Not content to wait until his inauguration, President George W. Bush and his administration have already launched an all-out offensive to “reform” the Social Security system. Bush, the Republican Party and their Wall Street cronies are now desperately trying to convince the American public that the nation’s old age and disability pension system is in crisis and that privatization is necessary to save it. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only crisis facing Social Security is a ravenous reactionary government determined to rob millions of their right to retirement in order to swell the coffers of the world’s largest financial banks. From issue 16 of the American Socialist Appeal.

This summer the Teamsters, SEIU, UFCW, and UNITE HERE split from the AFL-CIO union federation at their annual convention in Chicago. For the first time in half a century, the US trade unions are officially divided into large, separate camps.  The break up of the AFL-CIO came as a shock to many trade unionists and activists.  These four unions alone represent over one third of the federation’s 13 million members. But is it a step forward for US workers?

As US imperialism prepares to go to war against Iraq, Jonathan Clyne (of the editorial Board of the Swedish Marxist journal, Socialisten) looks back at the Vietnam War. He shows quite clearly the level of radicalisation that had developed among both the US soldiers fighting in Vietnam and the mass opposition that had developed back home among US workers and youth. As he says, "It was the American working class, those in uniform and those without, that more than anything else put an end to the war."

Hurricane Katrina will be remembered for years to come as an important turning point in the USA. Thousands, tens of thousands of poor people have been left to fend for themselves, many dying dehydrated, in what is the richest country in the world. People are noting that the Bush administration, very quick to mobilize a huge army to invade Iraq, has been painfully slow in helping the people of New Orleans. The class question is emerging clearly and this will have profound effects on the whole of US society.

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