25, 50, and 75 years ago

October 24, 2022

October 27, 1997

NEW YORK — “We are here and we are not leaving,” chanted hundreds of people in Spanish, marching through Manhattan in defense of immigrant rights October 12. Among the marchers were workers and young people born in Mexico, Bangladesh, Poland, Haiti, Morocco, Korea, Puerto Rico, the United States, and many other countries.

“We are here demanding amnesty for Bangladeshi and all immigrants,” said Mafizur Rahman, pointing to the contingent of some 150 Bangladeshis. Rahman is a part-time construction worker and cab driver in Queens. General amnesty for all immigrants was a central demand of the action.

New immigration laws that are about to go into effect will make gaining legal residence in the United States much harder. Up to 1.5 million people could be required to return to their homelands while awaiting residency papers.

October 27, 1972

More than 4,000 workers’ homes were destroyed and 125 lives were lost in the flash flood at Buffalo Creek, W.Va., last February. But the death toll was not the only terrible result of that man-made raging torrent of mud, uprooted buildings, and water.

The Pittston Coal Corporation has refused to pay Buffalo Creek miners out of work by the flood, and is finagling to cheat the homeless victims out of their just reparations.

The Buffalo Creek Massacre Coalition (an arm of the Miners for Democracy) explains the effect of strip mining on the region’s ecology.

It has a three-point program, including “full restitution to the survivors of the Buffalo Creek Massacre by the Pittston Company, not by the taxpayers,” and “prosecution of the Pittston Company to the fullest extent of the law.”

October 27, 1947

In the French elections Oct. 19, General [Charles] de Gaulle’s newly-formed “Rally of the French People” received 39% of the votes. There was a coalescing of the forces of reaction. The uniting of these forces around a central figure is the most ominous development in European politics since the end of the war.

In 1945 the forces of French capitalism were demoralized, split into weak, warring factions. The masses surged leftward, seeking the road to socialism. But the cowardly leaders of the trade unions and the major political parties of the working class blocked this road. They took posts in the capitalist government and did their utmost to save the system that had plunged Europe into fascism and two world wars.

Only by militant action based on the program of socialism can the working class hope to defend itself against advancing reaction.