25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

May 22, 2023

May 25, 1998

MIAMI — For the first time in years, a prominent leader of the fight for Puerto Rican independence spoke in this city. Rafael Cancel Miranda was the featured speaker May 2 at a meeting that joined the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico and the defense of the Cuban revolution. More than 175 people attended the public forum, called “100 Years of Resistance.”

Speaking about U.S. imperialism in Puerto Rico, Cancel Miranda said, “They’ve got all kinds of weapons and they control the mass media. But they haven’t been able to defeat my people.”

Turning to Cuba, the Puerto Rican leader declared to loud applause, “It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to say this in Miami — I support the Cuban socialist revolution and I have a profound admiration for Fidel Castro. To be here today standing up for Cuba is as important as being in Cuba.”

May 25, 1973

Big business, the federal government, and the top union bureaucracy got a rude shock on May 8 when 10,000 United Rubber Workers employed by the Goodrich Company refused to accept the “model” contract entered into between the URW and the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. A strike began in six states immediately after negotiations were broken off.

The contract is a danger signal for all unions. With prices leaping into the stratosphere, the URW bureaucrats signed a no-strike contract with no cost-of-living escalator clause and no wage reopening provision. They sought “labor peace” with a vital industry employing hundreds of thousands of workers.

The fact that the Goodrich employees have taken the bit in their teeth to fight for their rights is a good omen for the millions of workers whose contracts are due to be negotiated this year.

May 24, 1948

In a nation-wide radio broadcast, Farrell Dobbs, Socialist Workers Party nominee for president, on May 15 called on the American people to “unite with the Socialist Workers Party” in order to stop war by ending the capitalist system that breeds war. James P. Cannon, SWP National Secretary, opened the program with an introductory statement:

“Farrell Dobbs has spent most of his active life in the socialist and labor movement. He was one of the leaders of the great Minneapolis truck drivers’ strikes. For years he served as secretary-treasurer of Local 544 of that city. As international representative of the Teamsters Union, he was the chief organizer of more than 200,000 transport workers in eleven states.

“Dobbs was one of the 18 leaders of the SWP and Local 544 who served prison sentences in 1944 and 1945 for their opposition to the war.”