Politics, people, profits — 2008 headline review

There are a lot of headlines in a year.

Looking through ours, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that the presidential elections and the economy topped the list. But our stories illuminated the events differently from the corporate media. Unlike them, our eyes and ears are tuned to what is going on at the grass roots and our editorial mission is to help build multiracial, all-people’s unity for progress.

Last year’s top PWW stories were remarkable for a few reasons.

First, the timeliness of our analysis. Our writers were ahead of the curve.

Note the Jan. 12, 2008, People Before Profits column headline: “On jobs it’s worse than it looks”. Author Art Perlo concludes, “Memo to candidates for president, congress, governor, legislature, sheriff, dog catcher: It is the economy … !”

Unlike many from the corporate chattering classes, we knew the economy as a dominant story didn’t just happen in September with the financial market crash. For those who live on Main Street (or King Blvd. or Broadway), it was clear the recession had already started and the subprime crisis was well under way.

And we summarized the meaning of the elections with the January headline “Fired up for change” and the February analysis “A people’s surge that could reshape our country.”

The fight against racism and the role of labor unions were central in our coverage. These factors were critical to a people’s victory in November. Back in July, our onsite reporting, “Steelworkers vow to fight racism, elect Obama,” showed that the labor movement would put the issue of race squarely on the table. We were confident that with this kind of mobilization, white workers would vote their class interest and not allow the corporations and right wing to divide and conquer.

“The speech that moved the nation” and “The science of struggle and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.” challenged the right-wing attempt to use racism to throw sand in the eyes of white voters.

From the $700 billion bailout (“$700,000,000,000 for what?”) to the sit-in by Chicago’s Republic workers (“Sit-in! Workers take over factory, solidarity pours in, ‘Billions for Bank America, $0 for workers’”), each story bore the markings of this new political era of crisis and opportunity.

But the headline everyone worked so hard to make happen was dated Nov. 8: “Hope, unity, change. HISTORY”.

These headlines make you realize what a unique newspaper this is. You can continue making it unique. Donate today. Go to pww.org, revisit some of the headlines — and then click on the donate button. A great way to start the new year.





A 2008 sampling:

“Banks bilk homebuyers, cities say; Black, Latino families hit hardest” (Jan. 19)

“Immigration: myths vs. facts” (Jan. 19 4-page pullout)

“Climate change: what’s the problem?” (Jan. 26)

“Bailout goes to Wall Street, not Main Street” (March 22 — that’s right March!)

“Calls to close Guantanamo fueled by torture memo” (April 12)

“Story of a plant that closed” (April 12)

“Why young people should get involved with unions” (April 26)

“McCain a no-show on equal pay for women” (May 2)

“500,000 GIs suffer from ‘invisible’ wounds: End the war, fund health care” (May 2)

“What will we eat when the soil is gone?” (May 17)

“Look who’s talking about the working class” (May 24)

“Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects need ‘a miracle’” (June 14)

“‘Restructuring’ puts people on the streets” (June 28)

“Health care for all on the horizon; Nation’s mayors endorse single-payer bill” (July 12)

“Teachers union rolls out new vision for America’s schools” (July 19)

“We need a new, green New Deal!”(July 26)

“Labor’s fight against racism has impact” (Aug. 16)

“An August surprise: Russia-Georgia conflict explodes on world scene” (Aug. 16)

“Wal-Mart bullies workers on elections” (Aug. 23)

“Poultry workers: Poster-child for Employee Free Choice Act” (Aug. 30)

“Bring back the Tree Army” (Aug. 30)

“McCain’s far-right VP stirs sharp opposition” (Sept. 6)

“NATO, an idea whose time has gone” (Sept. 13)

“Ohio labor: ‘Obama will be a great president’” (Sept. 20)

“McCain-Palin attacks fall flat with Latinos” (Sept. 20)

“In bed with Big Oil” (Sept. 20)

“An insult to women” (Oct. 2)

“Marx was right” (Oct. 18)

“Nationalize the banks, employ the unemployed” (Oct. 18)

“Calls mount to ‘bring troops home’ from Afghanistan” (Oct. 25)

“First Black president? Detroit labor legend wonders if it’s all a dream” (Nov. 1)

“Flushing out the worker-wannabes” (Nov. 1)

“Unity needed after Prop. 8” (Nov. 15)

“Time to build a new mass movement for a peace economy” (Dec. 6)

“A win for workers is a win for all; Employee Free Choice Act is key to recovery” (Dec. 20)