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United States

Yearbook 1999

USA stands for United States of America according to Abbreviationfinder.org. On January 7, 1999, Senate hearings began with President Bill Clinton regarding his deal with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The indictment against Clinton concerned perjury and attempts to prevent clarifying facts from being made, and prosecutors considered the president to be so criminal that he had to resign. Bill Clinton thus became the second president of US history to face trial, but most judges doubted from the outset that Clinton would lose the case. It was considered unlikely that a necessary two-thirds majority would vote against him. Clinton's Representative Andrew Johnson, the first president to stand trial in 1868, was acquitted with only one overweight vote. In Bill Clinton's case, at least 12 Democrats were required to vote with the Republican majority in order for it to be a convict.

1999 United StatesClinton's lawyers ran the line that even though the president committed a trial and prevented clarifying facts from being revealed, his crimes were still not serious enough to be sentenced in national law, as enshrined in the US Constitution. It is only a violation of the political system, e.g. treason, which is serious enough to lead to national law, not perpetration committed in a private matter such as divorce or a target of sexual harassment, according to defense attorneys.

On January 19, President Clinton spoke at the congressional opening, but he did not touch on the lawsuit against him at all, but outlined the prevailing domestic politics in social policy, education and health care. The account of the state in the nation was very well received by US voters, and a poll after the poll showed that 70% of those surveyed thought Bill Clinton was doing a good job.

The decisive vote in the Senate on February 12 ended with acquittal. With voting numbers 55-45, the Senate voted against the president's denial when he denied before a court in August 1998 that he had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Ten Republican senators voted with the Democrats.

The surge after the Lewinsky scandal eventually settled, and new dramatic events caught the attention of Americans.

Jack Kevorkian, a retired pathologist who helped the deadly 56-year-old Thomas Youk commit suicide, was sentenced April 13 to between 10 and 25 years in prison for second-degree murder. Kevorkian acknowledged that he had obtained the deadly drug Youk used in the suicide. He has previously admitted that he assisted in 130 suicides since 1990.

On April 20, 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold attacked a school in Littleton, Colorado, killing 12 students and their teachers in the most serious shooting drama that occurred at a school in the United States.

The domestic political debate was now dominated by the conclusions that should be drawn from the drama in Littleton. Bill Clinton was trying to push a national consensus on tougher gun control. Republicans, however, voted down a proposal for mandatory checks on anyone who buys guns, and then voted through a proposal to encourage voluntary checks on gun dealers without a license.

On July 29, President Clinton's amorous business again became front page material when the Arkansas District Judge ordered Bill Clinton to pay $ 90,686, mainly to Paula Jones, as compensation for costs related to the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

In late November, Bill Clinton's draft budget for the 2000 financial year was approved, after several months of opposition from Republicans in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Republicans demanded that government spending be reduced by 1%, but the president stopped the cut with his veto, and his own proposal for a cut of only 0.38% went through.

In November, Hillary Clinton announced that she is running for New York candidate in the next Senate election. She briefly held her first political speech and went there for a fierce attack on New York's Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and his harsh policies on the city's homeless.

Six-year-old Elian Gonzalez, who survived two days at sea after his mother and stepfather drowned while trying to escape from Cuba, became the cause of tough diplomatic entanglements in December. The boy's father and grandparents demand that the boy be returned to them in Cuba, while relatives in Miami require the boy to be granted a residence permit and stay in the United States.

On December 14, the United States surrendered control of the Panama Canal to Panama after 80 years of occupation of the Canal Zone. The surrender, which took place at a ceremony at one of the canal banks, marks the end of the negotiations on the control of the canal that began as early as 1977.

1999 United States

The labor movement

The United States is a social system where all threats from the left have been crushed. The challenges of the established power elite have come from the right, which has countered the "Big Government", "Big Business" and "Big Trade Unions". The elite of power has always been able to absorb this resistance without the great difficulties.

Yet, there has also been a radical undercurrent in the protests against the incumbents. The antitrust laws were inspired by a populist ideology that regarded the large corporations and organized political and economic interests of Washington as its natural opponent. Especially around the turn of the century, populism flourished, and it has at times had strong anti-capitalist undertones.

The labor movement has never been strong, in the sense we know from Europe. The trade union movement has roots quite far back. As early as the 1790's, labor unions were formed in several cities in the United States. In 1827, trade unions in Philadelphia formed a joint organization, and in 1830 several national associations were established. However, these associations did not become permanent. A crisis and a subsequent vigorous reform period pervaded the movement. It was not until the 1850's that the trade unions came back strong, and in 1869 the Knights of Labor organization was formed - partly according to the pattern of the English charters. It organized craftsmen and skilled workers, the political trend was anti-capitalist, but also to some extent anti-industrial. The organization exclusively organized whites and had strong racist traits.

In 1886 a comprehensive demonstration was held in Chicago on May 1 for 8 hours of work. Two days later, the demonstrations had doubled and were now being attacked by police. When the trade union movement held a protest meeting on Haymarket the next day, a bomb was thrown, costing 7 policemen and 4 workers. Authorities sentenced the year after 4 anarchists to the attack and hanged them - the martyrs of Chicago. The international labor movement subsequently decided to make May 1 the working class international match day.

In the same year - 1886 - a nationwide trade union was formed in the United States - the American Federation of Labor (AFL). The union was almost dominant in the North American trade union movement right up to the end of the interwar period. Among its founders were Samuel Gompers and Adolph Strasser. They came from England and Germany and knew of the European trade union movement. Both were socialists, and the union marked itself in its program of radical formulations about the class contradictions of American society. But despite the anti-capitalist tendency, the federation led a purely reform-oriented policy. Like the Knights of Labor, the AFL was largely white and chauvinistic. (See Trade Union Movement).

AFL consisted of autonomous unions, organized by business groups. The union gained momentum in parts of the industry and achieved great improvements in working conditions, working hours and pay conditions for its members. But AFL limited its business to skilled workers - mostly English speaking. The unskilled and the new immigrant groups fell outside their professional field.

In 1905, a new revolutionary trade union was formed - Industrial Workers of the World, IWW. The initiation of the formation was taken by the leaders of the major miners' union - the Western Federation of Miners - which broke with the AFL because of the federation's reformist policies. Together with the miners, the two socialist parties, the Socialist Labor Party and The Socialist Party, and independent syndicalists took the initiative for the founding congress. After a short time, however, the syndicalists took over the leadership of the federation.

IWW set itself the goal of organizing unskilled workers and immigrants in the major industrial areas. The union had initially reached 100,000 members, and must have had up to 200,000 during periods of hard strikes and actions. When the syndicalists took over the leadership in 1908, they restricted the company to purely professional actions and broke the direct contact with the socialist parties. IWW was never a member in terms of significant, but implemented a number of major strikes and actions in the period up to the first World War.

In the late 30's, the AFL was split. A new law gave workers the right to enter into agreements in the companies. The leaders of several unions within the AFL then took the initiative to organize the workers directly at the company level, but the AFL management objected to this because it broke with the union's organizational form. Despite the protests, a number of "Committees of Industrial Organization" were formed, which later joined the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

In particular, the CIO made a breakthrough in the industry based on mass production - especially after having reached collective agreements within some of the largest companies, such as US Steel and General Motors. The federation supported the Democratic Party and partnered with the Liberal wing.

In the late 1930's, membership in the professional organizations doubled from 3 to 6 million. By 1943 it had risen to 12 and in 1953 to 17 million. Of the 17, 50% were members of the AFL, 30% of the CIO and 20% of the railway workers and other unions. In 1955, AFL and CIO were merged (AFL-CIO). to have cooperated against the so-called Taft-Hartley Act of 1948, which restricted the right to strike.

Socialist parties have never managed to develop in the United States to an extent comparable to European countries. The first Socialist Party was formed in 1877 and was called The Socialist Labor Party. The party was especially marked by Daniel De Leon, who joined it in 1890. The Socialist Party, which was formed in 1901, became more important in 1901. In 1912, the party gained about 1 million votes in the presidential election, or 6% of the total vote. In 1920, its presidential candidate, Eugene Debs, received a similar backing, despite the fact that at the time he was jailed as a political prisoner.

The party occupied the same position for the war as the European social democracies, and in 1921 the left broke out and formed a North American Communist Party. The party never gained a foothold in North American politics, but members of the party entered the leadership of some of the unions. The Socialist Party and a number of different anti-Stalinist groups also worked within the trade union movement - especially in connection with the IWW and later with the CIO. Under the leadership of Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party was strongly influenced by Christian and pacifist currents. It gained momentum in the 1930's and gained nearly 1 million votes again in the 1932 presidential election.

After World War II, a comprehensive campaign was launched to remove communists from all positions in North American society. The campaign, led by Senator JR McCarthy, made it impossible for almost all socialist politics in the American public. Communists and socialists were purged by the trade union movement, intellectuals of all socialist observances were met with suspicion, political persecution and blacklisting throughout the 50's, and all leftist radicalism was paralyzed.

The end of this paralysis first occurred in 1960. That year, several hundred students in San Francisco demonstrated against the so - called Un-American Activities Committee (House of Un-American Activities Committee, HUAC). That same year, the CORE - Congress of Racial Equality - began organizing so-called "Freedom Rides" for southern states to support the blacks' fight against racial segregation and discrimination. Also included in this movement were black and white students who were organized in the non-violence organization SNCC.

The fight against discrimination against blacks was to become one of the most important components of a comprehensive radicalization of North American society in the 1960's. Along with the racial struggle, first the fight against US Cuban politics and later the opposition to the Vietnam War contributed to the development of a new left movement - which gained reverberations throughout the North American community. Especially in the student and university environments, the new movement took on a socialist character. The SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), with the Fabian-dominated SLID (Students League for Industrial Democracy) and affiliations with the Socialist Party, was for a long time the leading organization. The movement placed itself in a tradition dating back to pre-war socialist currents. SDS was predominantly dominated byanti-authoritarian groups with links to the European "new left".

Towards the end of the decade, a number of Maoist-inspired groups and groups emerged that developed various forms of violent action. Within the movement of the blacks (see Black Power), various groups broke with the former non-violence stand, which was especially advocated by Martin Luther King, and formed various "party-building" and guerilla-oriented organizations. At the same time, a comprehensive women's movement emerged, which turned the anti-authoritarian ideas of the new left into one of its main principles, and sought to organize comprehensive counter-movements of and for women in all spheres of society. With the US defeat and withdrawal from Vietnam, the movement lost one of its main drivers and support in the cross-political opposition to US warfare.

 

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