip to Canada and the United States, Fred Weston describes what he saw, the effects of the austerity measures on the social fabric of society, the cuts in education and health care, but also the reaction of the working class, such as the growing militant mood among teachers, nurses, refuse collectors...

The rainy weather and mountain of security guards didn’t deter some 12,000 Minnesota nurses from going on a one-day strike at 14 different hospitals across the Twin Cities on Thursday, June 10th. The Minnesota Nurses Association, which is part of the newly formed National Nurses United, voted overwhelmingly for the strike, after hospital administrators refused to respond to even one of the contract negotiation proposals the nurses put forward. This was the largest nurses’ strike in U.S. history. A solidarity strike by 13,000 California nurses was also planned, but was eventually blocked by a judge in San Francisco.

The public clash between Obama and his top general in Afghanistan highlight the difficulties US imperialism is facing in what is clearly an unwinnable war. What the general has done is to express in public what is normally reserved for private conversation, but it does bring out clearly the impasse the US is facing in Afghanistan.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico highlights the real state of US capitalism today. While making a lot of noise, Obama is not prepared to take on the oil companies in any serious meaningful way. What he is doing is passing the buck to the US working class.

This document was drafted in the Spring of 2010, and discussed, amended, and approved at the May 2010 National Congress of the Workers International League. A new phase is opening up in U.S. politics and the Labor Movement as American workers find their backs against the wall and have no option but to fight back.

It’s been close to a month since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico, just 45 miles south of the already beleaguered gulf coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi. The ensuing oil spill may well surpass that which followed the wreck of the Exxon Valdez, which poured over 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound in the spring of 1989. British Petroleum, which was the operator of the oil platform, had been leasing the rig from the deep seas drilling conglomerate TransOcean. BP initially estimated the daily oil spillage to be 1,000 barrels. Within a week of the disaster, that figure was ratcheted upwards by the United States

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Well over a year since Obama came to power, virtually nothing has been done for the labor movement. No Employee Free Choice Act, no universal health care, no universal living wage, no equal rights for immigrant workers, no repealing of anti-labor laws like Taft-Hartley. The mines are as unsafe as ever and workers continue to die for the profits of the shareholders...This all highlights yet again what Socialist Appeal has explained since our founding issue: we need a mass party of labor to fight for and represent the interests of working class majority of this country. As representatives of the bosses the Democrats simply cannot and will not do this.

A recent New York Times/CBS Poll presents interesting findings for those interested in the demographics and opinions represented by the so-called “Tea Partiers.” The poll finds support for the Tea Party at just 18%, much lower than the 27% reported in earlier polls. They also added a second and far more relevant category, “Tea Party activist,” for those who have actively done something to “build the movement.” They found that just 4% have actually attended rallies, donated money, etc., which is hardly the “grass roots rising tide” that has been presented in the media.

Reports from Canada and the USA indicate that the crisis of capitalism is having an effect on the trade unions, with radical speeches being given, particularly in Canada. In the USA, in spite of May Day not being an official celebration, there was a massive turnout in Dallas, and rallies in many cities, where the immigrant workers were present in sizeable numbers, but also workers in general involved in ongoing disputes.

In recent years, the mass mobilizations of immigrant workers for their rights has once again brought May Day to the forefront of many workers’ consciousness. Paradoxically, however, “International Workers’ Day” is not widely celebrated in the country where it was born. In fact, it comes as a surprise to many to learn that May Day was originally “Made in the USA.” Today, with millions being forced to work longer and harder for less pay, despite record levels of unemployment, it’s relevant to take a look at the history of this tradition of struggle and its lessons for 2010.

At the forefront of the workers’ movement in the last few years have been undocumented immigrants, most of them from Latin America. In the Spring of 2006, they poured onto the streets by the millions, as decades of discrimination and exploitation boiled to the surface. The traditional non-profits, labor leaders, and “progressives” in general were unable to control the movement when it first erupted. Lacking confidence in or an understanding of how the working class moves, they were taken completely by surprise.

A record number of Americans are without health coverage of any kind, and yet, the five biggest health insurance companies officially marked their highest ever profits in 2009.