USA/Canada

464 shot by US cops this year

Author: 

Gemma Short

Thirty-six year old African-American man Kevin Allen was shot dead by police in Lyndhurst, New Jersey on Friday 29 May.

Kevin was shot in a public library after apparently resisting arrest for violating his probation and pulling out a knife. Police have released a report claiming that officers had “no choice” but to shoot Kevin after “pepper spray and officers' batons had failed to subdue him”. But nobody is likely to lie still and calm after being pepper sprayed!

464 people have been killed by police in America so far this year. 102 of those were unarmed. 31.9% were black and 25.4% were Hispanic/Latino.

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US docks: automation versus union power

Author: 

Barry Docherty

Members of the American International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have just agreed a five-year deal with the employers federation, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). The deal covers 20,000 dockworkers at twenty-nine US west coast ports.

The nine-month-long war of attrition by the PMA which preceded the deal was the latest stage in an employers’ offensive against US dockers stretching back to the early 1960s. Before then, working conditions on the docks had been dictated by the ILWU’s victory in the 1934 US West Coast dockers strike.

Members of the American International Longshore and Warehouse Union have agreed a five-year deal with the employers federation, the Pacific Maritime Association. The deal covers 20,000 dockworkers at twenty-nine US West Coast ports.

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Bernie Sanders and fighting austerity in the US

Author: 

Barry Finger

A discussion piece on the campaign by Bernie Sanders, to get the Democratic Party nomination for President. Sanders calls himself a social-democrat and supports reforms on a range of issues including the introduction of universal health care. Barry Finger is a member of the editorial board of US socialist journal New Politics.

Will the Bernie Sanders campaign for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination help strengthen working-class campaigns?

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Baltimore: the violence of capitalism

“This city has looked like it had a riot since I was born,” Baltimore resident Vashti Presco said. “It wasn’t rebuilt after 1968, even though other cities had worse riots. That drugstore is probably never going to get rebuilt.”

Protests in Baltimore since the killing by police of Freddie Gray have been labelled as riots in the media. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has condemned those involved as “criminals” and “thugs”. President Obama condemned the protesters’ violence.

Protests in Baltimore since the killing by police of Freddie Gray have been labelled as riots, ignoring the many peaceful protests and erasing the brutal violence inflicted on the black community in Baltimore by a crushing combination of police brutality and grinding poverty.

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Killed for “failing to obey”

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens

The US National Guard was called into Baltimore on Monday 27 April to put down riots which followed the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died last week of injuries sustained during a violent arrest by police.

Freddie suffered a broken neck which left his spine “80% severed” and his voicebox crushed. He lapsed into a coma and died a week later.

The US National Guard was called into Baltimore on Monday 27 April to put down riots which followed the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died last week of injuries sustained during a violent arrest by police.

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Killer cops are charged

Author: 

Gemma Short

­Michael Slager, the cop who killed unarmed black man, Walter Scott, on 5 April in North Charleston, South Carolina, has been charged with murder.

The murder charge was brought only after an eye witness handed over to police mobile phone footage of the event showing Walter being shot eight times in the back as he ran away from Slager. The witness also said there was a struggle in which Slager used his taser on Walter before Walter got away and ran.

­Michael Slager, the cop who killed unarmed black man, Walter Scott, on 5 April in North Charleston, South Carolina, has been charged with murder.

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A union which belongs to its members

Author: 

Gemma Short

Uetricht begins his account of the transformation of the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) and their 2012 strike by counterposing two incidents representing the opposite faces of teacher trade unionism.

A review of Strike for America: Chicago teachers against austerity by Micah Uetricht.

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“Bottom rail on top this time”

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

9 April was the 150th anniversary of the surrender of the South in the American Civil War. In this speech given at recent AWL public meetings, Sacha Ismail explains why that war and what came after are so important.


The American Civil War is not dry, dusty history. It is relevant to the inspiring protests against racism going on in the United States now. The US of today — a capitalist democracy, but one deeply racist and unequal even by the standards of capitalism — was created by revolution, but also the betrayal of that revolution.

9 April was the 150th anniversary of the surrender of the South in the American Civil War. Sacha Ismail explains why that war and what came after are so important.

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Shareholders scoop $10,000 from each household

Author: 

Martin Thomas
From the new wealth produced by the labours of the average household in the USA, the shareholders of US big business will scoop around $10,000 in the coming year.

From the new wealth produced by the labours of the average household in the USA, the shareholders of US big business will scoop around $10,000 in the coming year.

The figure was about $8,000 in 2014, and is expected to rise. It doesn't include the gains from higher share prices which shareholders may or may not cash in. It counts only the hard cash they get in dividends and operations in which businesses buy back their own shares.

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Cops shoot two more

Author: 

Gemma Short

19 year old Tony Robinson was shot dead by a police officer in Madison, Wisconsin, on Monday 9 March.

Tony, a biracial man, was unarmed. Police had been called to an incident involving an “African-American man” jumping in and out of traffic and a reported assault. The lone responding officer broke into an apartment and shot Tony after what the police say was a scuffle.

While US police continue to routinely carry guns, and racial targeting of petty crime, and harassment of black communities continues, black people will end up dead.

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