USA/Canada

Labour's martyrs: the story of Sacco and Vanzetti

Workers' Liberty 3/53, published as a pull-out in Solidarity 397. The story of the Sacco and Vanzetti case, told by James P Cannon and Max Shachtman, who were leading activists in the defence campaign. Click to download as pdf

The Potentate and the Brotherhood

Stephen Wood continues the story of the pioneer black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Part 1 of this account was in Solidarity 573 here. Garvey thought the trade unions in the American Federation of Labor were unreformably racist organisations. Garvey had his own solution to the lack of black workers’ rights; and that was black-owned and black-run businesses. Such businesses, he claimed, wouldn’t discriminate against black workers because they would be founded on the black nationalist principle espoused by Garvey. Chief among his projects was the Black Star Line. It was initially set up to...

US unionists pass historic general strike vote

This report from Daniel Randall as Assistant Chair of the Bakerloo branch of the RMT rail union is taken, with thanks, from RMT London Calling, the website of RMT London Transport Region.. Three activists from the RMT Bakerloo branch attended, via Zoom, the Saturday 21 November convention of the Vermont State Labour Council (AFL-CIO) as observers. The convention was attended by nearly 100 delegates and guests, from local union branches and campaign groups, as well as a number of elected city councillors. As a state-wide federation, the rough equivalent to the Vermont AFL-CIO in the British...

Trump trashes the house on the way out

During the influenza pandemic of 1918 the bishop of Zamora defied the health authorities by ordering evening prayers for nine consecutive days in honour of St Rocco, patron saint of plague and pestilence. The epidemic was according to him down to the sins and ingratitude of the population. His congregation were encouraged to kiss the holy relics of St Rocco. Zamora suffered the highest death rate from the disease in all of Spain. Fast forward a century to the USA, and there’s another “historic victory” of religious superstition over science. The US Supreme Court has blocked New York State...

Video: After the US election, which way for the left? Debate

Intro speeches — Video and audio — from 15 December on "After the US election, which way for the left?" by Ruth Cashman, Workers' Liberty; Thomas Harrison, New Politics Editorial Board (personal capacity); and Robert Cuffy, Guyanese socialist based in New York, member of DSA and the Socialist Workers Alliance of Guyana. A discussion on the results of the US election and tasks facing class struggle socialists. Trump and the Republican Party continue to resist the result of the US election; what impact will they have? We heard about what the left and social movement activists are doing to defend US democracy and develop class struggle responses to the pandemic, jobs and social crisis.

Letter: Priorities against Trump

I find a lot I agree with in Barrie Hardy’s article in Solidarity 571, but I think on one point his emphasis is wrong. I’m not against Trump or any of his administration being dragged up before a judge on some legitimate criminal charges, but I’m not convinced the left should be pressing Biden to pursue that. This is not about trying to prevent martyrs to Trumpism, but focusing our energy where it is needed. The organised left in the USA is not in a good way. Its priority must be to assert itself, independent from the machinations going on in Washington. If the left gets tied up pushing Biden...

Gangster rap! Lenin and Joe Colombo

The story of Joe Colombo, the Mafia boss who briefly turned ethnic politician, is one of the most frightening stories I’ve come across. An instructive story, too. It says a lot about the “rebel” element in Trumpism. Perhaps significantly, the year is 1970. In the USA there is a huge anti-Vietnam-war movement. The USA has also experienced the black civil rights movement and the black ghetto uprisings. It is a highly political period in American history. When the gangster Joe Colombo, boss of one of the Mafia “families”, feels the pursuing FBI breathing down his neck, he reacts “politically”. He...

Fighting Trumpism: the next four years

Donald Trump’s press secretary claimed a million “Stop the Steal” protesters on the streets of Washington on 14 November to block Biden becoming US president. It was more like 10,000-20,000, organised by far-right activists, but supported, tacitly or explicitly, by Republican Congress people. It looks harder and harder for Trump to pull any sort of “coup” between now and 20 January, but that 86% of his voters believe his denunciation of the election count bodes ill for the next four years. Although Biden won on 3 November, Trump got more votes than in 2016 (ten million more and counting...)...

Socialist politics can push back Trumpism

"The Democratic establishment cannot comprehend what will happen after Biden is elected. We are not going back to business as usual. There is too much pain out there, too much inequality, too much injustice. If we cannot begin to address the crises facing this country, then the future will be very, very dismal indeed. The people are giving us an opportunity now; if we blow it by not being bold and aggressive, the next Trump who comes along will be even worse than this one.” – Senator Bernie Sanders The thousands of people who poured onto the streets of US cities on news of Donald Trump’s...

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