25, 50, and 75 Years Ago

March 11, 2024

March 15, 1999

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With every seat taken, and the aisles filled to capacity, some 450 farmers and their supporters packed the federal courthouse here for a day-long hearing on a proposed settlement in a class-action discrimination lawsuit filed against the U.S. Department of Agriculture by farmers who are Black.

From beginning to end, farmers put their collective stamp on the deliberations. Their mass presence and repeated applause for those who protested the proposed settlement altered the usual court decorum.

Linn Hamilton, a retired dairy farmer from Washington, Pennsylvania, said he supported the Black farmers’ call for a complete redress of their long oppressive and unjust treatment by federal agencies. “The Black farmers are the most focused on what they want. They can set an example for the rest of us farmers who are white.”

March 15, 1974

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Support for the Wounded Knee defendants is growing despite the attempts of the federal government to isolate the American Indian Movement through the frame-up trial now in progress here. Some 1,500 people jammed a meeting hall at the University of Minnesota Feb. 27 in a rally for defendants Dennis Banks and Russell Means.

John Trudell, national chairman of AIM, said, “We view the United States government as the number one enemy. Corporations run the country. If you don’t obey their system, they’re going to put you out.” He said AIM had been “condemned” for being militant, although its members have never killed anyone. “But many of our people have died. Many have been locked up.”

As the trial continues, more mass support will be needed. “Drop the Charges!” and “Stop the Frame-ups!” should become a national rallying cry.

March 14, 1949

An event of great revolutionary significance took place in China when railroad and bus transportation workers at Shanghai went out on strike and suffered brutal repression by troops of the local garrison.

Though hemmed in by martial law and an edict against strikes which carries the penalty of death for disobedience, these workers nevertheless walked off the job, demonstrating once again the fighting courage of the proletariat and its tremendous power as a revolutionary striking force.

There can be no doubt that this — the first reported action by any section of the Chinese working class in the present political upheaval — is highly symptomatic of a growing revolutionary situation. It confirms that China’s workers, like the rural toilers, want to destroy capitalist rule. They are ready to march on to the field of revolutionary action.