USA/Canada

Gains for union-backed left candidates in Chicago

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From Labor Notes

Three rank-and-file trade-unionists running for Chicago city council seats made it into the April 7 runoff. Re-posted from Labor Notes.


On election night the Chicago Teachers Union and its new independent political organization didn’t knock out Mayor Rahm Emanuel—but they did take him down a notch, forcing him into a runoff with the union’s preferred candidate, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

It’s the first runoff in a Chicago mayoral election in 20 years.

Three rank-and-file trade-unionists running for Chicago city council seats made it into the April 7 runoff.

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Just two seconds

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Gemma Short

In the first week of January, the full video footage of the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice was released.

It reveals for the first time the treatment Tamir’s 14 year old sister Tajai received. Tajai was in a nearby playground when she heard a shot. She was told by someone that Tamir had been shot. She rushed to his aid. The video shows one of the officers tackling her, handcuffing her and stuffing her into the back of the police car. She was denied the ability to comfort him in his last moments and treated like a criminal.

The full video footage of the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice has now been released.

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Juror makes challenge

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Gemma Short

Under the banner of “Black lives matter”, protests against police racism and violence have continued across America over Christmas and in the New Year.

On Monday 5 January, protesters gathered for a 24 hour vigil in New York’s Grand Central Station, with placards carrying the names of those killed by police in the last decade. A rally outside Washington’s Capitol Hill with families of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and others attracted over 25,000 protestors on 13 December.

Under the banner of “Black lives matter”, protests against police racism and violence have continued across America over Christmas and in the New Year.

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US protests spread

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Gemma Short

The news that police officers involved in the death of black man Eric Garner will not face criminal charges has sparked protests across the US.

In a situation similar to that of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, a New York Grand Jury decided not to indict the officers who choked Eric to death using a stranglehold.

The news that police officers involved in the death of black man Eric Garner will not face criminal charges has sparked protests across the US.

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Black Friday strike in retail

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Ollie Moore

Retail workers in America struck on Friday 29 November, the “Black Friday” shopping day when stores offer huge discounts, as part of an ongoing movement against low pay.

In the run-up to Black Friday, workers held protest to build for the strike, with one sit-in at a Los Angeles Walmart resulting in 23 arrests. Strikes are organised locally by community action groups and workers' centres, backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

Retail workers in America struck on Friday 29 November, the “Black Friday” shopping day when stores offer huge discounts, as part of an ongoing movement against low pay.

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Protests continue as killer cop rakes it in

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Ira Berkovic

Yet more evidence has emerged which highlights the shocking injustice committed by failing to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who killed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, USA.

A report by Lawrence O’Donnell, an MSNBC journalist and broadcaster, showed that St Louis County prosecutors supplied the Grand Jury with outdated information about the law on police officers’ rights to use deadly force. They only corrected their mistake three days before Darren Wilson testified, and then without substantial explanation or elaboration.

Yet more evidence has emerged which highlights the shocking injustice committed by failing to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who killed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Unequal States of America

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Editorial

Protests erupted across the USA after the Grand Jury investigation into the fatal shooting in St Louis, USA on 9 August of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown concluded on Monday 24 November.

Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Michael Brown, could have faced charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to first-degree murder. However the jury (nine white and three black) decided that “no probable cause existed to indict Wilson.” An indictment required support from nine of the twelve jurors.

Protests erupted across the USA after the Grand Jury investigation into the fatal shooting in St Louis, USA on 9 August of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown concluded on Monday 24 November.

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A “New Labor” in America?

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Ira Berkovic

Before the tragic discovery that she has a brain tumour, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis, the public figurehead of the CTU’s 2012 strike against the city’s Democratic mayor Rahm Emanuel, was preparing a mayoral campaign for next year’s election.

For anyone interested in building working-class power in America, the question of how to break through anti-union hostility amongst industrial workers in the South is a real one.

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The Russian dolls of inequality

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Matt Cooper

In Capital in the Twenty First Century, Thomas Piketty argued that the very richest in society are accumulating greater and greater wealth. As more wealth is handed down from rich parents to their heirs, as governments do less to tax this wealth, an increasing proportion of society’s resources become concentrated in the hands of the few, the 0.1% of the very richest.

Mainstream economists have criticised this idea, but now a study of wealth in the USA has suggested that, if anything, Piketty has underestimated the degree to which the wealth of the US’s ruling class is growing.

How inequality is increasing in the US.

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Why US pessimism goes Republican

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Barry Finger

In the American electoral system there are four ways to register one’s disgust with the status quo.

Cast a ballot, where possible, for a radical third party that raises the decibel level and gives shape to anti-corporate outrage; vote in despair for the lesser-evil with the expectation that doing the same feckless act repeatedly will deliver progressive results; vote for the out party regardless of what it stands for with the hope of shaking things up; or sit on one’s hands with a clothespin fixed to one’s nose.

If the Senate races were arguably fought on Republican terrain, the re-election of hard-core reactionaries to gubernatorial office and the capture of state legislatures by US Republicans can only be explained by the national political climate.

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