United States

Last week, the comrades of the US section of the IMT unveiled a new version of socialistrevolution.org. After 16 years of producing Socialist Appeal, we launched Socialist Revolution in 2017, a better name for the struggles of the post-2017 election era. Our new site was also a big step forward toward raising the IMT's profile and visibility. Since then, we have kept working on improvements to continue to enhance the user experience, especially on mobile devices.

Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, comments on President Trump's recent state visit to Britain. With Theresa May stepping down, Tory leadership contenders have made a lot of noise about how Britain will 'reclaim sovereignty' and 'take back control' after Brexit. But the events surrounding Trump's visit expose this as a complete charade. Far from achieving a favourable trade deal with the USA, the Tory government is preparing the ground for American big business to sweep in and pick at whatever scraps are left of the British economy after Brexit.

The following editorial from Issue 15 of Socialist Revolution, the US magazine of the International Marxist Tendency, was published on 8 May 2019. The stage is clearly set for another convulsive economic disruption. The coming crisis will bring to the surface all the accumulated doubts and frustrations of the so-called boom years.

The arrest of Julian Assange is a vicious assault on basic democratic rights. Through WikiLeaks, Assange has exposed the hair-raising crimes of US imperialism and its allies, including the UK. While war criminals like Bush and Blair walk free, Assange now faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in a US prison. A defence of Assange is a defence of the right to freedom of expression and the right to information, against imperialist aggression.

Boeing is in trouble. The American aviation giant finds itself in the middle of a storm that has culminated in the worldwide grounding of its latest aircraft model, the 737 MAX. There is an emerging picture of a major manufacturer botching a new aircraft design, with more than 300 people dead as a result. This follows two fatal accidents in the space of five months that seem to have occurred under similar circumstances.

The 2020 presidential election has started. The fact that the Democrats won forty additional seats in the House of Representatives in the midterm elections has many of them smelling Republican blood. A number of candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, and Corey Booker, have already launched their campaigns. Now Bernie Sanders has become the 10th official candidate—with many more yet to come—to announce his run for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

The dramatic "standoff" between US President Donald Trump and the Democrats over border policy is a cynical charade between two parties that represent one and the same class. Shortly after the Democrats took back the House of Representatives in the midterms, Nancy Pelosi issued a defiant pledge, promising not to give Trump “one dollar” for his wall.

The fightback against the capitalist crisis in education has now spread from West Virginia and Arizona to California. 30,000 teachers in Los Angeles, represented by UTLA, were recently on strike, and in Oakland, nearly 2,400 teachers represented by Oakland Education Association, who have been without a contract since 1 July 2017, are on the verge of strike action.

On 11 December 2018, the official Weibo account of the US Embassy in China published a blog post entitled “American University Marxist Students Show Solidarity for Unionization and Strikes” (美国大学生马克思主义社团声援工人组织工会和罢工). In it, the embassy referred to the activities of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) comrades in the Marxist Student Association (MSA) and their political work in Madison, Wisconsin.

The glory days of American capitalism are over. Long gone are its youthfulness, enthusiasm, and idealism. The signs of extreme decay and senility are everywhere as the divisions within the ruling class are put on public display. The longest partial government shutdown in US history is just the latest example.

On 20 October 2018, the White House published a document, entitled ‘The Opportunity Costs of Socialism’, which recognises the rising popularity of socialism in the United States (particularly amongst the young) and attempts to provide a scientific rebuttal in favour of capitalism. Alan Woods replies to this document’s slanders, and investigates why socialist ideas are gaining ground in the United States of America.

In the final installment of Alan Woods' reply to the White House's slanders against socialism, he discusses the terrible financial and human cost of American capitalist imperialism. He points to the clear superiority of a planned economy, and explains that a transition to socialism in America (given its vast productive forces) would be far easier than in backward countries like Russia in 1917, and would be a colossal advance towards the goal of world socialism.

In the third part of Alan Woods’ reply to Trump’s advisers’ so-called empirical critique of socialism, he addresses their gross mischaracterisation of the Nordic economies, Venezuela and the USSR. Alan also refutes the accusation that socialism will inevitably lead to food shortages and economic ruin; and responds to the falsehood that socialists want to “nationalise everything”.

On 27 October, Robert Gregory Bowers, a far-right activist, gunned down 11 people at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh while yelling "All Jews must die!" This was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in US history. A few days before the Pittsburgh attack, pipe bombs were mailed to prominent critics of US president Donald Trump, including Hillary Clinton, George Soros and members of CNN’s New York bureau. While these events are shocking, they should not surprise anyone. This is just the most recent on a growing list of atrocities committed by the far-right

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In the second part of his reply to the White House’s slanders against socialism, Alan Woods addresses the reality of life for American workers under capitalism. Since 2008 they have seen inequality skyrocket, endured long hours in multiple jobs, and faced cuts to essential services – all while the parasitic bankers receive state handouts. The ‘American dream’ is dead – and socialism is reaching a bigger audience.

The 2018 US midterms have come and gone and there were no major surprises. Both Democrats and Republicans worked to mobilise millions and opened their pocketbooks to do so—to the tune of $4 billion. This and the polarisation in society led to a huge rise in turnout, with a record 113 million voting, and over 30 million getting their votes in early, compared to 83 million who voted in 2014.

Donald J. Trump has recently been an extremely busy man. While striving with might and main to make America great again, he has been obliged to fight on a number of different fronts against sinister forces that are hellbent on undermining him, and thereby preventing America from being great.

We publish here a statement by an IMT comrade in Pittsburgh on the barbaric killing of 11 Jews as they prayed in the Tree of Life synagogue. The frequency of anti-semitic attacks has increased in the recent period, as have racist attacks in general. In times of capitalist crisis, the ruling class foments division and hatred and Trump has contributed to creating an environment favourable to such events. So long as capitalism survives it will continue to produce such barbarism. The answer is to remove the cause and overthrow capitalism once and for all.

The US midterms are upon us and the 2020 elections just around the corner. Seen by many as a referendum on Trump and a preview of the next presidential elections, 2018 will also be a referendum on the political system as a whole. While it’s possible there will be an anti-Trump bump, tens of millions will simply sit it out, instinctively understanding that whether the Democrats or Republicans control Congress, no fundamental change will be forthcoming.

Two weeks ago, Trump announced tariffs on another $200bn worth of imports from China. The announcement was met with protests from the Chinese, as well as big business in the US. China responded with tariffs on another $60bn of imports from the US. This trade war reveals the frictions that have been developing for some time between the imperialist powers, and threatens to plunge the world into a new recession.

The current wave of electoral campaigns associating themselves with socialism to one degree or another is an indication of the dramatic shift that has taken place in the consciousness of the US working class. This was never predicted by bourgeois political analysts and just a few years ago would have seemed impossible.

“Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that.” The judgement of President Donald J. Trump delivered from the heights of Helsinki followed hard on the heels of his first summit meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin. If anything, it was even more bizarre than his visits to the NATO summit and the United Kingdoma few days ago. And it made even bigger waves.

Donald Trump’s visit to Britain could not have come at a worse time for Theresa May. In the days before he landed, May was busy facing down a rebellion over her Brexit plan, with Boris Johnson and David Davis – two senior cabinet members – having resigned. Threatened with a leadership challenge if she didn’t change course, May was desperately trying to patch up the split in the Tory Party.

In London, on the inauspicious date of Friday the 13th, Donald Trump was met by one of the largest demonstrations seen in the UK since the days of the 2003 Iraq war: hundreds-of-thousands strong. The enormous size of this protest is an indication of the real mood of anger and rebellion that exists within British society at the present time.

Calling to mind the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland,US President Donald Trump tweets no fewer than six impossible things before breakfast. But what we are living through is not impossible, and it is not a dream. This is the living reality of capitalism a century after it became an absolute fetter on human progress. Trump is merely the personification of this chaos and instability.

It was not supposed to happen. Incumbent New York Congressman Joe Crowley—the head of the Queens County Democratic Party machine, slated to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, should the Democrats retake the majority—was soundly defeated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old activist who identifies as a socialist and is a member of DSA.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration laid out its proposed 2019 budget. Although it sets out increased spending to address the national opioid epidemic, it includes drastic cuts to national public assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and Section 8 public housing. This will strike a major blow at millions of families whose main source of security is through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and other forms of public assistance. Given the stricter eligibility guidelines and $213bn in cuts over the next ten years—30 percent of current levels—some four million Americans will immediately lose access to SNAP benefits.

On Thursday the deadline passed for an agreement between Trump and Canada, Japan, Mexico and the EU on trade. Failure to reach an agreement meant that the steel and aluminium tariffs threatened by Trump came into force. With this, Trump has begun the process of unravelling globalisation. On Saturday, the G-7 finance ministers met and the 6 non-US ministers came together against the US, expressing their “unanimous concern and disappointment” over the US decision.

The 2018 midterm elections are already upon us and 2020 will be here before we know it. Although the left and labor leaders seem to have blanked 2016 from their memories, the takeaways from that earthshaking political cycle are clear: 1) People are fed up with the status quo; 2) Interest in socialism is skyrocketing; 3) You can’t fight evil with more evil. How can we combine all of this to fight and defeat Trump and everything he represents?

Teachers are on the move around the United States. By shutting down schools in every county in the state of West Virginia—even defying anti-strike laws that prohibit public sector employees from taking such action—teachers and other education workers have provided an exemplary lesson in class struggle for the labour movement to follow. Their inspiring victory has now set off similar actions in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona and other parts of the country.

50 years ago, on 4 April 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – the leader of the civil rights movement in America – was shot dead in cold blood. On that day, Dr. King was in Memphis, Tennessee, to lead a demonstration and rally in support of a three-month-long fight for trade union recognition by 1,300 local refuse collectors.

A series of school walkouts in the United States has given voice to a range of social demands that go beyond the typical gun-control debate that has prevailed in Washington and the media. More than a million high school, middle school, and even elementary students on over 3,000 campuses across the US staged walkouts on 14 March—exactly one month after 17 students and staff were killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The Parkland, Florida shooting marks a tipping point, transforming the shock and grief of thousands of students into outrage and a vow to put an end to the horrific pattern of school massacres.

Tom Trottier examines the rise and fall of the Labor Party, which was founded by an alliance of unionists in 1996 and won some support, but rapidly declined in the late-90s and early-2000s. Tom explains why the Labor Party failed and why Marxists must draw lessons from the past to start laying the foundations and framework for a future mass, working-class, socialist party in the United States.

Interest in socialism has skyrocketed over the last two years. Millions of people yearn for change and want to fight back against capitalism. They are looking for ideas and an organization that can help them do just that. But there is as yet no viable point of reference, no mass socialist party, no clear and confident exit indicated out of the burning building. As a result, most people doubt whether a serious challenge to the system and its institutions can be mounted, let alone its total overturn. This explains the revival of interest in reformism.

The student loan industry's parasitism is matched by the Democratic Party's unwillingness to take them on. Martin Scorsese’s classic 1991 film Goodfellas lays bare the basic operations of the mafia. In a classic scene, narrator and mobster Henry Hill describes the fate that befalls those who partner with the mob.

 Neither taxation nor privatization will keep our water clean, bridges safe, or roads intact. Taking control over these essentials means a fight against those who hold them–and us–hostage under a failing system.

En las últimas dos semanas, olas de protestas heroicas se han extendido rápidamente por los pueblos y ciudades de todo Irán. Esta fue una erupción espontánea de rabia por parte de la juventud de clase media-baja y de la clase obrera contra la pobreza, el aumento de los precios y la indigencia, así como contra la riqueza y la corrupción de la élite iraní, en particular del clero. Se estima que 21 personas han muerto en las protestas hasta ahora y más de 1.700 han sido detenidas. Inmediatamente, los líderes occidentales desde Washington a Londres levantaron un coro defendiendo los derechos humanos del pueblo iraní.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will stop research on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and is expected to lay-off 300 research and development staff in Massachusetts and Connecticut, in a move that could severely hamper progress towards effective treatments for these illnesses – proving that critical medical research cannot be left in the hands of capitalist profiteers. Corporations like Pfizer should be expropriated and their assets, data and equipment placed under democratic control, to be used for the betterment of mankind.

2017 has been rich in political earthquakes and we have yet another to add to the list. Doug Jones has become the first Democrat in 25 years to win a US Senate seat for Alabama, a traditionally safe Republican seat with a predominantly white, religious and conservative electorate. Alabama will now have a Democrat in the US Senate. This is an outcome that would have seemed all-but-impossible a year ago and still seemed unlikely even as voters headed to the polls on Tuesday, given the flaccid and unispiring campaign waged by the Democrats, who have learned nothing from 2016 and have shifted even further to the right.

The past two years have seen huge shifts in political consciousness in the United States. A recent poll circulated by rabidly anti-communist organizations shows that 51 percent of American millennials want socialism and an additional 7 percent say that they want to live under communism – that makes 33.2 million socialists and a further 5.3 million “communists”! The mainstream bourgeois media is confused and asks: “Why is socialism suddenly so popular?” and “Why are there suddenly millions of socialists in America?”

The International Marxist Tendency has been celebrating the centenary of the Russian Revolution all year, releasing articles, videos and reading guides to commemorate the occasion. Around the day of anniversary itself (7 November by the modern calendar), we hosted a series of meetings, parties and events throughout the world. We have already published reports from Mexico, ...

Though reform of the US healthcare system is now considered common sense, the Democrats cannot and will not deliver. Only a mass independent political force—with single payer placed at the top of its agenda—is capable of winning this fight.

Three years ago, the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO brought to the surface the brutality faced by the black and poor population of the city of St. Louis and its surrounding suburbs. Now, the city finds itself in the news again with a murderous police officer at the center of the story. Brown’s killing in 2014 at the hands of Ferguson PD officer Darren Wilson was simply the spark that ignited a flame that eventually led to the nationwide prominence of Black Lives Matter, which can trace its origins to the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Today, however, none of the problems which caused this social explosion have been resolved. In fact, they have only worsened.

Two hurricanes have hit the US Southeast in two weeks. The total death toll has surpassed one hundred. Hundreds of thousands of households have lost everything. In the Florida Keys alone, 25 percent of all homes have been completely destroyed. Millions of lives have been ruined and many areas will never be restored to their previous level.

Like Katrina and Sandy before it, Hurricane Harvey has once again revealed the rotten results of capitalism’s prioritization of profits over people. The disturbing images of wheel chair-bound nursing home residents up to their chests in floodwater say it all. “But the system was overwhelmed!”

This year has seen exceptional tension between the US and North Korea. A recent (Aug 29th) North Korean missile test flew a rocket through Japanese airspace for the first time ever, before it was exploded in an unknown location. This follows months of hostilities as the US administration has repeatedly made threats against the country.

A classe trabalhadora organizada conscientemente, na forma de um partido socialista de massas, pode deter o processo de germinação de um movimento fascista. Imagens ao vivo de violentas batalhas de rua entre manifestantes “brancos nacionalistas” e neonazistas e um mar de contramanifestantes em Charlottesville, Estado da Virginia, inundaram o noticiário mundial e a mídia social em 12 de agosto.