25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

November 15, 2021

November 18, 1996

In a victory for women’s rights, on October 30, South Africa’s National Assembly passed a bill allowing women to choose abortion on demand, at state expense, up to the twelfth week of pregnancy, and later under certain circumstances. The bill will be sent to President Nelson Mandela for his signature. The African National Congress benches erupted in cheering at the vote.

In all cases, the abortion may only be carried out at the request of the woman. The legislation also specifies that while counseling may be recommended, under no circumstances are women — including minors — required to consult with parents, spouses, or anyone else. The decision is strictly a woman’s choice.

Apartheid law barred all abortions except in the case of rape or when women’s health was at risk. Some 45,000 women annually are admitted to hospitals after having undergone back-alley abortions or induced miscarriages.

November 19, 1971

Coverage of the Nov. 6 anti-Vietnam-war demonstrations in the U.S. and internationally by the capitalist news media was riddled with lies. The news media has always tried to downplay the significance of the massive street actions of the antiwar movement. They want young people to feel that demonstrations are ineffective and that they should turn their energies to supporting capitalist “peace candidates” in the coming elections.

The truth, however, is that the antiwar movement is anything but dying; it is alive and thriving. Nov. 6 saw increased participation from diverse sectors of the population. The speakers at the rallies across the country reflected broader forces than ever before.

The demonstrations Nov. 6 helped give powerful voice to the unprecedented sentiment for withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Southeast Asia.

November 16, 1946

Defeat of the Democratic Party at the polls has meant defeat for the policies of the CIO Political Action Committee, whose program consisted of drumming up votes for Democratic candidates.

A big trend over the past six years is the shift of the lower middle class away from the Democratic Party and the beginning of the shift of the workers. It is not PAC’s labor character that has driven the middle class into the arms of the Republicans. It is the fact that organized labor has failed to take the lead in building an independent political party to put up a real fight against both the Democratic and Republican parties of Big Business.

Whatever the intentions of the CIO leaders to continue their bankrupt political policy of supporting capitalist party candidates, the decisive factor is the reaction of the workers. The pressure that the union militants exert on the union leaders will determine whether or not a labor party will be formed before 1948.