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.
Working at Kroger grocery store, you truly appreciate the saying that “goodness is its own reward” because, despite all the news and advertisements touting grocery store employees as heroes, I sure don’t feel rewarded like one.
Participant report on the June 4 rally against the fascists’ “Free Speech Rally” in Portland, Oregon, and the police intervention on the side of the fascists. .
An activist reports on the June 4, 2017, action by anti-fascist protesters against a rally of hate made up of Proud Boys, Militiamen, and Nazis who were protected by Portland cops who attacked anti-fascists.
When Time Warner Cable became Spectrum, the company promised a new deal for consumers and small businesses. But the new corporation launched an assault on its employees; and now, three months into the strike, the union is hanging tough.
The unprecedented Women’s March on Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration revealed the blossoming of a universal movement with many particulars, from women’s demand to control their own bodies, to Black Lives Matter, to the struggle at Standing Rock.
The lightning move by Republicans in Congress to prepare to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare—before Donald Trump even took office, with only the vaguest idea of what is to replace it, and with full knowledge that a large majority of Americans oppose the repeal of its most important provisions—gave a sign of how far the new single-party government intends to roll the clock back, with dizzying speed.
Our era, when racist police gun down Black men, women and youth, continues a history as old as the U.S. The piece excerpted here shows some of that history and how racism can be spurred on by this country’s leaders and would-be leaders, out for power. It takes up how Left movements respond to racism and the attempt to answer the question by funneling liberatory impulses into the dead end of electoral politics. The relationships between the Black freedom movement, anti-war youth, workers, and philosophy of revolution remain as critical today as when this article was written.
Workers in four maquiladoras in Ciudad Juarez began organizing to form an independent union and for higher wages, better working conditions and against sexual harassment.
A review by Adele of “Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements,” by Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.: New York, 2014). This book is a brief overview of the history of the feminist movement in the U.S. from the period after women’s right to vote was won in 1920 until the present.
Revolt and Counter-Revolution, from Greece to Syria; Here Come the Reformers; Women’s Freedom; Against Racism
Election Day in Chicago, Feb. 24, made the historic nine-day Chicago Teachers Union strike in 2012 a pivotal issue again as the candidate supported by the CTU forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a runoff.
The first national oil refinery strike since 1980 manifested safety-related demands by the workers and garnered much labor, community, and environmentalist support.
Review of “Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity” by Micah Uetricht and “How to Jump-Start Your Union: Lessons from the Chicago Teachers” from Labor Notes.
Review of the book “Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Steelworkers” by Anne Balay.
The recent wave of strikes at Walmart and fast food restaurants signals the discontent brewing among the growing number of low-wage U.S. workers. They give notice that the far-reaching restructuring of jobs that was accelerated by the Great Recession also has a subjective side of revolt.
A week of strikes and demonstrations at Walmarts across the country peaked with events in 20 cities on June 4 alone. Chants of “Respect! Now!” joined the official demands of “$25,000 per year and enough hours to support our families” and an end to retaliation against workers who strike or speak up.
The shocking defeat of the United Auto Workers in a union election at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, dealt a serious blow to the organizing strategy of the UAW in the South.
NY rally demands $15 minimum wage, fast-food workers’ right to organize a union without fear of being fired.
The AFL-CIO convention reflected changed realities and the need to adopt new perspectives and goals. Delegates redefined the labor movement as more than union members. For decades the bureaucracy has become more identified with the corporations than the aspirations of the workers.
Resistance by Indigenous groups in Colombia; Indigenous Guatemalans resist Canadian mining company; teachers in Mexico protest “educational reform” law
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.
The rulers are not about to sit back and let revolt freely develop. All sorts of reactionary ideas and attitudes have been ushered into the mainstream of politics and the media.
Lake County, Ill.—Recently, teachers in my district received a warning that the district would be undergoing “restructuring” for the 2013-14 school year. When the superintendent visited our school after the winter break, she informed us that scores were still not reaching our goal and that sweeping changes would be necessary.
She needed to submit a “bold [=>]
Workers struck at Walmart in Pico Rivera, Calif., on Nov. 20, demanding an end to retaliation against workers who speak out. On Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving, [=>]
Editor’s note: Below we print excerpts from the News and Letters Committees panel discussion of teachers and education activists on the September strike by members of the Chicago Teachers Union. Daily mass demonstrations and solidarity from teachers and city residents extracted some concessions from the previously intransigent Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
From the September-October 2012 issue of News & Letters:
Readers’ Views, Part 2
REVOLUTIONARY SYNDICALISM DISCUSSION CONTINUES
The discussion article on “Revolutionary Syndicalism” (July-August N&L) reminds me of when it was considered a major force of revolution. There was a syndicalist party, the Socialist Labor Party (SLP), that thought we could vote in socialism. [=>]
by Ron Kelch
“We built it!” roared the delegates at the Republican Party convention in Tampa. It was the perfect expression of the presidential campaign and of capitalist thinking in general. The truth is that workers built the social wealth. Capitalists take it from the workers, and the government gets a portion.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan [=>]
Readers’ Views (part 2)
FROM FUKUSHIMA TO NEW YORK
Shut Down Indian Point Now! is calling a press conference immediately prior to a New York State Assembly hearing to determine energy alternatives to the Indian Point plant in January. As the Fukushima, Japan, meltdown shows, nuclear power can never be made safe.
People are becoming increasingly aware [=>]
UAW and Big 3 still fear rank and file
Detroit—The new auto industry contract just approved by the autoworkers created a huge well of discontent among the rank and file that will surely manifest itself in many ways during the four-year contract. Indications of this were evident during the ratification process, when it became apparent in [=>]
Chicago–On a blistering hot July 21, over 200 seniors, disabled people, and outraged citizens demonstrated downtown in front of the Social Security office to express anger over proposed cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Called by several groups, including Community Renewal Society, Illinois Alliance of Retired Americans, Lakeview Action Coalition, Jane Addams Senior Caucus [=>]
Unite Here, a union for service workers, has filed charges against the management of Hyatt Hotels for turning heat lamps on hotel housekeepers picketing the Chicago Hyatt for safer jobs in July in near 100 degree temperatures. Nearly all hotel housekeepers are women and most are women of color and immigrants. After downsizing, they [=>]
by Erica Rae
From college level all the way down to pre-school, education is in crisis across the U.S. Teachers are made the scapegoats for why students are not “measuring up” to keep our country competitive in a global market that is falling apart across the globe. But, what is the reality?
At the college level: many students [=>]
Los Angeles–On June 14, 1,000 mostly young grocery workers and their supporters gathered and marched for a fair contract at the East Hollywood Vons Supermarket. They represented 60,000 workers of the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) at Vons, Ralph and Albertson Supermarkets who have been without a contract for over three months.
Management has demanded [=>]
Detroit–A new militant spirit in labor is now coming into play, sparked by the militant struggle against the onslaught of Wisconsin unionized public workers. This opposition is re-energizing the union movement and producing new leaders who are expressing their opposition to their own union leaders and their concessionary mentality. There is positive promise in these [=>]
Lansing, Mich.–It was a dreary, overcast, cold day at the Capitol building here on Feb. 26 when over 2,000 came from all over the state to show solidarity with workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Driving in from Detroit, one could pick out those heading for the rally by the bumper stickers on their cars.
The sound [=>]
Mexico City–In October 2009, Mexican President Felipe Calderón ordered the destruction of the publicly owned City Light and Power Company, and with it the destruction of the union. The union members, men and women, were informed only by watching television, where we heard that troops would stealthily be occupying our workplaces.
I had been working with [=>]