US History

Perspectives for the coming revolution in America: Race, class and the fight for socialism

By Joseph Kishore, 2 December 2019

This is an edited version of a report delivered by Socialist Equality Party National Secretary Joseph Kishore to meetings in Michigan and California on the New York Times’ “1619 Project.”

“When the Declaration says that all men are created equal, that is no myth”

An interview with historian Gordon Wood on the New York Times’ 1619 Project

By Tom Mackaman, 28 November 2019

Gordon Wood is professor emeritus at Brown University and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Radicalism of the American Revolution, as well as Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815.

IYSSE holds meeting on “Race, Class, and the fight for Socialism” at New York University

By Owen Mullan and Sandy English, 21 November 2019

The meeting was addressed by socialist scholar Tom Mackaman who responded to the historical falsifications put forward by the New York Times’ 1619 Project.

The Unwanted: 80 years since the tragic odyssey of the MS St. Louis

By Verena Nees, 21 November 2019

The German television drama The Unwanted: The Odyssey of the St. Louis recounts the story of the ship with more than 900 Jewish refugees on board fleeing Nazi Germany, prevented from landing by the Cuban, American and Canadian governments.

Federal court strips citizenship from US-born woman held in Syrian detention camp

By Tom Carter, 18 November 2019

Handing a victory to the far-right campaign to undermine the Fourteenth Amendment, a federal judge found that Hoda Muthana is not a citizen despite the fact that the State Department twice issued a passport listing her nationality as “United States of America.”

An interview with historian James Oakes on the New York Times’ 1619 Project

By Tom Mackaman, 18 November 2019

The World Socialist Web Site recently spoke to James Oakes, Distinguished Professor of History and Graduate School Humanities Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, on the New York Times’ 1619 Project.

This week in history: November 18-24

18 November 2019

25 years ago: Hurricane Gordon dissipates after two weeks of destruction On November 21, 1994, Hurricane Gordon dissipated over South Carolina after nearly two weeks of destruction throughout the Atlantic and Caribbean. The hurricane hit parts of Central America, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, the Turks and Caicos islands, the Bahamas, and the southeastern US coast for nearly two weeks.

“Opposition to slavery has also been an important theme in American history”

An interview with historian James McPherson on the New York Times’ 1619 Project

By Tom Mackaman, 14 November 2019

The World Socialist Web Site recently spoke to McPherson, professor emeritus of history at Princeton University, on the New York Times’ 1619 Project.

The “Irrepressible Conflict:” Slavery, the Civil War and America’s Second Revolution

By Eric London, 9 November 2019

The following is the second in a series of three lectures delivered in response to the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which presents a falsified, racialist interpretation of American history.

The New York Times’ obsession with race expands to its food commentary

By Trévon Austin, 9 November 2019

A recent commentary suggests fast food chain Popeyes “struck a special chord” with black people because its fried chicken sandwich “tastes like something that could have come from a black home kitchen.”

Slavery and the American Revolution: A Response to the New York Times 1619 Project

By Tom Mackaman, 1 November 2019

This is the text of the lecture delivered by Tom Mackaman at the University of Michigan on October 22, 2019 as part of a series on the New York Times' "Project 1619."

An interview with the author of The Free State of Jones

Historian Victoria Bynum on the inaccuracies of the New York Times 1619 Project

By Eric London, 30 October 2019

Bynum is an expert on the attitude of Southern white yeomen farmers and the poor toward slavery.

230 Interview with Victoria Bynum

28 October 2019

This week in history: October 28-November 3

28 October 2019

25 years ago: Susan Smith confesses to killing her childrenOn November 3, 1994, Susan Smith confessed to murdering her three-year-old and one-year-old sons, Michael and Alexander, in South Carolina. Smith, who was white, had previously told police that she was carjacked at a red light by an armed black man who drove away in the vehicle with her children. Her impassioned pleas were broadcast across national media outlets for nine days during an extensive search operation until she admitted to fabricating the story and driving her children into a lake, where their bodies were found drowned in her vehicle.

From the archive of the World Socialist Web Site

Eighty-two years since the victory of the Flint sit-down strike

By Jerry White, 1 October 2019

With 48,000 GM workers engaged in the longest nationwide auto strike in nearly a half century, it is valuable to study the heroic struggle by GM workers during the 1936-37 sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan.

One hundred years since the Great Steel Strike

By Tom Mackaman, 25 September 2019

The Great Steel Strike of 1919 and its defeat hold crucial strategic lessons for workers as they enter into struggle.

From the archive of the World Socialist Web Site

Walter Reuther and the rise and fall of the UAW

By Tom Mackaman, 24 September 2019

Walter Reuther’s biography has much to teach workers about the transformation of the trade unions into reactionary adjuncts of the corporations and the government.

This week in history: September 16-22

16 September 2019

25 years ago: Clinton orders US invasion of HaitiOn September 19, 1994, the Clinton administration launched “Operation Uphold Democracy” in Haiti, sending troops to occupy the Caribbean island under the guise of fighting against dictatorship in an effort to restore ousted Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the presidency. The intervention marked the fifth time in less than a decade that US troops were ordered to invade another country in its bid to reassert global hegemony.

“1619” and the myth of white unity under slavery

Book review: Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South by Keri Leigh Merritt

By Eric London, 9 September 2019

Merritt’s research refutes the New York Times’ Project 1619 claim that poor whites benefited from slavery.

210 Review of Masterless Men

7 September 2019

The New York Times’s 1619 Project: A racialist falsification of American and world history

By Niles Niemuth, Tom Mackaman and David North, 6 September 2019

The 1619 Project, launched by the New York Times, presents racism and racial conflict as the essential feature and driving force of American history.

The New York Times’ 1619 Project: A racialist falsification of American and world history

By Niles Niemuth, Tom Mackaman and David North, 3 September 2019

PART ONE | PART TWO | COMBINED
The 1619 Project, launched by the New York Times, presents racism and racial conflict as the essential feature and driving force of American history.

Fifty years since the first Moon landing

By Patrick Martin, 20 July 2019

The first Moon landing remains an epoch-making scientific, technical and organizational achievement.

Fourth of July 2019: Militarism and the specter of dictatorship

By Patrick Martin, 4 July 2019

The official celebration of the Fourth of July holiday in Washington today will be marked by an unprecedented presence of the military.

American Independence Day 2019: From the “asylum for mankind” to the land of concentration camps

By Tom Mackaman, 4 July 2019

The principles of 1776 of open immigration and birthright citizenship are under attack.

San Francisco School Board votes to destroy left-wing murals they claim are “racist” and “white supremacist”

By Toby Reese, 28 June 2019

On Tuesday evening, the San Francisco Unified School Board voted unanimously to destroy or cover over the historic 1936 “Life of George Washington Murals” at a district high school. The vote is a reactionary decision that marks a new stage in the censorship drive that began last December.

”We can’t erase history to suit people’s feelings”

San Francisco residents voice opposition to censorship of George Washington High School murals

By Evan Blake and Alex Gonzalez, 28 June 2019

Numerous residents spoke out against the destruction of art and the need to contextualize the murals for a younger audience.

The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation, by Brenda Wineapple

The failed removal of Andrew Johnson and the emergence of the American working class

By Eric London, 26 June 2019

Brenda Wineapple’s The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation is a factual and easy-to-read account of one of the most overlooked and poorly understood turning points in American history.

Why are reparations for slavery being made an issue in the 2020 US elections?

By Niles Niemuth, 21 June 2019

At a time when social inequality is motivating a growing movement of workers and youth, race is being brought forward to divert opposition to capitalism and attempt to block growing interest in socialism.

Removal of white educator from African American history class in Michigan sparks widespread outrage

By Phyllis Steele and Nancy Hanover, 9 May 2019

The removal of the high school teacher from an advanced placement course in a Detroit suburb occurred after a group of parents objected to a nationally-developed, comprehensive curriculum for the class.

New York Times column falsifies legacy of Eugene Debs

By Tom Mackaman, 30 April 2019

Isserman portrays the early American socialist as a moralistic reformer.

100 years since the Seattle General Strike—Part 2

By Kayla Costa, 12 February 2019

One hundred years ago, over 60,000 workers brought the city of Seattle to a standstill in a strike that holds important strategic lessons for today’s struggles.

One hundred years since the Seattle General Strike

By Kayla Costa, 11 February 2019

One hundred years ago, over 60,000 workers brought the city of Seattle to a standstill in a strike that holds important strategic lessons for today’s struggles.

Eighty-two years since the victory of the Flint sit-down strike

By Jerry White, 11 February 2019

With General Motors threatening to shut five factories in the US and Canada, it is valuable for autoworkers to study the heroic 1936-37 sit down strike against GM’s operations in Flint, Michigan.

The bicentenary of Frederick Douglass

A leading figure of the anti-slavery struggle

By Fred Mazelis, 20 December 2018

The foremost black Abolitionist escaped slavery as a young man and went on to advise Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War.

The state funeral for George H. W. Bush and the ritual of oligarchy

By Patrick Martin, 6 December 2018

The passing of the 41st US president has evoked not the slightest sadness in the American population, despite the massive effort to present George H. W. Bush as a sympathetic and historic figure.

The Holocaust and the Bush family fortune

By Bill Van Auken, 5 December 2018

We are reposting here a commentary published by the WSWS in June 2003 following then-President George W. Bush’s tour of the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

Ten years after Lehman: New financial crises in the making

By Nick Beams, 17 September 2018

Commentaries on the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse voice fears of another meltdown.

Bisbee ’17: The deportation of Arizona copper miners is a “still-polarizing event”

By Joanne Laurier, 10 September 2018

In July 1917, 1,200 striking copper miners in Bisbee, Arizona were illegally kidnapped, loaded in cattle cars and dumped in the southwest New Mexico desert. This episode is the subject of Bisbee ’17.

Hostiles: A US soldier accompanies a Native American chief home in 1892 …

… and homelessness in Seattle in The Road to Nickelsville

By Joanne Laurier, 30 August 2018

Scott Cooper’s Hostiles opens in 1892 in Fort Berringer, New Mexico, as the mass destruction of the Native Americans population is winding down.

An “Exemplary Comrade”: The Socialist Workers Party’s 40-year-long cover-up of Stalinist spy Sylvia Callen: Part four

By Eric London, 17 August 2018

This is the final part in a four-part series examining the cover-up by the Socialist Workers Party, beginning in 1947, of information exposing the role of Sylvia Callen, the personal secretary of long-time party leader James P. Cannon, as a Stalinist agent.

An “Exemplary Comrade”: The Socialist Workers Party’s 40-year-long cover-up of Stalinist spy Sylvia Callen: Part three

By Eric London, 16 August 2018

This is the third part in a four-part series examining the cover-up by the Socialist Workers Party beginning in 1947 of information exposing the role of Sylvia Callen, the personal secretary of long-time party leader James P. Cannon, as a Stalinist agent.

An “Exemplary Comrade”: The Socialist Workers Party’s 40-year-long cover-up of Stalinist spy Sylvia Callen: Part two

By Eric London, 15 August 2018

This is the second part in a four-part series examining the cover-up by the Socialist Workers Party, beginning in 1947, of information exposing the role of Sylvia Callen, the personal secretary of long-time party leader James P. Cannon, as a Stalinist agent.

America on the Fourth of July: From Thomas Jefferson to Donald Trump

By Patrick Martin, 4 July 2018

The most fundamental right asserted by the Declaration of Independence is the right of the people to revolt against tyranny and despotism, a right that this generation will be called on to exercise.

Fifty years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

By Fred Mazelis, 4 April 2018

The life of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as his premature death, raise questions that have lost none of their urgency in the past five decades.

Fifty years since the Kerner Commission report

The urban riots of the 1960s and the remaking of American racial ideology

By Tom Mackaman, 5 March 2018

While documenting devastating conditions in America’s cities, the report drew the false conclusion that race, not class, is the basic division in American society.

American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs—A fatally flawed documentary

By Fred Mazelis, 5 March 2018

The movie, directed by Yale Strom, seeks to turn Debs’ revolutionary message into its opposite.

Daniel Golden’s Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI, and foreign intelligence secretly exploit America’s universities

By Clara Weiss, 28 February 2018

The new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Daniel Golden is an important contribution toward understanding the military-intelligence-university complex in the United States.

PBS’s The Gilded Age: Removing the working class from the stage of history

By Tom Mackaman, 15 February 2018

PBS aired the documentary as part of its American Experience series on February 6.

A conversation with film historian Max Alvarez: How the #MeToo campaign echoes the McCarthyite witch hunt of the 1940s and 1950s

“The climate is chillingly similar in terms of the massive capitulation and conformity”

By David Walsh, 8 February 2018

It is “Scoundrel Time” again in Hollywood, complete with denunciations, anonymous informants, humiliating “confessions,” trial by media and the banning of prominent performers.

Marshall and #MeToo: A 77-year-old civil rights fight exposes the reactionary character of the sexual misconduct witch-hunt

By Fred Mazelis, 1 February 2018

The 1941 case, in which a black man was acquitted of rape charges, poses awkward questions for those who dismiss due process in their campaign against sexual harassment, both real and alleged.

Fifty years since the Tet Offensive

By Patrick Martin, 31 January 2018

The military assault marked a turning point in the Vietnam War, demonstrating the enduring power of the popular revolutionary struggle and crippling the Johnson administration.

Ron Chernow’s Grant: An able and compelling new biography

By Andre Damon, 15 December 2017

Chernow capably weaves together an account of the life of the Civil War general, president and memoirist.

230 Grant

12 December 2017

White House chief of staff blames Civil War on failure to “compromise”

By Tom Mackaman, 2 November 2017

Retired Marine General John Kelly’s comments resuscitate a reactionary interpretation that denies the Civil War’s historical necessity.

“I have no choice”: Trump bows to CIA pressure to withhold documents related to Kennedy assassination

By Eric London, 27 October 2017

The last-minute decision follows an intense campaign within the intelligence agencies to block release of information on “national security” grounds.

Thomas Mackaman’s New Immigrants and the Radicalization of American Labor, 1914-1924

Immigration and socialist strategy in America, past and present

By Eric London, 24 October 2017

Thomas Mackaman’s New Immigrants and the Radicalization of American Labor, 1914-1924 is an essential contribution not only to labor history, but also toward the development of a strategy of social revolution today.

Exhibition at American Jewish Historical Society in New York

“1917—How One Year Changed the World”

By Fred Mazelis, 20 October 2017

The displays consider the Russian Revolution, US entry into World War I and the Balfour Declaration’s support for a Zionist homeland in Palestine.

Thirty years since Wall Street’s “Black Monday”

By Nick Beams, 19 October 2017

Thirty years ago today, on October 19, 1987, the New York Stock Exchange experienced what remains its largest one-day fall in history.

200 Historical issues related to Charlottesville

19 August 2017

Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit: Mind-numbing violence and racial politics

By Joanne Laurier, 28 July 2017

Bigelow’s film is a fictionalized account of an incident that occurred during the July 1967 rebellion in Detroit, the cold-blooded murder of three young black men by police at the Algiers Motel.

Fifty years since the Detroit rebellion

Part three: Liberal promises and capitalist reality in “New Detroit”

By Barry Grey, 24 July 2017

The WSWS is posting a three-part series originally published in July of 1987 under the title “Twenty years since the Detroit rebellion.” This is the third and final part. Part one was published on July 21, part two on July 22.

Fifty years since the Detroit rebellion

Part two: The explosion

By Barry Grey, 22 July 2017

The WSWS is posting a three-part series originally published in July of 1987 under the title “Twenty years since the Detroit rebellion.” This is the second part. Part one was published on July 21.

Fifty years since the Detroit rebellion

Part one: An uprising of the oppressed

By Barry Grey, 21 July 2017

The WSWS is posting a three-part series originally published in July of 1987 under the title “Twenty years since the Detroit rebellion.”

The political issues behind the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans

By Tom Hall, 20 May 2017

The decision by Mayor Mitch Landrieu to remove the statues is a tactical move aimed at bolstering the tattered reputation of the Democratic Party.

Trump on Jackson and the Civil War: Historical ignorance and the decline of the American presidency

By Tom Mackaman, 4 May 2017

In recent comments, the president said the Civil War was an avoidable mistake and that Andrew Jackson was angered by it—though Jackson had been dead for 16 years at the war’s outbreak.

Trump turns to American history

The strange political afterlife of Andrew Jackson

By Tom Mackaman, 21 March 2017

The political art of Jackson, which so inspires the Trump administration, consisted of his ability to obscure powerful contradictions behind a veil of nationalism and populist demagogy.

220 Andrew Jackson and Trump

20 March 2017

Trump’s anti-immigrant orders and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

By Tom Mackaman, 14 March 2017

There are many parallels—and even a direct connection—between the notorious Fugitive Slave Act and Trump’s executive orders attacking immigrants.

Eighty years since the victory of the Flint sit-down strike—Part two

By Jerry White, 16 February 2017

This is the conclusion of a two-part series on the 44-day battle by US autoworkers in 1936-37 that forced General Motors, the world’s largest industrial enterprise, to recognize the recently founded United Auto Workers union.

Eighty years since the victory of the Flint sit-down strike—Part one

By Jerry White, 15 February 2017

The 44-day battle by autoworkers lasted from December 29, 1936 to February 11, 1937. It forced General Motors, then the largest industrial enterprise on the planet, to recognize the recently founded United Auto Workers.

Book review

Lessons from the 1937 Little Steel strike in the US

The Last Great Strike: Little Steel, the CIO, and the Struggle for Labor Rights in New Deal America, by Ahmed White

By Tom Mackaman, 23 January 2017

If the Little Steel Strike has been ignored by historians, it is perhaps because it does not fit the standard narrative of American labor history.

Trotsky in New York, 1917: A Radical on the Eve of Revolution, by Kenneth D. Ackerman

By Linda Tenenbaum, 8 October 2016

Trotsky in New York, 1917 focuses on a remarkable period in the life of one of the greatest political figures in modern history.

The development of public water systems and the crisis in Flint

By Shannon Jones, 5 October 2016

The events in Flint are a sharp expression of a historical retrogression in the United States, where gains made by the working class in an earlier period are being stripped away.

This week in history: September 19-25

19 September 2016

This Week in History provides brief synopses of important historical events whose anniversaries fall this week.

205 9/11 reposts

12 September 2016

The class essence of the Confederacy in the American Civil War

A further comment on Free State of Jones

By Douglas Lyons, 30 August 2016

In their attacks on the film, figures like Charles Blow of the New York Times are denigrating some of the noblest individuals in American history.

An interview with David Williams, author of Bitterly Divided: The South’s Inner Civil War

By Eric London, 16 August 2016

The World Socialist Web Site recently interviewed Professor David Williams of Valdosta State University about class conflict during the American Civil War and its relationship to social and political developments after the war.

Bitterly Divided: The South’s Inner Civil War

By Eric London, 26 July 2016

A 2008 book by Professor David Williams provides a mountain of evidence refuting the claim that the recent film Free State of Jones, directed by Gary Ross, presented “a quasi-historical” approach to the American Civil War and social conflict in the Confederacy.

A reply to our critics

In Defense of the American Revolution

By Tom Mackaman, 14 July 2016

The American Revolution, the most progressive event in world history in its time, continues to inspire the struggle for equality.

230 In Defense of American Revolution

13 July 2016

“Ordinary people truly imbibed the principles of the American Revolution”

An interview with Victoria Bynum, historian and author of The Free State of Jones—Part 2

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 13 July 2016

This is the second part of a conversation with Victoria Bynum, whose research helped inspire the film Free State of Jones, about an insurrection by Southern Unionists against the Confederacy during the Civil War.

“The records were full of evidence of dissent and insurrections by common people”

An interview with Victoria Bynum, historian and author of The Free State of Jones—Part 1

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 12 July 2016

We are posting a conversation with Victoria Bynum, whose research helped inspire the film Free State of Jones, about an insurrection by Southern Unionists against the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The Fort Bragg baseball game, American militarism and the Fourth of July

By Niles Niemuth—SEP candidate for vice president, 5 July 2016

Sunday’s baseball game at the Fort Bragg military base was intended to manipulate the celebration of the American Revolution in order to promote militarism and war.

Two hundred forty years since the Declaration of Independence

By Andre Damon, 4 July 2016

The American Revolution provided the ideological and political impetus for the French Revolution and all subsequent democratic, egalitarian and socialist movements.

Charles Blow of the New York Times

The right-wing, racialist attacks on the film Free State of Jones

By David Walsh, 30 June 2016

Free State of Jones, about a white farmer in Mississippi who led an insurrection against the Confederacy from 1863 to 1865, has come under sharp attack from the “new right” of identity politics advocates.

210 Response to Blow on "Free state of Jones"

29 June 2016

215 Ali funeral

11 June 2016

Who will follow the example of Muhammad Ali’s principled stand in our day?

By David Walsh, 6 June 2016

The former heavyweight boxing champion, who died June 3, made his chief mark on history and popular consciousness by his courageous opposition to the Vietnam War.

The decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

By Joseph Kishore, 27 May 2016

President Barack Obama visits Hiroshima today, but will make no apology for the US dropping of the atomic bomb on the city. The WSWS is republishing an essay that first appeared on the 60th anniversary of that horrible crime.

The Communications Workers of America, corporatism and the Verizon strike

By Shannon Jones, 3 May 2016

To oppose the sabotage of their battle by the CWA and the IBEW, Verizon workers need to be armed with a clear understanding of the nature of these organizations.

Fifty years since the Delano to Sacramento march: The myth of Cesar Chavez and the collapse of the United Farm Workers

Part Two

By Eric London, 12 April 2016

The union founded by Chavez has become nothing more than a business operated by family members

Fifty years since the Delano to Sacramento march: The myth of Cesar Chavez and the collapse of the United Farm Workers

Part one

By Eric London, 11 April 2016

The union founded by Chavez has become nothing more than a business operated by family members.

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The US Standard of Living Since the Civil War

By Eric London, 23 February 2016

According to a recent book by Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon, there is no objective foundation for an end to economic stagnation in the United States.

Walter Reuther and the rise and fall of the UAW

By Tom Mackaman, 23 December 2015

Walter Reuther’s biography has much to teach workers about the transformation of the trade unions into reactionary adjuncts of the corporations and the government.

Woodrow Wilson and Black Lives Matter

The political consequences of the racial evaluation of history

By Eric London, 4 December 2015

The demonstrations on racism in the US are of a typically middle class character and represent a very familiar and toxic element of bourgeois politics: the fight amongst different factions within the wealthiest ten percent.

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution: No lessons learned

By Clare Hurley and Fred Mazelis, 9 October 2015

Riveting video footage along with complacent commentary adds up to a misleading account.

Republican candidates attack the Fourteenth Amendment

By Patrick Martin, 24 August 2015

The demand for repeal of birthright citizenship, initiated by billionaire Donald Trump, marks a further shift to the right by the US ruling elite.

Julian Bond, veteran of early civil rights struggle and pillar of establishment, dies at 75

By Fred Mazelis, 19 August 2015

The outpouring of official tributes illustrates the political trajectory of the leaders of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Book review

The Devil is Here in These Hills: West Virginia’s Coal Miners and their Battle for Freedom, by James Green

By Tom Mackaman, 18 August 2015

The book’s most important—and timely—contribution is its revelation of the startling level of violence that characterized class relations in an earlier period.