USA/Canada

Women's Fightback: Test case for Texas abortion ban

A San Antonio doctor who said he had performed an abortion in defiance of Texas’s new law has been sued, setting up a potential test case for the law. In an opinion piece in the Washington Post, “Why I violated Texas’s extreme abortion ban”, the doctor, Alan Braid, who has been performing abortions for more than 40 years, said that he performed one on 6 September for a woman beyond the state’s new limit. “I acted because I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care,” Dr. Braid wrote. “I fully understood that there...

Democracy, war and the scruples of generals

We already knew that US military chief Mark Milley had told his associates, as he observed the build-up to Donald Trump’s 6 January Capitol riot, that he feared Trump was seeking a “Reichstag moment” (after the fire at the German parliament in 1933 which Hitler used as leverage to complete Nazi control). “They’re not going to succeed”, Milley told his military colleagues. His argument: “you can’t do this without the military... the CIA... the FBI. We’re the guys with the guns”. He would block moves by Trump to bring troops onto the streets. We also knew that between November 2020 and January...

DSA tries to adjust to the Biden era

The 2021 Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Convention was held online from 30 July to 8 August. With 94,000 members — it has grown fast since 2015 — the DSA is the largest socialist organisation in the USA since the Socialist Party led by Eugene Debs at the beginning of the 20th century. We covered the 2019 Convention at bit.ly/dsa-2019. Since the organisation was effectively refounded in 2016, DSA members are now typically in their twenties or thirties rather than fifties and sixties. Around 10,000 DSA members belong to a union, with a concentration in education and public sector unions...

"Against this barbarism, we fight for socialism" - our statement after 9/11

Workers' Liberty published this on 14 September 2001. Against the barbarism of the New York massacre, we fight for socialism To use civilian planes, full of people, to attack buildings full of civilians, mostly ordinary workers, is a crime against humanity, whatever the supposed aims. What cause could the hijackers have been serving when they massacre thousands of workers in New York? Not "anti-imperialism" in any rational sense - whatever anyone may pretend or imagine - but only rage against the modern world. Only on the basis of a dehumanised, backward-looking world-view could they have...

Protests against Texas abortion law set for 2 October

The strictest anti-abortion law in the US went into effect on 1 September after the US Supreme Court let the 31 August deadline to block it pass, after an emergency appeal. The new law in Texas allows any private citizen to sue anyone deemed to have helped a woman get an abortion against the law, although not the patient themselves. Campaigners are worried this will empower anti-choice reactionaries to make harassing lawsuits, paralysing the few abortion clinics still open, in the state. The US Justice Department said that it will not tolerate violence against anyone seeking abortion services...

Trumka weak on BLM, coup and more

Much of what Eric Lee writes for Solidarity is very good, such as last month’s article on the LGBTI movement’s struggle in Georgia, but his contributions on US politics sit very strangely on the pages of a revolutionary socialist publication. Lots of good articles for the price of a bit of rubbish every so often isn’t an awful deal, but it shouldn’t go unchallenged. In his obituary (Solidarity 603) for American union bureaucrat Richard Trumka, he laments that this death received less coverage in the British press than that of “Barry the barred owl”. Thankfully the Morning Star has answered Lee...

In the age of Scylla and Charybdis

You will no doubt be familiar with the expression “between a rock and a hard place”. That phrase, apparently, has its origins in labour history. According to one online source, “the phrase originated in America in the early 1900s to describe a dispute between copper miners and the mining companies in Bisbee, Arizona”. Maybe. It’s a modern take on the myth of Scylla and Charybdis, described by Homer as two immortal and irresistible monsters who controlled the narrow waters through which Odysseus needed to pass. I thought about Scylla and Charybdis the other day while I listened to a relative in...

Debating internationalism in the Democratic Socialists of America

Dan La Botz is a US socialist active in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and Solidarity. He is a co-editor of the independent socialist journal New Politics, and a supporter of the Internationalism from Below initiative. He spoke to Daniel Randall of Workers' Liberty about debates in and around the DSA, especially about what approach the organisation should take to international issues. What follows is an edited transcript. This interview was conducted prior to voting on resolutions at the DSA's recent convention. At that convention, a resolution broadly representing the “campist”...

The BBC, Barry the Owl and the death of a union leader

Last Friday (8 August), the BBC News website ran a story with this headline: “A beloved owl who became a well-known resident in New York’s Central Park has died.” The story went on to say that “Barry the barred owl was flying low in search of a meal when it collided with one of the park’s maintenance trucks on Friday morning.” On the previous evening, it was announced by the majority leader in the US Senate, Democrat Charles Schumer of New York, that Richard Trumka had suddenly passed away at the age of 72. Trumka was the president of the AFL-CIO, the main national trade union centre in the...

USA: the new "Grand Old Party"

Millions of Americans who loathe Donald Trump are giving up on the chances that he’ll be prosecuted for anything, despite the numerous crimes he committed before, during and after his term in office. The charges of tax fraud against the Trump Organisation for example have so far only ensnared the hired help, with none stuck on Trump himself. Although around 600 of his followers have been charged with participating in what has become known as the 6 January insurrection, its chief instigator remains untouched. If Joe Biden and others were correct in saying that the invasion of the US Congress...

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