United States

Outrage at police violence has erupted once again across the United States. Protests began in Memphis on Friday, January 27, following the release of video showing the barbaric and fatal police beating of 29-year-old photographer and FedEx worker, Tyre Nichols. The protests then spread to at least 38 cities nationwide.

We are delighted to bring to our readers’ attention the following recordings and transcripts of excellent talks given at the New York leg of the coast-to-coast Marxist School held by the comrades of Socialist Revolution, the US section of the IMT in the autumn of last year.

Over the past few months, the US Marxists of Socialist Revolution hosted a series of tremendously successful schools right across the country, as part of the International Marxist Tendency’s #CommunismOnCampus campaign. Hundreds of radical youth flocked to events in Phoenix, Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York City and Bellingham. We commend our US comrades on painting the nation red!

[Note - 01/12/22]: Since the publication of this article, in a bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives has voted 290 to 137 for Biden’s scandalous legislation to ban rail workers from striking over the holiday period. Virtually all the Democrats in the House voted to steal the right to strike from rail workers, including “left-wingers” such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.

The midterms used to be a banal affair that received little attention and voter turnout, in which the opposition party would typically retake control of Congress without much uproar. But the traditional dynamics of US bourgeois politics have been entirely upended in the last period, as the systematic crisis of world capitalism wreaks havoc on political stability across the globe. This year’s midterms will provide a partial snapshot of the political mood in American society at the halfway point of Biden’s presidential term.

Editor’s note: At the eleventh hour, after 20 hours of talks lasting late into the night, President Biden and numerous officials in his administration convinced union leaders to accept a tentative agreement, averting an imminent national railroad strike. However, the terms of the “Presidential Emergency Board” constitute an effective wage cut over the next five years when factoring in inflation, as detailed in the article below. The ranks of the dozen railroad unions representing 115,000 workers must now vote to ratify the deal. At least one of these unions, the International Association of Machinists, has already voted to reject the terms of the Presidential Emergency Board agreement,

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Biden’s presidency has been a disaster, a reflection of the crisis-ridden system he represents. His approval rating currently stands at a mere 41%—up ever so slightly from a record low of 38%. Congress, which is controlled by Biden’s party, has a 17% approval rate. Another poll says 74% of the country believe it is on the wrong track. These are not good numbers for the November 2022 midterms elections if the Democrats want to retain control—even as they cynically attempt to harness anger over Roe v. Wade to gain votes. All of this is very concerning

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This June, Apple retail workers in Baltimore made history by winning the vote for union representation at the first of 270 Apple stores across the US. This represents the first shots in the battle to unionize the company with the highest market cap valuation in the world, reaching an eye-watering $3 trillion at the start of this year. The battle for Apple joins the rising wave of organizing drives at Starbucks, the recent unionization developments at Activision Blizzard, and the historic union vote at Amazon.

On 27 June, 53 immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras died of heat stroke in the back of a tractor trailer in Texas, 150 miles north of the US-Mexico border. Another nine people in the truck, including children, remain hospitalised. These 62 people, who left home looking for a better life, spent hours and were eventually abandoned in an unairconditioned metal box in over 100F heat with no water.

The Supreme Court’s position on Roe v. Wade would ban abortion access for millions of people in the US. In this podcast episode, Laura Brown (editor of Socialist Revolution) and Joel Bergman (editor of Fightback) discuss the reasons and impact of a repeal of Roe v. Wade, and provide a Marxist perspective to fight back against this egregious attack on abortion rights.

The Amazon Labor Union (ALU) has fired labor’s opening shots against the retail giant. Their organizing campaign at Staten Island warehouse JFK8 led to an electrifying victory in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) vote. Workers at the smaller LDJ5 warehouse held a similar vote shortly after that, but the ALU lost with 380 votes in favor and 618 votes against, with over a third of the workers not voting. One obstacle the union faced was the higher percentage of part-time employees at the smaller facility. Nonetheless, the ALU has a .500 batting average so far, which is impressive since it is trying to unionize through the NLRB, whose rules overwhelmingly favor management.