Letter from the US

Five months after Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, 25% of the US colony’s people are still without electricity. No state in the US has ever experienced such a long blackout.

In his now infamous statement on immigration last month, Trump expressed his views clearly: He doesn’t want immigrants from “shithole” countries in Africa, Haiti and El Salvador — Black and Latina — to be let into the US.

On the other hand, he wants to encourage immigrants from predominantly white nations like Norway.

Erica Garner, Black Lives Matter activist and daughter of African American victim of police murder Eric Garner, died on December 30 aged 27.

The proximate cause of death was a heart attack, extremely rare in one so young. The underlying cause was the trauma-induced stress (PTSD) she and her family suffered because of Eric’s murder in 2014, the exoneration of the killer cops, and the callous way the Garner family was treated by city authorities, including Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Puerto Rico is facing a huge humanitarian crisis after being hit by two super-strong hurricanes. It suffered a glancing blow by Irma and then a direct hit by Maria, both storms greatly strengthened by warmer ocean water caused by climate change.

The crisis is still unfolding weeks after Maria hit. The full picture and extent of the damage will not be known for some time.

One year ago, Colin Kaepernick, then-quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers National Football League team, refused to stand for the US national anthem, famously kneeling instead. He was alone in his protest.

Over the weekend of September 23-24, tens of millions of football fans watched on TV as 200 mostly Black players knelt or raised their fists while the national anthem was sung. The rest of their teams stood in solidarity with their right to protest, arm-in-arm. In some cases, entire teams stayed in the locker room while the anthem played.

The huge devastation, death and misery that Hurricane Harvey wreaked upon Texas and Louisiana has been seen around the world.

Meanwhile, fresh havoc is being wreaked upon the Caribbean and the US’s south-east by Hurricane Irma. In less reported news, more than 1400 people have been killed in recent weeks by horrific flooding in South Asia. The consequences of such disasters caused by extreme weather reveal the intersection of crises caused by the capitalist system.

Recent weeks have brought to the fore two main issues concerning US President Donald Trump.

The first was his doubling down on one central theme of his election campaign — economic nationalism. This was found in his charge that most of the rest of the world is somehow “exploiting” the United States — and he will fight back.

The second is his drive to establish himself as an authoritarian president, the “strongman” who can take on the dysfunction in the two capitalist parties that dominate US politics.

US President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey for one reason: he was not 100% loyal to Trump. The boldness of the move was to underscore Trump’s drive to establish an increasingly authoritarian presidency.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner came under fire on April 1 in a day of action by teachers and others who took to the streets to protest their austerity policies. Revealing the bipartisan support for austerity un US politics, Emanuel is a Democrat who was Barack Obama’s White House Chief of Staff during his first term while Rauner is a conservative Republican.
Reversing earlier promises to end US military involvement in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama has announced that US troops will remain indefinitely. He said they will not be ground combat forces, but trainers and advisers to the forces of the US-imposed warlord-dominated regime. US air strikes in support of the regime, by both piloted aircraft and drones, will continue. One such strike was the deliberate bombing of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz.
Photo: Jewish Voice for Peace Albuquerque Chapter. For most of its existence since 1948, Israel has had the support of most Jews in the US. There have always, however, been some dissident voices, especially among Jewish members of socialist and communist groups.
Since the 1973 United States Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision in legalising most abortions, there has been a steady erosion of women’s abortion rights in the US - with the complicity of both major capitalist parties. A new wave of restrictions spearheaded by Republicans has developed in the past three years, gaining more traction in the past year.

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