The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 75/No. 19      May 16, 2011

25, 50 and 75 years ago
May 16, 1986
The biggest strike that has ever taken place in South Africa brought business to a near standstill May 1, as some 2 million Black workers stayed off the job. The one-day strike was called by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the nonracial federation that has 500,000 members.

The strike was in support of the demand that May Day be made an official national holiday. But it was also a massive show of determination to put an end to the apartheid system, which enables the white rulers to monopolize political and economic power by plundering the land of the Black majority, forcibly segregating them, and denying Blacks all political rights.

The strike shows the growing strength of COSATU and its importance as a component of the anti-apartheid struggle.  
May 15, 1961
The Kennedy administration is seriously considering sending United States troops to fight against guerrillas in South Vietnam and Thailand, according to Senator William J. Fulbright, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Fulbright said May 4 that he would support such moves “if they were considered necessary,” even though he had opposed further commitment of U.S. forces in Laos.

The peoples of Thailand and South Vietnam are rebelling against the reactionary dictatorships fastened on them by the State Department and Pentagon. Premier Ngo Dinh Diem’s government in South Vietnam controls only the cities. His troops enter the countryside only on punitive raids against the peasants who are seizing grain from usurers and landlords.  
May 16, 1936
After three years of exile in Stalin’s Siberia, Victor Serge, author of “The Year One of the Russian Revolution” and many other working class books, and a life-long and devoted militant in the revolutionary movement, has been released and returned to Belgium.

He was arrested in 1933 by an administrative order to the G.P.U. and exiled without the slightest semblance of a trial in violation of the Soviet laws for his continued refusal to give up his revolutionary views and prostitute himself to the task of liquidating the October Revolution.

He was deprived of all communication with the outside world and blacklisted so that he was unable to obtain employment in Orenburg, where he was exiled. Serge’s papers, notes and manuscripts for books, were confiscated.  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home