25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

May 14, 2018

May 17, 1993

KAYENTA, Navajo Reservation, Arizona — United Mine Workers of America Local 1924 president Eugenie Bodonie told the Militant that the local’s membership voted unanimously to give eastern coal miners “full support in the BCOA [Bituminous Coal Operators Association] negotiations, even if it means going on strike.”

The February 9 vote took place in three local shift meetings attended by more than 300 members, some 80 percent of the union, Bodonie said.

“Whatever they’ll do back east they’ll try to do to us in the future,” Bodonie explained. “This is the first year of our five-year contract. We are protecting ourselves from what Peabody will do four years down the road.” Peabody mines east of the Mississippi River were the target of the February strike. The massive Kayenta strip mine is Peabody’s largest mine in the West.

May 17, 1968

Last month Oakland, Calif., police murdered one member of the Black Panther Party and wounded two others. Now the cops have been exonerated and eight Black Panther party members have been indicted on a trumped-up charge of “attempted murder.” Once again the victim becomes the “criminal” and the criminal the victim.

The eight Panthers were indicted April 25 on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. The indictment grew out of the April 6 confrontation where the police killed Panther treasurer Bobby Hutton, 18.

The Alameda County grand jury which indicted the eight Panthers asserted the cops acted “lawfully” when they shot Hutton because, they claim, “he did not heed commands to halt.”

The cops did not order Hutton to “halt” but told him to run to a squad car. As he was running, the cops shot him.

May 15, 1943

May 10 marked the tenth anniversary of the infamous book-burning night when the Nazi party “cleansed” German culture of “subversive” literature, including the works of Leon Trotsky. The Nazis and their capitalist masters hoped that the burning of liberal and Marxist literature would remove all anti-capitalist thoughts from the minds of the workers.

What the Nazis failed to understand was that the workers’ struggles against capitalism were not primarily the product of written words, but the bankruptcy of the system itself. So long as the root cause of poverty, unemployment and war remains, the workers will continue to fight for their right to peace and bread — despite bonfire fed by “subversive literature.”

The burning of “dangerous thoughts” cannot prop up this capitalist system and its terror, hunger, and bloodshed.