25, 50, and 75 years ago

May 1, 2023

May 4, 1998

HAVANA — Three thousand delegates from 79 countries came here for an “International Meeting of Solidarity Between Women.” The focus of discussion was how to confront the growing attacks on the standard of living of working people worldwide as the crisis of the world market system worsens.

Closing the conference, Cuban president Fidel Castro discussed the devastating impact of the policies of the exploiting classes on millions of human beings. A discussion of women’s issues must start with the main issues of today’s world, he asserted, such as underdevelopment, poverty, and the debts to the imperialist banks that are strangling the Third World.

Castro pointed out that the gap in economic conditions is widening, the rich are richer and the poor increasingly poor. He argued that this will continue until the capitalist economic order is replaced.

May 4, 1973

Protests against the squeeze on the standard of living are being organized for May 5 nationally. Organizers have turned to methods of struggle that can mobilize the power of masses of people. The union movement should be in the front ranks of the defense of the standard of living of all workers. The current protests can become powerful backing for union demands for cost-of-living escalator clauses.

We can’t look to the Democrats or Republicans to solve the problem of inflation. What is needed is an independent party of labor, based on the trade unions, to fight in the political arena to champion workers’ interests against the capitalist Democratic and Republican parties.

The unions should organize a big campaign to expose the lie of the ruling class that wages are the cause of inflation. Inflation is built into this capitalist system.

May 3, 1948

The labor movement faces the greatest threat to its existence since the establishment of the CIO. The unions’ very right to existence is challenged when Kansas City cops, under orders to “crack skulls,” can get away with an armed invasion of the Packinghouse Workers’ headquarters. The Kansas outrage is part of the pattern of a merciless class war organized by capital to beat down and crush labor.

This war is being spearheaded by the federal government, bombarding the unions with the Taft-Hartley Law. It is aided by the courts, handing out strike-breaking injunctions right and left. It is being enforced by the police, out in full force “cracking skulls,” and inviting scabs and strikebreakers to walk through the picket lines.

The outrage against the Kansas unionists must become the signal for the rearming and remobilization of the labor movement.