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

Workers' control and the Chicago model

On 6 February, the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) issued a “framework... relating to resumption of in-person instruction” to its membership, and their vote to ratify was reported on 10 February. That framework included familiar features. Every CPS (Chicago Public Schools) facility must have sufficient hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes, “sneeze guards”, medical grade face coverings, and PPE. But some is unfamiliar — and can be a model for us in schools, and other workplaces too. The framework agreement says: “The Union and the Board [management] will create two levels of Covid-19 safety...

The US left and Trump: replying to debate

We oppose US socialists having a thoroughgoing activist orientation, of the type we currently have to the Labour Party, to the Democrats, but this is tilting at the wrong windmill.

Black workers take on Amazon

A union organising drive at Amazon’s new fulfillment centre (BMH1) in Bessemer, Alabama, a majority Black and working-class city adjacent to Birmingham, began in the late summer of 2020, when a handful of workers, fed up with stressful working conditions, intrusive monitoring and lack of safety during the pandemic, contacted the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union. The union has a high profile in the region, where it has organised poultry workers, many of whom are African American, as are around 85% of the BMH1 workers. From the beginning, Amazon mounted a massive anti-union propaganda...

US: four areas of disagreement

This article is adapted from an introduction given in a recent debate between advocates of two opposing motions to AWL annual conference, setting out perspectives on the US political situation

Two proposals relating to the US Democrats

The DSA's rapid growth in numbers (from around 5,000 members before 2016, to nearly 90,000 in December 2020) and in workplace and neighbourhood activity was opened up by the Sanders campaigns.

Can Biden kill off Trumpism?

In his first few hours as US President Joe Biden put the US on the path to re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organisation, stopped building the Mexico border wall, made mask-wearing mandatory on federal property, announced an end to the ban on trans people serving in the military, cancelled permits for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, strengthened the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, added gender-neutral pronoun options to the online White House contact form, and enacted a number of other measures that would gladden the heart of any liberal or leftist...

Karen Lewis lit the spark

Karen Lewis, leader of the 2012 Chicago teachers’ strike, died of cancer on 7 February 2021. An obituary in Labor Notes here describes her role in building a rank-and-file caucus in the Chicago Teachers’ Union and then leading the CTU.

Letters: Jumping the vaccination queue; A 0.32% swing

Jumping the vaccination queue I thought the call for school workers to be bumped up the vaccination queue had faded, because it was originally advocated as vaccination in half-term (mostly week 15-19 Feb). Not so. My local Labour Party passed a motion on 17 Feb for bumping up the queue. It was motivated by sympathy and appreciation for school workers, but as a teacher myself I argued against it. We’re for requisitioning Big Pharma to speed vaccine supplies. Even then vaccination will take time. Not everyone can be first. The vaccines drastically reduce death and severe illness from Covid. The...

US politics and Trump: a discussion document

Part of an ongoing debate: see here for all the contributions Developments in US politics over the past year have been the subject to lengthy debate in the labour movement, within the AWL and in our paper Solidarity. Those discussions have been useful and should continue. Our AGM should make an initial assessment and draw some political conclusions. Trump Donald Trump was the most right-wing, authoritarian, nationalist, president in recent US history, as well as a racist, sexist, transphobic narcissist. For workers of the world, and in particular for black, brown, and immigrant working-class...

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