25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

May 9, 2022

May 12, 1997

DETROIT — As 1,800 members of United Auto Workers Local 51 head into their third week on strike against the third largest U.S. automaker, talks between the union and Chrysler remain deadlocked. So far the strike by the engine plant workers has shut down 19 plants and brought the number of workers idled by the labor dispute to nearly 25,000 in the United States, Canada, and Mexico — about one-third of Chrysler’s U.S. workforce.

This is the first walkout at a Chrysler plant in three years and the longest strike in more than three decades. At issue is Chrysler’s plan to “outsource” some operations to a nonunion plant.

As in recent strikes against GM, understaffing and workers being denied vacations and rest breaks are key issues. Workers in auto parts plants have been warned that layoffs will start if the strike goes for another two weeks.

May 12, 1972

Mortal panic is sweeping the Saigon army. In the major fronts of the war tens of thousands of troops are fleeing; most of their officers have already fled. The sole objective of the routed troops is to get out of the way of the revolutionary advance.

The roads are also filled with thousands of civilians fleeing from the U.S. bombs. This is the fruit of [President] Nixon’s “Vietnamization” scheme. Washington’s bombing support of the Saigon army has reached the highest point of the war.

A South Vietnamese official told the New York Times, “The Americans tried to help the Vietnamese armed forces. But one thing the Americans cannot bring is leadership. From 1945 to 1954 people didn’t have much to eat or good clothes but morally they were happy, because the Communists brought justice to this land for 10 years, not the corruption we have now.”

May 10, 1947

Millions of workers throughout the world observed their international working class holiday on May Day.

The coal miners in the Ruhr Valley [Germany] — 300,000 of them — downed tools and went to rallies. The workers of Paris — hundreds of thousands strong — paraded through the streets. In Italy demonstrations were held in all cities. In the rural districts, an attack on one peasant demonstration led to a general strike which rocked the government.

Parades took place in all the major cities of Palestine. In Japan 400,000 workers demonstrated in front of the Imperial Palace. In Shanghai workers were out with banners reading, “Down with Privileged Capital.”

May Day was celebrated in Athens as the third anniversary of the execution of 200 political hostages. The proletariat of Greece has honored every year thereafter those shot on that First of May.