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Vol. 73/No. 48      December 14, 2009

25, 50 and 75 years ago
December 14, 1984
An estimated 2,000 residents of Bhopal, India, were killed by poisonous methyl isocyanate gas that escaped from an underground storage tank belonging to a U.S.-owned Union Carbide plant. Most of the dead are workers who lived in nearby substandard housing.

The so-called accident happened shortly after midnight on December 3 while most people were asleep. More deaths are expected, and Indian doctors are also estimating that at least 20,000 people could suffer serious after-effects, including blindness and sterilization of women.

In addition to the rising death toll, press reports described the fields in the path of the escaping gas as having “presented a scene of chemical devastation today, their crops of turnips and other vegetables withered and covered with a fine white film.”

December 14, 1959
Daisy Bates, militant Negro leader in Little Rock, and Ellis Thomas, the father of one of the integrated Negro students there, have been dealt severe economic blows by Arkansas white supremacists. Though the campaign of economic reprisal was organized locally, Northern big-business interests were involved in both cases.

On Dec. 7 Mrs. Daisy Bates informed New York Post reporter Ted Poston that she and her husband, L.C. Bates, would be unable to resume publishing their weekly newspaper, the Arkansas State Press, which suspended publication last month.

The campaign against the Arkansas State Press, which has been edited and published by L.C. Bates for the past 18 years, was organized by the White Citizens Council as a reprisal for Daisy Bates’ steadfastness in the fight for school desegregation.

December 15, 1934
In the political melee following Roosevelt’s demagogic move to “take the profit out of war” and Senator Nye’s flat statement that the President wants to stop the Senate munitions inquiry, pertinent facts have been suppressed. They are:

The reason behind the munitions inquiry and the President’s move is that the United States government is definitely preparing for war. World war looms. The rulers of all the big nations are bending every nerve in that direction.

[President Roosevelt] has done more in his short time in office to militarize the country than any other president since the war. (As this is being written the government lets two more contracts to the war manufacturers, one for 50 bombing planes, another for 150.) Much of the Public Works money allotted under Roosevelt has been diverted to the munitions makers.  
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