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Vol. 81/No. 42      November 13, 2017


25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

November 13, 1992
A massive explosion rocked the Texaco Corp. refinery in Wilmington, California, on October 8, injuring 16 people, sending flames more than 100 feet into the air and triggering a neighborhood evacuation. Residents of the mostly Latino neighborhood within a two-mile radius of the refinery were evacuated on Los Angeles city buses.

The blast occurred at 9:45 p.m., just before shift change, when the operators were in the control room preparing their written turnovers for the oncoming shift. Union members from Texaco described the scene to other oil workers: the control room, designed to be explosion-proof, was compressed by the force of the explosion. The blast raised the floor and forced the ceiling downward. Workers were forced to crawl out to escape from the control room.

November 13, 1967
In the pre-dawn hours of Oct. 28, Huey P. Newton of the Oakland, Calif., Black Panther Party for Self Defense was shot and seriously wounded in the stomach by police. Newton was driving with a woman friend when police apparently stopped him. A struggle followed, and one policeman was killed and another wounded. Newton is being held on charges of murder.

It was around the issue of police harassment that Huey Newton and other leaders of the Black Panther Party organized. The Black Panthers initiated armed patrols of Black neighborhoods at night. The defense committee statement explained that “when they saw a policeman stop a Black person on the streets they would stand a few feet away to observe. Whenever they observed a cop getting out of line, they would speak up.”

November 14, 1942
The exacting and exhausting demands made on the mechanized soldier in the present war have caused all the nations to turn for man-power to the youth. The United States is preparing to take the unprecedented step of applying conscription to those who are eighteen and over. Thus the youth are being called upon to make the supreme sacrifice in the imperialist war.

It seems that democracy ends where youth begins. The right to vote is reserved for their elders. The law which acknowledges their manhood by sending them to the battlefield, gives them the status of minors when it comes to politics. They are not asked to make up their own minds concerning any of the larger issues of the war or the post-war world. That will be done for them by those with greater experience, the experience that brought on the war.  
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