US History

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.

The covert “selling” of anticommunism

The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America

By Nancy Hanover, 17 August 2015

The Mighty Wurlitzer is an examination of the CIA’s 1947-67 campaigns against anti-capitalist and socialist thought.

Democratic Party moves to drop “Jefferson-Jackson” name from fundraisers

By Tom Mackaman, 13 August 2015

The move to disassociate the Democratic Party from the two figures it has long claimed as its founders, allegedly because they were slave-owners, marks a new milestone in the party’s embrace of identity politics.

The covert “selling” of anticommunism

The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America

Part 2

By Nancy Hanover, 12 August 2015

The Mighty Wurlitzer is an examination of the CIA’s 1947-67 campaigns against anti-capitalist and socialist thought.

Protesters denounce military legislation as Japan marks anniversary of nuclear bombings

By Ben McGrath, 11 August 2015

A Nagasaki survivor recounted the horrors of the blast and denounced Prime Minister Abe’s moves to amend Japan’s post-World War II constitution.

The covert “selling” of anticommunism

The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America

Part 1

By Nancy Hanover, 11 August 2015

The Mighty Wurlitzer is an examination of the CIA’s 1947-67 campaigns against militant, anti-capitalist and particularly socialist thought.

The 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima

By Peter Symonds, 6 August 2015

Washington’s use of the atomic weapons was aimed at terrorising not just the Japanese regime, but above all the Soviet Union, and ensuring post-war American global dominance.

Release of grand jury transcript points again to frameup of the Rosenbergs

By Fred Mazelis, 18 July 2015

The new revelations undermine the post-Soviet effort to reaffirm the supposed guilt of the Rosenbergs.

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.

Twenty years since the Oklahoma City bombing

20 April 2015

April 19 marked the twentieth anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, the bloodiest act of terrorism on US soil up to that point.

“The world only discovered him a hero after he had fallen a martyr”

150 years since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln

By Tom Mackaman, 14 April 2015

In office, Lincoln guided the Civil War and transformed it from a struggle for the preservation of the Union into a revolutionary war for the abolition of slavery.

Fifty years since the death of Viola Liuzzo

By Helen Hayes, 10 April 2015

The fight against Jim Crow segregation drew in white workers and youth as well as African-Americans from the North and the South. Liuzzo’s determination to participate in the civil rights struggle reflected great changes taking place in the US in the 1960s.

250 years since the Stamp Act

The Coming of the American Revolution

By Tom Mackaman, 24 March 2015

The Stamp Act set into motion a series of events that led, in one decade, to the American Revolution.

Exhibition at New York’s Morgan Library

Lincoln Speaks: Words That Transformed a Nation

By Fred Mazelis, 13 March 2015

An exhibition of letters and speeches makes the US Civil War and the role of Abraham Lincoln come alive.

Interview with Gordon Wood on the American Revolution: Part two

“History has to engage the whole public”

By Tom Mackaman, 4 March 2015

This is the second part of a two-part interview with Gordon Wood, a leading historian of the American Revolution. Part one was posted March 3.

Interview with Gordon Wood on the American Revolution: Part one

“Labor celebrated as the highest value”

By Tom Mackaman, 3 March 2015

Gordon Wood, a leading historian of the American Revolution, recently spoke with the World Socialist Web Site.

A warning to US oil workers: The United Steelworkers’ record of betrayal

By Shannon Jones, 18 February 2015

Over the past three decades, the USW has overseen the betrayal of scores of strikes and the decimation of workers’ jobs, health care and pensions.

Nearly 4,000 blacks were lynched in Jim Crow South, report finds

By Tom Mackaman, 17 February 2015

A new study compiles extra-judicial murders of African Americans that took place between 1870 and 1940.

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.

Albuquerque moves to escalate evictions of homeless campers

By D. Lencho, 9 February 2015

Removal of the homeless has begun at a “tent city” near downtown, while new encampments have sprung up in other parts of the city.

Mario Cuomo and the decay of American liberalism

By Fred Mazelis, 5 January 2015

The former Democratic governor of New York established a record while in office that had nothing in common with his high-flown speeches about compassion and reform.

How the British workers’ movement helped end slavery in America: Part one

By Joe Mount, 5 January 2015

This is the first part of a two-part article on the role of the British working class in the victory of the Northern Union forces in the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery in the United States.

Judge reverses guilty verdict in 1944 execution of 14-year-old

By Tom Mackaman, 20 December 2014

George Stinney, Jr., who was African American, was arrested, tried, convicted, and electrocuted for the murder of two white girls in the small mill town of Alcolu, South Carolina.

150 years since Sherman’s March to the Sea

By Tom Mackaman, 27 November 2014

In November and December, 1864, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman led a Union army deep through Confederate territory, resulting in the capture of Savannah and the liberation of thousands of slaves.

New book sheds further light on US government protection of ex-Nazis

By Thomas Gaist, 29 October 2014

US imperialism recruited thousands of Nazis after World War II, as detailed in a new book by New York Times journalist Eric Lichtblau.

The day the US shot down Iran Airlines Flight 655

By Niles Williamson, 19 July 2014

Who shot down the Malaysian jetliner over eastern Ukraine? Anyone who thinks that the US government is incapable of carrying out or sanctioning such a horrendous action against innocent civilians should consider the infamous case of the downing of Iran Air Flight 655.

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.

Fifty years since the murder of the Mississippi civil rights workers

By Fred Mazelis, 23 June 2014

James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner sacrificed their lives in the struggle for democratic rights and social equality.

The Civil War in 1864

By Tom Mackaman, 23 May 2014

The American Civil War entered its decisive phase 150 years ago, in the summer and fall of 1864.

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.

100 years since founding of the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office

By Alan Gilman, 20 February 2014

In 2014, the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office marks a century since its founding, amid unprecedented attacks on the right to counsel.

PBS’s Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913 commemorates Michigan’s bitter labor past

By Debra Watson, 8 January 2014

A new PBS documentary looks at a miners’ strike a century ago in northern Michigan in which 73 workers and their children were victims of a company provocation.

Fifty years since Johnson’s declaration of the “War on Poverty”

By Tom Mackaman, 8 January 2014

President Lyndon Johnson's “War on Poverty,” declared 50 years ago Wednesday, proved to be liberal reformism's last gasp.

A half-century since the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

By David North, 22 November 2013

It may be the case that the American people will never know who killed Kennedy. But the deeper causes of his death can be explained.

150 years since Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

By Tom Mackaman, 19 November 2013

President Obama has spurned invitations to the gathering commemorating America’s most famous political speech.

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.