USA/Canada

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?

Author: 

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

Author: 

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

Author: 

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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US right stokes Ebola

Author: 

Tom Harris

According to the Financial Times, more than 45% of Americans believe that they, or close friends and relatives, will contract the Ebola virus.

Even if this were a rogue poll, that is a remarkably high percentage when one considers that only four people have tested positive for Ebola in the US, three of whom have since recovered.

Why are people so worried?

More than 45% of Americans believe that they, or close friends and relatives, will contract the Ebola virus.

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Police kill another black youth in St Louis

Author: 

Gemma Short

An off-duty police officer shot dead Vonderrit Myers Jr, an 18 year old black man, in St. Louis, Missouri on Wednesday 8 October.

The unnamed police officer was wearing his police uniform while working for GCI, a private security firm. The practice of police officers taking second jobs as security guards is widespread. GCI alone employed 168 officers in 2012. The wearing of police uniform is permitted by the state police department. It appears that these security firms are often employed to patrol residential streets.

An off-duty police officer shot dead Vonderrit Myers Jr, an 18 year old black man, in St. Louis, Missouri on 8 October.

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Philadelphia fights back

Author: 

Fran Littler

Philadelphia teachers and students launched a fight back in the week 6-12 October against unprecedented austerity measures affecting teachers’ pay.

The School Reform Commission (SRC), who were put in place to oversee schools in the area which have suffered from low exam scores due to factors including underfunding in the system, has chosen to implement cuts of $54 million to teachers’ contracts to offset the underfunding, leaving them stripped of rights to free health insurance and a subsequent cut to their monthly salary of up to $150.

Philadelphia teachers and students launched a fight back in the week 6-12 October against unprecedented austerity measures affecting teachers’ pay.

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Yes means yes

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens

California has become the first state in the US to have “yes means yes” consent legislation.

The legislation, which was passed at the end of September, applies to all post-secondary schools and is a result of a drive across America to tackle sexual assault on campuses. California State University and the University of California both already have similar legislation, as have most Ivy League universities in the US.

California has become the first state in the US to have “yes means yes” consent legislation.

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