Americas

Editor’s note: At the eleventh hour, after 20 hours of talks lasting late into the night, President Biden and numerous officials in his administration convinced union leaders to accept a tentative agreement, averting an imminent national railroad strike. However, the terms of the “Presidential Emergency Board” constitute an effective wage cut over the next five years when factoring in inflation, as detailed in the article below. The ranks of the dozen railroad unions representing 115,000 workers must now vote to ratify the deal. At least one of these unions, the International Association of Machinists, has already voted to reject the terms of the Presidential Emergency Board agreement,

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We are approaching the eighth anniversary of that tragic night in Iguala, where students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teaching Training School, in Oaxaca, Mexico, were attacked by the armed forces of the state and organised crime. Six people were killed (three of them students), one student was left in a coma, and 43 went missing.

Biden’s presidency has been a disaster, a reflection of the crisis-ridden system he represents. His approval rating currently stands at a mere 41%—up ever so slightly from a record low of 38%. Congress, which is controlled by Biden’s party, has a 17% approval rate. Another poll says 74% of the country believe it is on the wrong track. These are not good numbers for the November 2022 midterms elections if the Democrats want to retain control—even as they cynically attempt to harness anger over Roe v. Wade to gain votes. All of this is very concerning

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On Thursday 25 August, Old San Juan was engulfed in tear gas as units of Puerto Rican riot police once again brutally suppressed a protest opposite the Governor’s Palace. The protest’s main demand was the cancellation of the contract privatising the transmission and distribution of power. This week, the population’s anger against the privatised company, LUMA, came to a head following a series of events which have demonstrated the incompetence of the subsidiary of the multinational Quanta Services and ATCO in effectively managing the electrical infrastructure.

Tiff Macklem, the governor of the Bank of Canada, recently told businesses that it was their duty to attack the living standards of workers for the sake of inflation. Despite the fact the corporations are making record profits, and there is absolutely zero evidence linking wages to inflation, Canada’s top banker insisted that workers must be forced to suffer. There can be no better evidence that capitalism is an anti-worker system and that workers must fight for its overthrow.

This June, Apple retail workers in Baltimore made history by winning the vote for union representation at the first of 270 Apple stores across the US. This represents the first shots in the battle to unionize the company with the highest market cap valuation in the world, reaching an eye-watering $3 trillion at the start of this year. The battle for Apple joins the rising wave of organizing drives at Starbucks, the recent unionization developments at Activision Blizzard, and the historic union vote at Amazon.

On 29 July, attempts made to recover 31 tonnes of gold worth over $1bn from a foreign central bank (that is supposed to mind the gold for safekeeping) by a democratically elected leader were repudiated by a foreign court. The sovereignty of a country’s highest judicial institution has been swept to one side by another country's ruling.

On 27 June, 53 immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras died of heat stroke in the back of a tractor trailer in Texas, 150 miles north of the US-Mexico border. Another nine people in the truck, including children, remain hospitalised. These 62 people, who left home looking for a better life, spent hours and were eventually abandoned in an unairconditioned metal box in over 100F heat with no water.

On July 2 and 3, 2022 over 100 people gathered in Edmonton for the third annual Western Canadian Marxist Summer School. This was the first large in-person gathering of Marxists in Western Canada since 2019, and the biggest in living memory. People from all over the country, from Montreal to Victoria and even the Yukon attended. The success of the school shows that workers and youth in Western Canada want to fight against capitalism, and they’re looking for ideas and an organization that can help them win.

The great national strike called by CONAIE and other peasant-indigenous organisations in Ecuador ended on 30 June, after 18 days of struggle, with the signing of an agreement containing important concessions from the government. It is necessary to analyse this extraordinary movement, which faced brutal police repression, and draw the necessary lessons to continue moving forward.

As the war in Ukraine drags on, with the US and British imperialists prolonging the conflict for their own narrow interests, weapons manufacturers are making a killing in extra profits. To end the horrors of war, we must fight to end capitalism.

Ecuador is entering the third week of the national strike called by the (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) CONAIE on the basis of 10 demands to deal with the cost of living crisis. A crucial point is being reached for the future of the movement. The question of who rules society has been raised, but not resolved. The impasse can cause fatigue and demobilisation. The police violently suppress the mobilisations, even with the use of lethal weapons, which are defended by young people on the front line. Since the national strike began, there have already been five deaths, eight disappearances and at least 127 detentions.