25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

July 8, 2019

July 11, 1994

EAST PEORIA, Illinois — Members of the United Auto workers effectively shut down operations at Caterpillar Inc.’s plants in three states when they walked off the job June 20-21. The strike involves some 14,000 workers.

The outcome of this confrontation has big stakes for organized labor and all working people. It comes in the midst of increasing resistance by workers across the United States to employers’ demands for concessions and union busting.

UAW members employed by the corporate giant are determined to turn back Caterpillar’s almost three-year drive to break their union. Workers report that supervisors and salaried personnel are being shifted to plants across the country for periods of at least 45 days to bolster efforts to restart production. Pickets are up at Caterpillar plants in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Colorado.

July 11, 1969

A South Vietnamese colonel embarrassed U.S. military officials when he declared that the besieged Special Forces camp of 1,000 American and South Vietnamese soldiers in Benhet was “bait” for North Vietnamese operating nearby. A U.S. spokesman said, “We never use soldiers for bait.”

The following day a convoy of South Vietnamese armored personnel carriers made its way over a road that had been closed by the siege. About 300 soldiers, a tenth of whom were Americans, had been killed in the seven weeks of combat around Benhet by this time.

The fact that Washington maintains a level of approximately 535,000 GIs in Vietnam, most of whom are there on a one-year rotational basis, means that the Pentagon has to send an even larger number of GIs over every year to keep at that 535,000-man level.

July 8, 1944

The pent-up storm in Europe burst last week in violent thunder-claps of insurrection over tiny Denmark, where more than 15,000 workers, spearheading the movement of the restless masses, defied the Nazi terror machine, and, despite savage repression, continued a general strike which paralyzed Copenhagen and compelled the Nazis to lay the city under siege.

Panic-stricken by this display of mass resistance, the Nazis surrounded Copenhagen with troops, cut off the city’s water, electricity and gas services, and threatened to bomb the insurrectionary workers unless they returned to work.

Danish puppet officials, acting on Nazi orders, appealed to the workers to end the strike. Employers’ associations joined in the appeal, together with tame trade union “leaders.” But neither cajolery nor threats could deflect the workers.