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Vol. 74/No. 31      August 16, 2010

25, 50 and 75 years ago
August 16, 1985
MANAGUA, Nicaragua—Nicaragua is a country at war. It is fighting an army of mercenaries—known as the contras—who are armed, organized and financed by the U.S. government.

The people of Nicaragua, led by their workers’ and peasants’ government, are organizing both to confront the ongoing attacks by the contras and to prepare for the possibility of a direct military assault by U.S. troops in the future. They are confident they can defeat both.

The Nicaraguans opened a major offensive against the mercenaries at the beginning of this year. Brigadier Commander Hugo Torres told reporters July 18 that in the first six months of 1985, 2,300 contras had been killed.  
August 15, 1960
Premier Patrice Lumumba has labeled the independence granted the Congo by Belgium June 30 as “fictitious.” Openly defying the Lumumba government, Belgian imperialists have retained over 10,000 troops in the month-old republic while they plot to split Katanga province from the Congo in a determined effort to protect their multi-billion dollar mining interests in Union Miniere.

With this perspective in view, America’s big-business press has been grinding out the most pernicious kind of racist slander against the Congolese. The demand of the Africans for a united independent Congo has been ridiculed and they have been alternately maligned as bloodthirsty barbarians and as children who are “unprepared” to take their place in the civilized world.  
August 10, 1935
Several thousand skilled workers struck on New York City Works Project Administration jobs this week demanding the prevailing union rate of wages. Flying squadrons, which have proved such a popular and effective weapon in recent labor struggles set to work immediately to spread the strike throughout the city, and indications are at the time of this writing, that it will become general, affecting all of the WPA jobs.

This is not the first example of a strike on relief project works; but it is the first real sign of the determination of the workers to maintain the union standard of wages gained after decades of bitter struggle. This is the issue involved, and the trade unionists made no mistake in putting it bluntly.  
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