25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

June 8, 2020

June 12, 1995

SAO PAULO, Brazil — “This strike is about dignity and sovereignty,” said Eduardo Jenner Ozório, an operator at the Petrobras oil refinery in Cubatao, Brazil. Jenner gave an interview to the Militant May 30 through the steel gate that keeps the main entrance to the refinery shut. Strikers have been occupying the plant since May 2.

The oil workers oppose the government’s plan to sell off shares of the company to private capitalists, lay off thousands of workers, and speed up production. They also demand a wage increase.

As the walkout enters its second month, 85 percent to 90 percent of the workers remain on strike, according to the union. The big-business media claims only 11,000 are still out. “That’s a bald-faced lie,” Jenner said. “This is a class war. The government will do anything to give the impression we’re being defeated.”

June 12, 1970

Memorial Day anti-[Vietnam] war actions occurred in a number of cities May 30. Veterans were prominent in many. The endorsement by unions and the presence of labor speakers at several were a significant sign of the growing hostility to the war inside the organized labor movement.

In New York, approximately 10,000 participated in a rally in Central Park. Several were from the Veterans Hospital in New York City and were enthusiastically received when they addressed the rally. They have been threatened with expulsion for circulating a petition opposing the war in Cambodia.

Leaning on a cane, Manuel Vitti spoke of this harassment and then addressed himself to President Nixon. His voice was cracking. “You drafted me and sent me to Vietnam to lose my leg and now you tell me I have no rights. You’re wrong!”

June 9, 1945

A grisly sign of the swift advance of twentieth century barbarism is the burning to death of countless human beings in Japan. Fifty-one square miles in Tokyo have been burned out by [U.S.] fire bombs. Other Japanese cities are being similarly obliterated and their inhabitants incinerated. The most populous areas were marked as the target.

“The attacks burned with speed and destructive results and it is possible that 1,000,000 or maybe even twice that number of the Emperors subjects, perished.” MAYBE EVEN TWICE THAT NUMBER — in these five casual words Wall Street’s press sums up the value it places on the lives of 2,000,000 human beings!

These calculating monsters who doom millions to perish in flames are the same ones who boasted that only the Axis bombed civilians, that only fascists would stoop to cold-blooded slaughter.