Murderous King Coal on trial

January 29, 2015

Don Blankenship—owner of the Upper Big Branch Massey mine in West Virginia in 2010 when the mine exploded, killing 29 coal miners—was indicted. Nevertheless, the coal lobby still exerts considerable power in the state, and uses that power to support mountaintop mining and to thwart environmentally progressive programs that try to minimize the many dangerous aspects of coal mining.

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UAW shirks campaign at Mercedes-Benz

November 22, 2014

Detroit—Instead of holding an election of rank-and-file workers at the Mercedes-Benz auto plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the United Auto Workers union (UAW) in October simply declared that Local Union 112 was in existence to represent workers at the plant. UAW officials said they hoped to convince a majority of the 3,400 full-time workers there to join the union, and are seeking to persuade Mercedes-Benz management to accept the union as the sole representative of the workers….

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Workers paid weakly

August 29, 2014

From the September-October 2014 issue of News & Letters

New York—It insults our intelligence to claim that the proposed increase in the minimum wage from the existing $7.25 an hour to $10.10 in 2016 is enough to keep a family above the poverty line. President Obama signed an executive order raising the minimum wage [=>]

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Put miners in charge

From the September-October 2014 issue of News & Letters

Detroit—A mid-May fire killed 301 miners by carbon monoxide poisoning due to mine owners’ negligence in the worst coal mine disaster in Turkey’s history (see “Turkish miners killed,” July-August N&L). First reports indicated that the fire started when a transformer blew up. A subsequent investigation revealed that [=>]

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Picketing for jobs

From the September-October 2014 issue of News & Letters

Chicago–Altgeld Gardens residents picketed the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) on June 26. They told News & Letters that the CHA contracts with Walsh Construction to work on housing projects like Altgeld Gardens, which is 97% Black. But Walsh refuses to follow Section 3, which requires 30% [=>]

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WORKSHOP TALKS: Veteran Affairs care is for data

July 5, 2014

Healthcare reform took cost-control ideology to a whole new level. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been transformed into its opposite by the HMO industry which sacrifices the lives of patients and workers alike for the sake of fiduciary health.

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The Left Agenda at the Maidan and After

June 30, 2014

On April 12, 2014, Kiev hosted a conference The Left and the Maidan which brought together activists from anarchist, socialist and communist organisations that had been involved in the Maidan movement in late 2013–early 2014. The large number of participating activists who represent the various political groups and initiatives evolving as a part of the Maidan movement is clear evidence against the alleged absence of the Left in the Maidan movement. The discussion was centered on why the Left failed to take an organisational form and become as visible a factor of the Maidan as the right.

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Readers’ Views, May-June 2014

May 25, 2014

LABOR AND IMMIGRATION

On April 8, about 100 people, the majority young Latinas/os, gathered in front of Los Angeles City Hall to protest the deportation of immigrants. Obama’s administration has aggressively deported 2,000,000 immigrants. We held signs reading: “Not Even One More!” and “No Separation of Family!” Separation of family members has serious adverse effects [=>]

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Minimum wage is a starvation wage

May 17, 2014

Wages have stagnated for several decades— the standard of living of Americans today is less than it was in 1972. The average wage of a worker today is $20.39, not the $38 an hour it would be if wages had kept up with inflation.

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Bolivia’s two worlds

May 11, 2014

A new conflict broke out in Bolivia at the end of March. Thousands of miners blocked highways in five departments of Bolivia to protest a pending new mining law. Three miners were killed by the national police, while the miners took dozens of police hostage.

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Measured to death

Reliance on metrics in healthcare has become a new Taylorism, or management by time study. Everything in the hospital workplace is now tracked by sophisticated computer programs, down to every last pill, gauze and penny, and down to every last motion. This vast pool of information becomes Big Data.

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Revolt and retrogression at home

May 6, 2014

Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2014-2015: From the U.S. to Ukraine, crises and revolts call for philosophy. II. Revolt and retrogression at home. A. Women under attack. B. Many dimensions of revolt

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‘A Dreadful Deceit’ and unceasing rebellion

March 30, 2014

Jacqueline Jones’ new book, A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America, is not a call to ignore effects of the concept of race in law and practice. She finds the definition of race repeatedly twisted to suit the needs of the ruling class and wielded as a tool for subjugation of Black and white labor alike.

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Egyptian strike wave topples cabinet

March 28, 2014

Workers in the state-controlled textile industry, mostly women workers, and public transport workers, sanitation workers, office workers, doctors, and even policemen launched a wave of strikes that caused Egypt’s Prime Minister and his entire cabinet to resign.

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Musicians rally Oct. 1, 2013, to mark one year of the lockout. https://scontent-b-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/t1.0-9/1383632_514114728680754_613801427_n.jpg Musicians rally Oct. 1, 2013, to mark one year of the lockout. https://scontent-b-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/t1.0-9/1383632_514114728680754_613801427_n.jpg

Locked out Minnesota musicians return

March 26, 2014

On Feb. 1, 2014, the Minnesota Orchestral Association [MOA] ended its lockout of striking union musicians. The lockout began on Oct. 1, 2012, the longest work stoppage in U.S. orchestra history. in a focus that would not have been possible without union and community solidarity, the Tea Party destruction of nonprofits everywhere in Minnesota and in the U.S.

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Don’t stop at raising wages

March 17, 2014

That there are two Americas when it comes to the economy and the wealth of our nation is no mystery to anyone. Everyone now knows the top 1% have essentially been the only beneficiaries of the latest “boom.” Journalists and economists take pains to point out how this jobless expansion has allowed the investors to recover from their losses of the 2008 financial collapse. Workers, though, are still left holding the bag.

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Capitalist economy is failing

March 15, 2014

Ongoing national strikes and demonstrations by fast food workers demanding a $15 an hour living wage show that workers’ reality is not the media-touted economic “recovery” enjoyed by the super-wealthy finance capitalists. In real life the 2008 depression drags on. In a punitive move, Congressional Republicans wouldn’t even allow a vote for long-term unemployment benefits to continue, in spite of the record 1.7 million, or 37% of the officially unemployed, who have been out of work for six months or longer. Previously, a rate anywhere near this was called an emergency, compelling an automatic extension of benefits.

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March-April 2014 News & Letters online

March 12, 2014

March-April 2014 News & Letters: Women fight for freedom against growing retrogression; On THE Philosophic Point and Dialectics of Organization and Philosophy; Capitalist economy is failing; Ukraine and Bosnia: historic uprisings; more…

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Readers’ Views, Jan.-Feb. 2014, Part 1

March 8, 2014

THE SYRIAN REVOLUTION AS TEST OF WORLD POLITICS

I have been active in a number of student groups around labor and women’s issues. We always talk about “intersectionality” and recognizing different struggles. Somehow that didn’t seem to apply, though, when it came to the Syrian Revolution. Suddenly people didn’t want to talk about it. I [=>]

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Anti-worker robots

February 24, 2014

Robotics development has exploded within the past three years. Under capitalism, robotics has made millions unemployed, and robots have also become a means for employers to intimidate workers who oppose management dictates.

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L.A. garment dialogue

February 23, 2014

Garment workers and organizers from Bangladesh and Los Angeles discussed their labor conditions at the downtown L.A. Garment Center

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Cambodian massacre

February 22, 2014

Cambodian police attacked workers on general strike, whose nationwide demand was for the minimum wage to be doubled to $160 a month.

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South Korea on strike, North Korea on ‘ice’

February 15, 2014

• Over 100,000 South Koreans, mainly workers, demonstrated in Seoul on Dec. 28. They expressed their anger over a number of issues at the government of President Park Geun-hye.

One source of anger is the move to privatize some service by KORAIL (Korean Railroad Corp.). This had already led to the largest-ever walkout by members of the railroad workers’ union. Union officials say moves to privatize will mean fare hikes, service reductions, and safety problems.

On Dec. 22 riot police were sent to attack the Seoul headquarters of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. Without search warrants, they broke down doors and caused serious property damage, including to the adjoining offices of the Kyunghang newspaper, which has been critical of Park’s policies.

Other citizens, outraged by revelations of manipulation by the National Intelligence Service of the 2012 elections when Park was elected, joined protesting workers. Police had confirmed illegal attempts to manipulate the election beforehand, but were ordered to remain silent.

With all these problems and more, South Korean youth have been inspired by the “Why We Aren’t Fine!” campaign. This was launched when a student at Korea University, Ju Hyun-woo, made a poster for his school bulletin board that was picked up and broadcast over social media. He wrote: “I just want to ask, ‘Are you okay?’ Are you fine with ignoring all these issues because they aren’t your problems?…And if you are not ‘fine’ after seeing all these problems, then voice your opinions—whatever they may be.”

Many of these young people joined in the Dec. 28 demonstrations, and also held flash mobs in cities across the country.

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Let RNs give care

February 11, 2014

On Jan. 6, RNs from the California Nurses Association (CNA) picketed a new state-of-the-art facility at Kaiser Oakland to protest increasing restrictions on access to care while decreasing frontline care staff. The opening was timed to coincide with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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Charles Denby, worker-editor

February 8, 2014

As a contribution to Black History Month we reprint Raya Dunayevskaya’s memorial for Charles Denby (1907-1983), her comrade of 35 years, Editor of News & Letters from its founding in 1955 until his death and the author of Indignant Heart: A Black Worker’s Journal.

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Tahrir three years later

February 7, 2014

Three years ago, the Egyptian Revolution was fighting for its life in Tahrir Square. For 18 days and nights, the women and men of the Square faced off against President Hosni Mubarak’s security forces and thugs. In the end Mubarak was forced to follow Tunisia’s President-for-life, Ben Ali, into retirement and shame. The light of freedom spread–Square to Square, occupation to occupation. It was a historic turning point.

It was this global struggle that the military coup that ousted Morsi, and led to the massacre of over 800 of his supporters, was meant to stop short. Now, revolution continues, and the freedom idea lives, but the old world has tried hard to destroy it. Egypt’s newest new Constitution, passed Jan. 15 under the military rule of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, evokes only faint echoes of Tahrir. As artist Hanaa Safwat said, “The referendum is stained in innocent people’s blood. It has been built on the dead bodies of 800 people in Rabaa al-Adawiya.”

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January-February 2014 News & Letters online

February 4, 2014

The January-February issue of News & Letters is online. Rampant U.S. surveillance slouches toward totalitarianism; Tahrir three years later; Charles Denby, worker-editor; Syrian revolution ‘brought us together’; Communization theory’s missing link: dialectical mediation; what happens after; Language and death in Juárez; Let RNs give care; …

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Readers’ Views, Nov.-Dec. 2013, Part 1

December 14, 2013

Readers’ Views from Nov.-Dec. 2013 N&L: U.S. RACISM AND BLACK AND LATINO STRUGGLES; LABOR UNDER ATTACK; CTA vs. THE HOMELESS; DISABILITY AND HUMANITY; ABORTION IS A HUMAN NEED; EGYPT’S CONTRADICTIONS; DETROIT CRISIS; NUCLEAR PERIL; WHY A NEWSPAPER LIKE N&L?

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Detroit workers fight for jobs and pensions

December 4, 2013

Yesterday, a judge approved Detroit bankruptcy. Emergency manager Kevyn Orr outrageously claimed that the attack on workers’ pensions would be “thoughtful, measured and humane.” Read the News & Letters article for a view from the other side of the class struggle.

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BART workers forced to strike

December 2, 2013

Oakland, Cal.—“One day longer, one day stronger!” shouted a transit worker to kick off a noon rally on Oct. 18 at Oakland’s Lake Merritt BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station. SEIU (Service Employees Int’l Union) Local 1021 and ATU (Amalgamated Transit Union) Local 1555 had shut down the trains shortly after midnight.

Photo by David [=>]

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Job makes us sick

November 18, 2013

Kaiser imposed added staff cuts in the same breath as it announced the “Total Health Incentive Plan” campaign. While it is promoted as voluntary, the program hides the reality of the health of workers and patients sacrificed daily in the name of cost efficiency. Workers realize they risk their own health and the health of their patients when they come to work sick. Yet we are called into disciplinary meetings when we exceed the company set limit in the number of sick days.

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November-December 2013 News & Letters online

November 11, 2013

The new November-December 2013 issue of News & Letters is online.

News & Letters, Vol. 58, No. 6
November – December 2013

Lead
The Syrian Revolution as the test of world politics

On Aug. 21 the genocidal regime of Bashar al-Assad murdered over a thousand civilians, mostly women and children, with sarin gas in the Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta. [=>]

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Goodwill sweatshops

October 3, 2013

Dozens of people gathered outside a resale store in Chicago to demonstrate against Goodwill Industries’ hiring disabled workers at steeply sub-minimum wages.

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Chile re-inters miners

October 1, 2013

Despite overwhelming evidence against the mine owners, a judge ruled that no one was responsible for the mine collapse in Chile that trapped 33 miners three years ago.

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Walmart workers rally

September 30, 2013

Walmart store and warehouse workers, with the support of several busloads of national NOW conference participants, rallied at the downtown Chicago Walmart store.

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NYC fast food strikes

September 29, 2013

The fast food workers of New York, along with those in seven other cities, are on the move and demanding nothing less than to be treated as human beings on the job, not replaceable parts in a giant fast food industry machine.

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Suicide as revolt

September 18, 2013

Workers at the vast Foxconn manufacturing complex in China now struggle against daily torture that is not only physical but mental. It is a new form of the banality of evil that combines Dickensian work conditions, crowded dormitories and a vast bureaucratic maze designed to make young individuals feel totally lost and alone when thrust into it by circumstances not of their own making.

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Recreating Detroit

September 12, 2013

A different Detroit is struggling to be realized in the minds and hearts of its citizens: individuals (unrecognized thousands of whom routinely maintain nearby abandoned property) as well as organizations—from churches and small businesses to youth and athletic programs, block clubs and neighborhood associations, and social and environmental justice organizations.

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