25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

April 4, 2022

April 7, 1997

President William Clinton reaffirmed Washington’s plans to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization into eastern and central Europe at his March 20-21 conference with Russian president Boris Yeltsin in Helsinki, Finland.

“I have reaffirmed that NATO enlargement and the Madrid summit will proceed,” Clinton declared at a news conference. He said the meeting addressed the challenge of helping Russia “complete its remarkable transformation to a market economy.”

The NATO conference in Madrid is scheduled for July 7-9, where a formal announcement for new candidates for membership is expected to include the governments of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Plans will be discussed to accept them into the imperialist military alliance by 1999 — the organization’s 50th anniversary. Other nations could join by the end of the decade. 

April 7, 1972

March 25 — Despite an almost total press blackout, nearly 50,000 people converged on Washington, D. C., today for the Children’s March for Survival. The march was called to protest escalating government attacks on the nation’s poor, particularly their effects on children. The overwhelming majority of the demonstrators were Black, making this the largest outpouring of Black people in the nation’s capital since the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968.

Among the key demands was the defeat of HR 1, [President] Nixon’s Family Assistance Plan, now pending in the Senate. Recently adopted by the House, the bill would lower the already less than subsistence level of payments for nine out of 10 welfare recipients, providing only a minimum income of $2,400 a year for a family of four. Marchers demanded community-controlled child care for all children. 

April 5, 1947

APRIL 1 — The nation’s soft coal mines shut down today as 400,000 members of the United Mine Workers began six days of mourning for 111 comrades murdered in the Centralia mine explosion. The memorial for the 111 and the protest against the criminal negligence of government officials was called by UMW President John L. Lewis.

“We who are privileged to speak for our dead, and for the future safety of our people, challenge this criminal attitude,” said Lewis. “This killing must stop. This debauched administration of mine safety must stop.”

Centralia is sick with sorrow for men needlessly murdered. Murdered by greedy operators. Murdered by corrupt state officials. Murdered by federal authorities, so blinded by their hate of organized labor that they could not find the time nor the interest to enforce the most elementary safety laws.