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Vol. 78/No. 18      May 12, 2014

25, 50, and 75 Years Ago

May 12, 1989

A bitter strike battle is escalating rapidly here in the green hills of southwest Virginia.

On one side are the Pittston Coal Group, its brass-knuckled gun thugs, and the Virginia state police. On the other side are tens of thousands of working people across Appalachia, led by 1,700 striking coal miners in District 28 of the United Mine Workers of America.

Ten thousand people jammed the Wise County fairgrounds on April 30.

For three hours, and through a soaking rainstorm, the crowd clapped, sang, and roared their determination to defend Appalachia — “our kids, our lives, our union” — from the coal bosses.

The rally was swelled by outrage at police violence against peaceful pickets earlier that week. On April 24, 472 miners and supporters were jailed after state troopers dragged them from the entrance to Pittston’s Moss No. 3 coal-preparation plant.

May 11, 1964

There is an old and somewhat cynical saying that a lie can travel halfway round the world before the truth can put its shoes on. The White House, State Department and Pentagon seem to have adopted that as their propaganda motto in the U.S. armed intervention in South Vietnam, which is just about halfway round the world from Washington.

One of the administration’s most persistent and pernicious lies, for instance, concerns the role of U.S. military forces since 1961 in the Vietnamese civil war. We have long been regaled with the fiction that invading U.S. armed forces, now numbering about 16,000, are acting in the war solely as “advisers.”

It is now being revealed that the American forces are engaged in direct warfare, killing and being killed. We have been dragged into a shooting war without the vote of Congress, let alone the consent of the American people.

May 12, 1939

Negro voters of Miami, Fla., last week courageously answered the attempt of Ku Klux Klan paraders to prevent them from voting. The Ku Klux Klanners, hiding their faces behind full hooded regalia and covering the license plates of their automobiles, paraded on the eve of the city election primaries through the Negro district and threatened violence to Negroes who would dare show up the next day at the polls.

The Negroes flocked to the polls. The City Clerk reported that they voted at a ratio of 5-to-1 greater than ever before.

The success of the Miami Negroes in defying the Ku Klux Klan should prove once again that they CAN conquer the rights that are theirs as human beings.

The courage and heroism that is characteristic of the Negro race will prove one of the most powerful forces in smashing forever the capitalist system of inequality and scarcity and establishing the socialist system of genuine equal rights and plenty for all.  
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