25, 50, and 75 years ago

June 5, 2023

June 8, 1998

Striking Russian coal miners in Siberia and the North Caucasus lifted their blockade of the Trans-Siberian railway May 24 after government officials promised to pay overdue wages. Miners in Inta, near the Polar Circle, on strike since the first week of May, continued blocking the railway there. The miners’ battle boosted actions by hundreds of thousands of workers who are responding to the deepening economic crisis that is gripping the country.

The miners blocked key railways, cutting the country in half and paralyzing the transportation network. Mikhail Shmakov, the leader of one of Russia’s trade unions, warned that “railway tracks will be dismantled the very next day” if the government tried to use troops against the miners to end the blockade.

Moscow has cut government subsidies as part of pressing for brutal “market reforms.”

June 8, 1973

COACHELLA, Calif. — As the deadline for the beginning of the grape harvest approaches in this Mohave desert agricultural area, a showdown is shaping up between the United Farm Workers Union, and an alliance of growers and Teamsters union bureaucrats.

The Farm Workers had signed three-year contracts with the Coachella Valley grape growers in 1970. When those contracts expired the growers announced they had signed agreements with the Teamsters union. One of the major gains of the 1970 contract was establishment of the union hiring hall and abolition of the hated labor contractor system. The Teamsters sweetheart contracts provide for abolition of the union hiring hall and reinstatement of the contractor system.

The gravity of the situation should not be underestimated. The very existence of the union is in the balance.

May 24, 1948

‘End capitalism to stop war’ — speech on national NBC radio launching campaign of the Socialist Workers Party’s first presidential candidate, Farrell Dobbs:

Less than three years after the termination of the Second World War we are threatened with the imminent outbreak of another war. This is the cycle of capitalism — war, depression, inflation, and again war.

Capitalist production for profits cannot be reconciled with peace and prosperity for the people.

There can be no effective struggle against the twin monsters of war and military dictatorship unless it is directed towards the establishment of a Workers and Farmers Government, which will organize the country and the world for a society based on human needs, without profits, classes or exploitation.