Inequality and the social crisis

Australian billionaires celebrate soaring wealth, while wage case leaves millions in poverty

By Mike Head, 1 June 2019

The annual Rich List, along with the outcome of the latest minimum wage case, underscore the acceleration of social inequality in Australia and around the world.

Australia: Children detained in adult watch houses in Queensland

By John Harris, 31 May 2019

Children as young as ten have been held in maximum security facilities, where they have been subjected to horrific abuses.

University of Chicago graduate student union authorizes strike action

By George Gallanis, 29 May 2019

The vote is in response to the U of C administration’s anti-democratic attempt to block the recognition of the graduate student union for nearly two years.

Kalamazoo, Michigan: “I don’t like the idea of selling my blood plasma for money, but I have to do what I’ve got to do”

US blood plasma industry targets poor and working class

By Carlos Delgado, 28 May 2019

An increasing number of US workers are selling their plasma to cover basic necessities like food, rent, gas and diapers.

“It feels like your whole life is a constant crisis”

US millennials describe life on the brink

By Genevieve Leigh, 27 May 2019

“I have held countless jobs,” Luis said, “and none of them pay enough to live. I couldn’t see myself doing any of them for the rest of my life.”

The millennial generation in the US: Life on the brink

By Genevieve Leigh, 24 May 2019

The conditions facing working class millennials are the same conditions facing the entire working class, of which those in the millennial generation are a particularly vulnerable layer.

An appeal to young people

Defend the right to tell the truth! Defend Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning!

the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, 24 May 2019

The following statement is being distributed today at climate change protests across the UK.

The Australian Labor Party’s election debacle and the fight against the far-right

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 May 2019

The election outcome exposes the bankrupt claims by the unions and the pseudo-left that the rise of the extreme right can be opposed by supporting pro-business centre-left parties such as the Australian Labor Party.

Only socialist policies can resolve the Australian public education crisis

By the Committee for Public Education, 18 May 2019

Teachers and parents should treat the sham election promises of Labor, Liberal and the Greens on education with the contempt they deserve.

More migrant deaths as Trump unveils class-based immigration quota

By Eric London, 17 May 2019

Trump announced the new plan as the military agreed to build six new internment camps along the US-Mexico border.

Labor’s promise on childcare wages—another cynical deception

By Terry Cook, 17 May 2019

Labor leader Bill Shorten’s pledge is designed to prevent a rank-and-file struggle for a genuine improvement in wages and working conditions.

Australia’s central bank slashes growth forecasts

By Mike Head, 15 May 2019

Regardless of whether Labor or the Coalition wins office, the next government will be one of even more severe austerity.

Five years since the poisoning of Flint’s water supply: Part two

By James Brewer, 15 May 2019

This is the second part of a two-part series drawing a balance sheet of five years of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Factory fire symptomatic of social devastation in Calwell electorate

Peter Byrne: SEP candidate for Calwell, 14 May 2019

“Where factories once employed workers who actually made things, they are now rented and filled with toxic waste, then abandoned.”

Trump administration to evict 55,000 children of immigrants from public housing

By Eric London, 13 May 2019

The Washington Post reports that Trump's fascist adviser Stephen Miller propagated the new rule, while HUD itself assesses its purpose is to increase poverty and destitution among immigrant families.

Changing poverty formula, Trump administration to make millions ineligible for social programs

By Alex González, 10 May 2019

The “chained CPI” plan is based on a previous attack on the poor and elderly proposed by the Obama administration.

Insys Therapeutics executives, makers of oral fentanyl spray, convicted of racketeering

By Ben Mateus, 9 May 2019

A study published earlier this year found that in 28 states the mortality rate from synthetic opioids had more than doubled every two years.

Uber drivers to participate in global strike

By Leslie Murtagh and Jesse Thomas, 8 May 2019

Thousands of Uber and other ride-sharing drivers around the world will strike on Wednesday to protest low wages and the spread of casualized labor.

San Diego mayor pushes for crackdown on vehicular homelessness

By Marko Leone, 1 May 2019

Approximately 1,300 people live in their cars in San Diego County, with about 8,500 people experiencing homelessness daily.

Amazon posts record $3.6 billion profit in first three months of 2019

By Niles Niemuth, 27 April 2019

Amazon plans to increase the exploitation of workers in the US and internationally by implementing free one day shipping for Prime subscribers to ensure ever-bigger profits.

Half of all land in England owned by less than one percent of the population

By Margot Miller, 27 April 2019

The aristocracy and gentry still own 30 percent of the land, while 18 percent is owned by corporations and a staggering 17 percent is in the possession of oligarchs and bankers.

Economic reversal exposes Australian election myths

By Mike Head, 27 April 2019

Inflation was zero during the March quarter, indicating a rapidly stalling economy that will intensify the corporate offensive against the working class.

Australian construction workers facing massive fines for striking

By Terry Cook, 26 April 2019

The Australian Building and Construction Commission has launched legal action against workers involved in a short work-stoppage last year.

Hillary Clinton’s McCarthyite rant

By Joseph Kishore, 26 April 2019

In a column published Wednesday in the Washington Post, the former Democratic Party presidential candidate resurrects the conspiracy theories that were the staple of Cold War anticommunism.

US Gulf Coast still devastated six months after Hurricane Michael

By Matthew Taylor, 20 April 2019

Those left homeless in the aftermath of one of the strongest storms in US history have been forgotten by the media.

Western Australia Labor government dismisses water contamination risks in indigenous communities

By Margaret Rees, 20 April 2019

Labor has dismissed evidence of a potential correlation between poor water quality and elevated levels of kidney disease and type-2 diabetes.

Twenty years since the Columbine High School massacre

By David Walsh, 19 April 2019

The Colorado event, in which two high school seniors shot and killed 12 of their fellow students and one teacher before committing suicide, represented something qualitatively new and disturbing in American social life.

Christoph Vandreier kicks off US speaking tour with well-attended meeting at UC Berkeley

By Gabriel Black, 10 April 2019

Christoph Vandreier spoke to an audience of 70 university students and workers, in the first of six meetings on “The Threat Of Fascism And How To Fight It”

Flint, a play at the University of Michigan: Stuck, unfortunately, in the quagmire of racial politics

By Joanne Laurier, 10 April 2019

José Casas’ drama is a response to the horrendous Flint, Michigan water crisis, which began in April 2014. As a result, the city’s poisoned population has suffered disease, death and untold misery.

Purdue Pharma, maker of highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, settles with state of Oklahoma for $270 million

By Ben Mateus, 8 April 2019

The settlement is the first of roughly 2,000 lawsuits pending in federal and state courts against Purdue and other opioid manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical.

Rising number of Michigan and US households unable to afford basic necessities

By Debra Watson, 8 April 2019

Even under conditions of a low official unemployment rate, rising numbers of families are in distress. A new recession will throw even larger sections of the working class into dire poverty.

“An excessive amount of violence, sexual abuse, and prisoner deaths”

Federal report exposes horrific levels of abuse in Alabama prisons

By Niles Niemuth, 5 April 2019

A more than two-year investigation exposed appalling violations of constitutional protections for the approximately 25,000 men locked up in facilities operated by the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Australian Labor Party leader offers false hope of “fair go” in budget reply

By Mike Head, 5 April 2019

Acutely aware of seething working class discontent towards the entire political establishment, Shorten sought to promote illusions in making capitalism less brutal.

More layoffs point to worsening jobs crisis in Australia

By Terry Cook, 5 April 2019

Major companies across a range of sectors continue to shed jobs amid forecasts of a worsening global slowdown, particularly in China.

Three suicides in two weeks linked to US mass shootings

By Matthew MacEgan, 28 March 2019

Last week saw the tragic deaths of two students who survived the 2018 Parkland massacre, followed by the suicide of the parent of a girl who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting.

Sri Lankans driven to suicide by exorbitant debt repayments

By Saman Gunadasa, 28 March 2019

Most of those who committed suicide were from the war-ravaged Vavuniya and Jaffna districts in the island’s north and Batticalao in the east.

Massive Hudson Yards real estate project opens in Manhattan

By Fred Mazelis and Mark Witkowski, 25 March 2019

The development is the latest and most extreme expression of the gentrification and inequality that has reached unprecedented levels in the capital of American capitalism.

US studies: More misery brought to you by Big Pharma

Sharp rise in fentanyl overdose deaths, ADHD-drug-induced psychosis, prescription drug rationing due to cost

By Kate Randall, 22 March 2019

A week rarely passes without the publication of a major study documenting the misery unleashed on Americans by the US pharmaceutical industry and its rapacious drive for profits.

Australian property prices fall faster than during global financial crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 March 2019

Analysts have warned that a host of global factors could transform the downturn into a full-blown economic crash.

California university workers in one-day strike across the state

By Evelyn Rios, 20 March 2019

Thousands of low-paid workers will strike on Wednesday throughout the University of California’s 10-campus system, the largest public institution of higher learning in the world.

Millions of students and youth march against climate change

By Bryan Dyne, 16 March 2019

The internationally coordinated protests, the largest in sixteen years, were organized in response to the failure of world governments and the ruling class to do anything to halt global warming.

Youth at global climate protests speak out on capitalism, socialism and scientific planning

By our reporters, 16 March 2019

Reporting teams from the World Socialist Web Site interviewed students who protested in countries around the world for action on climate change.

Dreams for Change: A San Diego shelter for the vehicular homeless

By Marko Leone and Kevin Martinez, 16 March 2019

An increasing number of homeless families, students and workers are relying on nonprofits to find a safe space to sleep and live in their cars.

Workers and residents denounce GM Lordstown closure

By Tim Rivers, 15 March 2019

WSWS reporters traveled to the Mahoning Valley to interview GM workers and local residents in the aftermath of the shutdown of the General Motors Lordstown plant last week.

Free dental clinic draws hundreds in Nashville, Tennessee

By Warren Duzak and Keisha Gibbs, 14 March 2019

A joint effort of Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry and Remote Area Medical Corps provided more than $162,000 in services to more than 330 patients last Saturday.

The Youth Climate Strike and the fight against global warming

By Bryan Dyne, 14 March 2019

That the demonstration planned for Friday has evoked a broad response is an indication of both the serious nature of the ecological crisis and the radicalization of youth all over the world.

IYSSE holds rally at University of Michigan to defend Chelsea Manning

the International Youth and Students for Social Equality at University of Michigan, 14 March 2019

The rally at the University of Michigan advanced an international strategy to mobilize youth, students and the broadest layers of the working class against the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning.

The struggle to stem climate change is the political fight to end capitalism!

Join the International Youth and Students for Social Equality!

the IYSSE (Australia), 14 March 2019

The IYSSE will distribute the following statement tomorrow at high school student strikes demanding immediate action to resolve climate change and environmental destruction.

New poll shows American youth are increasingly supportive of socialism

By Trévon Austin, 13 March 2019

The leftward shift among youth is a direct consequence of the failure of the capitalist system, which offers only war, austerity, and social disaster.

Australian unions try to push through another sellout deal at BlueScope steel

By Martin Scott, 13 March 2019

Working hand-in-hand with BlueScope management, the Australian Workers Union claimed that the fate of the multi-billion dollar company depended on “sacrifices” being made by its employees.

Workers and young people speak out at Melbourne rally to free Assange and Manning

By our reporters, 12 March 2019

“If Julian doesn’t receive freedom, if Chelsea Manning is not released, then we are going down a slippery slope.”

“Deaths of despair” continue to soar

US deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide at all-time high

By Kate Randall, 8 March 2019

The devastating toll of 150,000 Americans dying from alcohol and drug-induced fatalities and suicides in 2017 is seen by the political establishment and pharmaceutical CEOs as the “cost of doing business.”

“The unions are trying to divide the students and teachers”

Oakland students oppose sellout of teachers strike, plan to continue fight to defend public education

By Genevieve Leigh and Kayla Costa, 7 March 2019

There is growing anger among students and teachers in Oakland, California over the shutdown of the seven-day Oakland teachers strike by the Oakland Education Association.

De Blasio accepts federal monitor to oversee New York City Housing Authority

By Josh Varlin, 7 March 2019

The Trump administration’s appointment of a monitor for the largest public housing system in the country presages further attacks on poorer sections of the working class in New York City.

The betrayal of the Oakland teacher strike and the way forward for students

the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, 7 March 2019

The OEA has declared the strike over, but students, teachers and parents are determined to continue and expand the fight to defend public education.

Families struggle in aftermath of deadly Alabama tornado

By Ed Hightower, 6 March 2019

The responses from both the County and the Red Cross media contacts revealed an emergency management system that lacks central planning, forethought, coordination and resources.

Severe winter weather delays plague train travel in America and Canada

By Jeff Lusanne, 5 March 2019

Passenger trains in the United States and Canada have suffered delays of up to 36 hours as winter weather combines with the cost-cutting private ownership of freight railroads.

Warnings of further housing plunge and job losses in Australia

By Mike Head, 4 March 2019

With a federal election due in May, the corporate elite is insisting that austerity measures must be imposed.

US Senate hearings on drug prices provide “friendly warning” to pharmaceuticals

By Brian Dixon, 2 March 2019

While some of the members of the committee occasionally posed as industry critics, the Senate hearing made it clear that no serious action will be taken to rein in high drug prices.

“I was treated like a caged animal”

Single mother and healthcare worker jailed for three days in Indiana over unpaid ambulance bill

By George Marlowe, 1 March 2019

Melissa Latronica, a single mother of three and a certified nursing assistant, was recently arrested and thrown into jail for an unpaid ambulance bill she never received.

Three children dead, four others injured in Imlay City, Michigan mobile home fire

By Niles Niemuth and Zac Corrigan, 27 February 2019

While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, the home’s furnace had not been working and the family had been using an alternate heating source to try to keep warm.

Flint water crisis claims its youngest Legionnaires’ victim to date

“Her failing health was due to the government failing her”

By Sheila Brehm, 27 February 2019

Jassmine McBride, only 30 years old, contracted the deadly lung disease at the height of the Flint water crisis in 2014.

New York University students angry over police “cleanup” of homeless on campus

By Owen Mullan and Sandy English, 23 February 2019

NYU students expressed outrage over an NYPD “cleanup” of the homeless in front of the university’s Silver Center building on February 6.

MIT refuses to cut ties to Saudi regime

By John Marion, 22 February 2019

The MIT president announced the university’s commitment to maintaining relationships with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the murder of the Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October.

9/11 Victim Compensation Fund makes deep cuts to benefits

By Sandy English, 20 February 2019

The announcement was made the same day that President Trump bragged in about the large amount of funding allocated to the Department of Homeland Security,

Father and four young daughters perish in Watertown, New York, house fire

By Steve Filips, 19 February 2019

The rental had no functional smoke alarms and was not registered by the landlord, averting an inspection to verify safety before it could be rented out.

CIA out of Northern Virginia Community College!

the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, 19 February 2019

The IYSSE demands that NVCC repudiate all ties to the CIA, including barring it and other agencies of the US military-intelligence apparatus from recruiting students.

Laid-off worker opens fire and kills at least five in Aurora, Illinois manufacturing plant

By George Marlowe, 16 February 2019

A recently laid-off worker at the Henry Pratt Company opened fire Friday, killing at least five people and injuring many others.

“Turning Point UK:” A far-right offensive on British campuses

By Thomas Scripps, 14 February 2019

A check of its leading personnel exposes TPUK as a top-down operation of the Tory right, with the substantial backing of Turning Point’s US-based parent organisation and its fascistic supporters.

New Zealand government expands police training in schools

By Tom Peters, 14 February 2019

The Police Studies course is being increased as part of the Labour-led government’s policy of boosting police recruitment, instilling discipline, and controlling the increasingly restive working class.

One year since the Parkland high school massacre: A political balance sheet

By Genevieve Leigh, 14 February 2019

One year has passed since the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 people and sparked nationwide protests by students and youth against gun violence.

Steve McDowell, campaigner for Australian paramedic rights, speaks with WSWS

By Cheryl Crisp and John Mackay, 12 February 2019

“The thing is, if NSWA treated their staff the way their staff treat the public, there would be no issue.”—Steve McDowell

Oakland students walk out as school board prepares major cuts

By Jonathan Burleigh, 11 February 2019

Thousands of Oakland students voiced their support for teachers and hostility to planned budget cuts and school closures.

Another flammable cladding fire in Australia highlights government failure

By Paul Bartizan, 6 February 2019

The fire at central Melbourne’s NEO200 high-rise apartment was caused by the same flammable panels used on London’s Grenfell Tower.

Over a thousand federal inmates in New York City jail held for more than a week in dark, frigid conditions

By Philip Guelpa, 4 February 2019

Over 1,600 inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn have been without heat and hot water, and with limited electricity and communications since a fire last Sunday.

More US drug price hikes in 2019

By Alex Johnson, 4 February 2019

According to Reuters, drug manufacturers raised the prices of more than 250 prescription drugs, including the world’s top-selling medicine, Humira.

Extreme cold spell wreaks havoc across United States

By Niles Niemuth, 1 February 2019

The official death toll from the cold weather rose to 12, as critical electrical and natural gas infrastructure was pushed past its breaking point by record low temperatures.

Students and youth must join the fight to oppose GM job cuts!

International Youth and Students for Social Equality US, 31 January 2019

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) calls on young people to support autoworkers in their fight against General Motors’ plans to close five plants in the US and Canada.

Australia: Opal Tower builder stops paying hotel fees for some evacuated residents

By John Wilson, 30 January 2019

Engineers for the body corporate have still not signed off on the safety of the apartment block, which was evacuated last month.

Indiana school superintendent arrested, charged with fraud for using insurance to help sick student

By Matthew Taylor, 29 January 2019

The arrest of Casey Smitherman has illuminated the wretched living conditions the working class confronts in Indiana and across the US.

Australia: Port Kembla Coal Terminal locks out workers

By John Harris, 25 January 2019

The union created the conditions for the company attack and has isolated the workers since they were locked-out on Saturday morning.

As global elites gather at Davos

Oxfam: 26 billionaires control as much wealth as poorest half of humanity

By Nick Beams, 22 January 2019

The UK-based charity Oxfam International has reported that the wealth of the world’s billionaires grew by $900 billion last year, a rise of 12 percent, while 3.8 billion people—half the world’s population—saw their wealth decline by 11 percent.

US drug company payments to doctors linked to opioid overdose deaths

By Brian Dixon, 22 January 2019

A study published last week in JAMA Network Open found that counties where doctors received payments from drug companies later experienced higher rates of overdose deaths from opioids.

Native American organizations denounce government shutdown as an abrogation of treaties

By Shelley Connor, 18 January 2019

Now in its fourth week, the partial government shutdown has had wide-ranging and devastating effects upon Native Americans.

Signs of slump in Australia overshadow looming election

By Mike Head, 18 January 2019

Regardless of all the promises, a sharp downturn will drive another wave of austerity measures and job-shedding once an election is out of the way.

New York City public housing residents in the South Bronx without heat for a decade

By Katy Kinner, 14 January 2019

During the winter months, New York City’s social misery is on full display as public housing residents live without reliable heat or hot water.

Evacuated Opal Tower residents in Australia express anger and dismay

By our reporters, 8 January 2019

Residents of Opal Tower in Sydney have been living in temporary accommodation since the discovery of large broken concrete panels in the building.

Opal Tower structural flaws expose rot in Australian construction industry

By John Wilson, 7 January 2019

Residents have been told they must wait at least another week before they can reoccupy the building because the specific cause of the cracking has yet to be identified.

Report: 452 child workers died in the US from 2003 to 2016

By Jessica Goldstein, 5 January 2019

The number of children working and killed at work in the US reveals the stark reality that in one of the most advanced capitalist economies in the world, child labor is not eradicated.

Federal government threatens takeover of NYC Housing Authority

By Philip Guelpa, 4 January 2019

There is no “excess capacity” in the available housing inventory that could absorb tens of thousands of additional low-income people looking for a place to live due to the loss of NYCHA housing.

Australia: Structural faults in 36-storey building cause mass evacuation

By our reporters, 3 January 2019

Self-regulation and self-certification have been introduced in every area of the construction industry over the past 25 years, to speed up approval processes and maximise profits.

Opioid overdose deaths triple among US teens and young children

By Kate Randall, 31 December 2018

The depth of the opioid crisis facing young people points to the woefully inadequate response of the government to this social catastrophe as it spirals out of control.

“That place is a death trap”

Faurecia workers respond to exposure of conditions at US auto parts plant

By our reporters, 31 December 2018

Workers describe being treated like slaves and compare their factories to plantations.

South Australian university partners with US defense contractor Lockheed Martin

By Eric Ludlow, 31 December 2018

The decision by the University of Adelaide, behind the backs of students and staff, marks the further integration of Australian universities into the US-led war drive against China and Russia.

Thousands face loss of mental health coverage in the US

By Matthew Taylor, 29 December 2018

Congress has eliminated the Medicaid-sponsored program in line with the larger push by the ruling class to dismantle social programs.

“I decided that something was wrong with the world and not me”

College loan debt and the life of an adjunct professor

By Nancy Hanover, 27 December 2018

An adjunct community college professor speaks to the WSWS about the impossible situation faced by so many college instructors.

NSW Ambulance makes stunning reversal of allegation against Australian paramedic Tony Jenkins

By Cheryl Crisp, 27 December 2018

Scrutiny of the “Root Cause Analysis” forces reversal of allegation against veteran NSW paramedic.

Trump administration tightens work requirements for food stamps

By Trévon Austin, 22 December 2018

An estimated 755,000 individuals aged between 18 and 49 will lose food stamp benefits over the next three years if the US Department of Agriculture rule is implemented.

“We had two people die on the line this year”

Faurecia auto parts worker in Saline, Michigan describes appalling work regime

By David Rodriguez, 21 December 2018

A review of the Saline plant’s 52 years of operation provides insight into changes in automobile production and the corresponding decline in living standards and working conditions.

Columbia College faculty union convenes secret tribunal to discipline members

By Alexander Fangmann, 20 December 2018

The leadership of the Columbia College Chicago’s part-time faculty union has convened a special committee to discipline members who question the union’s authority.