USA/Canada

Labour's martyrs: the story of Sacco and Vanzetti

Workers' Liberty 3/53, published as a pull-out in Solidarity 397. The story of the Sacco and Vanzetti case, told by James P Cannon and Max Shachtman, who were leading activists in the defence campaign. Click to download as pdf

The New Jim Crow

Police violence in the USA is only a shore of a whole continent of racial oppression and marginalisation, so Michelle Alexander argues in her 2010 book, now a “classic”, The New Jim Crow. Alexander is a civil rights lawyer by trade. Chunks of the book are lawyerly, dissecting a string of Supreme Court rulings. She says herself that she wouldn’t have got to a “fancy law school” without affirmative action rules. Her punchline, though, is that racial oppression is knitted into a larger system of social inequality, and measures which create a bigger black middle class aren’t enough. “Piecemeal...

The attack on Robert Cuffy

Robert Cuffy, a prominent Guyanese-American revolutionary socialist, was abused and mistreated by New York cops on a 1 July demonstration.

Video: Where now for the US left? Lois Weiner on George Floyd protests, Biden, more

Lois Weiner on "Where now for the US left?", during the movement against police brutality, racism, and more, sparked by the murder of George Floyd; in Covid-19 crisis; and in the wake of Sanders' withdrawal from the Democratic Party primaries in lieu of Biden; and more. Introductory speach from a Workers' Liberty meeting of the same name.

USA: the unions and the cops

Certain small US unions which are traditionally on the left, like the ILWU and the United Electrical Workers, have taken very strong positions — and in the case of the ILWU actually shut down the West coast ports. On the East coast the ILA docks union did nine minutes of silence, in agreement with employers. The Amalgamated Transit Union, which has a large black membership, has also taken a strong stance, and many of its locals have organised action, including refusing to cooperate with police. The national AFL-CIO has had a number of requests from affiliates to kick out the police unions that...

British workers and American slavery

• This story is told in more detail in the pamphlet Workers against slavery: the US Civil War, the First International and the British working class • For a shorter version of the following article, see the PDF of Solidarity issue 554 In the 1860s, through a four year, 600,000-death civil war, slavery in the United States was destroyed. The defeat of revolutionary movements unleashed by the war, above all movements of the ex-slaves, created the system of white supremacy and racial segregation which endured till the 1960s and whose legacy shapes the US today. Solidarity has told this story...

Organise to make the future safe and equal for all

The great wave of street protests after the killing of George Floyd on 25 May still continues, but the pace looks like slowing. Activists will be thinking about how they can continue their efforts over the months and years needed to win and consolidate change. That this killing has generated so broad a protest must be partly because a pandemic which has hit the worst-off hardest everywhere, and a wave of job cuts which has done similar, especially in the USA, are in everyone's minds.

Bomber Bolton cashes in

Things haven't been turning out well lately for Donald Trump in the run up to the US presidential election in November. A pandemic that has claimed over 120,000 lives and is plateauing rather than declining. Major demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality. An economy where unemployment rates have surpassed even those of the Great Depression of the 1930s. On top of it all comes another book about chaos in the Trump White House. This time it's not second hand stuff from a liberal journalist, but a damning first hand account from right-wing maverick John Bolton. For several...

Abolish the police? Overthrow capitalism!

The slogan-title of Alex Vitale's book is The End of Policing. His detailed conclusion in the text, though, is that "policing needs to be reformed", with "a larger vision that questions the basic role of police in society". DeRay Mckesson and others, prominent in the Black Lives Matter movement, have circulated both a range of police reforms, and a narrower focus on curbing police powers. In the second exposition, some of the demands advocated in the first exposition are criticised as worthless, notably police body cameras and better training. In June 1917, when Lenin advocated revising the...

US dockers strike for Black Lives Matter

On 9 June, on the West Coast of the USA, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) stopped work for an eight minute, forty-six second moment of silence (the length of time the cop had his knee on Floyd’s neck). On 19 June the ILWU will organise another Black Lives Matter strike, for a full eight hours. They picked that day because “Juneteenth” is the date slavery was abolished in Texas at the end of the US Civil War, and now a major commemoration and celebration. To get round anti-union legislation, they are also striking as part of their ongoing fight against...

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