25, 50, and 75 years ago

December 4, 2023

December 7, 1998

During the sixth national congress of the Union of Artists and Writers of Cuba, held in Havana November 5-7, Cuban President Fidel Castro talked with journalists from the Cuban press.

“In Cuba we had to create a new culture, beginning with political culture — a different one from the culture of exploitation of man by man, of imperialist domination.”

“If you want to make a revolution, if you want to change the existing economic and social order for an order based on equality and justice, you have to begin by changing the old culture of that society.”

“Capitalism is an enemy of national culture and a bearer of the culture of selfishness, exploitation, plunder, commercialization, and money grubbing. By definition, it’s a system that’s an enemy of culture.”

“We waged a tremendous cultural battle, in the field of ideas.”

December 7, 1973

LOS ANGELES — An open stairwell in a 64-year-old apartment house permitted a fire to burst through a three-story building here Nov. 15, taking the lives of 24 people. It was the worst apartment or hotel fire in the city’s history. The stairwell had been ordered enclosed in April 1972, but no work had been done on it.

“A building like the Stratford Apartments is nothing more than a furnace with a chimney,” says a fire department battalion chief, Eugene Schimtz. Fire in a similar building, the Ponet Square Hotel, took the lives of 19 people in September 1970.

There are still 1,450 similar buildings in the city with open stairwells. They are waiting to catch fire and kill while landlords rake in high rents. The people who lived at the Stratford; and the people who died there, were poor people, from babies to the very old. Many were from Mexico.

December 6, 1948

SAN FRANCISCO — The Pacific Coast maritime strike appeared near settlement as 6,000 members of the CIO International Longshoremen & Warehousemen’s Union voted overwhelmingly to accept a contract recommended by ILWU president Harry Bridges.

Inasmuch as the employers undertook to smash the maritime unions on this coast and restore open-shop conditions, this is considered a victory after nearly three months on the picket line. Still to complete negotiations are the CIO Marine Cooks, the independent Marine Firemen, and the CIO radio operators.

After nearly three months on strike the ranks of the seamen and longshoremen are as solid as the day the strike was called. The employers, who announced at the beginning of the strike that they would not negotiate with the present leaders of the unions, have been forced to negotiate and come to agreement.