In a much-watched election on June 5, Republican Scott Walker handily defeated Democrat Tom Barrett in a recall election for governor of Wisconsin. Walker is on the right wing of the Republican Party and Barrett on the right wing of the Democrats. Walker was first elected in late 2010. When he took office early last year, Walker launched a drive to smash public worker unions. In response, there were huge mobilisations. Public sector unions went on strike and organised mass demonstrations in the capital city of Madison, the largest of which mobilised 100,000.
Workers in the United States know they are losing ground in the current Depression, as they are watching the rich going in the opposite direction. A decline in real wages comes on top of stagnation of wages in the three previous decades. A new report issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says: “The recent recovery in the United States appears unusual from a historical perspective … with a much stronger rebound in profits relative to labor income.
Anti-war soldiers headed a protest against the NATO summit in Chicago on May 20. Thousands poured through the streets in the largest anti-war demonstration seen in the United States for some time. The turnout was inspired by the Occupy movement that broke out last year, which helped legitimise street protest again. From conflicting accounts, the march involved about 10,000 people. See also: SYRIZA to anti-NATO protesters: 'Bring the war home!'
The announcement by giant US bank JPMorgan Chase that it had lost US$2 billion in a shady deal shows the kinds of financial speculation that led to the 2007-2009 financial collapse continue to steam ahead. It also underscores that both Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Democrat president Barack Obama are in Wall Street’s pocket. As the financial system was collapsing in the waning months of the George W Bush administration, it responded with huge bailouts of banks and other financial institutions.
In a qualitative escalation, the government of President Barack Obama has for the first time used the “war on terror” against socialists in the United States. On September 24, the FBI conducted a series of coordinated early-morning raids at homes and offices in Minneapolis, Chicago, Michigan and North Carolina. The political police seized computers, passports, books, documents, cell phones, photos, financial records, diaries, maps and other materials. In one case, children’s artwork was confiscated.
More than one million people gathered in bitter cold in Washington DC to witness the historical inauguration of an African American as president.
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.
The January 27 demonstration in Washington DC was the largest anti-war protest in the US since September 2005.
The Bush administration’s decision to send more troops to Iraq in the face of rising opposition among ruling-class politicians and pundits, and against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the US people, represents a desperate gamble.
The November 7 US mid-term congressional elections were a massive repudiation of the US-led war against Iraq and of the administration of President George Bush. But while the majority of US voters have turned against the war, most of the politicians of both Democratic and Republican parties have a clue about what to do.