25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

April 8, 2019

April 11, 1994

The natural gas explosion that sent a fireball through an apartment complex in Edison, New Jersey, was not a freak occurrence or just an accident. Its ruinous impact on the lives of hundreds of local residents who were left homeless was a direct result of the priorities of the money-hungry bosses and their capitalist system that routinely discounts the lives of working people.

Texas Eastern Transmission Corp., like all capitalist enterprises, puts profits ahead of public safety in operating the gas pipeline. There were no sensors or automatic shut-off valves on the 33-year-old pipe, for example. This meant the gas flow continued for two hours, feeding the blaze, while workers fought to manually shut down the line. The pipeline was operating at high pressures that, while permissible under government regulations, put extra strain on the pipe.

April 11, 1969

The perpetual crisis which has afflicted New York City municipal hospitals for many years finally boiled over two weeks ago when the medical board at Harlem Hospital announced it was closing the hospital. Dr. Herbert Cave, medical director of the hospital, said that it was time to stop fooling the public into the belief that it could provide first-rate medical care with tenth-rate equipment, lack of staff, and insufficient money to operate the huge facility which serves central Harlem.

Early in the current crisis, Mayor Lindsay had threatened to close down nine of the 21 municipal institutions. 

Public sentiment against the curtailment of hospital and clinic services has run high. Mass meetings have been addressed by representatives of the organized labor movement, civic and civil rights organizations, and the churches.

April 8, 1944

Britain’s greatest militant labor upsurge of the past 18 years again threatens to spread, as over 135,000 coal miners and shipyard workers continue their strike in defiance of the Churchill government’s army draft threats and the frantic back-to-work appeals of their own traitorous union leaders.

Last week some 45,000 shipbuilding workers employed in the huge Tyneside, Clydeside and Belfast, Northern Ireland, shipyards joined the strike ranks of the 90,000 South Yorkshire coal miners who walked out over two weeks ago.

Government officials termed the current strike movement the “worst labor crisis” since the 1926 General Strike and spokesmen of the Fuel Ministry are voicing the fear that the Yorkshire struggle may spread amongst all the 700,000 British coal miners. The government has been powerless to lure the strikers back to work.