25, 50 and 75 Years Ago

January 29, 2024

February 1, 1999

President William Clinton repeated in his State of the Union address a favorite theme of bourgeois politicians: that Social Security may be bankrupt within a few decades because a bigger section of the population is living longer after retirement.

The 1935 Social Security Act and other programs that provide some income security for workers — unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, Medicare, and Medicaid — were concessions by the employers’ class to massive struggles by the toilers.

All these programs have been eroded by the bipartisan assault on the social wage, aimed at increasing the portion of surplus value the bosses rob from workers and at tearing the solidarity of the working class apart. Clinton, for example, in 1996 ended Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the first gutting of the Social Security Act since 1935.

February 1, 1974

Widespread opposition to the activities of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency by Thai students and workers was expressed in large demonstrations in January. The protests were triggered by the revelation that a CIA agent had forged a letter to the Thai premier, in the name of a Communist guerrilla leader, asking for negotiations and offering a cease-fire.

A demonstration was held outside the U.S. embassy in Bangkok, demanding that the CIA and U.S. Ambassador William Kintner get out of the country. With 35,000 U.S. troops and 575 aircraft at half a dozen bases, Thailand is the major U.S. fortress in Southeast Asia.

The Thai labor upsurge, fueled by rampant inflation, is apparently continuing as well. In mid-December a strike by 6,000 longshoremen tied up the port of Bangkok. The strikers were demanding a 100 percent pay increase.

January 31, 1949

FROM THE FEDERAL COURTROOM, New York — So far 16 of the 23 grand jurors in the government’s thought-control trial of 11 Stalinists have been questioned by the defense, and their testimony shows that federal grand juries are packed with the rich and their agents.

A similar jury panel indicted and convicted 18 Trotskyists under the same Smith Act in 1941. The Stalinist betrayers cheered the railroading of the Trotskyists to prison, and they applauded the Supreme Court for refusing to grant the Trotskyists a hearing.

Today the Stalinists treacherously claim to be the first victims of the Smith Act, thereby weakening the fight against the Act by concealing its true history. Despite their lies and betrayals, the Stalinists must be defended against this attack under an unconstitutional law.