The race for mayor of Chicago is now between Brandon Johnson, a teacher endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), and Paul Vallas, a former boss of the Chicago Public Schools who trashes the CTU at every opportunity. The runoff election on April 4 will be in part a referendum on rank-and-file unionism.
Drive for profit derails lives in Ohio
The Norfolk Southern train that derailed on Feb. 3, 2023, in East Palestine, Ohio, threatening the health and lives of thousands of residents, can’t be called an accident. Not when railroad workers were cut out of negotiating over safety, and not when decisions by the railroad made this and other ecological disasters predictable rather than surprising.
Editorial: Earthquake deaths are not a natural disasterMarch 17, 2023
Twin earthquakes on Feb. 6 decimated a vast area of Turkey and Syria. They produced a catastrophe with human tragedies over hundreds of square miles. But it was the man-made disaster on top of the natural one that killed more than half of the over 50,000 victims accounted for so far.
Propping up fascists
To avoid Russia’s outright defeat in its brutal war against Ukrainians, the alliance of nations–Russia, Iran, and China, now with North Korea–that for 12 years has united to suppress the Syrian Revolution for freedom and dignity seems to be firming up again.
Congress imposes rail worker contractJanuary 25, 2023
Congress has done its best to become the nation’s strikebreaker by forcing a five-year contract on railroad workers who had been set to go on strike on Dec. 12.
Readers’ Views: Azadkar (Tooraj Haji Moradi), 1952-2022
From the January-February 2023 issue of News & Letters
It hurts to hear that Azadkar has passed. He was slightly built, but a giant in making the Iranian Revolution indigenous to Marxist-Humanism, and Marxist-Humanism indigenous to the Iranian Revolution. He and I participated in an international summit of farmers in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, [=>]
School workers defy anti-union law to winJanuary 24, 2023
School support workers in Ontario, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, ratified a four-year contract on Dec. 6, after weeks of defying both school administrators and provincial politicians.
‘Sweet Years of Protest’
Bob McGuire reviews the book “Sweet Years of Protest: 1990-2021; A Chronicle of Actions, Ideas, and Events” by Séamas Cain.
China’s white paper revolution scares Xi JinpingJanuary 22, 2023
In October Xi Jinping cleared the inner circle of the ruling Communist Party of all but lackeys. In November his lifetime rule became much more precarious as protests broke out across the country over his draconian zero-COVID policies.
Congress breaks railroad workers’ strikeDecember 3, 2022
Congress has done its best to become the nation’s strikebreaker by forcing a five-year contract on railroad workers who had been set to go on strike on Dec. 12. Union members in four of the 12 unions had voted to reject a tentative agreement that negotiators had reached with six major rail carriers in September.
National Costco pactNovember 12, 2022
Unionized Costco workers achieved their first national master contract. This needs to form the basis for reaching out and organizing the majority of Costco warehouses that remain non-union.
Xi Jinping’s precarious hold on ChinaNovember 11, 2022
The coup that Xi Jinping had long planned to cement his control of the Communist Party of China went according to script: Xi was re-elected to a third five-year term as leader at the Party Congress that ended on Oct. 23.
Leading Canadians off the cliff
Canada’s Conservative Party and Alberta province’s United Conservative Party have both chosen racist, anti-immigrant leaders, moving Canada to the Right.
Readers’ Views: November-December 2022, Part One
Readers’ Views on: Iran: Woman, Life, Freedom; Election Threats and Battles; Women’s Marches and Enemies; Sexist Supreme Court; Ukrainians Fight for Freedom; Para-Transit Disservice; Mike Davis; Labor Struggles, from Amazon…to the Bank.
Fired for going greySeptember 25, 2022
Privately owned Canadian TV network CTV and its corporate parent Bell Media abruptly fired long-time news anchor Lisa LaFlamme. The reason? She let her hair go grey.
Will China make war on Taiwan?September 13, 2022
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan provoked controversy. Times may have changed since Nixon met Mao but then as now, look to internal reasons in both nations for their foreign policy stances.
Readers’ Views, September-October 2022: Kei Utsumi (Basho), 1935-2022
What a loss we feel with the passing of Kei Utsumi. Several readers and writers share their remembrances.
Iowa workers strikeSeptember 11, 2022
Workers on strike at the Ingredion plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, rallied on Sept. 1, marking one month since the strike began. Ingredion demanded the right to charge as much as $500 more for health insurance, freeze the two tiers of workers in place, and eliminate jobs.
UN documents Uyghur forced labor, tortureSeptember 10, 2022
The pretext for China’s genocidal campaign against Uyghurs was “Countering Religious Extremism.” Under China’s “anti-terrorism law system” a new UN report states, “acts of legitimate protest, dissent and other human rights activities or of genuine religious activity fall within terrorism.”
Apple workers unionizeJuly 19, 2022
Workers at the Apple Store in Towson, Md., outside Baltimore voted in June to unionize. Organizers of the successful union drive have reached out to employees at other Apple locations.
Editorial: Trump’s continuing coupJuly 8, 2022
Trump set in motion a formula for ending meaningful elections that, if not stopped, raises the threat of 2024 as an empty ceremony for Trump or DeSantis or [Insert Name Here] before a coronation.
Where’s the solidarity with Syria?May 19, 2022
Free Syria areas have repeatedly demonstrated solidarity with Ukrainians fighting their common enemy, but have had to carry on their fight, for freedom and to avert extermination, without the international support their struggle has deserved.
Alabama coal miners keep strike aliveMay 14, 2022
By May Day 2022 coal miners at Warrior Met in Brookwood, Ala., had been on strike for a year and a month since they walked out April 1, 2021, to demand restoration of their wages, benefits and work rules. Strikers rejected a tentative contract as an insult. The company offered to restore just $1 more in wages.
Readers’ Views: March-April 2022, Part OneMarch 19, 2022
Readers’ Views on: Putin’s Brutal War on Ukraine; War on Yemen; Canadian Convoy; Trucks and Tribes; and Abortion Politics.
Editorial: Sham trucker convoys
The “Freedom Convoy” in Canada was part and parcel of the white Christian nationalism that is a marker of today’s fascism, and not a working-class movement of truck drivers.
World in View: Iron fist at OlympicsMarch 16, 2022
It is no accident that Olympic gold medal winner Nils van der Poel felt compelled to wait until he was out of the grasp of China before he gave away his Olympic gold medal to the daughter of a political prisoner jailed in China: Gui Minhai.
Canadian convoy fuels fascism, not freedomFebruary 11, 2022
Despite 90% of Canadian truckers being vaccinated, organizers counted on a couple hundred semis to mask the fascist movements and money propelling this “freedom convoy.” The mask came off quickly, as participants paraded Nazi and Confederate flags, and even TRUMP 2024 banners, while others desecrated national memorials.
Readers’ Views: January-February 2022, Part TwoFebruary 5, 2022
Readers’ Views on: Racist Censorship; Learning from 1619; Backlash to Women, Blacks; Racism and the Far Right; Censorship in Prison; The 13th Amendment and Slave Labor; Incarcerated Immigrants Face Racism; Trans Women Abused in Prison; Prison Activist Resource Center (Parc)
Jonathan Spence (1936-2021)February 3, 2022
Remembering Jonathan Spence, a noted China scholar at Yale and the author of more than a dozen books on Chinese history spanning centuries and social classes.
Workers, from union to gig, reject rules that bosses try to reimposeNovember 9, 2021
Workers in the U.S. have made 2021 a year that ought to panic giant corporations and small store owners alike. The wave of strikes and other job actions this fall have exploded and not just in numbers.
Nationwide walkout of Nabisco workersSeptember 12, 2021
Nabisco workers nationwide struck over horrendous hours and shifts.
Volvo workers defy UAW to resume strikeJuly 5, 2021
UAW workers on June 7 resumed their strike at the Volvo Truck Plant in Dublin, Va., the day after rejecting for the second time the tentative agreement that Local 2069 Bargaining Committee presented to them. The vote to reject, like the vote on May 16 to strike, was by more than 90%.
Forcing workers back to unlivable wagesJuly 4, 2021
Missouri is one of 25 states on track to reject by July 2021 the $300 a week federal supplemental unemployment insurance. The payments issued to shore up the economy in response to the pandemic, and in fear of unrest that unemployment levels unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s might create, were not scheduled to end until September.
Free Hong Kong rally
Activists from Hong Kong along with emigres from Tibet and the China mainland joined supporters of freedom for Myanmar and Thailand in Chicago, Ill., on June 12 to mark two years since millions filled the streets to protest a threatened extradition law.
The people of Myanmar unite against the military coupMay 8, 2021
Defying Burma’s coup has provided time for the forces of old revolutionaries, youth, workers and women to work out what they are fighting for, beyond deposing the military caste that has ruled them, and an opportunity to bridge long-time divisions between the Burmese-speaking majority and the peoples long fighting for self-determination.
Coming soon: ‘What Is Socialism? A Marxist-Humanist Symposium’March 11, 2021
Announcement and pre-publication offer for a new publication, ‘What Is Socialism? A Marxist-Humanist Symposium’
Karen Lewis, 1953-2021
The City of Chicago lost a powerful voice for teachers, and for workers in general, with the death of Karen Lewis, former President of the Chicago Teachers Union.
Hong Kong arrests
Massive marches in Hong Kong that continued until COVID-19 crowd restrictions and the National Security Law , combined with more violent arrests, drove protests underground.
Wave of arrests indicts justice in ChinaJanuary 31, 2021
Journalists in China harassed and detained for exposing COVID-19 reality; Hong Kong dissidents arrested; forced Uyghur labor elicits uneven response from U.S.
P.O. workers thwart Trump’s vote theftsNovember 28, 2020
Postal workers were at the front line of resistance to Trump’s rigging of the November 3 election.
Workers oppose China’s forced labor camps
Labor unions and human rights groups demand action against China’s incarceration of Uyghurs and forced labor.
‘Liberate Hong Kong’August 28, 2020
China is imposing harsh new repressive measures on Hong Kong, blocking protests that nevertheless have not stopped.
The USPS is a continuing crime scene
Postal workers find themselves on the frontlines of three fronts: saving their jobs under attack from the United States Postal Service under Postmaster Louis DeJoy; saving the USPS from the sabotage of DeJoy and Trump, and saving the integrity of U.S. elections.
Hong Kong: Year two of revoltJuly 1, 2020
Tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong defied a ban on demonstrations to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. Thousands came out to oppose the Beijing government’s intention to impose a National Security Law directly on Hong Kong.
Meatpacking workers sacrificedMay 1, 2020
Workers in meatpacking plants across the country are being sacrificed to what Karl Marx called capital’s “werewolf hunger for surplus labor” as packing companies try to reap the benefits of the prevailing level of automation—but substituting intensified sweated labor for the capital investment of automation. If workers die from COVID-19, the capitalist doesn’t care.
Copper miners strikeMarch 11, 2020
The strike of more than 1,500 copper miners and smelters in Arizona and Texas against Asarco/Grupo Mexico has entered its fifth month, part of a new wave of labor solidarity and revolt.
Editorial: Trump after impeachmentMarch 8, 2020
In the aftermath of Trump’s impeachment trial, impunity and purges rage while checks and balances failed. Armed with a philosophy of freedom, the opposition to Trump and to the capitalist system that spawned him would give Trump the challenge that fellow politicians could not.
Rebellion in Hong Kong spreadsJanuary 21, 2020
New Year’s Day, a million people took to the streets in Hong Kong despite police repression. Marchers called for Hong Kong to “resist tyranny, join a union.”
‘For Sama’: video as Syrian revoltNovember 17, 2019
A report on a speech by documentary filmmaker Joshka Wessels, who talks about the book “Documenting Syria”.
Hong Kong defianceNovember 4, 2019
Bob McGuire describes the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, triggered five months ago against a colonialist extradition bill to mainland China.