Labor history

Author of Ten Days That Shook the World

100 years since US socialist journalist John Reed’s death

By Sandy English and James Macdonald, 3 December 2020

John Reed’s life became devoted to documenting the struggles of the oppressed. His greatest work was Ten Days That Shook the World, an indelible, eyewitness account of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Engels in the meat grinder

Germany’s Left Party slanders the legacy of Friedrich Engels

By Peter Schwarz, 2 December 2020

The attempt to cut this theoretical giant down to the size of the political needs of the Left Party assumed truly grotesque dimensions.

This week in history: November 30-December 6

30 November 2020

75 years ago: General Douglas MacArthur, the effective leader of US-occupied Japan, ordered the arrest of former Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe and eight of the country’s other civilian and military leaders for war crimes, setting the stage for criminal prosecutions.

This week in history: November 23-29

23 November 2020

On November 29, 1945, the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed following the successful repulsion of Nazi Germany’s attempt to subjugate the country, and Germany’s defeat in World War II in May. The establishment of the republic involved the deposing of King Peter II and the end of the Karađorđević dynasty that he headed. It was the outcome of a mass partisan struggle against fascism.

Biden recruits unions to keep workplaces open as pandemic surges

By Jerry White, 18 November 2020

Biden held an online discussion Monday with top executives from GM, Microsoft and other corporations, along with the leaders of the AFL-CIO, the United Auto Workers and other unions.

25 years since the massive strike wave in France

French workers in revolt

By David Walsh, 18 November 2020

In December 1995, David Walsh traveled to Europe as part of an international team of reporters to provide on-the-spot coverage of the massive strike wave in France. We are re-posting the series of articles today.

This week in history: November 9-15

9 November 2020

25 years ago: Nigerian junta hangs nine oppositionists On November 10, 1995, nine members of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) were executed by the Nigerian military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha.

Chinese Communist Party meets amid rising social and geo-political tensions

By Peter Symonds, 2 November 2020

The CCP plenum was held on the eve of the US election in which both Donald Trump and Joe Biden have signalled a ramping up of Washington’s confrontation with Beijing.

This week in history: November 2-8

2 November 2020

25 years ago: Israeli prime minister assassinated On November 4, 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish fanatic, revealing the depths of the social and political crisis of the Zionist state.

The World Socialist Web Site’s exposure of the 1619 Project and the defense of historical truth

By Niles Niemuth, 2 November 2020

The most powerful weapon the working class has is the knowledge of the historical experiences through which it has passed, in order to know what it has won, what it must defend today and how it must fight to achieve socialism in the future.

999 Comment on AFL-CIO and Trump coup

29 October 2020

999 AFL-CIO and the general strike

28 October 2020

The relaunch of the World Socialist Web Site and the future of socialism

By David North, 26 October 2020

The relaunch of the WSWS and the growth of its influence reflect a process of mass political radicalization under conditions of the greatest crisis since the 1930s.

50 years since Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act

By Keith Jones, 23 October 2020

During the October Crisis, the Canadian state, led by Trudeau, exploited two terrorist kidnappings to carry out a coup de force, jailing and intimidating left-wing government opponents amid a growing working class upsurge.

This week in history: October 12-18

12 October 2020

25 years ago: Million Man March in Washington, DCOn October 16, 1995, hundreds of thousands of people turned out on the National Mall in Washington, DC for the Million Man March, called by Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam.

This week in history: September 21-27

21 September 2020

25 years ago: Former Italian Prime Minister Andreotti goes on trial On September 26, 1995, seven-time Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti went on trial in Palermo, facing charges of serving as a longtime front man for the Sicilian Mafia. More than 500 witnesses were expected to be called on in the nationally televised trial, the culmination of the series of scandal investigations which destroyed the postwar Italian party system.

240 1970 postal strike

5 March 2020

Former UAW President Owen Bieber dead at 90

By Jerry White, 27 February 2020

From 1983 to 1995, Bieber presided over the final demise of the UAW as an organization that conducted a limited defense of the day-to-day interests of autoworkers and its transformation into what it is today: a direct arm of corporate management.

Tom Mackaman interviewed on 1619 Project by history podcast

18 February 2020

John Fea interviewed Mackaman on his podcast “The Way of Improvement Leads Home.”

999 Lessons of the auto struggle

23 December 2019

“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.

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.

From the archive of the WSWS

What is the UAW?

By Shannon Jones, 12 November 2019

The article, first published in 2015, details the corporatist degeneration of the UAW and its transformation into a bribed tool of management.

230 Interview with Victoria Bynum

28 October 2019

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

Security and the Fourth International

The Smith Act trial and government infiltration of the Trotskyist movement

By Eric London, 8 December 2016

A new book, Trotskyists on Trial: Free Speech and Political Persecution Since the Age of FDR, by Donna T. Haverty-Stacke, reveals a previously unknown level of FBI surveillance of the Trotskyist movement in the US.

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.

Trotskyism and the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934

Revolutionary Teamsters: The Minneapolis Truckers’ Strike of 1934, by Bryan Palmer

By Tom Mackaman and Jerry White, 24 June 2015

A recent book by historian Bryan Palmer chronicles the role of American Trotskyists in leading one of the most important strikes in US history.

Thirty-five years since the nationwide US refinery strike

By David Brown and Charles Abelard, 14 February 2015

Thirty-five years ago, US oil refinery workers carried out a nationwide strike, breaking through wage guidelines set by the Carter administration.

Fifty years since the Civil Rights Act

By Tom Mackaman, 2 July 2014

The Civil Rights Act came in response to the mass protests known as the Civil Rights movement that swept the American South beginning in the 1950s.

100 years since Ford’s five dollar day

By Tom Mackaman, 5 March 2014

Ford’s profit-sharing scheme was billed as the key to social harmony. Yet socialism and the Russian Revolution, coming just four years later, breathed a new spirit into the American class struggle.

The working class and the Detroit Industry murals at the DIA

Diego Rivera’s “Battle of Detroit”

By Tom Mackaman and Jerry White, 3 October 2013

The production of Rivera’s murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts, begun just months after the massacre of protesting workers near Ford’s River Rouge industrial complex, was a major political event.

American Federation of Teachers’ journal slanders historian Howard Zinn

By Charles Bogle and Fred Mazelis, 18 February 2013

A review article on A People’s History of the US in the current issue of American Educator lays bare the union leadership’s slavish support for American capitalism.

Thirty years since the murder of Vincent Chin

By Shannon Jones, 23 June 2012

Thirty years ago this week, on June 19, 1982, Vincent Chin, an Asian-American draftsman, was beaten to death by a Chrysler foreman and his son in a racially motivated killing.

Remembering the Ludlow Massacre

Part 4: The Ludlow memorial

By Jack Hood, 1 June 2012

The World Socialist Web Site publishes the concluding installment in a series on the Colorado miners’ strike of 1913-1914.

Remembering the Ludlow Massacre

Part 3: The Massacre and the Ten Days War

By Jack Hood, 31 May 2012

The World Socialist Web Site publishes the third installment in a four-part series on the Colorado miners’ strike of 1913-1914.

Remembering the Ludlow Massacre

Part 2: The strike of 1913-14

By Jack Hood, 30 May 2012

The World Socialist Web Site publishes the second installment in a four-part series on the Colorado miners’ strike of 1913-1914.

Seventy-five years since the Memorial Day Massacre

By Tom Eley, 29 May 2012

Wednesday marks the 75th anniversary of the Memorial Day Massacre, when Chicago police opened fire on unarmed striking steelworkers, killing 10 and wounding 30.

Forty years since the Attica uprising

Nixon-Rockefeller tapes praise bloodbath—“A beautiful operation”

By Nancy Hanover, 26 September 2011

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the 1971 uprising by prisoners at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York and its bloody suppression by state police called in by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller.

Thirty years since the PATCO strike

Part five

By Tom Mackaman, 13 August 2011

This is the fifth and final installment in a series of articles marking the 30th anniversary of the PATCO air traffic controllers’ strike in the US.

Thirty years since the PATCO strike

Part four

By Tom Mackaman, 6 August 2011

This fourth installment in a series marking the 30th anniversary of the PATCO strike examines the role of the AFL-CIO bureaucracy in isolating the strike, and the role of the Workers League in attempting to broaden it into a general strike and a political struggle against the two-party system.

Thirty years since the PATCO strike

Part three

By Tom Mackaman, 5 August 2011

This third installment in a series marking the 30th anniversary of the PATCO strike explores the determined stand air traffic controllers took, the support they received in the broader working class, and the union-busting operation carried out by the Reagan administration.

Thirty years since the PATCO strike

Part two

By Tom Mackaman, 4 August 2011

This is the second in a series of articles marking the 30th anniversary of the PATCO air traffic controllers’ strike in the US. It examines the period leading up to the strike.

Thirty years since the PATCO strike

Part one

By Tom Mackaman, 3 August 2011

This is the first installment of a series of articles marking the 30th anniversary of the PATCO air traffic controllers’ strike in the US.

100 years since the historic workplace tragedy in New York City

HBO’s Triangle: Remember the Fire

By Charles Bogle, 25 March 2011

The excellent production values of Triangle: Remember the Fire leave an indelible visual memory of one of the greatest tragedies in American workplace. Sadly, the documentary’s limited perspective dishonors the legacy of the tragedy.

US: Forty years since the national postal strike

By Hector Cordon, 24 April 2010

Forty years ago postal workers defied their unions, anti-strike laws, and the Nixon administration’s deployment of the military in New York City to carry out the first national strike against the US government in history.

75 years since the San Francisco general strike

By Marge Holland and Robert Louis, 18 September 2009

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the San Francisco general strike, which began as a strike of longshoremen.


Revolutionary leadership and the struggle of 1934

75th anniversary of the Minneapolis truck drivers’ strike

By Ron Jorgenson, 31 August 2009

We are posting here an article on the 1934 Minneapolis general truck drivers’ strike, originally published in four parts. It is also available in PDF.

Revolutionary leadership and the struggle of 1934

75th anniversary of the Minneapolis truck drivers’ strike—Part four

By Ron Jorgenson, 29 August 2009

The final part of a four-part series on the 1934 Minneapolis general truck drivers’ strike.

Revolutionary leadership and the struggle of 1934

75th anniversary of the Minneapolis truck drivers’ strike—Part three

By Ron Jorgenson, 28 August 2009

The third part of a four-part series on the 1934 Minneapolis general truck drivers’ strike.

Revolutionary leadership and the struggle of 1934

75th anniversary of the Minneapolis truck drivers’ strike–Part one

By Ron Jorgenson, 26 August 2009

The first part of a four-part series on the 1934 Minneapolis general truck drivers’ strike.

75th anniversary of the Toledo Auto-Lite strike

Historic 1934 struggle

By Charles Bogle, 27 May 2009

In 1934 workers in Toledo, Ohio, carried to victory one of the most important strikes in US history. Led by socialists, the Auto-Lite strike won broad support from the unemployed.

Book review: Death in the Haymarket

The eight-hour-day movement and the birth of American labor

By James Brewer, 19 May 2009

Death in the Haymarket by James Green is an important contribution to the early history of the American labor movement.

The Haymarket frame-up and the origins of May Day

Part two

By Walter Gilberti, 12 May 2009

We are republishing a series of articles that originally appeared in April 1986 under the title “One hundred years since the Haymarket frame-up.” The articles were published in the Bulletin, the newspaper of the Workers League, forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party in the US.

The Haymarket frame-up and the origins of May Day

Part one

By Walter Gilberti, 11 May 2009

We are republishing here a series of articles that originally appeared in April 1986 under the title “One hundred years since the Haymarket frameup.” The articles were published in the Bulletin, the newspaper of the Workers League, forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party in the US.