The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.62/No.18           May 11, 1998 
25 And 50 Years Ago  
May 11, 1973
HOUSTON - On Wednesday, April 11, more than 600 Black longshoremen did not report to work at the Port of Houston. They went instead to the Houston city council chambers to protest the beating by Houston police of four members of their union, International Longshoremen's Association, Local 872. The beatings had occurred the previous Friday evening, April 6, outside the union hall. The police maintained that the four men had interfered with a cop who was writing a ticket, and that they had resisted arrest. The four were charged with aggravated assault on police officers, disorderly conduct, and interfering with a police officer. According to Reuben Wheatley, president of ILA Local 872, the police cursed the arrested men and taunted them with racist slurs while taking them to the main police station. When they arrived at the station, the men were beaten again.

I talked to Wheatley later in his office about the sentiment of the union membership. He told me that "Friday night the men didn't feel like working anymore until something was done about it.... If we get a man seriously hurt or killed on a ship, they don't work the ship that day. We have that policy. I had to go out of town, but when I got back, the men still wanted something done. I suggested that the executive board go down to city hall, but the men said "No! We're all going down there.' So we all went.

May 10, 1948
The witches' brew called the Mundt Bill - a straight dose of poison for American civil liberties - has been reported out and plans are underfoot to steamroller the measure through Congress. This bill concocted by the House Un-American Committee aims at driving the Communist (Stalinist) Party and its "front" organizations out of political life. In addition to that, under its broad language, persecution can be started of all working class, liberal, and trade union organizations.

The bill defines the Communist (Stalinist) movement as an international conspiracy in the service of a foreign (Russian) government to set up a totalitarian dictatorship in this country and lists punishment for all organizations coming under the bill.

"Subversive" citizens, as defined by the bill, are forbidden to hold any federal job or even to apply for a passport. The Communist Party must register the names and addresses of all members with the Attorney General. All so- called communist front organizations must keep a full membership list in their offices for the inspection of the FBI at any time.  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home