25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

September 24, 2018

September 27, 1993

COLUMBIANA, Alabama — Two striking steelworkers were killed September 7 as they staffed the picket line in front of the National-Standard plant here. A rally has been called for September 26 to show solidarity with the steelworkers. Keith Cain, 23, and Walter Fleming, 55, were killed when they were run over by a tractor trailer. The union, United Steelworkers of America Local 15015, has been on strike against proposed wage and benefit cuts of $7.42 per hour since June 1.

When the murder occurred, Fleming was standing on the shoulder of the road leading out of the plant talking to Cain, who was seated in a chair. Eyewitnesses said the truck came flying out of the plant and swerved off the road to hit the strikers. The driver, Larry Gray Jr., didn’t stop until he was arrested several miles from the plant.

September 27, 1968

SAN FRANCISCO — The Air force suffered a defeat here earlier this week in its attempt to stop the Oct. 12 GI March for Peace. It was forced to revoke its orders to transfer Airmen First Class Michael Locks and John Bright to Utah for 45 days of temporary duty.

Locks and Bright, who have been active in organizing the antiwar march, received orders removing them from the Bay Area Sept. 13. The following day they held a press conference making public this attempt to prevent them from exercising their constitutional rights.

They were accompanied by a panel of ministers, doctors, lawyers and teachers who support the right of GIs to protest the war. Telegrams of support came from the New York Veterans for Peace and the national office of the Student Mobilization Committee. The Air Force revoked the transfer orders Sept. 16.

September 25, 1943

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis delivered a blow to labor’s rights and civil liberties in its Sept. 20 decision upholding the conviction under the Smith “Gag” Act of 18 members of the Socialist Workers Party and of Minneapolis Motor Transport Workers Local 544-CIO. The defendants immediately announced that the Circuit Court’s decision will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Minneapolis trial was the first conducted under the 1940 Smith “Gag” Act, which makes mere advocacy of ideas a felony.

Both Washington and its servile supporters in the trade union bureaucracies knew that the existence of a militant, independent political and union leadership constituted an obstacle to the war program, which requires a housebroken labor movement.