The Social Crisis in America

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.

$1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot

Lottery fever: A symptom of social desperation

By Kayla Costa, 25 October 2018

The top 24 lottery jackpots in United States history have all occurred since the 2008–09 financial crash.

Nearly 150,000 New York City public school students are homeless

By Philip Guelpa, 24 October 2018

The rate of homelessness among public school students in America’s largest city and financial center is the highest ever recorded.

Detroit's reality: Infant corpses found piled up in funeral home

By Lawrence Porter, 22 October 2018

Police raids following an anonymous tip and a lawsuit have uncovered dozens of fetuses, several children’s bodies and hundreds of containers of human remains.

Record high income in 2017 for top one percent of wage earners in US

By Gabriel Black, 20 October 2018

In 2017, the top one percent of US wage earners received their highest paychecks ever, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute.

Seventh New York taxi industry driver commits suicide

By Leslie Murtagh and Daniel de Vries, 18 October 2018

The suicide shines a spotlight on the dire conditions facing drivers of the approximately 80,000 cars in New York City affiliated with ride-sharing app companies.

Death toll from Hurricane Michael continues to climb

By Matthew Taylor, 15 October 2018

Hurricane Michael is now considered to be the third most powerful storm to impact the US.

Lead at some Detroit schools 50 times the allowable federal level

By Lawrence Porter, 12 October 2018

A new report on lead and copper in Detroit schools reveals the acute health dangers facing working class families due to the massive deterioration in education funding.

The fifth death in two years

Eighteen-year-old found hanged in northern Wisconsin jail

By Jacob Crosse, 8 October 2018

The tragic and preventable deaths in Wisconsin Rapids reflect an upward trend in suicides throughout the United States’ overcrowded, backlogged and brutal jail and prison system.

Chicago police officer convicted of second-degree murder in 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald

By Jessica Goldstein, 6 October 2018

The trial and guilty verdict followed an attempted cover-up of the murder by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department.

New York City affordable housing crisis continues to worsen

By Philip Guelpa, 3 October 2018

Nearly half a million affordable housing units were lost over the last dozen years, while there was a fourfold increase in high-end units during the same period.

New Census Bureau report details poor conditions in New York’s Public Housing

By Mark Witkowski, 28 September 2018

The latest triannual US Census report on New York City housing reveals worsening conditions for the poorest New Yorkers.

Dopesick by Beth Macy

Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America

By Gary Joad, 25 September 2018

Author Beth Macy paints a searing and heartbreaking portrait of the Appalachian victims of the current opioid epidemic in the United States.

As Trump stages photo-ops in the Carolinas

Hurricane flooding exposes mass poverty, class oppression in America

By Ed Hightower and Barry Grey, 20 September 2018

President Trump staged photo ops and offered empty promises and lies to a region struck twice in two years by deadly storms.

Ten years after the financial crash

Wall Street pay up 13 percent while workers’ wages stagnate

By Barry Grey, 19 September 2018

The average pay of Wall Street traders and brokers rose to $422,500.

California: Fire exposes conditions at Oakland homeless encampment

By Adam Mclean and Evan Blake, 15 September 2018

Homelessness is a chronic and widespread social problem in the United States, with California being the worst hit state, due primarily to extremely high real estate prices.

Fifteen prisoners die in a month in Mississippi

By Aaron Murch, 8 September 2018

The sharp spike in prisoner deaths in Mississippi underscores the brutality and inhumanity of the prison system, which now holds over two million poor and working class people throughout the US.

Life under capitalism for an American youth

Injured Texas Wal-Mart worker describes how and why she switched to socialism

By Eric London, 5 September 2018

Ashley represents a new wave of workers who are not content with their oppression and are drawing broader political conclusions.

As classes begin, Detroit schools shut off drinking water due to high levels of lead and copper

By Eula Holmes and Patrick Martin, 31 August 2018

The pollution of the water supply is particularly devastating for children, whose brains and bodies are especially at risk from toxins.

A tragedy born of inequality: Ten children die in Chicago house fire

By Kristina Betinis, 29 August 2018

The horrific fire in Chicago is a crime of capitalism, for which the ruling class and its political representatives are responsible.

As city officials seek to shift blame onto parents

Chicago house fire claims ninth victim

By Kristina Betinis, 28 August 2018

As the dilapidated condition of the property came to light, including a lengthy list of complaints from prior tenants, city and state officials sought to shift the blame onto the victims’ families.

Eight children killed in house fire on Chicago’s West Side

By Jessica Goldstein, 27 August 2018

According to the fire department, if working smoke detectors had been in place, the victims would have been woken by the alarms and could have all escaped to safety.

US service workers who rely on tips more susceptible to depression

By Alex Johnson, 25 August 2018

A recent study found that the uncertain nature of tips and irregular schedules contributes to higher rates of stress and depression among service workers.

Studies: US life expectancy drops as mortality rises among younger adults

By Kate Randall, 21 August 2018

While many other countries saw a rebound in life expectancy in 2016, the US and the UK saw declines for two consecutive years.

Horizon Air worker dead after stealing airplane, crashing near Tacoma, Washington

By Alec Andersen, 14 August 2018

Asked why he stole the plane, Russell told air traffic controllers, “Minimum wage, we'll chalk it up to that. Maybe that will grease some gears a little bit with the higher-ups.”

Tragic house fire takes three lives in Lincoln Park, Michigan

By Niles Niemuth, 14 August 2018

The victims of the fire that engulfed a house in the early morning hours Saturday include a woman two months pregnant, a family caretaker and a four-year-old boy.

Bankruptcy filings surge among older Americans

Dwindling income, medical bills, debt push seniors into financial ruin

By Kate Randall, 7 August 2018

A new study suggests that the surge in bankruptcies is being driven by a three-decade-long shift of financial risk from the government and employers to individuals.

Trump administration cuts in rent subsidies compound US housing crisis

By Kate Randall, 6 August 2018

With rents rising and construction of affordable apartments lagging, Trump is implementing a punitive policy that will exacerbate the already dire housing crisis.

Hepatitis A outbreak worsens in West Virginia, Kentucky

By Naomi Spencer, 4 August 2018

Over 1,900 people across West Virginia and Kentucky have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A in the past few months, and at least 10 people have died. Hepatitis C and HIV are likewise on the rise.

Bottom 40 percent of Americans have a negative net income

By Gabriel Black, 3 August 2018

A report by Reuters shows that nearly half of the US population does not earn enough money to cover expenses and is increasingly dependent on unsustainable levels of debt to survive.

Town hall fails to ease concerns over industrial toxins found in Parchment, Michigan drinking water

By Joseph Lorenz, 2 August 2018

In a tightly controlled meeting, local and state officials sought to dispel the anger of residents who learned last week that their water has dangerous levels of PFAS chemicals.

Trump plans a $100 billion tax bonus for the rich

By Niles Niemuth, 1 August 2018

The Trump administration is preparing to change the calculation of the capital gains tax so as to funnel billions more to the top 10 percent.

High levels of toxic chemicals found in drinking water of west Michigan community

By Carlos Delgado, 28 July 2018

City officials announced to residents of Parchment, Michigan Thursday that their water contained dangerously high levels of PFAS chemicals.

Claiming that the war on poverty has been won, Trump administration works to gut social programs

By Shelley Connor, 19 July 2018

The White House report doubles down on the one consistent theme of the Trump administration: that the poor are imagining their poverty, and that all they lack is self-sufficiency and the impetus to work.

Pharmaceutical distributors flooded Missouri with opioids

By Shelley Connor, 17 July 2018

A Senate report found that three pharmaceutical companies shipped a total of 1.6 billion doses of opioids into Missouri between 2012 and 2017.

Woman dies after New Jersey utility cuts off her electricity

By Mark Ferretti, 16 July 2018

The shutoff occurred as temperatures climbed above 90 degrees, despite the family’s payments and written notifications to the utility company of the woman’s medical condition.

Latest volley aimed at gutting health care for workers

Trump administration freezes “risk adjustment” payments to health insurers

By Kate Randall, 11 July 2018

Over the last year, the White House has issued executive orders and undertaken administrative actions to undercut the program popularly known as Obamacare.

National Grid cuts off healthcare for locked-out workers in Massachusetts

By Kate Randall, 10 July 2018

The company is continuing operations with management personnel and contractors, threatening public safety due to the dangerous nature of working with live gas lines.

Detroit water shutoffs to resume in midst of punishing heat wave

By Debra Watson, 7 July 2018

Detroit water shutoffs will resume this week, after a one-week pause, though extremely high temperatures and heat advisories in Detroit are expected to continue throughout the summer.

Report: Lower-income New Yorkers suffer the greatest mass transit hardships

By Alan Whyte, 5 July 2018

An independent study by two Federal Reserve Bank of New York economists concludes that the city’s lower income residents experience more transit interruptions and delays than those with higher incomes.

“This is a day to honor Coby”

Family of Jacoby Hennings to celebrate young autoworker’s life

By Jerry White, 5 July 2018

Family and friends are holding a memorial picnic on July 8 in the Detroit suburb of Eastpointe to honor the young Ford worker who died on October 20, 2017.

Two XPO Logistics workers killed near Buffalo, New York

By Steve Filips, 4 July 2018

Two warehouse workers unloading 800 pound slabs of Dupont countertop material were killed when the slabs toppled over onto them.

Attacker stabs nine people at apartment complex housing refugees in Boise, Idaho

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 2 July 2018

According to the Boise police department, the number of victims was the most in a single incident in the city’s history.