The Social Crisis in America

US: Homelessness, housing insecurity top list of college student stressors as new year begins

By James Vega and Phyllis Steele, 17 August 2019

A new study on student hunger and homelessness reveals that among US college students, 33 percent reported eating less than they felt necessary because they did not have enough money for food.

Lead contamination crisis grows

Newark, New Jersey suspends distribution of bottled water over expiration concerns

By Shuvu Batta, 16 August 2019

City officials were forced to stop distributions Tuesday in response to concerns over cases of bottled water that were labeled as expired.

“We can come together as a force:” Nashville resident who saw neighbors stop ICE speaks out

By our reporters, 13 August 2019

Rosheda Martin lives in the Hermitage neighborhood, where residents physically prevented ICE from snatching their neighbors.

American horror story

Elderly husband kills wife, then himself, in desperation over skyrocketing healthcare costs

By Eric London, 12 August 2019

Brian Jones left a note Wednesday morning explaining that he could not afford to pay for his wife’s Alzheimer’s treatment.

“You work so hard and you can barely make ends meet”

Hundreds of Detroit workers line up to apply for new Fiat Chrysler jobs

By Jerry White, 9 August 2019

Fiat Chrysler is expanding operations in Detroit, exploiting the sharp fall in wages and huge tax cuts.

The fascist attack in Gilroy and the US epidemic of mass shootings

By Patrick Martin, 31 July 2019

Two processes are intersecting in the explosion of violence in America: the long-term impact of social decay and militarism, and the deliberate incitement of fascistic sentiments by President Trump.

Jacksonville Electrical Authority board of directors approves privatization effort

By Matthew Taylor, 31 July 2019

Last Tuesday’s vote represents the latest effort in a years-long conspiracy by Mayor Lenny Curry and his backers to sell off the Florida city’s utility to private interests.

US attorney general directs Bureau of Prisons to reinstate federal death penalty

By Kate Randall, 26 July 2019

The order by William Barr targeting five federal prison inmates of the death penalty for federal inmates sets the stage for the execution of inmates on federal death row for the first time in 16 years.

Electrical worker killed at pipe mill in Western Pennsylvania

By Samuel Davidson, 26 July 2019

Forty-six-year-old David Bupp was electrocuted last Wednesday while repairing a piece of equipment at a small steel pipe manufacturing plant north of Pittsburgh.

Trump administration proposes cutting off food stamps for 3 million Americans

By Brian Dixon, 25 July 2019

The USDA acknowledges that the change will increase food insecurity and wipe out what little savings these low-income individuals may have.

Pennsylvania school threatens children with foster care for school lunch debt

By our reporter, 24 July 2019

Some of the threatened families owe the district as little as $10.

Mass protests shake Puerto Rican and US political establishment

By Jerry White, 23 July 2019

In what has been described as the largest demonstration in Puerto Rican history, an estimated half a million people marched Monday to demand the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló.

Merchants of death

How the pharmaceutical companies, Congress and the DEA made the opioid epidemic a billion-dollar industry

By Genevieve Leigh, 23 July 2019

Previously undisclosed government information shows how drug manufacturers and distributors responded to the emerging opioid epidemic by pumping more pills into the hardest-hit regions.

Millions without electrical power in Michigan and northeast US

By Bryan Dyne, 23 July 2019

The blackouts induced by summer storms and the ongoing heatwave expose the fragility of infrastructure in the United States.

Explosion at electrical substation in Madison, Wisconsin, leaves thousands without power on hottest day of the year

By Jacob Crosse, 20 July 2019

No official explanation has been given as to the cause of the explosion that left, by some estimates, over 13,000 people without power throughout the day Friday.

Jeff Bezos flaunts obscene wealth with $80 million Manhattan penthouse purchase

By Clare Hurley, 16 July 2019

Bezos’ $137 billion combined wealth could pay the annual median rent for all 250,000 Amazon workers in the US for 100 years.

Over 20 percent of homeless residents in Chicago are employed, with many holding a college degree

By Jessica Goldstein, 5 July 2019

The latest report by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless blows apart the myth that by working hard and earning a college degree, workers in the US can prosper under capitalism.

2,000 workers to lose jobs as Philadelphia refinery shuts down

By Samuel Davidson, 2 July 2019

Blaming high costs from fire damage, Philadelphia Energy Solutions announced the closure of the largest oil refinery on the US East Coast.

Social media investigations unearth hundreds of police officers in the US involved in fascist or racist groups

By Jacob Crosse, 29 June 2019

Investigations conducted by Reveal and the Plain View Project confirm the presence of openly far-right officers in police departments.

House Democrats give $4.6 billion for Trump’s concentration camps

Ocasio-Cortez plays critical role in ensuring passage

By Eric London, 28 June 2019

House Democrats voted for a Senate bill that exposes the critical role of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other “progressive” Democrats in facilitating Trump’s crackdown on immigrants.

No more lies!

The way forward in the struggle against the poisoning of Flint

By the WSWS editorial board, 28 June 2019

The following statement is being distributed to a community meeting in Flint Friday night.

Trump plan will slash Medicaid and food stamps

By Norisa Diaz, 26 June 2019

The Trump administration is pursuing a change in the way the federal government calculates inflation to cut hundreds of thousands of people from basic social services.

Biden under fire over comments about working with segregationist senators

By Patrick Martin, 21 June 2019

The controversy has put the spotlight on the role of Southern Democrats in defending racial discrimination well into the 1970s.

Unreported releases from coal ash ponds may be more widespread in US than previously known

By John Ashbrook, 21 June 2019

Millions of people are potentially exposed to toxic coal ash, which can cause bone cancers, leukemia and nervous system and brain damage.

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.

As UAW stonewalls about contract talks

Faurecia workers voice their anger and determination to fight

By George Kirby and Tim Rivers, 17 June 2019

Faurecia workers face near-poverty level wages that force many workers to work two full-time jobs, for a total of at least 80 hours a week, just to make ends meet.

Minnesota Nurses Association announces sellout tentative deal at Children’s Hospitals in Minneapolis-St. Paul

By Jonas Boquist, 17 June 2019

It has been many decades since the unions have launched a nationwide strike in any industry. In its place they have adopted the program of union-management collaboration."

Suicide rates for doctors and young physicians among highest in the US population

By Alex Johnson, 17 June 2019

Doctors are often hesitant to seek treatment, due to the stigma associated with mental health problems.

Behind the cover-up of the 2008 Universal Music Group vault fire

By Kevin Reed, 17 June 2019

The recent exposure of Universal Music Group's concealment of the loss of a huge trove of postwar popular music reveals the corruption of the corporate elite, as well as the compliance of news media.

Benton Harbor, Michigan: School board votes to oppose governor’s ultimatum to close high school

By Nancy Hanover, 15 June 2019

Thousands of students and residents of Benton Harbor have rallied to the defense of the city’s only high school, opposing the diktat of Michigan’s Democratic governor.

The Commonwealth Fund’s 2019 Scorecard

Rising US “deaths of despair” driven by health care costs, lack of access to care

By Kate Randall, 14 June 2019

A new study shows that one of the major underlying causes of “deaths of despair” is social inequality, in particular lack of access to health care and the associated financial struggles.

Homelessness surges in southern California

By Adam Mclean, 10 June 2019

In Los Angeles the growth of homelessness is driven by an exorbitantly high cost of living, dominated by rent.

Michigan governor announces closure of Benton Harbor High School

By Joseph Lorenz and JT Asher, 7 June 2019

Students, parents and community members denounced Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s unilateral decision to close Benton Harbor High School at a school board meeting this week.

Kalamazoo, Michigan: “I don’t like the idea of selling my blood plasma for money, but I have to do what I’ve got to do”

US blood plasma industry targets poor and working class

By Carlos Delgado, 28 May 2019

An increasing number of US workers are selling their plasma to cover basic necessities like food, rent, gas and diapers.

“It feels like your whole life is a constant crisis”

US millennials describe life on the brink

By Genevieve Leigh, 27 May 2019

“I have held countless jobs,” Luis said, “and none of them pay enough to live. I couldn’t see myself doing any of them for the rest of my life.”

Five years since the poisoning of Flint’s water supply: Part two

By James Brewer, 15 May 2019

This is the second part of a two-part series drawing a balance sheet of five years of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Trump administration to evict 55,000 children of immigrants from public housing

By Eric London, 13 May 2019

The Washington Post reports that Trump's fascist adviser Stephen Miller propagated the new rule, while HUD itself assesses its purpose is to increase poverty and destitution among immigrant families.

Changing poverty formula, Trump administration to make millions ineligible for social programs

By Alex González, 10 May 2019

The “chained CPI” plan is based on a previous attack on the poor and elderly proposed by the Obama administration.

Insys Therapeutics executives, makers of oral fentanyl spray, convicted of racketeering

By Ben Mateus, 9 May 2019

A study published earlier this year found that in 28 states the mortality rate from synthetic opioids had more than doubled every two years.

Uber drivers to participate in global strike

By Leslie Murtagh and Jesse Thomas, 8 May 2019

Thousands of Uber and other ride-sharing drivers around the world will strike on Wednesday to protest low wages and the spread of casualized labor.

San Diego mayor pushes for crackdown on vehicular homelessness

By Marko Leone, 1 May 2019

Approximately 1,300 people live in their cars in San Diego County, with about 8,500 people experiencing homelessness daily.

Hillary Clinton’s McCarthyite rant

By Joseph Kishore, 26 April 2019

In a column published Wednesday in the Washington Post, the former Democratic Party presidential candidate resurrects the conspiracy theories that were the staple of Cold War anticommunism.

US Gulf Coast still devastated six months after Hurricane Michael

By Matthew Taylor, 20 April 2019

Those left homeless in the aftermath of one of the strongest storms in US history have been forgotten by the media.

Twenty years since the Columbine High School massacre

By David Walsh, 19 April 2019

The Colorado event, in which two high school seniors shot and killed 12 of their fellow students and one teacher before committing suicide, represented something qualitatively new and disturbing in American social life.

Flint, a play at the University of Michigan: Stuck, unfortunately, in the quagmire of racial politics

By Joanne Laurier, 10 April 2019

José Casas’ drama is a response to the horrendous Flint, Michigan water crisis, which began in April 2014. As a result, the city’s poisoned population has suffered disease, death and untold misery.

Purdue Pharma, maker of highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, settles with state of Oklahoma for $270 million

By Ben Mateus, 8 April 2019

The settlement is the first of roughly 2,000 lawsuits pending in federal and state courts against Purdue and other opioid manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical.

Rising number of Michigan and US households unable to afford basic necessities

By Debra Watson, 8 April 2019

Even under conditions of a low official unemployment rate, rising numbers of families are in distress. A new recession will throw even larger sections of the working class into dire poverty.

“An excessive amount of violence, sexual abuse, and prisoner deaths”

Federal report exposes horrific levels of abuse in Alabama prisons

By Niles Niemuth, 5 April 2019

A more than two-year investigation exposed appalling violations of constitutional protections for the approximately 25,000 men locked up in facilities operated by the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Massive Hudson Yards real estate project opens in Manhattan

By Fred Mazelis and Mark Witkowski, 25 March 2019

The development is the latest and most extreme expression of the gentrification and inequality that has reached unprecedented levels in the capital of American capitalism.

US studies: More misery brought to you by Big Pharma

Sharp rise in fentanyl overdose deaths, ADHD-drug-induced psychosis, prescription drug rationing due to cost

By Kate Randall, 22 March 2019

A week rarely passes without the publication of a major study documenting the misery unleashed on Americans by the US pharmaceutical industry and its rapacious drive for profits.

Dreams for Change: A San Diego shelter for the vehicular homeless

By Marko Leone and Kevin Martinez, 16 March 2019

An increasing number of homeless families, students and workers are relying on nonprofits to find a safe space to sleep and live in their cars.

Workers and residents denounce GM Lordstown closure

By Tim Rivers, 15 March 2019

WSWS reporters traveled to the Mahoning Valley to interview GM workers and local residents in the aftermath of the shutdown of the General Motors Lordstown plant last week.

Free dental clinic draws hundreds in Nashville, Tennessee

By Warren Duzak and Keisha Gibbs, 14 March 2019

A joint effort of Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry and Remote Area Medical Corps provided more than $162,000 in services to more than 330 patients last Saturday.

“Deaths of despair” continue to soar

US deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide at all-time high

By Kate Randall, 8 March 2019

The devastating toll of 150,000 Americans dying from alcohol and drug-induced fatalities and suicides in 2017 is seen by the political establishment and pharmaceutical CEOs as the “cost of doing business.”

De Blasio accepts federal monitor to oversee New York City Housing Authority

By Josh Varlin, 7 March 2019

The Trump administration’s appointment of a monitor for the largest public housing system in the country presages further attacks on poorer sections of the working class in New York City.

Families struggle in aftermath of deadly Alabama tornado

By Ed Hightower, 6 March 2019

The responses from both the County and the Red Cross media contacts revealed an emergency management system that lacks central planning, forethought, coordination and resources.

Severe winter weather delays plague train travel in America and Canada

By Jeff Lusanne, 5 March 2019

Passenger trains in the United States and Canada have suffered delays of up to 36 hours as winter weather combines with the cost-cutting private ownership of freight railroads.

US Senate hearings on drug prices provide “friendly warning” to pharmaceuticals

By Brian Dixon, 2 March 2019

While some of the members of the committee occasionally posed as industry critics, the Senate hearing made it clear that no serious action will be taken to rein in high drug prices.

“I was treated like a caged animal”

Single mother and healthcare worker jailed for three days in Indiana over unpaid ambulance bill

By George Marlowe, 1 March 2019

Melissa Latronica, a single mother of three and a certified nursing assistant, was recently arrested and thrown into jail for an unpaid ambulance bill she never received.

Three children dead, four others injured in Imlay City, Michigan mobile home fire

By Niles Niemuth and Zac Corrigan, 27 February 2019

While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, the home’s furnace had not been working and the family had been using an alternate heating source to try to keep warm.

Flint water crisis claims its youngest Legionnaires’ victim to date

“Her failing health was due to the government failing her”

By Sheila Brehm, 27 February 2019

Jassmine McBride, only 30 years old, contracted the deadly lung disease at the height of the Flint water crisis in 2014.

New York University students angry over police “cleanup” of homeless on campus

By Owen Mullan and Sandy English, 23 February 2019

NYU students expressed outrage over an NYPD “cleanup” of the homeless in front of the university’s Silver Center building on February 6.

9/11 Victim Compensation Fund makes deep cuts to benefits

By Sandy English, 20 February 2019

The announcement was made the same day that President Trump bragged in about the large amount of funding allocated to the Department of Homeland Security,

Father and four young daughters perish in Watertown, New York, house fire

By Steve Filips, 19 February 2019

The rental had no functional smoke alarms and was not registered by the landlord, averting an inspection to verify safety before it could be rented out.

Laid-off worker opens fire and kills at least five in Aurora, Illinois manufacturing plant

By George Marlowe, 16 February 2019

A recently laid-off worker at the Henry Pratt Company opened fire Friday, killing at least five people and injuring many others.

Over a thousand federal inmates in New York City jail held for more than a week in dark, frigid conditions

By Philip Guelpa, 4 February 2019

Over 1,600 inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn have been without heat and hot water, and with limited electricity and communications since a fire last Sunday.

More US drug price hikes in 2019

By Alex Johnson, 4 February 2019

According to Reuters, drug manufacturers raised the prices of more than 250 prescription drugs, including the world’s top-selling medicine, Humira.

Extreme cold spell wreaks havoc across United States

By Niles Niemuth, 1 February 2019

The official death toll from the cold weather rose to 12, as critical electrical and natural gas infrastructure was pushed past its breaking point by record low temperatures.

Indiana school superintendent arrested, charged with fraud for using insurance to help sick student

By Matthew Taylor, 29 January 2019

The arrest of Casey Smitherman has illuminated the wretched living conditions the working class confronts in Indiana and across the US.

US drug company payments to doctors linked to opioid overdose deaths

By Brian Dixon, 22 January 2019

A study published last week in JAMA Network Open found that counties where doctors received payments from drug companies later experienced higher rates of overdose deaths from opioids.

Native American organizations denounce government shutdown as an abrogation of treaties

By Shelley Connor, 18 January 2019

Now in its fourth week, the partial government shutdown has had wide-ranging and devastating effects upon Native Americans.

New York City public housing residents in the South Bronx without heat for a decade

By Katy Kinner, 14 January 2019

During the winter months, New York City’s social misery is on full display as public housing residents live without reliable heat or hot water.

Federal government threatens takeover of NYC Housing Authority

By Philip Guelpa, 4 January 2019

There is no “excess capacity” in the available housing inventory that could absorb tens of thousands of additional low-income people looking for a place to live due to the loss of NYCHA housing.

Opioid overdose deaths triple among US teens and young children

By Kate Randall, 31 December 2018

The depth of the opioid crisis facing young people points to the woefully inadequate response of the government to this social catastrophe as it spirals out of control.

“That place is a death trap”

Faurecia workers respond to exposure of conditions at US auto parts plant

By our reporters, 31 December 2018

Workers describe being treated like slaves and compare their factories to plantations.

Thousands face loss of mental health coverage in the US

By Matthew Taylor, 29 December 2018

Congress has eliminated the Medicaid-sponsored program in line with the larger push by the ruling class to dismantle social programs.

Trump administration tightens work requirements for food stamps

By Trévon Austin, 22 December 2018

An estimated 755,000 individuals aged between 18 and 49 will lose food stamp benefits over the next three years if the US Department of Agriculture rule is implemented.

“We had two people die on the line this year”

Faurecia auto parts worker in Saline, Michigan describes appalling work regime

By David Rodriguez, 21 December 2018

A review of the Saline plant’s 52 years of operation provides insight into changes in automobile production and the corresponding decline in living standards and working conditions.

Rising homelessness: The reality of life for workers in a “booming” US economy

By Genevieve Leigh, 19 December 2018

A new government report shows that homelessness is on the rise in the United States for the second year in a row.

Hundreds attend vigil for victims of Youngstown, Ohio house fire

By Samuel Davidson, 17 December 2018

A ceremony was held Saturday evening for the five young children who died after an inferno engulfed their home last week.

Another day, another horror in America: Five children killed in Youngstown, Ohio, house fire

By Niles Niemuth, 11 December 2018

While the immediate cause of the fire remains under investigation, the tragedy which struck Sunday night is not an isolated event but the outcome of a failed social and economic system.

Hundreds of thousands of low-income New Yorkers excluded from mayor’s affordable housing plan

By Philip Guelpa, 7 December 2018

The plans of both Mayor Bill de Blasio and the comptroller leave the critical shortage of affordable housing in the hands of private developers.

Five years since Detroit bankruptcy

Moody’s warns investors about Detroit’s mounting debt

By Debra Watson, 5 December 2018

Moody’s Investors Service has issued major warnings about the ability to meet bond payments and financial shortfalls in the city’s public schools.

More people with mental illnesses seeking treatment from US emergency rooms

By Alex Johnson, 5 December 2018

Grossly inadequate funding for mental health means that patients swing from poorly-equipped group home facilities to emergency rooms—and, ultimately, jails and prisons.

Eighth New York City taxi driver suicide of 2018

By Leslie Murtagh, 4 December 2018

An 84 percent drop in medallion worth in only four years is a main factor contributing to the tragic string of taxi driver suicides.

Public health expert speaks on the crisis of American healthcare

Cases like Hedda Martin’s heart transplant denial “will continue to happen”

By Nancy Hanover, 3 December 2018

Workers and young people nationwide decried Martin's callous treatment, donating generously out of their own pockets, after Spectrum Health's Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Clinic told her to make “a fundraising effort of $10,000.”

Electrical problems likely cause of Indiana house fire that killed six

By Jessica Goldstein, 3 December 2018

It was reported that there were no fire hydrants in the area of the fire—pointing to the lack of funding for fire prevention and safety measures in rural areas.

One million dead from suicide, drug overdoses since 2007

Casualties of the social counterrevolution in America

By Eric London, 1 December 2018

The “mortality crisis” is the product of policies of social counterrevolution carried out by both the Democrats and Republicans in collaboration with the trade unions.

The US mortality crisis: CDC reports extraordinary drop in life expectancy

By Trévon Austin, 30 November 2018

Not since the combined impact of World War I and the Spanish Flu in 1918 has the country experienced such a prolonged period of decline in life expectancy.

Founder of Kansas City group whose food for homeless was destroyed by health department speaks out

By Josh Varlin, 30 November 2018

Nellie McCool spoke to the World Socialist Web Site about a raid earlier this month by Kansas City, Missouri, police and health officials on a picnic put on by her group Free Hot Soup.

US immigrants go hungry for fear using food stamps will lead to deportation

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 27 November 2018

Household food insecurity among immigrant families in the US for less than five years increased from 9.9 percent in 2007 to 17.8 percent in the first half of 2018.

New York Governor Cuomo proposes band-aid for student hunger

By Leslie Murtagh, 26 November 2018

Governor Cuomo has made an entirely inadequate proposal to address food insecurity facing state and city public university students in one of the wealthiest states in the US.

Sandra Parks, 13-year-old Milwaukee, Wisconsin writer, killed in home by stray bullet

By Jacob Crosse, 24 November 2018

Parks is the 7th Milwaukee Public School student killed this year via homicide, the 12th child killed by firearms, and the 91st overall homicide in the state’s largest city.

America’s Thanksgivings

By David Walsh, 22 November 2018

The US on Thanksgiving 2018 presents a picture of a country plagued by malignant social inequality, with tens of millions suffering in poverty. Meanwhile, the very rich are living like never before. Political and social explosions are inevitable.

Death toll from California fires likely to soar, with nearly 1,300 people still missing

By David Brown, 19 November 2018

There is growing popular outrage as details emerge pointing to the culpability of the state’s energy giants and government officials in creating the conditions for the deadly inferno.

Kansas City health officials, police destroy food meant for homeless

By Josh Varlin, 14 November 2018

Footage of Kansas City Health Department officials and police pouring bleach on food being distributed by Free Hot Soup KC for homeless people sparked national outrage.

Merrimack Valley disaster, National Grid lockout highlights dangers of profit-driven gas system

By John Marion, 9 November 2018

As Columbia Gas cuts corners in the restoration of service to Merrimack Valley communities, more than 1,200 skilled gas workers are still locked out by National Grid.

What is to be done about the plutocrats?

By Patrick Martin, 2 November 2018

A new report documents the colossal role of inherited wealth in perpetuating social inequality in America.

Nearly 40 percent of New Jersey households struggle to make ends meet

By Erik Schreiber, 31 October 2018

A United Way report documenting the rising number of working poor in New Jersey provides concrete evidence of the intensified assault on workers' living standards.

Hundreds of bodies and other remains hidden in Detroit funeral homes

By Lawrence Porter, 27 October 2018

With an average cost for a funeral with cremation at $6,800 and burial at $10,000, the phenomenon of unclaimed bodies and burial crises is nationwide.