25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

December 7, 2020

December 11, 1995

DUBLIN, Ireland — On November 24, the Republic of Ireland held a referendum on whether to allow civil divorce. By a narrow margin divorce became legal. The votes from working-class districts in Dublin weighed heavily in the outcome. Even in rural Ireland the vote against the reform was 15 percent lower than in a similar referendum in 1986.

The result reflects changes in social attitudes in what is still a predominantly agricultural and rural society with a 93 percent Catholic population.

The position of all the main political parties was in favor of change, but most politicians did not campaign. The Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to use public funds for only one side of the debate. That decision was popular, including with activists campaigning to legalize divorce.

December 11, 1970

The Nixon administration took steps this week to underline the fact that the Nov. 21 weekend bombing attack on North Vietnam represented a reescalation of the war. The disclosure constitutes a brutal declaration of intention to continue bombing North Vietnam.

Government spokesmen had flatly denied that bombings had occurred north of the 19th parallel, in a deliberate attempt to deceive the American people.

Despite severe repressions, including jailing and torture, the South Vietnamese student antiwar movement in Saigon demonstrated its opposition to Nixon’s renewed escalation of the war. A statement by the Vietnam National Student Union said the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam “is a sign of reescalation … and a reinforcement of the lackey government of South Vietnam.”

December 8, 1945

The General Motors strike is the spearhead of a monumental struggle between labor and capital that will continue to rage in the whole period ahead.

The ruling class of America feels that its whole world position remains insecure and may at any moment be endangered by this labor movement, which can challenge its rule and at a moment’s notice halt the wheels in its far-flung economic domain.

What the Wall Street “brains” seek to accomplish is to deal a strong blow at the unions, and force them to retreat from their present fighting positions. They aim to dishearten the working man and woman, to tame their fighting spirit.

Labor has the power to win a decisive victory in this fight. All that is necessary is that this power be employed wisely, courageously and firmly.