25, 50, and 75 years ago

December 12, 2022

December 15, 1997

SYDNEY — Prime Minister John Howard has moved to curtail Aboriginal land rights. His proposed amendments to the Native Title Act have been met by protest rallies and public meetings in defense of the customary land use rights — such as hunting, fishing, camping, and access to ceremonial sites — of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, the indigenous peoples of Australia.

Some 200 Aborigines, representing 11 tribes from across the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia, protested October 6 at a hearing called by the parliamentary committee examining the bill. “Extinguish our title and you extinguish our people,” declared the Kimberley Aborigines in their submission to the hearing.

Aborigines, who make up less than 2 percent of the population, comprise the most oppressed section of Australian society.

December 15, 1972

NEW YORK — At 12:01 a.m., Nov. 30, 5,000 members of 12 unions closed down the Long Island Rail Road. The unions represent carmen, Teamsters, clerks, electrical workers, sheet-metal workers, and other “nonoperating employees,” as well as some supervisors. The picket lines were respected by the 1,500 trainmen of the United Transportation Union and the members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.

The last strike called by any of the dozen craft unions against the railroad was in 1922. The primary issue for the striking workers is wage parity with the trainmen.

The workers are displeased with their current pension system, since the LIRR is part of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, whose bus and subway workers, while receiving comparable wages for similar work, have a better pension system that is less expensive to the workers.

December 15, 1947

The Truman Administration last week exerted further efforts to whip up the red scare to the pitch of hysteria by publishing a list of so-called “subversive” organizations, including the Socialist Workers Party.

The blacklist is part of the red-baiting campaign designed as a cover for the Big Business-government attacks on the labor movement and the civil liberties of the American people.

The Dec. 7 N.Y. Times admits, “Although the list included right-wing groups, it was conceded privately that these were ‘window-dressing,’ that the real targets of the loyalty check were Communists and their sympathizers.”

And ultimately the target is the entire labor movement, which stand as the potentially greatest barrier to the designs of the Wall Street war-makers and their government.