25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

August 30, 2021

September 2, 1996

Leading the bipartisan assault against a half century of social gains by working people, President William Clinton announced July 31 that he will sign the new “welfare reform” bill adopted by the U.S. Congress. By eliminating federally guaranteed Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and cutting off food stamps and Medicaid to many working people, Clinton is opening the battle to take back concessions codified in the Social Security Act.

Working people won the concessions in the Social Security Act — which encompassed guaranteed pension, disability, and unemployment benefit floors, as well as AFDC — through hard-fought battles in the 1930s. In the wake of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, these gains were consolidated and extended by the addition of Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and cost-of-living protections.

September 3, 1971

AUG. 24 — The decision in Northern Ireland to invoke emergency powers of detention without trial has provoked the most intense fighting and resistance since Ireland was partitioned 50 years ago. The reaction demonstrated a mounting opposition to the presence of British troops whom some had welcomed as protectors when they were first sent in 1969.

The response to the latest British assault on the Catholic population has consisted of work stoppages, rent strikes, and the withholding of income and real estate taxes.

The issue is not religion but a combination of economic and political factors. The British have continued to maintain control by assuring Protestant ascendancy and have thereby helped to intensify the religious divisions. Besides job discrimination, the Catholic minority is discriminated against in housing and voting rights.

August 31, 1946

SAN FRANCISCO — Solemn-faced pall bearers marching to the roll of muffled drums and carrying shrouded caskets symbolizing the death of “Freedom, Equality, Justice and Democracy,” on August 11 led a “silent parade” of 5,000 Negro and white workers in protest against lynch terror in the South.

The protest was sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Among the organizations that marched were the CIO National Maritime Union; AFL Miscellaneous Employees union; CIO Longshoremen’s Local 10; Socialist Workers Party; Communist Party; and American Veterans Committee.

Edwin Elber, trade union director of the California Labor School, said, “These lynchings are manifestations of a south that is beginning to stir. Negroes are demanding the right to vote. Labor, both black and white, is beginning to organize.”