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Vol. 77/No. 21      June 3, 2013

25, 50, and 75 Years Ago

June 3, 1988

Huge student-led protests have gripped South Korea, with a growing focus on demands for the reunification of North and South Korea. U.S. intervention in South Korea is being denounced, and the withdrawal of U.S. troops demanded.

Two developments triggered the protests. One was the May 21 anniversary of a 1980 uprising in the city of Kwangju. With the approval of the U.S. military command, 8,000 Korean troops were dispatched to Kwangju to crush the rebellion. They slaughtered 2,000 people.

The protests were further galvanized by the suicide of a student. Cho Sung Man, 24, killed himself May 16. In a note he demanded the release of political prisoners and the reunification of Korea. He denounced Washington’s role in the country.

The centrality of Washington’s role in South Korea is symbolized by the 43,000 U.S. troops garrisoned there.

June 3, 1963

In the midst of world protest over conditions in Birmingham, Washington — through its ventriloquist’s dummy, the Organization of American States — has accused Cuba of maltreatment of political prisoners. Significantly, neither the International Red Cross nor the Swiss Embassy, which represents U.S. interests in Cuba, has supported these charges.

Carlos Lechuga, Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations, on May 24 indignantly denounced the OAS charges and accused it of “keeping a pious silence over the events in Birmingham, Ala.”

Lechuga finds “astonishing” the manner in which the OAS overlooks the trampling of human rights and flagrant police brutality in Birmingham. In his statement he accused the OAS advisory body responsible for the recent red-herring report on Cuban prisons, of being blind to the use of dogs and firehoses against Negroes in the South.

June 4, 1938

AKRON, Ohio — The turbulent Goodyear strike ended last Tuesday when the workers accepted a company compromise proposal which granted some of the demands for which the strikers fought in the face of brutal violence by police and company guards.

Although many union progressives were dissatisfied with the accord because of its inferiority to the Firestone and Goodrich contracts, it was endorsed because it offered the union a breathing spell in which to build up its strength.

The real showdown was postponed and the workers have a chance to put themselves in a better position to prevent any repetition of the police brutality which sent more than 100 workers to the hospital and teargassed hundreds of others.

The Akron labor movement emerged more solidified than before thanks to the remarkable achievement of C.I.O. and A.F. of L. unity.  
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