25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

August 8, 2022

August 11, 1997

NEW YORK — Fifty-seven workers from Mexico are being held incommunicado and under house arrest by New York City authorities and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The immigrants, including 12 children, were taken into custody following a raid by New York City police of two apartments in the mainly Latino community of Jackson Heights, Queens.

The workers, all of whom are deaf, said they had been forced to labor up to 18 hours a day selling trinkets on subway cars, and at area airports and malls.

Efraín Galicia, a leader of Unimex, a coalition of Mexican organizations in East Harlem, tried to see them. “These workers are being treated like criminals, when in fact they should be considered heroes of society” for bringing to light this situation. He called on the U.S. government to grant amnesty to these workers and to grant them work permits.

August 11, 1972

Evidence continues to mount of sharpening struggles between Soviet national minorities and the Moscow bureaucracy with its policies of Russification. In Soviet Estonia the appearance of an organization is reported that calls for a referendum on self-determination.

This report is enough to show that a significant development has surfaced in the third Baltic republic. It comes in the wake of a recent open letter by 17 Latvian Communists protesting Russification and the demonstrations in the city of Kaunas in May calling for “freedom for Lithuania” and “freedom for young people.”

It has been a frequent practice in recent years for Soviet authorities to use commissions of “psychiatric experts” to rule political dissenters insane, that nothing is wrong except “hooliganism,” drug culture, or individual personality problems. 

August 11, 1947

Price rises have wiped out most wage gains and slashed purchasing power of the majority of wage earners below the reduced post-war levels of 1946. And the upward acceleration of prices now under way will cut real wages down to bare subsistence levels.

Why have the workers lost so much ground despite their great struggles?

Because (1) the big monopolists have been able to slice real wages by forcing up prices. The workers must conduct a struggle for a sliding scale of wages that would raise the wages automatically with every rise in living costs.

Because (2) by their opposition to a labor party movement, the union leaders have upheld Wall Street’s political monopoly. The workers can achieve power only through their own party and the advancement of a labor political program to wipe out existing inflationary and anti-union legislation.