North America

US teachers union provides political cover to Trump’s demand for the reopening of schools

By Nancy Hanover, 6 May 2020

The AFT’s “Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities,” released on April 29, is entirely in line with the demands of Wall Street.

Lawsuit against US Department of Education claims wages being garnished to pay off student loan debt

By Alexander Fangmann, 6 May 2020

The lawsuit alleges 285,000 students had their wages garnished in the second half of March, despite being banned by the CARES Act during that period.

Canada: Form rank-and-file committees to oppose COVID-19 back-to-work drive

By Roger Jordan and Keith Jones, 6 May 2020

Absent the independent intervention of the working class, workers face a ruinous choice between risking their health and lives by returning to work or being driven into destitution.

Classical musicians discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

By Fred Mazelis, 6 May 2020

There is increasing uncertainty about when live concert performances will resume, a demonstration of how culture is threatened by the criminal policy of malign neglect.

Trump White House steps up return to work drive

By Bryan Dyne, 4 May 2020

The recent surge in coronavirus cases and deaths heralds even greater suffering by the population as states continue to reopen.

Canadian workers speak out against lack of protective equipment in health facilities

By our reporters, 4 May 2020

Hospitals are rationing masks even for frontline health workers treating COVID-19 patients.

US Amazon worker describes callous attitude toward safety as management reports $75 billion in 2020 revenue

By Nick Barrickman, 4 May 2020

Amazon did little to protect its workforce during the first several weeks in March, when the COVID-19 disease was declared a pandemic.

“They are sucking the lifeblood out of us”

Millions of Americans cannot pay their rent

By Kayla Costa, 4 May 2020

On May 1, millions of Americans were not able to pay their rent due to the dire social crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, opening up a housing crisis in which many working class families face a future of debt, eviction and homelessness.

Furloughed workers face hunger in New Jersey, America’s second-wealthiest state

By Erik Schreiber, 4 May 2020

The shuttering of workplaces in New Jersey, an epicenter of the pandemic, has forced workers with little savings to join mile-long lines for food assistance.

Inmates at Michigan prisons exposed to COVID-19 in unsanitary conditions

By Stephen Fuller, 4 May 2020

As of May 2, almost 2,000 inmates have tested positive with 41 prisoners succumbing to the coronavirus.

Tennessee health commissioner blocks release of data on likely COVID-19 deaths

By Warren Duzak, 4 May 2020

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey has refused to release figures on “probable” deaths where symptoms were present but no test was done.

US Steel lays off 2,700 workers, threatens to cut one-third of its production workforce

By Samuel Davidson, 4 May 2020

The Pittsburgh-based steel company sent out notices of potential layoffs to 6,500 in a devastating blow to workers, their families and communities.

US trains Sri Lankan naval elite forces during COVID-19 lockdown

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 4 May 2020

US combat training of Sri Lankan navy personnel forces is part of Washington’s military preparations throughout the Indo-Pacific against China.

Scapegoating China for US administration’s failures

Trump and Pompeo’s “big lie”

By Andre Damon, 4 May 2020

Knowing that its policy will lead to a rapid growth in fatalities, the White House is preparing a narrative to argue that whatever happens, it is China’s fault.

Fifty years since the massacre of students at Kent State

By Patrick Martin, 4 May 2020

The killing of four students by National Guard soldiers touched off an unprecedented national wave of antiwar protests involving millions of youth.

Trump escalates attacks on China over COVID-19

By Peter Symonds, 2 May 2020

US President Trump has stepped up his propaganda war and threats against China, blaming it for the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that has cost the lives of more than 230,000 people internationally.

Trump tweets support for armed right-wing protesters in Michigan

By Kevin Reed, 2 May 2020

The right-wing demonstration in the Michigan state Capitol is part of a high-level campaign to force a return to work in the midst of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Massive opposition by US meatpacking employees to forced return to work

By Anthony Bertolt and Christopher Davion, 2 May 2020

The Trump administration and local officials are trying to enforce a return to work in meatpacking plants while shielding owners from any liability for the deadly consequences.

“They are willing to kill us for their profits”

US autoworkers oppose early return to factories

By Shannon Jones, 2 May 2020

Detroit auto companies are pushing for a May 18 restart but workers are resisting this attempt to force them into the factories during the uncontained COVID-19 pandemic.

As southwestern states begin to reopen

Navajo Nation COVID-19 cases rise while emergency federal aid remains delayed

By Evan Cohen, 2 May 2020

Endemic impoverishment and a lack of critical infrastructure imposed on Native Americans by Washington have contributed to some of the worst coronavirus infection rates in the country.

Trump blocks federal funeral aid to families of COVID-19 victims

By Jacob Crosse, 2 May 2020

While $45 billion has been allocated to the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the CARES Act, a memo from Trump bans the agency giving burial funds to thousands of victims.

Canada: Locked-out Saskatchewan refinery workers reject FCL’s concessions contract

By Carl Bronski, 2 May 2020

FCL responded to the contract rejection with a terse and arrogant statement that it will continue with its massive government-backed scabbing operation.

Amid back-to-work drive and state reopenings

US government prepares for hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 deaths

By Patrick Martin, 2 May 2020

Press inquiries have found that the federal government is ordering enough body bags for at least five times the current US death toll.

May 1 “general strike” at Amazon: A failed adventure by the Democratic Party and the unions

By the International Amazon Workers Voice, 2 May 2020

This was not a real struggle led by the workers, but a ploy by the Democratic Party, the unions, and their hangers-on to disrupt and gain control of growing working class opposition to deadly workplace conditions.

Biden denies sexual assault allegation, but Democrats’ nervousness about his candidacy grows

By David Walsh, 2 May 2020

The deaths of 65,000 people and the collapse of jobs and incomes have not shaken the Democrats, who are as callous as Donald Trump, but a sex scandal is another matter.

Former top officials in Bernie Sanders campaign form super PAC to back Joe Biden

By Genevieve Leigh, 2 May 2020

Despite his long record of opposition to super PACs, Sanders has remained silent on the creation of the “Future to Believe In” political action committee.

Dorothea Lange: Words and Pictures: An exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art

By Clare Hurley, 2 May 2020

Lange’s turn to documentary photography was spurred by the Great Depression as she sought to address economic inequality and social injustice through activism and the lens of her camera.

Thirty years of the Hubble Space Telescope

By Bryan Dyne, 2 May 2020

While it has been a public relations boon for NASA, Hubble’s true importance lies in its continued and vast contributions to astronomy.

999 Crisis in US over rent payment and rent strike

2 May 2020

Millions of US workers blocked from applying for jobless benefits

By Kevin Reed, 29 April 2020

An Economic Policy Institute survey shows that the real number of unemployed workers in the US is far higher than the official 26.5 million who have filed unemployment claims.

Global arms spending tops $1.9 trillion as fight against COVID-19 is starved of resources

By Bill Van Auken, 29 April 2020

The continued spending of trillions on arms and war amid the present pandemic represents a crime against humanity.

Round two of the “Paycheck Protection Program”: Another disaster for US small businesses and their employees

By Barry Grey, 29 April 2020

The abortive start of the second round of the “small business” program demonstrated that the vast majority of small businesses and their employees will receive little or nothing in relief from the economic collapse.

As millions face destitution gravy train continues for US auto execs

By Shannon Jones, 29 April 2020

General Motors CEO Mary Barra was among the top 20 highest paid executives in 2019 with Ford and Fiat Chrysler execs not far behind.

Trump orders meatpacking plants to remain open, as coronavirus sickens thousands of workers

By Christopher Davion and Marcus Day, 29 April 2020

Trump’s executive order is aimed squarely at shielding the profits of Tyson Foods and other corporate firms, not at defending the food supply chain or the safety of workers.

Quebec government threatens thousands of lives with precipitous return to work

By Richard Dufour, 29 April 2020

Quebec Premier François Legault has announced the reopening of the province’s elementary schools and daycares.

“This pandemic is showing that something is wrong in our society”

10,000 nursing home workers vote to strike in Illinois in the face of life-threatening working conditions

By Jessica Goldstein, 29 April 2020

The coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage nursing home residents and staff, accounting for 35 percent of COVID-19 cases in Illinois.

As states plan billions in budget cuts to schools

Pseudo-lefts ask: “What is the least we can accept?”

By Alexander Fangmann and Nancy Hanover, 29 April 2020

As the ruling class prepares to use the ongoing pandemic as an excuse to carry out long-planned attacks on public education, pseudo-lefts promote Biden.

COVID-19’s devastating impact on artists

By Clare Hurley, 29 April 2020

Ninety-five percent of arts workers in the US have lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic, with 62 percent now unemployed, according to a recently published survey by Americans for the Arts.

US billionaires increase wealth by $280 billion since March, as millions are unable to get unemployment benefits

By Gabriel Black, 27 April 2020

The wealth of the ultra-rich has surged since the March stock market slump, as the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic further concentrates the wealth of society.

Confirmed coronavirus cases in the US surpass one million

By Bryan Dyne, 27 April 2020

Whatever the claims of the various governors, there is no medical or scientific basis for lifting social distancing and isolation measures.

As mass layoffs intensify, tens of millions in US stand to lose health insurance

By Alex Johnson, 27 April 2020

An Economic Policy Institute blog reveals that some 9.2 million Americans lost their health insurance coverage over the previous four weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

US nursing homes: A goldmine for real estate and private equity firms

By Isaac Finn, 27 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized large sections of the nursing home industry, which have become controlled by corporate operators at the expense of residents’ quality of care.

Canadian autoworkers resist Unifor and Detroit Three rush to restart operations

By Carl Bronski, 27 April 2020

While Unifor has been meeting with the Detroit Three to plot a return to work, autoworkers have deluged social media sites with messages opposing a precipitous reopening of the plants.

“Would any worker want to put his or her child back in the plant?”

GM contract worker victimized over COVID warning speaks about his case

By Sheila Brehm, 27 April 2020

Travis Watkins, a contract worker and local United Auto Workers bargaining chairman was fired March 18 after he made a Facebook post alerting workers to possible infections at his plant in western Michigan.

More than two-thirds of US Amazon facilities may have had coronavirus cases

By Erik Schreiber, 27 April 2020

As Amazon’s stock price reaches a record high, the company’s belated provision of inadequate protective measures is putting workers’ lives at risk.

Las Vegas mayor offers up 2.3 million residents as “control group” by reopening during the pandemic

By Jacob Crosse, 27 April 2020

Mayor Carolyn Goodman proposed “leaving it up” to the casino and hotel executives to determine what are necessary public safety measures.

“Veritable volcanoes for the spread of the virus”

ACLU study predicts an additional 100,000 COVID-19 deaths in US prisons

By Alex Findijs, 27 April 2020

America’s 2.3 million inmates and 420,000 guards and staff are at high risk of infection, threatening tens of thousands of lives.

Detroit bus drivers and riders exposed to COVID-19

By Stephen Fuller, 27 April 2020

One-quarter of the residents of the Motor City cannot afford a car and many are forced to ride public buses, which have become a conduit for the spread of deadly disease.

Notes on police violence in America

Off-duty Louisiana police officer shoots 14-year-old in the head

By Aaron Murch, 27 April 2020

The boy survived the shooting but remains in a local hospital in critical condition.

The deadly return to work begins

By Marcus Day, 27 April 2020

From Georgia to Minnesota, US states are beginning to ease social distancing measures and reopen businesses this week, despite the growing death toll from COVID-19.

Behind the clinical test of hydroxychloroquine in Detroit

By Kevin Reed, 27 April 2020

Democratic politicians in Detroit and Michigan are collaborating with the Trump administration and the pharmaceutical industry in the rush to find a pandemic “wonder drug.”

Larry Summers and the Biden campaign

By Nick Beams, 27 April 2020

Summers has a long history of supporting all the measures leading to the financialization of the American economy and the siphoning off of wealth and income to its upper layers.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell calls for states to declare bankruptcy and gut pensions

By Barry Grey, 25 April 2020

Declaring bankruptcy would allow state governments to override laws and state constitutional provisions that guarantee the pension benefits of retired public workers.

At least 130 US health care workers dead from COVID-19

By Clara Weiss, 25 April 2020

Every single one of these deaths and the vast majority of infections were preventable.

GM threatens to end medical benefits for temporary workers at parts depot

By Shannon Jones, 25 April 2020

Workers at General Motors Customer Care and Aftersales in Burton, Michigan are being told to report to work April 27 or face losing their medical benefits.

Minnesota meatpacking plant closes after two dozen workers test positive for COVID-19

By Christopher Davion, 25 April 2020

JBS USA, the largest meat processing company in Minnesota, shut down its pork plant in Worthington on Monday, resulting in the layoff of 2,000 workers, many of whom are immigrants.

Henry Ford Health System lays off 2,800 as COVID-19 continues to ravage Detroit

By Kevin Reed, 25 April 2020

Following Beaumont Health, which laid off 2,475 employees and permanently eliminated 450 positions on Tuesday, HFHS told workers they were being put on temporary furlough.

Tennessee state government plans to lift social-distancing measures as health care crisis looms

By Warren Duzak, 25 April 2020

While Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Lee claims the number of cases were leveling off, physicians have described the virus trajectory as “saw-toothed” with no real sign of flattening or subsiding.

Canadian government sends military into care homes as it pushes for a premature return to work

By Roger Jordan and Keith Jones, 25 April 2020

The deployment is a tacit admission of the catastrophic conditions in many longterm care facilities.

Los Angeles mayor releases plan for massive budget cutting and city worker furloughs

By Dan Conway, 25 April 2020

The cuts announced by the Democratic mayor herald an onslaught of similar measures in other US cities and states.

As coronavirus cases climb, Chicago city council expands mayor’s emergency powers

By Kristina Betinis, 25 April 2020

After a procedural delay, a vote to approve the measure that gives Lightfoot substantial sway over the city budget took place Friday.

Rasputin in the White House

By Eric London and David North, 25 April 2020

Ignorance, cronyism and gangsterism at the pinnacle of the American state.

Former leaders of Students for a Democratic Society try to drum up support for Biden

By Genevieve Leigh, 25 April 2020

Last week the Nation magazine published an open letter, signed by 60 former leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society, which calls on Bernie Sanders supporters to vote for Joe Biden.

South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee reopening as coronavirus deaths mount

By Matthew MacEgan, 22 April 2020

The actions amount to a death sentence for thousands of working people, and particularly the elderly.

US health care workers protest government back-to-work demands

By Trévon Austin, 22 April 2020

Nurses countrywide are opposing the government’s bank-to-work demands and insisting they be provided with proper protective gear on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nova Scotia gunman kills 22 in Canada’s deadliest mass shooting

By Roger Jordan, 22 April 2020

Marked by rampant social inequality and economic insecurity and led by a ruling elite mired in aggression and war, Canadian capitalism regularly engenders outbursts of homicidal violence.

Beaumont Health lays off 2,500 and eliminates 450 jobs in Metro Detroit

By Kevin Reed, 22 April 2020

Michigan’s largest health care provider, Beaumont Health, announced the layoff of 2,475 employees and the permanent elimination of 450 positions at its Detroit-area facilities.

$310 billion more for misnamed “Paycheck Protection Program”

Senate passes another bipartisan bailout for business

By Barry Grey, 22 April 2020

The Democrats settled for a mere $75 billion for hospitals and a derisory $25 billion for coronavirus testing. They dropped their demand for relief to state and local governments and funding for food stamps.

Death toll rises at veterans hospital in Massachusetts

By Julian James, 22 April 2020

Roughly 1-in-4 COVID-19 fatalities in the entire Veterans Affairs care system have taken place at a single facility in Massachusetts.

US safety agencies bow to corporations as workers file record number of complaints

By Jessica Goldstein, 22 April 2020

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reportedly received 3,000 complaints related to the pandemic, with state agencies receiving many times more.

New York City mayor declares “wartime” budget

By Philip Guelpa, 22 April 2020

Cuts to New York City’s municipal budget due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have a devastating economic impact on the city’s working class.

Baltimore, Maryland approves measure allowing for police aerial surveillance

By Ron Barzel and Nick Barrickman, 22 April 2020

The program would allow the city government to continuously track the movements of the population utilizing technology developed for the US occupation of Iraq.

Trump announces plan to halt all immigration to US

By Eric London, 22 April 2020

Trump’s “pause” on immigration is a desperate attempt by the crisis-riddled administration to distract from the criminality of the ruling class’s own response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Build rank-and-file committees at Amazon! For maximum safety, universal testing, and workers’ control of production!

Statement by the International Amazon Workers Voice, 22 April 2020

Amazon workers need organizations to fight, but the unions which are trying to “organize” them, have a long record of betraying the working class.

“Our life is not a game”

Workers strike across Ciudad Juárez, Mexico as COVID-19 death toll rises in factories

By Andrea Lobo, 20 April 2020

The strikes part of a growing international resistance involving workers across Europe and the US to demand the closure of nonessential workplaces and protection for essential workers as the pandemic continues to spread out of control.

Walkouts by Canadian transit workers protest lack of COVID-19 protections

By Carl Bronski, 20 April 2020

After walkouts by transit workers in Toronto and Montreal, rank-and-file workers in Edmonton are planning a work stoppage and circulating a petition.

Hundreds line up to receive free food outside of Washington, D.C. area supermarkets

By Nick Barrickman, 20 April 2020

On Friday, hundreds of people from Maryland and Virginia lined up outside of local MegaMart supermarkets with the hope of obtaining free baskets of groceries to feed their families.

Apple and Google implementing smartphone-based contact tracing technology

By Kevin Reed, 20 April 2020

The two US tech monopolies that dominate the international mobile devices market have announced a joint effort to implement COVID-19 contact tracing technologies.

Truck drivers, logistics workers face high risk from COVID-19 exposure

By Steve Filips, 20 April 2020

Essential workers such as long-haul drivers and freight service workers face a high risk of infection due to increased workloads and lack of basic safety protections.

New York City mayor announces $827 million in cuts to public education

By Sandy English, 20 April 2020

New York’s Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio announced deep cuts to education last week, with predictions of more to come.

After decades of austerity, Ontario struggles to cope with surge in COVID-19 cases

By Matthew Richter, 20 April 2020

Even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Ontario’s hospitals were hopelessly overstretched as a result of decades of austerity and job cuts.

As US deaths exceed 40,000, Trump escalates reckless back-to-work campaign

By Andre Damon, 20 April 2020

The government’s overriding concern is to ensure that the pandemic does not interfere with the enrichment of Wall Street and the major corporations.

American Historical Review publishes letter on 1619 Project by Tom Mackaman and David North

20 April 2020

The letter was a reply to AHR Editor Alex Lichtenstein, who previously wrote a column defending the 1619 Project.

Biden ads against Trump: Blame China for impact of coronavirus, not the ruling class

By Barry Grey, 20 April 2020

With his new ads, Biden lines up behind Trump's anti-China witch hunt, seeking merely to turn the chauvinist and war-mongering agitation against Trump himself.

As US deaths soar, bipartisan back-to-work drive guarantees the explosive spread of pandemic

By Benjamin Mateus, 18 April 2020

Trump and the political establishment are seeking to enforce a return to work despite the warnings of medical experts that the US is nowhere near prepared to reopen safely.

Trump tweets support for far-right protests against social distancing orders

By Barry Grey, 18 April 2020

Having announced his plan for the state-by-state reopening of the economy, Trump is seeking to mobilize his far-right base to press for a rapid lifting of barriers to corporate profit-making.

Detroit-area hospitals slash jobs and close facilities to cut costs during COVID-19 crisis

By Kevin Reed, 18 April 2020

Corporate health care providers in the Detroit area are attempting to impose financial losses associated with the health crisis onto the working class.

Pentagon activates military units to defend Washington

By Bill Van Auken, 18 April 2020

The shift of the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region to operational mode indicates rising concern within the US government that the crisis will unleash social upheavals.

Nurse who exposed conditions at Massachusetts nursing home dies from COVID-19

By Andrew Timon, 18 April 2020

Maria Krier’s death is another tragic outcome of the appalling conditions in nursing homes throughout New England and the US.

Letter from Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos seeks to cover for efforts to exploit the COVID-19 crisis for profit

By Nick Barrickman, 18 April 2020

In a defensively-worded “letter to shareowners,” the Amazon CEO sought to downplay and paper over the conglomerate’s abusive and reckless behavior during the crisis.

Seventeen bodies found piled in a New Jersey nursing home

By Erik Schreiber, 18 April 2020

This ghastly discovery is symptomatic of the disaster unfolding at nursing homes in the state, across the US and internationally.

Florida orders National Guard to assist in nursing home COVID-19 testing

By Matthew Taylor, 18 April 2020

There has been no push for mass testing, with only 236,000 of the state’s more than 21 million residents tested to date.

Washington D.C. legislature endorses limited rent relief, bars assistance to undocumented immigrants

By our reporter, 18 April 2020

The city’s government left it up to representatives of the city’s tourist industry to provide assistance to undocumented workers.

Canadian elite promotes anti-China campaign over coronavirus

By Roger Jordan, 18 April 2020

The campaign aims to divert anger over the Western powers’ disastrous response to the pandemic and further integrate Canada into Washington’s offensive against Beijing.

The pandemic, profits and the capitalist justification of suffering and death

By David North, 18 April 2020

For the financial-corporate oligarchy, the pandemic has been viewed, above all else, as an economic crisis. Its principal concern from the start was not the potential loss of life but the destabilization of the financial markets, the disruption of the process of profit extraction, and, of course, a substantial decline in the personal wealth of the members of the oligarchy.

Intensive CIA spying on Assange targeted his infant child

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 April 2020

As the US government finalised its bogus charges against Assange, it oversaw dirty tricks operations targeting his partner and their infant child.

Steep fall in US economy and worse is to come

By Nick Beams, 16 April 2020

Any notion that there will be a rapid economic recovery once the immediate effects of the pandemic pass is being dispelled.

COVID-19 deaths break US record as virus spreads through every state

By Benjamin Mateus, 15 April 2020

Over 2,300 people died from COVID-19 in the United States Tuesday, in the highest recorded daily death toll of any country.

As pandemic deaths continue to rise

Trump calls on states to move quickly to reopen their economies

By Barry Grey, 15 April 2020

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday congratulated both Trump and the Democratic governors for moving to lift the restrictions on profit-making.

COVID-19 devastating the elderly at nursing homes across the US

By Kevin Reed, 15 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has exploded in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, exposing the catastrophic circumstances facing large numbers of elderly working class people.