25, 50, and 75 Years Ago

December 27, 2021

December 23, 1996

HAVANA — More than 100,000 Havana residents marched December 2 in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the birth of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba.

A huge cheer went up as the contingent was announced of more than 100 veterans of the Rebel Army of the Sierra Maestra who had routed the Batista army. The contingents after them were the veterans of the Escambray mountains, who had defeated counterrevolutionary bands in the early 1960s, followed by the combatants of Playa Girón, who in less than 72 hours smashed the 1961 U.S.-sponsored invasion of Cuba.

Then came the internationalist fighters representing the over 350,000 Cubans who have served on military missions around the world, many in Angola in answer to the Angolan government’s request for aid to defend the country against invasions by the apartheid South African army.

December 24, 1971

The Harriet Tubman Book Center and the National Lawyers Guild announced at a press conference Dec. 1 they are filing a suit in federal court against the Los Angeles County Jail. The suit will demand free access to all reading materials, regardless of content or point of view, for the prisoners.

At present, this basic constitutional right is denied to these pretrial prisoners, who are usually held for an indefinite period before trial because they are unable to raise money for bail. The prohibition of all newspapers, magazines, books and other literature except for those approved by the Sheriff’s Department is political censorship.

Rella Brown of the Harriet Tubman Prisoners Movement, Darlene Dyer, an ex-prisoner, and Earl Tockman of the National Lawyers Guild hope that the suit calls attention to the forgotten men and women in the nation’s prisoners and jails.

December 28, 1946

The workers’ standard of living, already undermined by high prices, is now under assault on the rent front. The landlords are conspiring to smash rent controls. The capitalist press is backing them up. The workers have been hit by a pincers movement — from one side a barrage of the real estate interests for rent increases; from the other side an all-out attack on government-financed housing.

The trade unions must lead the whole populace in the struggle for new housing and against rent increases.

The government is yielding to the pressure of the profiteering landlords. Only determined mass resistance — large-scale rent strikes, anti-eviction demonstrations — can stay the hand of the landlords and their government tools. The trade unions must take the lead in this struggle to defend the rights of the workers and veterans to a decent home.