Americas

After the elections: Obama escalates war drive in the Middle East

By Bill Van Auken, 30 November 2012

The Obama administration is escalating its intervention in Syria as part of a broader strategy of neocolonial conquest.

“The eight-hour day is a thing of the past”

UAW sanctions “alternative” work schedule at Chrysler

By Jerry White, 30 November 2012

In an effort to pump ever-greater productivity and profits out of auto workers, Chrysler is implementing a so-called Alternative Work Schedule (AWS) at its stamping, assembly and parts plants throughout the country.

Detroit bankruptcy threats escalate as bonds are downgraded

By Shannon Jones, 30 November 2012

A major credit rating agency further downgraded Detroit’s debt as city officials advance new proposals for cuts.

Bradley Manning testifies on his detention

By Naomi Spencer, 30 November 2012

Bradley Manning took the stand to speak on his pre-trial detention Thursday. It was the first public statement from the accused whistleblower in over two years.

Washington, D.C. parents and teachers oppose school closings, charter schools

By Ed Hightower and Nikolai Barrickman, 30 November 2012

Parents, students and teachers have reacted in anger to a plan to close 20 public schools in Washington, D.C.

US fiscal cliff talks target the working class

By Barry Grey, 29 November 2012

As the deadline for the so-called “fiscal cliff” grows nearer, indications mount that the artificial fiscal emergency is the starting point for deep structural cuts in social programs.

Hostess unions line up with Wall Street asset strippers

By Jerry White, 29 November 2012

A week after a US bankruptcy court approved the liquidation of Hostess Brands, a slew of private equity firms and buyout specialists are seeking to cash in on the carve-up of the baked goods producer.

Judge orders dismissal of Toronto's right-wing populist mayor

By Keith Jones, 29 November 2012

An Ontario Superior Court judge has ordered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to vacate the office on December 10 after finding him guilty on conflict of interest charges.

Bradley Manning hearing focuses on unlawful pre-trial punishment

By Naomi Spencer, 28 November 2012

The Army’s pre-trial hearing resumed Tuesday against Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

The “fiscal cliff” fraud

By Andre Damon, 27 November 2012

Using the pretext of the “fiscal cliff,” the American ruling class is preparing an unprecedented attack on entitlement programs.

ISO paves way for Chicago school closures

By Kristina Betinis and Jerry White, 27 November 2012

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Public Schools district (CPS) are moving ahead with plans to close as many as 120 public schools, and open up 60 new charter schools over the next few years. About 140 schools have been identified by the district as half-empty, and are expected to be the first targeted for closure. The closings would eliminate the jobs of thousands of teachers and school support staff.

Hurricane Sandy and the criminal failure of the utility companies

By Philip Guelpa, 27 November 2012

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, popular outrage has grown over the failure of the government and corporations to adequately prepare for and respond to the storm’s devastating impact.

Under threat of bankruptcy, Detroit escalates assault on working class

By Bryan Dyne, 27 November 2012

Detroit Mayor David Bing and the city council are using the threat of potential bankruptcy to escalate the assault on city workers.

The growing impact and dangers of global warming

By Bryan Dyne, 27 November 2012

The impact of climate change on all aspects of life has been more concretely analyzed in reports issued over the past decade.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

27 November 2012

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Obama administration pushes ahead with drone killings

By Patrick Martin, 26 November 2012

The New York Times estimates that US drone strikes have killed more than 2,500 people.

The New York Times continues its campaign: Breast cancer screenings cause more harm than good

By Kate Randall, 26 November 2012

An opinion piece in the New York Times argues that regular mammography screenings to detect breast cancer are “not all they’re cracked up to be.”

Protests hit Walmart stores

By our reporter, 26 November 2012

Protests were held at Walmart stores around the US on November 23 to oppose management abuse, irregular working hours and the poverty wages paid by the giant retailer.

US spy agencies edited Benghazi “talking points”

By Patrick Martin, 24 November 2012

Their purpose was to conceal the connections between the US intelligence apparatus and gunmen linked to Al Qaeda.

Ontario high school teachers union accepts concessions

By Carl Bronski, 24 November 2012

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation has reached agreement with seven provincial school boards on a series of major concessions demanded by the Ontario’s Liberal government.

Chicago Transit Authority proposes large fare hike

By Jeff Lusanne, 24 November 2012

CTA has announced steep fare hikes for riders who use passes, while the need for service improvements and major infrastructure upgrades continues to go unmet.

The social crisis in the US

By Andre Damon, 24 November 2012

As President Barack Obama and Congress prepare to slash social programs that keep millions out of destitution, the prevalence of hunger and poverty in the United States has reached rates unseen in decades.

Nurses in California go on two-day strike

By Joseph Santolan, 23 November 2012

On November 20, over 3,000 nurses and hospital tech workers in the California Nurses Association (CNA) Union went on a two-day strike at eight Sutter Health facilities. It is seventh such strike since September 2011.

Big business applauds Quebec budget

By Louis Girard and Keith Jones, 23 November 2012

Big business and the corporate media have enthusiastically applauded the austerity budget the Parti Québécois provincial government presented this week.

Clinton outlines global US economic offensive

By Peter Symonds, 22 November 2012

Obama’s pivot to Asia is part of a comprehensive campaign to maintain US dominance in Asia on every front—diplomatic, economic and strategic.

The “Black Friday” protests at WalMart

By Phyllis Scherrer and Jerry White, 22 November 2012

A series of pickets and protests are planned throughout the US against the giant retailer Wal-Mart for “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving and traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

Nurses in California go on two-day strike

By Joseph Santolan, 22 November 2012

On November 20, over 3,000 nurses and hospital tech workers in the California Nurses Association (CNA) Union went on a two-day strike at eight Sutter Health facilities. It is seventh such strike since September 2011.

Judge approves Hostess liquidation, eliminating 15,000 jobs

By Patrick Martin, 22 November 2012

A federal bankruptcy judge issued a ruling endorsing the immediate liquidation of Hostess Brands, closing dozens of plants and distribution centers.

“This is a case of corporate harvesting”

Striking Hostess workers speak

By David Brown, 22 November 2012

Bakers on the Picket line in Sacramento, California spoke with the World Socialist Web Site about the Hostess bankruptcy.

Firefighter says budget cuts are “killing people.”

Elderly couple dies in Detroit fire

By Lawrence Porter and Bryan Dyne, 21 November 2012

A fire on the west side of Detroit early Sunday morning resulted in the deaths of an elderly couple in their 70s, Kyle and Theresa Bozeman.

SEC announces settlement with JPMorgan over mortgage fraud

By Andre Damon, 21 November 2012

JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse will pay $416.9 million to settle charges by the Securities Exchange Commission that they lied to investors about the quality of mortgage-backed bonds.

Thousands of miners to lose health care, pensions in Patriot Coal bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 21 November 2012

Patriot Coal is seeking to discharge health care and pension obligations for more than 22,000 miners through bankruptcy.

California state police to deploy in Stockton

By Julien Kiemle, 21 November 2012

After a year of record numbers of homicides, California Highway Patrol officers will be brought in to aid local law enforcement police the city's streets.

Obama’s trip intensifies US push into South East Asia

By Peter Symonds, 20 November 2012

The US focus on the region is part of a broader diplomatic offensive aimed at undermining China’s position throughout Asia.

“There are a lot of people here who need help”

Thousands line up for winter coat distribution in Detroit

By Shannon Jones, 20 November 2012

The huge turnout at a winter coat distribution in Detroit is another sign of the dire hardship facing residents in the city and surrounding suburbs.

Murray Energy lays off 160 miners in response to Obama’s reelection

By Clement Daly, 20 November 2012

Murray Energy, the largest privately owned coal mining company in the US, announced layoffs in response to the so-called “war on coal.”

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 20 November 2012

The DC housing voucher wait list is more than two decades long, Colorado child welfare workers are “at the breaking point,” and people in poverty are twice as likely to suffer depression.

Drone squadron planned for Niagara Falls Air Force base

By Isabelle Belanger, 20 November 2012

The US Air Force is proposing the installation of a drone squadron at the Air Reserve Station in Niagara Falls, New York, which has been under repeated threat of closure since 2005.

University of Illinois graduate assistants authorize strike

By Marcus Day, 20 November 2012

Last week, members of the Graduate Employees Organization at University of Illinois voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

20 November 2012

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Petraeus resignation fuels political warfare over Benghazi attack

By Barry Grey, 19 November 2012

Congressional Republicans have seized on the Petraeus resignation to accuse the administration of a cover-up in connection with the Benghazi events.

New York Times acknowledges conspiracy of silence over “fiscal cliff”

By Andre Damon, 19 November 2012

In an article published Thursday, the New York Times claims that the Democrats and Republicans colluded to bury discussion of the cuts to social spending planned after the election.

Deadly oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico

By Bryan Dyne, 19 November 2012

An explosion on board an oil rig owned by Black Elk Energy in the Gulf of Mexico has killed at least one worker, with another missing and presumed dead as of Sunday afternoon.

Canadian government proposing draconian criminal sanctions for masked protesters

By Ed Patrick, 19 November 2012

Canada’s parliament is on the verge of adopting a law that would make persons wearing a mask at a police-designated “unlawful assembly” liable to a 5-year prison term.

Michigan voters reject union-backed constitutional amendment

By Lawrence Porter, 19 November 2012

On Election Day, Michigan voted overwhelmingly to reject Proposal 2, a union-backed constitutional initiative promoted as a measure to defend collective bargaining rights.

Washington, DC chancellor announces closures of dozens of public schools

By Nick Barrickman, 19 November 2012

The planned closures, consisting of mostly elementary and middle schools, would largely fall on the impoverished southeast section of the city.

A new “irrepressible conflict”

SEP holds post-election meeting in New York

By our reporters, 19 November 2012

The public meeting focused on the significance of the elections and the measures taken by the Obama administration immediately afterward.

West African states prepare intervention in Mali

By Ernst Wolff, 17 November 2012

The Economic Community of West African States has reiterated its readiness to deploy 3,300 soldiers to the north of Mali before the start of the rainy season.

Obama begins bipartisan talks on spending cuts

By Patrick Martin, 17 November 2012

The so-called “fiscal cliff” is a pretext for a reactionary onslaught against Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other social benefits.

BP settles for $4.5 billion in federal criminal charges

By Bryan Dyne, 17 November 2012

BP has reached a settlement on all criminal claims with the US Department of Justice and on all securities claims with the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

Rent strike threat after deaths at storm-ravaged New York housing complex

By a WSWS reporting team, 17 November 2012

Residents of Knickerbocker Village had called for a rent strike over the lack of electricity, heat and hot water, conditions that led to the deaths of two elderly residents last week.

Poverty and the American two-party system

By Kate Randall, 17 November 2012

The new Census report showing 50 million Americans living in poverty is a damning indictment of American capitalism.

The class issues in the “fiscal cliff”

By Andre Damon, 16 November 2012

With the 2012 presidential election over, the Obama administration has turned to its first order of business: the slashing trillions of dollars from Medicare, Medicaid, and other social spending.

Nearly 50 million living in poverty in US

By Kate Randall, 16 November 2012

The news that nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty received little attention in the media or from the Obama administration a little more than a week after the 2012 elections.

Parti Québecois to deliver austerity budget

By Keith Jones, 16 November 2012

Having worked to defuse the political crisis precipitated by the student strike, the PQ is now pivoting to directly implementing the bourgeoisie’s austerity agenda.

Where the International Socialist Organization stands on the 2012 election results

By David Walsh, 16 November 2012

The ISO has responded to the recent US election with general satisfaction over Democrat Barack Obama’s return to the White House and an ever-greater obsession with race.

The SEP vote in the 2012 elections

By our reporter, 16 November 2012

The workers and youth who voted for the SEP made a class-conscious decision to support a socialist alternative to the two big business parties.

Leaked “grand bargain” document details Obama's plan for cuts in entitlement programs

By Barry Grey, 15 November 2012

The far-reaching and reactionary substance of Obama's social policy emerges very clearly in secret documents that were leaked last weekend.

Army pre-trial hearing into March 2012 Afghan massacre concludes

By Naomi Spencer, 15 November 2012

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers, could face the death penalty if the Army recommends a court-martial.

Survivors describe bloodbath in Afghan atrocity

By Naomi Spencer, 15 November 2012

In testimony from Afghanistan, witnesses to the March 11 massacre described scenes of terror and grief.

Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy: Hoboken, New Jersey residents seek aid

By A. Woodson, 15 November 2012

Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit Hoboken, residents of the New Jersey city came to the local high school seeking aid from FEMA and other agencies.

Additional education cuts on horizon after passage of California tax proposition

By Dan Conway, 15 November 2012

Even the most optimistic analysts admit that the proposition’s passage will not in any meaningful way increase public education funding.

US: Hostess to close three plants as strikes continue

By Shannon Jones, 15 November 2012

Snack maker Hostess said it is permanently closing three plants as strikes by members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union continue.

Union leaders meet with Obama, back austerity drive against workers

By Barry Grey, 14 November 2012

The hour-long meeting at the White House was the first act in a carefully orchestrated campaign to convince the public that unprecedented social cuts are the only alternative to economic disaster in the form of the “fiscal cliff.”

What is the “fiscal cliff”?

By Patrick Martin, 14 November 2012

The purpose of propaganda about the “cliff” is to create a sense of financial emergency and override opposition to measures Obama and Congress will put forward to avert it, including cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Top US commander in Afghanistan implicated in Petraeus probe

By Bill Van Auken, 14 November 2012

Gen. John Allen is now under investigation in connection with the woman whose complaint initiated the probe leading to David Petraeus’ resignation as CIA director.

Ohio carries out third execution since lifting of moratorium

By Kate Randall, 14 November 2012

Brett Hartman was the third person put to death in Ohio since the state ended a six-month moratorium on executions.

Concessions imposed on Chicago-area teachers

By Shane Feratu and James Brewer, 14 November 2012

Following the sellout of the Chicago teachers' strike last September, suburban teachers have been hit with concessions contracts.

After the US election, Syria war threats mount

By Bill Van Auken, 13 November 2012

One week after the reelection of President Barack Obama, the drumbeat for war against Syria has escalated sharply.

Obama loan repayment scheme maintains crushing debt burden on students

By Nancy Hanover, 13 November 2012

The Obama administration has continued the overall trend of pricing the working class out of higher education.

Urban Shield exercises in Boston test police-state tactics

By John Marion, 13 November 2012

Police S.W.A.T. teams, public transit police, the Coast Guard, “intelligence” personnel, and bomb disposal units conducted Urban Shield exercises in subway stations, abandoned movie theaters, and other public locations in Boston.

Israel launches missile strike against Syria

By Niall Green, 12 November 2012

With the US elections out of the way, Washington and its allies have stepped up their campaign for regime-change against Syria.

The Petraeus affair

By Barry Grey, 12 November 2012

The claim promoted by both the media and the political establishment that Petraeus’ resignation has no political dimension is not credible.

US Supreme Court to consider challenge to 1965 Voting Rights Act

By Tom Carter, 12 November 2012

The 1965 Voting Rights Act ranks among the most significant reforms that emerged from the upheavals of the civil rights period.

Anger erupts over continuing power outages two weeks after Hurricane Sandy

By Philip Guelpa, 12 November 2012

Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy’s landfall, hundreds of thousands are still suffering from the lack of response to the storm.

Thousands line up at Chicago job fair for less than 60 positions

By Kristina Betinis, 12 November 2012

The city of Chicago’s first job fair was quickly revealed to be a media stunt, with more than 3,000 workers lining up to apply online for 55 positions.

Obama’s post-election pivot to austerity and war

By Joseph Kishore, 12 November 2012

With the US elections out of the way, the American ruling class is moving with remarkable speed to implement a deeply unpopular agenda.

Obama spells out austerity agenda for second term

By Andre Damon, 10 November 2012

In his first public statement since election night, Barack Obama said Friday that his main priority in the coming months will be to slash the federal budget deficit.

Obama intensifies “pivot” to Asia

By Peter Symonds, 10 November 2012

President Obama’s first international trip since being re-elected will be to South East Asia, including Burma, Thailand and Cambodia.

US elections leave House and Senate balance nearly unchanged

By Patrick Martin, 10 November 2012

The results demonstrate political crisis and dwindling popular support for both parties.

US Army hearing begins into March 2012 Afghan atrocity

By Naomi Spencer, 10 November 2012

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, accused of carrying out a massacre of Afghan civilians, faces 16 counts of murder.

Massachusetts official fired for ignoring complaints against meningitis-linked pharmacy

By Kate Randall, 10 November 2012

A top Massachusetts official has been fired after ignoring previous complaints against the compounding pharmacy linked to the current fungal meningitis outbreak.

Obama champions “grand bargain” to slash entitlement programs

By Jerry White, 9 November 2012

With the US elections out of the way, business leaders are declaring their support for Obama in the campaign to lower corporate taxes and slash federally guaranteed health care and retiree benefits.

Spokane Symphony Orchestra musicians on strike

By Christine Schofelt, 9 November 2012

The musicians of the Spokane (Washington) Symphony Orchestra, faced with a demand for a 13.3 percent wage cut, walked out on strike November 3. The current pay of core players is $17,460 a year.

The Nation magazine and Obama’s reelection

By Barry Grey, 9 November 2012

The full depth of reaction emerges when the Nation turns its fixation on race and gender to the subject of white people.

The disillusioned and dissatisfied electorate

By Joseph Kishore, 8 November 2012

While the complete details of Tuesday’s vote have yet to be tallied, an initial analysis reveals an electorate that is increasingly alienated from the entire two-party political system.

After election, Obama moves to slash social spending

By Andre Damon, 8 November 2012

In the wake of Barack Obama's victory in the 2012 US presidential election, the Democrats have proclaimed their intent to collaborate with Republicans to slash billions of dollars in social spending.

New storm hits US Northeast as misery from Sandy deepens

By a WSWS reporting team, 8 November 2012

With tens of thousands homeless and hundreds of thousands still without power from Hurricane Sandy, the Northeast of the United States was struck by another major storm Wednesday night.

Ontario teachers’ unions seek concessions deal

By Carl Bronski, 8 November 2012

The union of Ontario public teachers has postponed limited job action in protest of legislation that imposes wage cuts and other concessions.

Obama wins reelection

By Patrick Martin, 7 November 2012

Obama will repay those who voted for him by carrying out measures that will devastate their jobs, living standards and social conditions.

SEP campaigns on US Election Day

By our reporting team, 7 November 2012

The Socialist Equality Party campaigned during Election Day, speaking to workers across the country about the need for an independent political party of the working class.

Arguments in Supreme Court warrantless spying case

Obama administration asserts unchecked powers

By Tom Carter, 7 November 2012

The position taken by the Obama administration in last week’s oral arguments is further confirmation that the US political establishment is moving toward authoritarian forms of rule.

Tuition rises in Washington state

By J.W. Stern, 7 November 2012

Tuition at Washington state community colleges is now as expensive as its public universities were a decade ago.

California: Pension fund brings lawsuit against Compton

By Julien Kiemle, 7 November 2012

The California Public Employees' Retirement System filed a lawsuit against the city of Compton after it stopped paying its contributions to the fund.

Hillary Clinton’s “democracy” for Syria

By Bill Van Auken, 7 November 2012

Washington’s decision to handpick a new leadership for the Syrian “revolution” is a textbook example of democracy “made in the USA,” or, more precisely, neocolonialism.

One week after Hurricane Sandy, human crisis and class tensions grow

By Fred Mazelis, 6 November 2012

A week after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the United States, large numbers of storm victims remain without power, heat or a roof over their heads as the cold weather sets in.

The class issues in the 2012 elections

By Joseph Kishore, 6 November 2012

The Socialist Equality Party calls on all its supporters in the US to cast a vote for SEP candidates Jerry White for president and Phyllis Scherrer for vice president in today’s election.

Death penalty and three-strikes law on California ballot

By Alan Gilman, 6 November 2012

Ballot initiatives to abolish the death penalty and to modify the three-strikes law will appear on the California ballot this November.

SEP Midwest regional conference advances socialist alternative in 2012 elections

By our reporter, 6 November 2012

The Socialist Equality Party held its Midwest Regional Conference, Socialism and the 2012 Elections, on November 4 at Wayne State University in Detroit

US presidential campaign comes to an end

By Patrick Martin, 5 November 2012

Both Obama and Romney are concealing the reactionary policies they will put into effect in the post-election period.