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Archive for the ‘North America’ Category

May Day Marches around the world

In Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America on May 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm

WORLD — Hundreds of thousands of people around the world march on May Day for better working conditions, pay, or against capitalism.

Thousands of workers protested in the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and other Asian nations, with demands for wage hikes amid soaring oil prices a common theme, Associated Press reports. In Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, nearly ten thousand protesters marched dressed in red toward the presidential palace which was blocked by the police.

In Greece thousands of people marched in the capital city of Athens to protest the austerity measures that have crippled the country. Marches and protests are planned in other European countries as well. In Germany May Day is often preceded by riots in the night before, especially in Berlin and Hamburg. This year left-wing youths merely threw bottles and fireworks at police cars.

In other countries, May Day has been co-opted by the establishment to promote themselves. In Russia around 100,000 people marched including president Medvedev and president-elect Putin in the capital city of Moscow. The May Day march in Moscow targeted opposition groups.




USW Plans To Strike

In North America on April 20, 2012 at 2:30 am

California — The local USW union at the Los Angeles Refinery is fourth representing a Tesoro plant to authorize a strike, but no work stoppage is expected before the contract for the Los Angeles Refinery workers expires on April 30.

Unions at the Golden Eagle plant in California, Tesoro’s largest refinery, along with workers at Anacortes in Washington and Mandan in North Dakota, have granted strike authority since the company offered a contract that would allow Tesoro to change workers’ benefits without negotiations.

USW members earlier gave their respective bargaining committees permission to strike at Tesoro’s plants in Martinez, Calif., Anacortes, Wash., and Mandan, N.D.

The USW’s contracts at the four plants cover 979 workers.

“We are doing everything we can to negotiate in good faith and obtain a fair contract, but if Tesoro fails to do the same they’ll give us no option other than to strike,” Ryan Heustis, union local chairman at the Wilmington refinery, said in the statement.

The company said it has made contingency plans in the event of a strike.

Last weekend, drivers filling up at Tesoro-owned gas stations around Contra Costa were approached by union members handing out leaflets and urging solidarity in boycotting the company should workers hit the picket line.

Members of United Steelworkers Local 5, based in Martinez, voted in mid-March to proceed with a strike unless they receive the right to bargain over any changes in benefits during the entire term of the next multi-year contract with the petroleum company.

– Viktor

Republican attempts to revive Red Scare Paranoia

In North America on April 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Washington DC, USA — Republican Allen West is attempting to revive red scare paranoia in the months leading up to the US elections by falsely branding Democratic members of congress as “communists.”

Allen West stated that “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party,” and went on to say “No, they actually don’t hide it. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus is a group of social-democrats who push for reforms within capitalism, such as universal healthcare. The Congressional Progressive Caucus is aligned with the Democratic Socialists of America, a centre-left democratic party. West defended his claims by pointing out that the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) supported the Congressional Progressive Caucus in their effort to make healthcare available to everyone.

Libro DellaPiana, who is one of the vice chairs of the Communist Party USA, called West’s statements “ridiculous” and “a cheap shot.” “There are no members of Congress in the Communist party, we support public parks and I assume Congressmen West does too, that doesn’t mean he’s a Communist.”

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Castro speaks about Harper and Oil Sands.

In North America on April 10, 2012 at 1:30 am

OTTAWA— Fidel Castro has announced his feelings towards the PM of Canada, Stephen Harper and the Canadian government  for negative impacts caused by the extraction of crude from the Albertaoilsands.

The leader of Cuba’s communist revolution of more than half a century ago published a  new essay on the state of hemispheric affairs this weekend.

Castro transitioned the Cuban presidency to his brother, Raul, four years ago, but he stills expresses his opinions on the governments website.

“Stephen Harper’s Illusions” is his latest installment.

In it, Castro claims that the United States a country he loathes because of its economically crippling embargo is forcing Canada to extract oil, which is causing irreparable damage to the environment.

“I knew about the damage caused by the Yankees to the people of Canada,” the essay said. “They forced the country to look for oil by extracting it from huge extensions of sand that are impregnated with that fluid, thus causing an irreparable damage to the environment of that beautiful and extensive country.”

He also accuses Canadian mining companies of harming millions of people throughout Latin America.

He went on to speak about the mining companies saying : “provides further details about an issue that has been identified innumerable times as one of the main scourges that affect millions of persons, stated that mining companies, 60 per cent of which are financed with Canadian capital, worked following the logic of maximum yield at a low cost and in a short time; and that these conditions turn out to be all the more advantageous if in the places where they are stationed, tax revenues are minimal and there are very few environmental and social commitments…”

“The honourable foreign minister of Canada does not dare to say whether or not he supports Argentina in the thorny issue of the Malvinas Islands. He has only expressed beatific wishes for peace to prevail between the two countries.”

“The Caribbean shirt was first made by the banks of the Yayabo River in Cuba; that is why they were originally called yayaberas,” Castro writes.

“The curious thing about this, dear readers, is that Cuba has been forbidden to attend that meeting, but not the guayaberas. Who could hold back from laughing? We must hurry up and tell Harper.”

– Viktor

Two men arrested for alleged racist shootings

In North America on April 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Tulsa, USA — Police have arrested two white males, 19-year-old Jake England and 32-year-old Alvin Watts, suspected of having perpetrated recent shootings that left three people dead and two others critically wounded, all black, in the Tulsa area.

The two men were arrested Sunday around 2:00 a.m. and are likely to be charged with first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill. Police spokesperson Jason Willingham  told The Associated Press by telephone that “There obviously still is a lot of investigation” ahead, “We don’t’ have a motive at this time. We are still asking questions and hopefully that will become clear in coming days.”

Autism and being poor.

In North America on April 8, 2012 at 7:46 am

Boston, MA — 

Being poor is bad for you. It’s that simple. And it’s not fair. Especially when you are a kid.
This is particularly bad news given that just last week the Centers for Disease Control reported that the rate of autism has risen to one in 88(one in 54 in boys!). The largest increases were in Hispanic (110 percent) and black (91 percent)–kids who, according to the study, are less likely to make real gains.
But here’s the thing: it’s not just autism. Being poor really is plain old bad for you, especially when you have a chronic disease like autism or asthma or obesity. I see it in my practice: despite my best efforts, children with chronic disease who are poor, whose parents are minority and less educated, do less well. There’s so much about being poor that affects health–your home environment (which can have unhealthy exposures), your ability to afford medications and get to appointments, your ability to be home with your children (instead of working two jobs to make ends meet) or enroll them in extra activities that could help them.
As I listen to news stories about the Supreme Court arguments over health insurance, I can’t help feeling like we are colossally missing the point. Instead of getting upset over individual mandates, we should be getting upset–really upset–over the fact that so many people are doomed to poor health because of their income, their education, or the color of their skin.
A study has just been released that enclosed shocking information about poor and minority families in the United States, and the slim chances for them to see gains in their children with autism. It states that white, well educated parent(s), with children diagnosed with autism have a better chance to become ‘high functioning’, while minority children are less likely to yield the same results.
The conclusion was lucid according to experts, the costs of treatment, medicine, and activities to help their children function at a higher rate is reduced based off the lack of income and less time spent with their children.
The study was released as the Supreme Court is deliberating on whether to deem ‘Obama Care’ constitutionally legal or not. It’s a stark reminder on why medical treatment in the United States is based on what you can afford or not. Doctors around the nation have both agreed on the basis of affordable health-care, while others have not. The issue still remains that in America, your treatment is based solely upon your income and the unfortunate children are the ones who fall victim in this political debacle.
– Viktor.

Partisan politics more important than promoting socialism in US elections, it seems

In North America on April 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Washington, USA — With four socialist parties running against each other in the 2012 presidential elections to be held on 17th of December 2012, promoting one’s political party takes precedence over promoting socialism, it seems.

The 2012 presidential elections will be between Democratic candidate Barrack Obama and a still to be determined Republican candidate, likely being Mitt Romney. Participation in the 2012 presidential election as a third party or independent candidate serves a solely promotional and symbolic purpose. At present, there are four socialist candidates running for president: Stewart Alexander of the multi-tendency democratic socialist Socialist Party USA (SPUSA), Stephen Durham is running in the name of the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP), Peta Lindsay is running for the Marxist-Leninist Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), and Jerry White is running for the Trotskyist Socialist Equality Party (SEP).

Critics argue that since promotion is the only reason to run a candidate, and the diversity of running candidates, it seems the main purpose of all parties is to promote their specific partisan politics as opposed to promoting socialism in general. Should all socialist parties unite under a left front banner, they are more likely to put socialism on the map, it is argued. But given the opposing tendencies of these parties, they are unlikely to form a left front after the Russian left front’s example.

Published by Tim Cornelis

US economic growth fragile, unemployment rates indicate

In North America on April 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Washington, USA — Unemployment has fallen, but the number of jobs added in March was lower than initially expected.

Job growth of the US economy

The number of jobs added in March was 120,000, information released by the Labor Department showed. For 18 consecutive months, unemployment rates have fallen, but in March this was lower than expected. In February, 240,000 jobs were added in comparison. This indicates that economic recovery of the US economy is still fragile.

Out of the 8.8 million jobs lost in the recession, only about 3.6 million have been added back. About 12.7 million Americans remain unemployed, with 42.5 percent of them for longer than six months.

Restaurants and bars hired 36,900 people; manufacturers added 37,000 jobs; professional services hired 31,000 people; and health care added another 26,000 jobs. Retail on the other hand lost 33,800 jobs.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent as the labor force shrank by 164,000 workers, which is attributed to mostly Euro-American women leaving the job market.

Despite the economic growth, 46 million Americans live below the poverty line, a number that was expected to grow in February of this year. Meanwhile 49 million Americans report a lack of food.

Anniversary: Anarchism 110 years illegal in USA

In North America on April 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm

On the 3rd of April 1902, exactly 110 years ago, the state of New York adopted a new law that would factually ban advocacy of anarchism. For the first time so-called “criminal anarchy” was banned in the United States.[1] Advocating the abolishing or overthrowing of the state by “unlawful means” was banned in the United States for the first time. Since the abolition of the state always requires “unlawful means”, even anarcho-pacifism, it meant that anarchism – a political conviction – was actually banned completely. The law that banned “criminal anarchy” was adopted on April 3, 1902 adopted in the state of New York, but soon spread to other states. In 1925 it was determined that prohibiting adherence of anarchism is constitutional.[2] In 1953 43 U.S. states had declared anarchism illegal already[3] The penalty for adherence to anarchism is 20 years and is still in effect.[3]

The law has seldom been used to imprison anarchists as usually “criminal syndicalism” (which meant being actually involved in groups working to overthrow the state) proved to be more practical.