Inequality and the social crisis

Combustible insulation used on Grenfell Tower was sold at a heavy discount to building company

By Charles Hixson, 21 September 2020

The Celotex RS5000 insulation—found by the Grenfell Inquiry as “more likely than not” to have contributed to the 2017 inferno—was sold to Harley Facades at a 47.5 percent discount.

Historic US job losses continue with another 860,000 unemployment claims

By Jacob Crosse, 18 September 2020

Over 61 million unemployment claims have been filed in the last 6 months, with the pandemic plunging the country into a protracted economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression.

Suppression of wages in US at centre of widening social inequality

By Nick Beams, 16 September 2020

The reduction in labour’s share of the national income by eight percentage points over five decades means that workers would be receiving $1.12 trillion more had the previous distribution between wages and profits applied.

Latin America, epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic, on the brink of social explosion

By Tomas Castanheira, 12 September 2020

Latin America this week reached the grim milestones of 300,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than 8 million infections.

As pandemic death toll approaches 200,000, American oligarchs celebrate their wealth

By Niles Niemuth, 12 September 2020

According to Forbes’ list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, the super-rich now possess $3.2 trillion, enough to pay for an entire year of public education, health care, nutrition and disaster relief for millions of people.

Ten percent of Oregon’s population ordered to evacuate as wildfires continue to ravage the US west coast

By David Fitzgerald, 11 September 2020

At least fourteen people have died in the latest outbreak: a one-year-old boy in Washington, three people in Oregon, and ten in California, and the death toll is expected to rise.

“Pandemic be damned”: Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans list reveals billionaire bonanza

By Kevin Reed, 9 September 2020

The annual list of the richest people in the US shows the enormous fortunes made during the pandemic while tens of millions have lost their jobs.

Virginia’s Democratic governor calls for drastic budget cuts amid growing social crisis caused by COVID-19

By Dominic Gustavo and Nick Barrickman, 7 September 2020

The cuts would effectively gut the few gains that were given to workers in the previously planned budget.

US joblessness crisis worsens as nearly 900,000 file new unemployment claims

By Jacob Crosse, 4 September 2020

Millions of families’ daily existence has been reduced to the struggle for bare necessities as hunger continues to grow.

Australia: International students and foreign visa holders face major social crisis

By Robert Campion, 4 September 2020

Some 61 percent of international students and other foreign visa holders were relying on savings which they said would be exhausted in a matter of weeks.

COVID-19 pandemic leads to huge spike in global hunger

By Kevin Martinez, 2 September 2020

By the end of the year more people will die every day from hunger as a result of disruptions to the global food chain brought about by the pandemic, than from the virus itself.

Elementary school students forced to use Taco Bell parking lot for internet in Salinas, California

By Rafael Azul, 2 September 2020

Photos circulated on social media this week showing children sitting in a parking lot in order to use their internet to do homework.

European governments end furlough schemes amid jobs massacre

By Richard Tyler, 2 September 2020

A study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 59 million workers in Europe, over a quarter of the entire workforce, are in jobs that are seriously at risk.

The profits of August

By Nick Beams, 2 September 2020

This August, amid mass death, hunger and poverty, Wall Street recorded its biggest increase for the month since 1986.

Coronavirus cases top 25 million worldwide

By Bryan Dyne, 1 September 2020

The Trump administration continues to reduce testing in favor of its de facto “herd immunity” policy, as coronavirus reinfection cases begin to emerge.

Profiteering leaves UK care homes vulnerable

By Thomas Scripps, 1 September 2020

Investors’ pursuit of short-term profits has seen vast resources looted from the care sector and providers laden with unsustainable debts.

New Jersey teen billed $2,500 for organizing a protest

By Shuvu Batta and Daniel de Vries, 1 September 2020

Emily Gil, a recent high school graduate, was charged $2,500 for “police overtime” after she organized a protest in the town of Englewood Cliffs calling for affordable housing and an end to police brutality.

Australian report reveals accelerating social inequality in education

By Erika Zimmer, 31 August 2020

The data exposes the fraud of the Gonski funding model, commissioned by the last federal Labor government, ostensibly to overcome the socioeconomic divide.

New US jobless claims once again exceed one million

By Jerry White, 28 August 2020

Despite President Trump’s claims about a “super-V” shaped recovery, more than 27 million workers are collecting unemployment benefits and millions face the prospect of eviction and utility shutoffs.

Wildfires continue to rage across California amidst heat wave and pandemic

By Anthony del Olmo, 27 August 2020

Northern California residents have suffered more than a week of wildfires caused by lightning strikes and a historic heat wave in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Markets focus on Fed chair’s Jackson Hole speech

By Nick Beams, 27 August 2020

The key question concerning financial elites around the world is how the Fed and other central banks intend to continue the stimulus to markets.

After receiving $5.8 billion through the CARES Act

American Airlines announces 19,000 to be laid off starting October 1

By Jacob Crosse, 26 August 2020

As temporary layoffs become permanent, airline executives and their stockholders, with the invaluable assistance of the trade unions, are consigning thousands to destitution.

Victims of herd immunity: further evidence that UK care home residents were denied medical treatment

By Margot Miller, 25 August 2020

National Health Service managers instructed care homes that residents who became sick were to be covered with DNAR (do not attempt to resuscitate) orders.

Despite COVID-19, French billionaires have tripled their wealth since 2010

By Kumaran Ira, 25 August 2020

The accumulation of obscene levels of wealth by a small financial aristocracy is the product of decades of austerity imposed by governments of various political colors.

Two weeks after powerful windstorm, Iowa faces humanitarian crisis

By Jessica Goldstein, 25 August 2020

As it is with the wildfires in California and the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, the criminal nature of the ruling class is revealed in its response to the disaster still unfolding in Iowa.

Democrats leave 20 million unemployed in the lurch

By Patrick Martin, 24 August 2020

The House of Representatives convened for a Saturday session to vote on funding the Postal Service, but Democratic leaders declined to take any action on federal supplemental unemployment benefits, which expired July 31.

Australia’s two major airlines axe thousands of jobs

By Terry Cook, 24 August 2020

Qantas and Virgin, like their global rivals, are using COVID-19 to slash costs by eliminating thousands of jobs.

Australian universities unveil job cuts of up to 30 percent

By Mike Head, 24 August 2020

There was outrage at the University of Sydney last week after all departments were asked to plan scenarios to cut thousands of full-time jobs.

Johnson government extends ban on evictions as UK faces “avalanche” of homelessness

By Laura Tiernan, 22 August 2020

The delay follows an outpouring of public opposition to eviction proceedings due to begin Monday, with 290,000 renters at immediate risk of homelessness.

Thirty years since the capitalist reunification of Germany

Berlin leads when it comes to child poverty, precarious jobs and mass unemployment

By Wolfgang Weber, 21 August 2020

Berlin is being hit with full force by the economic and social consequences of the Corona policy of the city’s government, a coalition of the SPD, Left Party and Greens.

“A poor man’s virus:” COVID-19 reveals the class chasm in America

By Andre Damon, 18 August 2020

America’s extreme social inequality underpins all aspects of the US government’s response to the pandemic, which has been characterized by total disregard for the health, safety and well-being of the vast majority of the population.

Congress adjourns for month-long vacation without action on US unemployment crisis

By Patrick Martin, 14 August 2020

The capitalist politicians will be holding their presidential nominating conventions while millions of workers have been cut off from federal benefits.

Wall Street continues to feed on death and economic devastation

By Nick Beams, 13 August 2020

Since the crisis of mid-March when the market plunged and the financial system froze, Wall Street’s S&P 500 index has risen by 50 percent on the back of government corporate bailouts and the pumping out of trillions of dollars by the Fed.

After White House, Congress cut aid to unemployed, evictions and food lines spread across the US

By Jacob Crosse, 12 August 2020

As eviction filings increase to pre-pandemic levels, workers and their families are left to fend for themselves.

Analysis shows 54,000 “excess deaths” in US, pointing to coronavirus death toll of 200,700

By Kate Randall, 12 August 2020

A new analysis shows that the number of deaths from the coronavirus has likely been undercounted by 37 percent.

As US cruise industry delays operations until November, thousands of seafarers remain stranded

By Tom Casey, 11 August 2020

Some 12,000 seafarers remain stranded in US waters five months after the shutdown of the cruise line industry due to coronavirus.

Trump executive orders set stage for tens of millions of evictions

By Jacob Crosse, 10 August 2020

An analysis released Friday by the Aspen Institute estimates that between 28,900,000 and 39,900,000 tenants in the US are at risk of eviction by the end of the year.

Caleb Reed, a youth activist in Chicago, falls victim to gun violence

By Brian Green, 10 August 2020

Most recently Reed opposed Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s budget that starves schools of resources while flooding the Police Department with billions of dollars.

As July report shows no let-up in mass joblessness

White House, Congress combine to cut off supplemental unemployment benefits

By Jacob Crosse, 8 August 2020

Driven by social interests irreconcilably opposed to those of the working class, congressional leaders from both parties adjourned Friday without restoring jobless pay.

As Senate adjourns for weekend

New US unemployment claims top 1 million for 20th straight week

By Jacob Crosse, 7 August 2020

Indifferent to the plight of millions of jobless workers and their families, senators from both parties adjourned Thursday with no agreement on extending expired unemployment benefits.

“A nationwide strike is what needs to be done”

Angry educators and parents across the US protest the reckless return to classrooms

By Nancy Hanover, 7 August 2020

From Florida to California, teachers and parents are caravanning, protesting and petitioning against a reckless return to school as demanded by Wall Street and the entire political establishment.

West Palm Beach, Florida seniors face eviction from low income housing

By Matthew Taylor, 7 August 2020

The St. Andrews Residence has been in disrepair for years leading many residents to believe the owners have deliberately neglected their health and safety in order to facilitate a sale of the million-dollar waterfront property.

As negotiations stall on federal coronavirus relief bill

Florida governor admits state unemployment system purposefully designed to pay out “least number of claims”

By Jacob Crosse, 6 August 2020

Republican governor Ron DeSantis had previously claimed nearly all applicants had been paid and blamed jobless workers for incorrectly filling out forms.

House Speaker Pelosi signals readiness to cut unemployment benefits

By Jacob Crosse, 5 August 2020

Congress continues to quibble over a new bill as the crisis deepens for millions of workers and their families.

Anger grows across the US as closed-door talks continue on expired unemployment relief

By Jacob Crosse, 4 August 2020

Millions of American workers don’t know how they’ll pay rent or where their next meal will come from.

Congress of millionaires robs the unemployed

By Patrick Martin, 3 August 2020

Allowing federal supplemental benefits to expire for 30 million jobless workers shows the class character of both the Democratic and Republican parties.

As stock indexes continue their climb

US unemployment supplement expires, setting the stage for mass hunger and homelessness

By Barry Grey, 1 August 2020

The congressional stalemate over an extension of the unemployment pay supplement, which is certain to result in the total elimination or a major cut in the benefit, is a declaration of war against the entire working population.

Congress prepares to scrap $600 weekly unemployment payment

By Kevin Reed, 29 July 2020

The expiration of the enhanced federal unemployment benefit this week will drive millions of working class people across the US into desperate financial circumstances.

British grandmother dies weighing just 42 pounds after her benefits are withdrawn

By Dennis Moore, 29 July 2020

The benefit system has evolved from its post-war ethos as a “safety net” to one based on punishing the sick and disabled and coercing the unemployed into low-paid work.

Trump, Republicans demand $400-a-week cut for the unemployed

By Patrick Martin, 28 July 2020

The savage class war proposal is the start of “negotiations” with the Democrats in which the outcome is already assured: a severe reduction in working class living standards in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Toronto tenants protest against looming evictions amid COVID-19 crisis

By Carl Bronski, 28 July 2020

The demonstrators demanded that Toronto’s mayor use his municipal emergency health and safety powers to block evictions, and denounce the Ontario government’s recently passed pro-landlord Bill 184.

UK manufacturers warn of “jobs bloodbath”

By Paul Bond, 24 July 2020

More than half of manufacturing companies said they will make redundancies in the next six months, with a further 20.1 percent saying they might.

Huge Australian budget deficits mean intensified assault on workers

By Mike Head, 24 July 2020

Governments and the corporate elite have begun extracting the cost from the working class, via cuts to jobs, pay and working conditions as well as social spending.

Trump, Congress condemn unemployed to starve

By Patrick Martin, 24 July 2020

The Democrats and Republicans are allowing the $600-a-week federal unemployment compensation supplement to expire, cutting off a lifeline for millions of jobless workers.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos adds record $13 billion to net worth in a single day

By Jacob Crosse, 24 July 2020

US billionaires continue to profit fabulously off the pandemic while millions face hunger, eviction, and joblessness.

Bodies of two workers still entombed at collapsed Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans nearly one year later

By Aaron Murch, 23 July 2020

Ten months after the partial collapse of the Hard Rock hotel construction site collapse recovery, efforts are finally under way to retrieve the bodies of two workers still buried beneath the rubble.

Death of 14-year-old on the job highlights growth of child labor in Canada

By Frédéric Charlebois, 23 July 2020

Young workers represent more than 50 percent of the workforce at some large corporations such as McDonald’s and Tim Hortons.

COVID-19 cases reach 15 million worldwide with 4 million in the US alone

By Benjamin Mateus, 22 July 2020

The United States is in the unique position of being the only developed nation to face such a disastrous and expanding outbreak.

Australian government slashes pandemic payments to workers after suspending parliament

By Mike Head, 22 July 2020

The blatant purpose of the cuts is to give workers no choice but to go back into unsafe workplaces regardless of the rising danger of COVID-19 infection.

Report exposes crisis in American university health care systems as coronavirus cases skyrocket

By Joe Williams, 22 July 2020

The response of university administrators over the poor state of health care on college campuses is to seek immunity from any legal accountability.

050 Bankrupt CEOs get big bonuses

21 July 2020

Democrats, Republicans prepare to slash workers’ unemployment supplement

By Shannon Jones, 21 July 2020

Congressional Democrats and Republicans are preparing to slash or eliminate the $600 weekly unemployment supplement that has been a lifeline for millions of workers laid off during the pandemic.

Millions in the US face disaster as $600 federal unemployment aid set to end this week

By Jacob Crosse, 20 July 2020

The extended weekly payment has been the target of venomous attacks by big business as a “disincentive” to work and is unlikely to be reinstated by Congress in its current form.

University of Akron announces plan to eliminate 178 professors, staff and contract professionals

By Isaac Finn, 20 July 2020

Last week, the University of Akron’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of eliminating positions from the university.

Workers disproportionately affected by coronavirus pandemic in Germany

By Marianne Arens, 20 July 2020

The disease particularly affects workers who do not have the opportunity to remain at home and maintain social distancing.

Driver plunges bus into a Chinese reservoir, killing 21

By Lily Zhao, 20 July 2020

The tragedy is a product of the social crisis confronting millions of workers throughout the country.

Australian bushfire victims still suffering six months on

By Cheryl Crisp, 20 July 2020

Hundreds of people who lost their homes are living in tents, caravans or shipping containers in what is now the dead of winter.

Michigan teen sent to juvenile detention for failing to do her homework

By Will McCalliss and Nancy Hanover, 18 July 2020

Amid the chaotic transition to online learning during the pandemic, a teenage girl has been taken into criminal custody for “failure to submit any schoolwork.”

Nearly 650,000 jobs lost in UK during pandemic, with much worse to come

By Robert Stevens, 18 July 2020

The collapse in the number of workers in employment takes place along with a drastic fall in hours for those remaining in a job, and a fall in wages.

Destruction of full-time jobs intensifies in Australia

By Mike Head, 18 July 2020

Governments and employers are working with the trade unions to exploit the COVID-19 catastrophe to accelerate the casualisation of the workforce.

Millions of Americans are losing health insurance as joblessness skyrockets

By Alex Johnson, 17 July 2020

The pandemic has left approximately 5.4 million American workers uninsured between February and May, according to an analysis by the Families USA consumer advocacy group.

First-time jobless claims in US top 1 million for 17th straight week

By Jessica Goldstein, 17 July 2020

The number of new official jobless claims demonstrate a state of deep economic crisis for US capitalism.

Real economy plunges but financial profits surge

By Nick Beams, 16 July 2020

Major US banks are raking in billions of dollars through speculative operations financed by the massive intervention of the Fed into all corners of the financial markets.

Markets soar as the corpses pile up

By Andre Damon, 16 July 2020

The massive run-up in stock prices has only one explanation: The capitalist state has put at the disposal of its masters in the financial oligarchy unlimited amounts of money.

UNICEF report: COVID-19 exacerbating hunger and other maladies facing South Asia’s children

By Naveen Dewage, 15 July 2020

According to the UNICEF report, close to 1 million more South Asian children could die in the coming year due to lack of access to food, vaccines, and timely medical care.

USDA food box program fails to deliver significant share of much needed aid

By Alex Findijs, 15 July 2020

The USDA promised to deliver $1.2 billion in food to families in need, but has delivered less than two-thirds of this amount so far.

Pandemic and Tory government measures having brutal impact on London’s disadvantaged young people

By Harvey Thompson and Charlotte Salthill, 14 July 2020

The report notes, “Families who were already enduring hard, challenging lives have had to survive lockdown in the most appalling circumstances.”

Puerto Rico declares emergency as drought leaves nearly 150,000 residents without water

By Julio Patron, 13 July 2020

A lack of consistent running water will make it more difficult for frequent handwashing to limit the spread of the coronavirus which has already infected thousands on the island.

Chancellor Sunak announces end of UK jobs furlough and rolls out cheap labour scheme

By Robert Stevens, 10 July 2020

Sunak’s declaration that “we can’t protect every job” is the understatement of the century. Companies are announcing thousands of redundancies every day amid warnings of unemployment reaching 5 million by next year.

As it charts depths of economic crisis

OECD pushes for cuts in assistance for jobless

By Nick Beams, 9 July 2020

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development says that up to 10 times fewer hours have been worked in some countries as compared with the first months of the 2008 financial crisis.

Melbourne public housing residents condemn Australian police lockdown

By Martin Scott and Oscar Grenfell, 9 July 2020

“Instead of nurses, doctors and social workers, they send us the police, which gives the wrong message among the community.”

UK: Coronavirus exposes Leicester’s sweatshops and government hypocrisy

By Thomas Scripps, 8 July 2020

Government ministers have struck a pose of outrage at a situation they have ignored for years and want to replicate across the country.

As cutoff of $600 weekly benefit and wave of evictions loom, Congress takes a holiday

By Shannon Jones, 7 July 2020

The $600 weekly federal supplement to unemployment benefits is set to expire July 25, while moratoriums on evictions have already expired in 20 states.

Illinois and Chicago offer paltry COVID-19 assistance program to residents

By Brian Green, 7 July 2020

As unemployment skyrockets, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot push a return to work and COVID-19 relief programs too small to address desperately needed assistance among workers.

Millions in the US face catastrophe as federal unemployment relief set to expire amid surging pandemic

By Kevin Reed, 4 July 2020

The combined economic impact of the raging pandemic and the imminent cutoff of $600 weekly federal assistance is leading to a social catastrophe for millions across the US.

As pandemic spread accelerates

Wall Street celebrates biggest quarterly surge in more than 20 years

By Nick Beams, 2 July 2020

In the course of less than three months, the actions of the Fed—its reduction of interest rates to zero and purchases of debt across the board, including junk bonds—have put $7.1 trillion into the hands of stock investors and speculators.

“It’s eugenics by the back door”

UK disability campaigner Doug Paulley speaks on coronavirus pandemic

By Alice Summers, 30 June 2020

Doug has recently been involved in legal action opposing the use of “scoring” systems to deny ventilator treatment to the sick, disabled and elderly.

The poor in Germany have a higher risk of falling sick from COVID-19

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 30 June 2020

The poorest people in Germany, including the long-term unemployed and recipients of Hartz IV social welfare, have an 84 percent higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 and requiring hospitalization.

New report exposes staggering level of social inequality in Canada

By Louis Girard, 30 June 2020

Revealing the oligarchic character of Canadian society, the report found that the top one percent of Canadians own as much as the poorest 80 percent of the population.

Worker opposition grows as coronavirus spirals out of control

By Andre Damon, 30 June 2020

Six months after the world first learned of COVID-19, workers across the globe are going on strike to demand measures to stop the rampant spread of the disease.

New York City officials accused of undercounting and mismanagement after dozens of homeless COVID-19 deaths reported

By Sam Dalton, 27 June 2020

A new report gives an insight into the consequences of the city authorities’ malign neglect as the virus spread amongst the homeless in the center of global finance.

Another 1.5 million US workers file for jobless benefits

By Jerry White, 26 June 2020

The US Labor Department recorded a record fourteenth week in a row in which the number applying for unemployment aid topped one million.

General Motors lays off 680 workers and eliminates third shift at its Spring Hill, Tennessee plant

By Zac Thorton, 26 June 2020

The company has filed a 60-day notice of mass layoffs as sales decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australian unions support Queensland Labor government’s public sector wage freeze

By Gary Alvernia, 26 June 2020

The pay “deferral” sets a new precedent for exploiting the COVID-19 emergency to intensify the ongoing corporate and government attack on the living and working conditions of workers.

Joblessness reaches Great Depression levels in Australia

By Mike Head, 20 June 2020

The rate of youth unemployment and underemployment would be a staggering 48 percent if everyone who had lost their job was counted.

Nearly 24,000 Ohioans told to return unemployment payments

By Isaac Finn, 16 June 2020

State authorities demanded that thousands of workers give back “overpaid benefits” they have received since the start of the economic crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This government has decided that disabled people are better off dead”

UK disability campaigners speak out on coronavirus pandemic

By Alice Summers, 16 June 2020

The WSWS spoke to disability rights campaigners last weekend about the impact of coronavirus pandemic and the Johnson government’s “herd immunity” policy on the lives of disabled people.

White House demands end to $600 per week emergency unemployment pay

By Andre Damon, 16 June 2020

The Trump administration’s plan to cut unemployment assistance in July is a naked ploy to force workers back into factories that are hotbeds of COVID-19.

Detroit literacy case ends with no legal precedent for the right to an education

By J. Cooper, 15 June 2020

The US Sixth District Court of Appeals allowed the settlement of the “right to read” case in Detroit to stand while vacating the legal precedent.

Three years since the Grenfell fire: Collaboration with Grenfell Tower Inquiry must end!

By Robert Stevens, 15 June 2020

Hundreds of thousands of people still go to bed every night in unsafe buildings, with thousands in the “high-risk” category.