United States

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.

An estimated 3 million Vietnamese are suffering from the horrendous health effects inflicted by the dioxin-laden herbicide Agent Orange, which was employed liberally by the US during the Vietnam War. In 2004, the victims, represented by the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA), initiated a legal action in the US against nearly 40 chemical companies that supplied the chemical.

In the wake of the Democratic Party taking control of the US House of Representatives and Senate in the November 2006 elections, hopes were high among the more liberal layers of the anti-war movement that it spelled an end to President George Bush’s Iraq war. No-one seriously doubted that behind the Democrats’ electoral resurrection was anger about the war, by that stage over three-and-a-half years long.

Documentary maker Michael Moore has made headlines again with his latest film, SiCKO!, which premiered at the Cannes Film festival on May 23. The documentary is a loaded gun aimed at the US health-care system, which is the most expensive in the world and yet provides the worst cover in the First World, according to the latest World Health Organisation scorecard.

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