United States

During the war against Vietnam, it was not until 1970 that the US union movement took protest action in an organised manner. And even then, it was a pro-war demonstration called by New York’s Building Trades Council in support of President Richard Nixon. However anti-war unions responded to that demonstration — held on May 20 and drawing 50,000 workers (many of them paid to attend) — with a protest of their own. While it only drew half as many people, it was a significant milestone — it was the first time that US unions formally organised an anti-war demonstration.
The US Department of Energy announced January 30 that it is pulling out of the Futuregen Project in Mattoon, Illinois — the United States’ US$1.8 billion “clean coal” demonstration plant, scheduled to start construction next year. The DoE had committed to paying 74% ($1.3 billion) of Futuregen’s costs.
After starting contract negotiations on January 12, the Directors’ Guild of America reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on January 17. It was expected that the DGA and AMPTP would come to an agreement, but the swiftness of the deal was a surprise, especially because there were six months remaining on the existing contract.
The current crisis could well turn out to be the most devastating since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It manifests profound, unresolved problems in the real economy that have been — literally — papered over by debt for decades, as well as a shorter term financial crunch of a depth unseen since World War II.
As Hollywood enters its award season, the 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) continue their strike that has shut down the majority of the US film and television industry since November 5. The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has also begun to renegotiate its contract.
Voters’ desire to see political change has become the undisputed theme of the 2008 US presidential election scheduled for November following a strong surge of support for contender for Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama that has caused other candidates, even Republicans, to adopt similar rhetoric.
Push Comes to Shove
Music by John Hammond
Only Blues Music, 2007
12 tracks, $23.99
Airport security workers at the Oakland airport held an organising meeting on November 21 and received food in a food distribution organised by Filipino Association of Workers and Immigrants; Filipinos for Affirmative Action; Service Employees Local
More than 4,000 striking members of the Writers Guild of America and their supporters rallied on November 9 outside of Fox Studios. The crowd was fired up as strikers came together for the first time in one place since the WGA’s strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) began on November 5.
A strike of 12,000 writers in Hollywood under the jurisdiction of the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) is resisting the corporate greed of the large film and television studios. The strike is now in its second week, and is continuing to gain momentum.
A Louisiana appeals court threw out the only remaining conviction against Mychal Bell, the first of the Jena 6 to be put on trial in an example of modern-day Jim Crow injustice that has stunned people around the globe.
Tens of thousands of people marched in Washington, DC, on September 15 demanding an end to the US war in Iraq. Pennsylvania Avenue was filled shoulder to shoulder from the White House, where the action began, to the Capitol building. The turnout was larger than expected, a shot in the arm for anti-war activists.
Following the first collapses among its lenders last year, the US subprime mortgage market began a sharper collapse in recent weeks, sustaining losses that an investment offshoot of Banque Agricole estimated in mid-August to be US$150 billion.
The following is abridged from the August 3 edition of US Socialist Worker.
Michael Moore’s Sicko, released in the US on June 22, has already become one of the five highest grossing documentaries of all time. Predictably, the film’s withering attack on the US’s profit-driven health-care system has elicited a strong response from apologists for neoliberalism. The following article on the reaction to Moore’s film originally appeared as an editorial in the US Socialist Worker.
More than 3 million people in Vietnam are estimated to be still suffering from the devastating health effects of Agent Orange, a herbicide that the US used extensively during the Vietnam War. In 2004, these victims sued nearly 40 US chemical companies for their role in supplying the deadly chemicals, but the case was rejected by a US court. An oral presentation of the appeal by the Vietnamese victims started on June 18 in New York City. US veterans held a vigil in San Francisco on June 19 in support of the appeal. On June 15, on conclusion of a visit to Vietnam, Ricardo Alarcon, the president of Cuba’s parliament, also expressed his support for the Agent Orange victims’ appeal case.

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