Inequality and the social crisis

Working-class Londoners risk their lives fighting COVID-19 as the city’s billionaires decamp

By Michael Barnes, 4 April 2020

While the super-rich complain of being bored in their gated mansions, masses of workers in London have lost their jobs or are forced to work in unsafe conditions.

Nearly three years after the Grenfell Tower inferno, flammable cladding still widely used in UK

By Alice Summers, 4 April 2020

High Pressure Laminate cladding, thought to be used on thousands of buildings across the country, has been shown to be as highly flammable as the cladding used on Grenfell Tower.

Massachusetts veterans hospital investigated for COVID-19 catastrophe

By Julian James, 4 April 2020

As of Friday, 21 residents at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts were confirmed to have died from COVID-19 in a span of only 10 days.

Australian airline exploits pandemic in an attempt to sink rivals

By Terry Cook, 4 April 2020

Qantas CEO: “This will be a survival of the fittest and Qantas is one of the fittest and most dynamic airlines in the world.”

The class issues in the coronavirus pandemic

By Niles Niemuth, 4 April 2020

The coronavirus does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, nationality or sexual orientation. However, the one factor that is undoubtedly key in avoiding infection and improving the chance of survival is wealth.

Coronavirus hits Seattle, Washington homeless shelters

By Julio Patron, 3 April 2020

As the pandemic rips across the United States, COVID-19 cases are beginning to be reported among the homeless population in Seattle.

For emergency action against the destruction of jobs! Full financial and social support for all working people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic!

Joseph Kishore—Socialist Equality Party candidate for US president, 3 April 2020

All sections of the working class must be fully compensated for the economic consequences of the pandemic.

US Conference of Mayors survey shows severe lack of equipment to combat coronavirus pandemic

By Bryan Dyne, 2 April 2020

As the US death toll nears 5,000, a report to the federal government from mayors of 213 cities showing a desperate shortage of lifesaving equipment has fallen on deaf ears.

Without work and regular paycheck millions of Americans at risk of eviction as rent comes due

By Jacob Crosse, 2 April 2020

In New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, up to 40 percent of tenants are expected forgo rent payments this month.

Covid-19 pandemic poses gravest threat to world’s poorest countries

By Jean Shaoul, 1 April 2020

Hundreds of millions of people across the globe live in homes that were detrimental to their health and safety even before the onset of the coronavirus.

Hundreds wait in mile-long line at Pittsburgh area food bank

By Samuel Davidson, 1 April 2020

The situation in Pittsburgh is being repeated throughout the US as more than 3.5 million workers filed for unemployment last week and millions more are expected to do so this week.

Tennessee state officials recommend health care workers use swim goggles, diapers and garbage bags as protection from COVID-19

By Warren Duzak, 31 March 2020

As of Monday, the state has reported 1,818 infections and ten deaths, with a shortfall of the intensive care units needed to treat the critically ill expected to come in the next two weeks.

Cleveland, Ohio residents wait hours in food bank drive-thru line as unemployment skyrockets

By Katy Kinner, 31 March 2020

Last week drivers backed up for miles through the streets leading to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. One-third of those seeking assistance had never before sought food assistance.

As 150,000 hotel rooms remain empty, Las Vegas government forces 500 homeless residents to sleep outside on asphalt parking lot

By Jacob Crosse, 31 March 2020

The action follows the closure of one of the few homeless shelters in the city after someone staying there tested positive for coronavirus.

The profit system is sabotaging the struggle against the coronavirus

By Patrick Martin, 31 March 2020

Giant American corporations have blocked the development of inexpensive ventilators and are hoarding supplies of materials needing to make billions of N95 masks for health care workers.

Detroit mayor confirms denial of treatment to “extremely sick” patients: “What they put out is honest”

By Kevin Reed, 28 March 2020

One ICU nurse at a local hospital posted a video to social media from her car in tears as she described the COVID unit in her hospital, saying that “it felt like I was working in a war zone.”

House passes Senate “rescue” bill

Democrats unite with Trump to enact massive corporate bailout

By Barry Grey, 28 March 2020

The bill amounts to virtually unlimited funding for the corporate and financial aristocracy, with no real strings attached.

Albany, Georgia walloped by coronavirus outbreak as governor refuses to implement state-wide stay at home order

By Aaron Murch, 28 March 2020

As of Friday the Albany area ranked second only to the New York City metro region, the epicenter of the outbreak in the US, in the number of infections per capita.

Canada’s parliament approves coronavirus bailout for corporations and austerity for workers

By Keith Jones, 28 March 2020

While billions are being handed to big business, Canada’s health system, ravaged by decades of austerity, has no "surge capacity."

Coronavirus crisis “devastates” US museums, arts organizations, many of them for good

By David Walsh, 28 March 2020

The bipartisan corporate “rescue” package passed by the US Congress this week provides only $232.5 million for cultural organizations, one-sixteenth of the $4 billion for which the American Alliance of Museums had lobbied.

New US unemployment claims hit 3.28 million as pandemic produces economic catastrophe

By Shannon Jones, 27 March 2020

The number of new weekly claims for state unemployment benefits reached the staggering total of 3.28 million, an increase of 1,000 percent over the previous week, and the largest such total in history.

Profits before lives: German parliament passes emergency package for large corporations and the rich

By Johannes Stern, 27 March 2020

All parties in parliament, from the Left Party to the extreme right AfD, are working together to defend capitalism and to shift the burden of the COVID-19 crisis onto the working class.

Canada: Vancouver homeless left to fend for themselves amid coronavirus pandemic

By Penny Smith, 27 March 2020

The Canadian ruling elite’s policy of malign neglect in the face of the lethal coronavirus pandemic is exemplified by the failure of all levels of government to do anything to protect homeless people.

US Senate passes massive economic “rescue” bill

By Patrick Martin, 26 March 2020

The $2 trillion bill allocates the bulk of its funds to loans and grants to corporations and businesses, with some emergency aid to workers.

PG&E to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for Camp Fire deaths

By Dan Conway, 26 March 2020

The guilty plea allows the utility to escape further costs and legal liabilities stemming from its refusal to modernize its antiquated electrical grid.

The wealth of Australia’s richest 250 soars to $377 billion

By Clare Bruderlin, 26 March 2020

According to the Murdoch media magazine, the number of billionaires has more than trebled in two years, from 33 to 117.

COVID-19 begins to rip through homeless population as 30 test positive in New York City shelters

By Sam Dalton and Clara Weiss, 25 March 2020

The homeless are at heightened risk of infection and death from the coronavirus.

Latest Australian COVID-19 measures driven by concern about profits, not health

By Mike Head, 25 March 2020

Prime Minister Morrison channeled Donald Trump and insisted on keeping “the economy” going, regardless of the mounting danger to the health and lives of millions of people.

US soon to pass Italy and China in coronavirus cases

By Benjamin Mateus, 24 March 2020

The total number infected in the United States is approaching 50,000, with nearly 600 dead.

US Congress moves toward massive bailout of big business

By Patrick Martin, 24 March 2020

The wrangling between Democrats and Republicans in Washington is political theater to disguise the highway robbery being carried out by corporate America.

Attorney general requests suspension of habeas corpus

Military, Trump administration ready plans for domestic crackdown as virus spreads across US

By Eric London, 24 March 2020

The Justice Department has asked Congress to suspend habeas corpus and due process, even as the military develops plans to deploy troops on US soil to suppress “riots” and “civil disobedience.”

Florida residents on COVID-19 pandemic: “There is no way we can go longer than a month at this rate.”

By Matthew MacEgan, 24 March 2020

Workers and students spoke with the WSWS about lack of supplies, limited testing, and growing concerns over the economic, social, and health impact on their families and friends.

US officials use economic fallout from pandemic to slash school funding

By Phyllis Steele and Jerry White, 24 March 2020

Even as school districts deliver free meals to millions of low-income students, state governments have already begun slashing school spending and reneging on promised pay raises to teachers.

Australia: Coronavirus cancellations decimate live performance industry

By Martin Scott, 24 March 2020

Tens of thousands of performers are facing an indeterminate period without work.

Retail and service industry workers demand safety measures, store closures and full compensation during coronavirus pandemic

By Trévon Austin, 23 March 2020

Retail and service workers, particularly in grocery stores and coffee shops, are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 as they interact with hundreds of customers on a daily basis.

Catastrophic worldwide medical ventilator shortfall despite years of warning

By Steve James, 23 March 2020

World productive capacity of medical ventilators is far below peak requirements during the coronavirus outbreak.

Australian state of Victoria shuts down school system, other states remain open

By Patrick Kelly, 23 March 2020

The chaotic situation reflects the wider disarray and criminal neglect in the ruling elite’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

No corporate bailouts! Direct financial resources to the working people, not the capitalist elite!

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (US), 23 March 2020

The ruling class is seeking to exploit this crisis to engineer another multitrillion-dollar redistribution of wealth, on a scale even greater than the 2008 bank bailout.

Amid coronavirus pandemic, thousands in Detroit remain without running water

By Kevin Reed, 21 March 2020

The claims of the Democratic Party’s mayor of Detroit and Michigan state governor that they would restore shut-off utilities have been exposed as a fraud.

Massive social disaster looms as worldwide job losses from coronavirus pandemic expected to reach 25 million

By Jerry White, 20 March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is now metastasizing into an immense economic and social crisis.

Front-line nurses and doctors face dire shortages of personal protective equipment

By Benjamin Mateus, 19 March 2020

There are mounting fears among health care workers that they are running unacceptable risks because of the lack of equipment.

Australian doctors condemn government response to COVID-19 “disaster”

By Mike Head, 19 March 2020

Letters, signed by thousands of doctors, warn that a catastrophe “worse” than Italy’s can only be averted by a lockdown and the urgent pouring of resources into hospitals.

Australian workers face mass job cuts amid coronavirus crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 March 2020

Millions of workers, especially those employed on a casual basis, face financial ruin amid the collapse of the airline, hospitality and tourism sectors.

Democratic Party debate dominated by coronavirus pandemic

By Patrick Martin, 17 March 2020

The exchanges between the candidates had been rendered largely irrelevant by consolidation of the Democratic Party behind Biden, making him the presumptive nominee.

Health official warns that 150,000 Australians could die in coronavirus pandemic

By Mike Head, 17 March 2020

Many of these people will die as a direct result of the failure of the governments, both federal and state, to take the urgently needed action and allocate the necessary medical resources.

Australian governments invoke emergency powers amid COVID-19 disaster

By Mike Head, 17 March 2020

These laws contain powers only previously used in wartime, such as arbitrarily detaining, imprisoning or imposing massive fines on people, to be imposed now in the name of protecting public health.

After handful of tests, West Virginia officials claim zero coronavirus cases

By Naomi Spencer, 17 March 2020

The state has, by many metrics, the unhealthiest and poorest adult population in the US, putting a majority in higher risk categories for COVID-19.

Amid coronavirus pandemic Nevada gaming commission announces “no plans” to close casinos

By Jacob Crosse, 17 March 2020

Regulators in just six US states—Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and Massachusetts—have ordered casinos shut down in a criminally belated attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Australia: Queensland coroner finds Ardent Leisure culpable for Dreamworld theme park deaths

By Terry Cook, 17 March 2020

The coronial report demonstrated that the four tragic deaths in 2016 were the result of the subordination of customers’ safety to the pursuit of profit.

New York City finally closes public schools during coronavirus pandemic

By Sam Dalton, 16 March 2020

Public schools in the largest school district in the United States remained opened until this week, despite objections from parents, students and educators.

Amid growing coronavirus pandemic

Student organized investigation finds that Pomona College in California has denied 70 percent of housing requests

By Owen Mullan and Genevieve Leigh, 16 March 2020

“I’m being evicted from Pomona college. I’ve been homeless since I was 16. I come from an extremely abusive home without access to heat, hot water or food” one student, who spoke to the WSWS under the condition of anonymity, explained.

German student newspaper “Unauf” defends far-right violence against students

the IYSSE at Humboldt University, 16 March 2020

Following the refusal of Humboldt University management to condemn the physical attack by right-wing extremist professor Jörg Baberowski on a left-wing student, the “independent student newspaper at Humboldt University” has followed suit.

The coronavirus pandemic crisis intensifies

Capitalism is at war with society

By Joseph Kishore and David North, 13 March 2020

The spread of the coronavirus has exposed the disastrous consequences of decades of the massive concentration of wealth and inequality spawned by capitalism.

Australian government hands billions to business as coronavirus worsens economic slump

By Mike Head, 13 March 2020

Within hours, Morrison’s “stimulus” package was swamped by the deteriorating economic news from around the world and share prices plunged.

Ontario’s “Roadmap to Wellness” continues austerity for youth mental health services even as demand spikes

By Penny Smith, 13 March 2020

The Ford government is refusing to provide tens of thousands of children and adolescents with ready access to mental health care services that they urgently need.

Australian PM makes a desperate pitch to avert economic disaster

By Mike Head, 10 March 2020

Morrison’s speech shows that his main concern is to protect corporate profits and prop up his discredited government, not protect people from the coronavirus.

Opioid-related deaths in Columbus, Ohio area up 45 percent from last year

By Katy Kinner, 9 March 2020

The Franklin County coroner recently released data showing a shocking increase in overdose, suicide and homicide deaths in the first two months of 2020.

Murdoch’s News Corp shuts down Australian Associated Press

By Patrick O’Connor, 9 March 2020

Australia already has one of the most monopolised media industries in the world, with Murdoch publications comprising more than 70 percent of all newspapers sold.

Push: An exposure of financial parasitism and the global housing crisis

By Jean Shaoul, 7 March 2020

The film exposes the criminal role of the finance industry, aided and abetted by an army of lawyers, advisors and not least governments, in evicting people and jacking up rents after giving properties a superficial makeover.

The number of ultrawealthy individuals is growing dramatically on a world scale

By Kevin Reed, 6 March 2020

A new report by the consulting firm Knight Frank shows that the number of super-wealthy people in the world—those with more than $30 million in assets—is projected to increase by 27 percent over the next five years.

Workers to pay the price as Australia joins global slide into recession

By Mike Head, 5 March 2020

The Covid-19 disaster has not yet resulted in large-scale sickness in Australia, but major companies are already unveiling job cuts due to the global impact on production, trade and travel.

On eve of “Super Tuesday” primaries

Democratic Party goes to war against Sanders

By Patrick Martin, 3 March 2020

The Democratic Party is opposed to raising the prospect of significant social reforms in the 2020 election.

Five members of neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division arrested for targeting US journalists

By Kevin Reed, 3 March 2020

Although the Department of Justice refused to identify them as neo-Nazis, five members of fascist Atomwaffen Division were arrested and charged on February 26 with conspiracy involving harassment and “swatting” of journalists and political opponents.

Australia: Tram drivers’ union attempts to impose sellout agreement

By Patrick O’Connor, 3 March 2020

Tram workers ought to vote “no” to the proposed agreement, which undercuts their real wages and conditions.

Access to disability funding for Australian children depends on wealth

By Max Newman, 29 February 2020

Children in poorer suburbs can wait hundreds of days for essential support services.

Attacks against Sanders intensify ahead of South Carolina primary

By Patrick Martin, 27 February 2020

Sanders’ opponents are warning that he may take an insurmountable lead in delegates in the 14 states voting next Tuesday.

Mass workplace shooting at Milwaukee, Wisconsin brewery leaves six dead including gunman

By Jacob Crosse, 27 February 2020

Anthony N. Ferrill, a 51-year-old Molson Coors Beverage employee opened fire Wednesday morning, killing five coworkers before committing suicide.

Video shows Florida school police officer boasting after arresting six-year-old

By Shuvu Batta, 27 February 2020

Dennis Turner bragged that he had made more than 6,000 arrests and that Kaia Rolle had “broken the record” for the youngest child he had ever detained.

As support for wildcat strike spreads

Unions work to defeat UC-Santa Cruz grad student strike

By Jonathan Burleigh, 27 February 2020

The UAW declared in an open letter at Berkeley that it would not defend the UCSC strikers or any UC Berkeley students who took sympathy wildcat action.

Water shutoffs continue in Detroit in the face of growing opposition

By James Brewer, 27 February 2020

The Democratic administrations of both the city and the state insist that water shutoffs in Detroit remain as a “collection tool of last resort.”

Australian bushfire inquiry: Damage-control, cover-up and a push for military powers

By Mike Head, 27 February 2020

The central purpose of the royal commission is to absolve the federal and state governments of responsibility for the disaster, and to introduce unprecedented national emergency powers.

Nashville art school students, alumni oppose takeover by Christian college

By Warren Duzak, 26 February 2020

Students, alumni and faculty spoke out against the proposed merger of Watkins College of Art with Belmont University at a pop-up art exhibit on Saturday.

California governor to collaborate with Trump against the homeless

By Dan Conway, 26 February 2020

California, the largest state in the US, also has the largest number of homeless people.

Waiting times for aged care in Australia quadruple over past decade

By Clare Bruderlin, 25 February 2020

Such is the contempt of the ruling elite for the working class that many elderly people have died while waiting for a home care package.

“Robodebt” assault on Australian welfare recipients deliberately targeted the vulnerable

By Margaret Rees, 22 February 2020

The government knew the scheme was illegal long before it conceded that was the case in the Federal Court last November.

At least 2.5 million children in Germany live in poverty

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 19 February 2020

In Germany, one of the richest countries in the world, more than 1.5 million children live in families dependent on welfare, and many more in families considered to be working poor.

Markets soar as companies announce mass layoffs

By Nick Beams, 19 February 2020

The impoverishment of the working class is not an accidental outcome of the accumulation of wealth by a rapacious financial oligarchy—the two are directly linked.

Australian court backs police raids on journalists

By Mike Head, 18 February 2020

The ruling highlights the driving forces behind the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Las Vegas anti-homeless ordinance enforcement begins

By Jacob Crosse, 17 February 2020

Passed by the Las Vegas, Nevada, city council in November, the ordinance makes it a misdemeanor crime, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, for “sleeping or camping” in a public space.

Peruvian students protest threatened shutdown of private universities

By Cesar Uco, 17 February 2020

Thirty-nine private universities and two graduate schools failed to meet basic educational standards, threatening 166,000 students with being thrown in the street.

Chicago high school students hold sit-in in defense of students who refused to stand for national anthem

By Andy Thompson, 15 February 2020

The sit-in is an example of young peoples’ complete rejection of nationalism and racism promoted by the ruling class.

Trump’s “Blue Collar Boom”: Myth vs Reality

By Tom Hall, 15 February 2020

The reality of American social life is very different than the fantasy of a “blue-collar boom” which Trump delivered during last week’s State of the Union address.

Concordia University in Portland, Oregon set to close by end of the semester

By Kayla Costa, 14 February 2020

The Board of Regents announced the closure on Monday, making the school the most recent victim of the financial pressures that small, private liberal arts schools confront on the privatized education market.

Letter to members of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA)

the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (US), 14 February 2020

Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Democratic Socialists of America say it is possible to fight for socialism from within the Democratic Party. Such a political program is not real socialism and can lead only to disaster.

Growing class conflict in the US and the resurgence of socialism

Joseph Kishore—SEP national secretary and candidate for US president, 13 February 2020

The expansion of the class struggle is the essential factor underlying the shift to the left among workers and the growing interest in socialism.

Recession warnings fuel political instability in Australia

By Mike Head, 12 February 2020

The bushfire and coronavirus disasters have had an enormous economic and social impact.

Trump budget gives top priority to new generation of nuclear weapons

By Patrick Martin, 11 February 2020

The budget document issued Monday reveals that the Pentagon views the use of nuclear weapons as a practical necessity.

Mother and six children killed in Mississippi house fire, only father survives

By Kate Randall, 11 February 2020

Between January 1, 2019 and February 10, 2020, there were 2,479 home fire fatalities in the US. Incidents with multiple fatalities accounted for 744 of these deaths.

John Deere announces layoffs at Iowa plant

By George Gallanis, 11 February 2020

Since announcing plans last August to cut costs and boost profits as part of its drive for “organizational efficiency,” Deere has laid off 220 workers at plants across Illinois and Iowa.

Dr. Lissa Johnson calls for workers and young people to rally in defence of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

11 February 2020

“Everyone who recognises the need, before it is too late, to take a stand against gross injustice and for fundamental democratic rights should attend the rallies.”

Trump outlines massive cuts in Medicaid and Medicare in 2021 budget plan

By Kevin Reed, 10 February 2020

The Trump administration is scheduled to release a 2021 budget plan on Monday that includes deep reductions in entitlement programs and other mandatory spending while increasing funding for the military and the Department of Homeland Security.

Democratic governor gives right-wing response to Trump State of the Union address

By Joseph Lorenz, 7 February 2020

The Democratic Party rebuttal included hypocritical invocations of democracy, demagogic appeals to struggling workers and falsification of the party’s reactionary record.

New Australian Greens leader makes a “left” pitch to young people

By Mike Head, 7 February 2020

By installing Bandt as leader, the Greens MPs demonstrated their concern over the mounting political disaffection.

999 south dakota

7 February 2020

Over 1.5 million homeless students in the US

By Trévon Austin, 6 February 2020

On the day that US President Donald Trump proclaimed a “blue-collar boom” in his State of the Union Address, the federal government reported that the number of students experiencing homelessness has hit a record high.

Social inequality main issue in the Irish general election

By Dermot Byrne, 6 February 2020

The Irish general election takes place under conditions of immense instability and uncertainty, with workers looking for a political alternative.

Australian government intensifies punitive drive against welfare recipients

By Margaret Rees, 5 February 2020

Before even paying back the money wrongly taken from some of society’s most vulnerable people via the “robo-debt” system, the government is moving to punish them again.

Take up the fight for international socialism! Join the IYSSE!

the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (Australia), 5 February 2020

One month into 2020, the crisis of capitalism threatens youth with the danger of nuclear war, authoritarianism, climate catastrophe and worsening inequality. International socialism is the answer.

Pennsylvania cancer patient sentenced to 10 months in prison for shoplifting $109.63 in groceries

By Kate Randall, 4 February 2020

Ashley Menser, 36, and her family were hoping that the fact that she was being treated for cancer would persuade the judge to either delay or defer her sentencing. They were wrong.

Washington DC transit authority proposes cuts in services in wake of 84-day bus drivers’ strike

By Nick Barrickman, 4 February 2020

The proposal calls for fare hikes and the elimination of dozens of routes.