25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

March 22, 2021

March 25, 1996

President Bill Clinton signed the Helms-Burton bill into law March 12, in Washington’s latest attempt to squeeze Cuba economically and undermine its socialist revolution. The legislation tightens the U.S. trade embargo by penalizing businessmen in other countries who invest in the Caribbean nation.

Surrounded by Democratic and Republican politicians, Clinton declared, “We’re here today around a common commitment to bring democracy to Cuba,” referring to Washington’s goal of overthrowing the revolution.

Ricardo Alarcón, president of Cuba’s National Assembly, said the law was a prime example of U.S. “arrogance, haughtiness, and desperation in the face of a failed policy.” “No pressure will succeed in making Cuba give up its right to fight for independence and national sovereignty,” declared a statement issued by the National Assembly.

March 26, 1971

More than a year after the first congressional rumblings were heard about the need for investigations into mushrooming government surveillance, such an inquiry was finally undertaken when the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights opened public hearings Feb. 23.

The Pentagon alone keeps files on 25 million Americans. These include persons it considers a “threat to security and defense.” The Pentagon’s data bank, Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Froehlke testified, keeps files on 760,000 organizations and processes an average of 12,000 “requests” per day. Not only have people been refused jobs, insurance or loans as a result, but some have been blackmailed or defamed.

Neither the Pentagon nor the executive branch has any intention of eliminating the practice of spying on the American people. This has been going on for decades.

March 23, 1946

DETROIT — After 113 days on the picket lines, the heroic 175,000 General Motors strikers on March 13 finally forced the multi-billion dollar corporation to terms.

The agreement both with respect to wages and other concessions must be viewed as a significant even though partial victory. Especially heartening is the fact that the workers were able to hold out solidly and have emerged with their ranks intact, united and full of fight.

Membership meetings of the 80 GM locals will vote on ratification of the contract. No locals are authorized to return to work until a majority of the locals have voted acceptance of the terms.

The lessons of this strike have been imbedded deeply in the consciousness of the GM and other auto workers. We may be sure that they will not rest on their gains, but will stand in the forefront of the new struggles that loom ahead.