The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has prompted a public outcry and heartfelt mourning across the country. The gunman killed 26, including 20 young children, before turning the gun on himself. The media will surely be flooded with every minute detail of the killer’s life in the coming weeks, and the issue of gun control will once again come to the fore. But what will not be seriously discussed is the root cause of shootings like this, and why they have become so commonplace. It seems that only shootings with a high death toll get national coverage at all, as dozens of smaller incidents have just become “business as usual.” 

September’s dramatic strike of 24,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union may prove to be a turning point in the struggle of public sector unions in the United States. Just months after the mass movement in Wisconsin was derailed into a recall, the teachers’ struggle should serve to galvanize organized labor and embolden unions nationwide to take more militant action in their self-defense against capitalist austerity.

$6 billion and over a year of campaigning later, and it would appear that the status quo remains. Obama is still the president; the Democrats control the Senate; and the Republicans control the House of Representatives. On the surface, "nothing has changed." Taken at face value, this is correct. As we have explained many times before, both Obama and Romney are defenders and advocates of the capitalist system. Nothing fundamental was going to change no matter who won. However, looks can be deceiving.

A watery sun cast its feeble light over New York this morning, after a week of desperation, darkness and cold. The people of this great city are awakening as in a morning after a nightmare. But the sun’s rays bring no real relief. Clear, cloudless nights herald the coming of the cold. And two and a half million people are still without heat, lighting or proper cooking facilities. Many have been without food. Everyone is without gasoline.

Just a few years ago, the world watched in horror as Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The richest and most powerful imperialist country in the world did nothing as people were drowning, starving, and literally dying of thirst. Now, we see the northeastern United States get hit by Hurricane Sandy. Millions are still without power. Mass transit is suspended. Whole neighborhoods were burned out. Dozens have been killed, including 24 in New York City alone.

It is hard to believe that nearly four years have already passed since the election of Barack Obama. The streets were filled with honking cars, waving flags, and shouts of excitement. Tears of unbridled joy and relief streamed down the faces of many. After eight long years of Bush, change had come at last! Or had it? As the months—and the crisis—wore on, it became increasingly clear that in all essentials, Obama’s presidency was more like Bush 2.0 than a new dawn of peace and prosperity.