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Defend the US oil workers!

One month into the US oil refinery strike, the oil companies are throwing down the gauntlet before the working class. This is the significance of the announcement Tuesday that global oil giant Royal Dutch Shell will train strikebreakers to resume full production at its plants in Texas and Louisiana.

A letter from Aamir Farid, Shell’s vice president of manufacturing, Americas, said the company was shifting from its “contingency plan” to its “business continuity” phase, and training “relief workers” to replace the 800 striking workers at its largest refinery, located in the Houston suburb of Deer Park, Texas. Noting that Shell had “contingency plans in place for all [United Steelworkers] represented sites for well over 12 months,” Farid said the refinery would be up to “full rotation” by midsummer.

In plain English: If workers do not agree to accept the dictates of the oil companies, they face the loss of their jobs and destruction of their livelihoods.

Murder in Moscow: Why was Boris Nemtsov assassinated?

The assassination of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov is a significant political event that arises out of the US-Russia confrontation and the intense struggle that is now underway within the highest levels of the Russian state. The Obama administration and the CIA are playing a major role in the escalation of this conflict, with the aim of producing an outcome that serves the global geo-political and financial interests of US imperialism.

The relations between the United States and Russia are approaching a point of breakdown, with potentially catastrophic consequences. The Obama administration has concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin must be removed from power, based on the Kremlin’s refusal to accept, as a fait accompli, the overthrow last year of the democratically elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, and its opposition to the complete economic and military integration of Ukraine into the US sphere of influence.

The capitulation of Syriza and the lessons for the working class

The petty-bourgeoisie is “capable, as we shall see, of nothing but ruining any movement that entrusts itself to its hands.”— Friedrich Engels (1852).


It has taken less than one month for the Syriza government in Greece, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, to repudiate its anti-austerity election program and betray, totally and utterly, the impoverished working people whose votes placed it in power.

Even in the entire squalid history of “left” petty-bourgeois politics, it is difficult to find an example of deceit, cynicism and truly disgusting cowardice that quite matches that of Prime Minister Tsipras. Certainly, from the standpoint of the time that elapsed between election and betrayal, the Syriza government has probably set a new world record.

In the hours following an agreement that is nothing less than a complete capitulation to the European Union, Tsipras let loose another barrage of demagogic lies in a pathetic attempt to deny the magnitude of Syriza’s prostration and to cover up his own political bankruptcy.

The state of American society as 2015 begins

As the New Year begins, the social crisis gripping tens of millions of working people in the United States is worsening. Hunger, poverty and long-term joblessness remain at the highest levels in decades, while vital social services continue to be slashed.

One would never know this from reading the press, watching the evening news, or listening to the statements of politicians. The official discourse is dominated by the supposed revival of the American economy, characterized by record corporate profits and stock prices. The fact that the great majority of the population finds it increasingly difficult to make ends meet finds no reflection in the media or official politics.

The incoming Republican-dominated Congress, working with the Obama administration, will focus on cutting corporate taxes and business regulations, planning new wars, and expanding the repressive apparatus of the state. No representative of the political establishment, including the supposedly outspoken liberal Elizabeth Warren and the “independent socialist” Bernie Sanders, is proposing any significant measures to address the deepening social crisis.


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