25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

March 14, 2022

March 17, 1997

DES MOINES, Iowa — On February 7 agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service arrested 22 Latino workers at the Swift pork packinghouse in Marshalltown, alleging they were working without visas. The agents were accompanied by Swift management.

This raid followed a larger one in Marshalltown last August, when the INS arrested 147 workers, and a raid of a Sioux City, Iowa, packing plant in January.

The raid evoked anger among many workers. Juan Sebastián Villago, a Swift worker since 1993, said that when the latest raid took place, around 150 workers hurriedly left work to avoid harassment, thereby losing their jobs. “Some of them jumped over the fence, leaving their equipment and uniforms behind them,” Villago said. “So many people left that the company needed the first shift to stay over and work overtime.”

March 17, 1972

The ruling of the California Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional followed on the heels of a New Jersey Supreme Court decision which voided that state’s death penalty. Capital punishment is the most extreme form of repression used against poor, Black, and Chicano working people under the capitalist system of “justice,” which amounts to “justice” for the rich.

Of the persons on death row as of Jan. 18, more than 50 percent are Black. The discriminatory use is even more obvious in the South. Of the 61 people who have been executed in Georgia, 58 were Black. Of the 455 people executed for “rape” in the South as a whole since statistics have been kept, 405 were Black. These figures do not include lynchings.

The decision in California should be extended so as to end the death penalty throughout the country.

March 15, 1947

While the future of Europe is being debated by the “Big Four” Foreign Ministers in Moscow, the entire continent of Asia and her adjoining islands have entered a stage of crisis which may in the end yield even greater headaches for world imperialism than the European question.

Britain’s steadily weakening position in Asia is testimony to its decline from the status of a first-class world power. It is at the same time a guarantee that British imperialism will never again regain its old status.

World War II and its aftermath had a revolutionary effect on the masses of Asia, who comprise half of mankind. The struggle of the masses for independence from imperialism, while it has nowhere reached a successful conclusion yet has completely overturned the old relationship of forces, and everywhere to the disadvantage of the imperialists.