25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

May 18, 2020

May 22, 1995

The advances being made today in the fight for Irish self-determination give working people and defenders of democratic rights around the world cause to celebrate and get involved. Those who want to put an end to centuries of Irish oppression and more than 70 years of outright partition of their nation have the initiative. “All my life I’ve been a second-class citizen,” explained one 65-year-old worker demonstrating May 7 in Belfast. The door is open for more workers and youth to come into political action, and a growing number are starting to walk through it.

“There are more people taking to the streets today,” explained one participant in the Belfast rally. Workers, young people, and supporters of democratic rights should join our sisters and brothers in Ireland demanding:  British troops out now! Free all Irish political prisoners!

May 22, 1970

Just one week after the Kent State massacre, seven more young people are dead at the hands of the cops and national guardsmen, this time Black youth in Augusta, Ga. Six were killed when state troopers and guardsmen attacked residents of the Black community protesting the killing of the seventh victim, a teen-age Black youth, in a local jail.

The official police version was that Charles Oatman, 16, died after two teen-age cellmates hit him with a belt and shoe and knocked him against the wall. The Black community, properly contemptuous of such a story, marched in angry protest. Governor Lester Maddox, who announced that “they’d better be prepared to meet their maker,” unleashed the troopers and Guard.

This latest monstrous deed will certainly evoke massive protest. All opponents of racism, of war, of capitalist violence must organize and act to call a halt.

May 19, 1945

Pennsylvania’s 72,000 hard coal miners, upholding the militant traditions of the United Mine Workers, continue to stand firm after two weeks of their strike to win a new contract and substantial wage gains. Their walkout began on May 1 with the expiration of their old contract, in conformity with their “no contract, no work” policy.

All government attempts to intimidate the miners and force them back into the pits have proven futile in the face of their fighting determination and solidarity. For more than a week they have ignored a government back-to-work order and the “seizure” of the struck mines.

The mine owners and their government agents hope to use the weapon of hunger to whip miners back to work on the operators’ terms. The United Mine Workers Journal exposes the price-robbery and planned shortages, especially of meat, in the company-owned mining towns.