25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

February 1, 2021

February 5, 1996

NEW YORK — Walking through any commercial strip in Manhattan, one sees pockets of picketers, garbed in red and white signs emblazoned with “LOCAL 32B-32J ON STRIKE. Help Us Win!”

The strike involves some 30,000 maintenance workers, janitors, elevator operators, and cleaners who work in 1,300 commercial buildings throughout New York City. On January 23, nearly 3,000 workers marched through midtown Manhattan. It was the strikers’ biggest march to date.

Thomas Farina, a maintenance cleaner who is a shop steward at the World Trade Center, emphasized that the central issue is the two-tier wage setup the company is trying to impose. Currently all union members make the same wages and benefits regardless of seniority. By establishing a two-tier wage and benefit structure, “they want to break the union,” Farina stated.

February 5, 1971

The Nixon administration has decided on a major new escalation of the [Indochina] war. It appears as though the predominant military conception in the Pentagon is that revolutions “are fed from the outside.” If they fail to crush the revolution in one place, that must be because it is getting support from somewhere else.

Nixon’s attack on Cambodia last May was supposed to be the final step necessary to destroy the “outside sanctuaries” and at the same time to stabilize the new military regime in Pnom Penh. But today it cannot even be said that Lon Nol’s capital city is a secure refuge isolated in a sea of “hostile” territory.

The spring antiwar offensive must provide a resounding and unequivocal demonstration of public outrage not only against each step of the new escalation, but the whole course of U.S. aggression from beginning to end.

February 2, 1946

OKINAWA — The information that came over the radio a few weeks back that GIs in Manila had staged demonstration to “Get Us Home!” had a tremendous effect here.

At an American Veterans Committee meeting, the chairman got up and said: “I understand some of you men have something to say about demobilization.” There was a roar from the 12,000 throats.

Speaker after speaker said: “We can’t trust the War Department.” “We can’t trust the brass hats in Washington,” “We have to take things into our own hands.”

A bunch of Negro soldiers got up and said: “We’re all in this together for better or worse.” They got a big hand.

There has also been a change in the attitude toward labor. Now they say, “We ought to go on strike too, all over the world.”