Barry Sheppard

GLW author Barry Sheppard

United States: Stand-off at Standing Rock

Intervention from the White House and a court order have temporarily halted construction of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline 20 miles (32km) on either side of Oahe Lake, part of the Missouri River in North and South Dakota.

The temporary restraining order halts construction along this 40-mile stretch. But pipeline construction continues apace elsewhere.

Letter from the US: Black Lives Matter movements issues a radical vision statement

A coalition of about 60 Black Lives Matter groups from around the United States issued “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice” on August 1.

The document is long and detailed. It is the most important Black independent political action program since the National Black Independent Political Party and Black Power conventions of the early 1970s. It also is a reflection of the leading role of Black young people in the still-nascent radicalisation of US youth in general.

Letter from the US: Not just 'bad apples' — new report exposes police repression myths


Sylville Smith (left) and protests against his killing in Milwaukee.

With the media awash 24/7 with the charges and counter-charges between the two candidates for president from the major capitalist parties, police murders of African Americans and protests against them continue apace — receiving only cursory media attention.

Letter from the US: Why I reject a lesser evil and will vote for Jill Stein

Since the mid 1930s, self-styled progressives and many socialists have often justified supporting one of the United States' two major capitalist parties by claiming that it is the “lesser evil” compared to the other one.

The “lesser evil” is frequently the Democratic Party. In this year's election, the “lesser evil” is the war hawk and neoliberal Hillary Clinton as opposed to right-wing populist Donald Trump.

Letter from the US: Rage boils over at racist police immunity


A Black Lives Matter protest in New York on July 9.

Once again the deep racism and racial divide in the United States has burst upon the national scene, dominating newspapers, TV and social media.

Since 2014, videos taken by witnesses of police murders of Black people spurred the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. In spite of the overwhelming visual proof of the guilt of the police murderers, they have almost all gotten away with it.

Washington drops illusions to rule its colony Puerto Rico with iron hand

The Congressional, executive and judicial wings of the United State government recently clarified for all — despite Washington's claims to the contrary — that Puerto Rico is a US colony.

A law known as PROMESA was passed by Congress with bipartisan support and signed by President Barack Obama on June 30. It creates an unelected seven-person control board that has sweeping powers to take over Puerto Rico's economy.

Letter from the US: Homophobia behind Orlando killings, not 'Islamic terrorism'

The attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 dead (including the shooter) and more than 50 injured was the largest single violent attack on LGBTI people in US history. It claimed more victims than the 1973 arson at another nightclub in New Orleans that killed 32 people.

This massacre punctuated the daily instances of violence, including murder, against LGBTI people that occur frequently in the US.

Letter from the US: How the feds help cops get away with racist murder

Three young African-American women started a blog in 2013 entitled “Black Lives Matter” in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a racist vigilante backed by the police, for the murder of unarmed Black youth Trayvon Martin.

The blog started a movement that took the same name, as young Blacks launched mass actions that broke through the wall of silence concerning police murders of Black people.

Letter from the US: We should oppose TPP on a class, not national, basis

The three remaining presidential candidates — Republican candidate Donald Trump, and Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — have all come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in varying degrees.

The TPP, a “free trade agreement” involving 16 Pacific Rim nations (including Australia), is an undisguised corporate power grab. However, all candidates in the US presidential election stress a reactionary argument against it.

Puerto Rico: Debt crisis comes to a head as humanitarian crisis worsens

Last year, Puerto Rico's governor announced it simply did not have the money to repay its US$72 billion debt — on bonds owed mainly to US financiers.

On May 2, the US's Caribbean colony defaulted on $400 million that was due on that day. A further $2 billion is due on June 1.

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