25, 50, and 75 Years Ago

April 10, 2023

April 13, 1998

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — “Moral authority dictates that we should not abandon those who helped us in the darkest hour in the history of this country,” said South African president Nelson Mandela. “I am not going to betray the trust of those who helped us.” Speaking at a joint press conference with U.S. president William Clinton in Cape Town, South Africa, Mandela was referring to White House attempts to pressure the South African government to break ties to the governments of Cuba, Iran, and Libya.

Mandela forcefully defended South Africa’s ties with Cuba, along with other governments not to Washington’s liking.

“One of the first heads of state I invited to this country was [Cuban president] Fidel Castro. Those South Africans who have berated me for being loyal to our friends, literally, they can go throw themselves into a pool.”

April 13, 1973

The United Farm Workers announced March 26 its opposition to the Rodino-Kennedy bill. The measure is aimed at victimizing workers without proper documentation — the so-called illegal aliens. The action is a reversal of policy for the union, which until now has supported legislation against undocumented workers, maintaining that they are potential strikebreakers.

The law would increase the harassment of these workers, making them more vulnerable and therefore more exploitable by profit-hungry employers. The union statement clarified the union’s position. “We are not opposed to aliens coming into this country, because they are not aliens. They are our brothers.”

Opponents of the deportation laws explained that the only reason undocumented workers are subject to being used by unscrupulous bosses is precisely because they are “illegal.”

April 12, 1948

LOS ANGELES. April 3 — Labor’s first co-ordinated campaign to elect councilmen in five city elections in Southern California has become the high point of independent political action by the unions in this area.

The Southeast Committee for Labor Candidates, composed of AFL, CIO, Railroad Brotherhoods and IAM unionists, was organized several months ago. The candidates are for payment of prevailing union wage scales to all city employees, maintenance of rent controls to prevent sky-rocketing of rents; extension of child care centers for working mothers; an immediate increase in old age benefits and provision for automatic wage increases to meet the rising cost of living.

This campaign has already proven the falseness of the arguments of those opposed to independent labor political action. Good candidates were found in the ranks of the unions.