The year was 1934. It was a cold February in
, as many Februaries in Minnesota are cold. The temperature had
dropped below zero, and people were scrambling for coal to heat their homes and
businesses. But no coal was to be had. Teamsters Local 574, along with other
workers in the Minnesota coal yards, had gone on strike.
Sixty-five out of 67 coal yards were closed within three hours of the strike,
and no coal was being moved anywhere in the city. After three days, the bosses
agreed to negotiate, and after a vote on collective bargaining in mid-February,
the union won the right to recognition along with small wage increases for most
Sunday, March 2, 2014
In the coming months, President Obama will decide whether to approve the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude tar-sands oil from
to the Alberta Gulf of Mexico. We know that the pipeline would
greatly aggravate climate change, allowing massive amounts of the world’s
dirtiest oil to be extracted and later burned.
The payoff, say supporters such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is a job boom in construction industries, which are currently suffering from high unemployment. Earlier this month, Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue called on the president “to put American jobs before special interest politics.”
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Scarlett Johansson is the new face of apartheid. Her very public decision to quit Oxfam and continue her role as Sodastream’s “global brand ambassador” is appallingly racist. Here’s why.
Sodastream operates a factory in the Mishor Adumim Industrial Zone, which is located on stolen Palestinian land in the occupied
West Bank. The company not only profits from
the stolen land but also exploits Palestinian labor.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Here are the top ten examples of corporate welfare and welfare for the rich. There are actually thousands of tax breaks and subsidies for the rich and corporations provided by federal, state and local governments but these ten will give a taste.
One. State and Local Subsidies to Corporations. An excellent New York Times study by Louise Story calculated that state and local government provide at least $80 billion in subsidies to corporations. Over 48 big corporations received over $100 million each. GM was the biggest at a total of $1.7 billion extracted from 16 different states but Shell, Ford and Chrysler all received over a billion dollars each. Amazon, Microsoft, Prudential, Boeing and casino companies in
and Colorado received well over $200 million
each. New Jersey
Sunday, February 2, 2014
The Asst. US Attorney asked me, “You write an online column, don’t you?” I thought, “I’m so sure you read Counterpunch.” But instead answered, “Yes, I do.” “And you called this a ‘kangaroo court’ didn’t you”? I gladly said, “Yes.”
“Do you still hold that opinion?” the prosecutor asked. Again, I readily said, “Yes.” It was a surreal moment. I found myself not just reporting on my friends Greg Boertje-Obed, of
Saturday, February 1, 2014
The following presentation was given by Christine Marie, representing Socialist Action at a Nov. 10 panel discussion called Feminist Rebellion Today.
I want to focus my remarks on two aspects of the issue of violence and the way that it relates to the whole fight for an end to gender oppression. First, I want to talk about the context in which sexual violence is on the rise, here and globally. Secondly, I want to address the elephant in the room: what is the root cause of gender oppression and what does that mean about the fight to end it once and for all.
If your inner anti-capitalist has ever suspected that major financial institutions are home to a bunch of coked up wankers, Martin Scorsese has proved you right in his new film The Wolf of Wall Street writes Liam Mac Uaid. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Jordan Belfort is advised on his first day on in the office that the secret of professional success and longevity is a daily cocktail of masturbation and cocaine. However, what Scorsese does not do is to offer a subtly excoriating critique of contemporary capitalism. That’s his style. No one who has watched Goodfellas comes away thinking that Scorsese wants us to disapprove of the Mafia. He is at his best when he is showing a closed society observing its own rules. Whatever moral judgement is made about the characters is left to the viewer while the director shows them squarely on their own terms. You may feel that
is an amoral, drug addled,
misogynistic, anti-social, thieving, wife beater but the director lets him
provide the narrative to his own life and career. There are only a
couple of scenes in which the impact of financial speculation on the rest of
the population is hinted at. Belfort ’s first wife has some qualms about
him taking the life savings of postal workers and cab drivers. His sincere response
is that he knows how to spend it better than they do. Then, right at the end of
the film, his nemesis is sitting on a tube train surveying the travellers who
inhabit a parallel universe to Wall Street. Belfort
Every election sees lots of politically conscious people hitting the pavement to campaign for their candidates. Voter registration drives, leafleting and yard sign distribution have become the order of the day for many activists. We in Socialist Action certainly commend people who take politics seriously and who are committed to fighting for what they believe in. And we believe that elections can a play a positive, albeit limited, role in the struggle for change. However, when asked who we will be supporting in the upcoming elections, our answer often surprises many.
As a matter of principle we never support candidates of the main capitalist parties - the Democrats and Republicans. We also decline to support the candidates of the various liberal 3rd parties, like the Greens or the Justice Party. Instead we support what is called working class political independence. This holds that working people should only support Socialist or Labor parties and candidates. And when there isn't a Socialist or Labor candidate on the ballot, we either abstain from voting or spoil our ballot.
Nationally, Socialist Action was founded in 1983, but we trace our history back through the Socialist Workers Party (1938-1983), the Workers Party & Communist League of America (1928-1937), the Communist Party (1919-1928), the Socialist Party of Eugene Debs (1901 - 1919), all the way back to the founding of the American socialist movement in the 1800s.
Socialist Action is involved in a variety of local campaigns. Our prefered method of organizing is to take an issue and build a broad coalition around it. This way activists, regardless of whether or not they are socialists yet, are able to come together and have a much bigger impact than they would otherwise.
The Northern Worker is a blog, a weekly ezine and a facebook page that seeks to cover the class struggle in the Northland and beyond. We strive to cover and promote the anti-war, labor, anti-racist, feminist, environmental, queer, student and other social movements. We believe that through such movements working people develop the experience and confidence necessary to become the revolutionaries who will change the world. We seek to be a resource for local activists. Let us know if you have an event or campaign you'd like the Northern Worker to plug.
Socialist Action proposes an EMERGENCY CONGRESS OF LABOR and other social movements to discuss and take steps to implement the following demands:
1. Bail out the people, not the bankers! Open the account books of the banks to full public inspection. Nationalize the banks and have them be run by workers' committees.