25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

June 22, 2020

June 26, 1995

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Five thousand workers on more than 300 trawlers and fishing ships in Iceland walked off the job May 26, demanding higher and more uniform wages. The fishermen’s strike is the biggest of many labor struggles that have developed here recently.

The main daily newspaper in Iceland complained about the unrest, saying, “Most fishing ships are in the harbors. Trade unions prepare a strike in Straumsvik aluminum plant. Bankers are planning a strike in mid-June. Tour bus drivers are on strike. Bakers are just about to strike. This is the picture we have in front of us.”

Fishermen receive payment proportional to their catch and operating expenses. The captain receives two “shares,” an engineer and the cook one and a half, and the workers one “share.” Workers on the fleets can be laid off on one week’s notice.

June 26, 1970

When President [Richard] Nixon ordered the U.S. invasion of Cambodia April 30, he maintained that the purpose was to “destroy North Vietnamese sanctuaries.” Nixon promised to withdraw all U.S. forces by June 30.

But it is now evident that neither Nixon’s promises nor Senate bills can prevent the war in Cambodia from developing into a full-scale civil war. The Pnom Penh government, like the government in Saigon, has no popular base.

As the civil war has deepened in Cambodia, there are indications of a new domestic crisis facing the regime in Saigon. Popular hatred for the war has been heightened in recent months by intensification of war-primed inflation.

On June 15, more than 60 of Saigon’s 124 unions began a 24-hour strike in sympathy with government workers who have been fired. The workers were supported by student demonstrators.

June 23, 1945

[Though the second imperialist world war was winding down] Wall Street’s spokesmen continued this week to press for peace-time conscription. The capitalists want huge “peace-time” armies to put down working-class revolutions and colonial rebellions.

The fat-headed proposals of the AFL and CIO bureaucrats deserve nothing but condemnation by class-conscious workers. The militarists cannot be answered by Utopian proposals to reduce arms, give up military training. They want armies to maintain Wall Street’s plunder and profits.

In order to achieve emancipation the working class needs military training. It is the duty of labor’s representatives to demand that training — at government expense — be placed under control of the trade unions. The unions need control to make sure military training does not become training against unionism.