Featured Unity Articles

Malcolm X: A revolutionary example for all nationalities

February 11, 1983

At the end of his life, Malcolm’s line could best be understood as “self-determination, self-respect and self-defense.” Amiri Baraka Malcolm X was an outstanding revolutionary of the 1960’s in the U.S. A maximum mass leader within the Black Liberation Movement, but also by the end of his life, he was a revolutionary example for the […]


Commentary: Lessons from the battle for Japanese redress/reparations

February 11, 1983

June Hibino Each year on February 19, thousands of Nikkei (Japanese Americans) and other nationalities gather at programs and rallies to mark the Day of Remembrance. This year’s activities will bring out once more the demand for redress and reparations for the racist incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans by the U.S. government during World […]


Chinese Progressive Association 10th Anniversary

December 10, 1982

Looking back on a decade of work, looking ahead to the future December 26 is the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco. The Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) is a mass community organization located in the heart of Chinatown. It has over 100 members, a majority of whom are Chinese working people. […]


Plant closings bill showdown

July 2, 1982

Workers put politicians on the spot Sacramento, CA Workers filled every seat in the large hearing room and spilled over into the aisles and upper balcony. At the front, the Democratic members of the California State Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee looked like they wished they were a million miles away. The Republicans, with no […]


International Harvester Near Bankruptcy

June 18, 1982

Workers say “We’ll do whatever it takes to survive” Contributed by a worker correspondent International Harvester, onetime giant of the farm and construction equipment industry, is going broke. Its future is in the hands of the banks, and it may not survive the summer. Harvester’s workers are paying the price — and not just with their jobs. Gains won through long and bitter struggle are being undone. The article below, by a Black worker with 18 years’ seniority at Harvester’s Melrose Park plant near Chicago, shows just how much is at stake. In 1963 I took a test for a mechanic’s job at Melrose Park. I passed and was supposed to be hired in January 1964, but I wasn’t. I was making the rounds looking for work, and in May I went back to Harvester to find out what had happened to my job. The guy in the employment office acted like I was on trial. He asked all sorts of questions — how long had I been unemployed, how much was I getting a week, where my wife worked, how did she get her job? At this time they were only hiring whites. He took me into a little room and said, “You think you can take the test again?” He said he’d lost the first one. I knew what he was really saying. He thought I was stealing answers, since no Black man could possibly pass the test they had given me. So I took the test again, in a little room separated from all the other people taking it. Afterwards I asked how I did. He said, “You did good,” but he never did tell me my score. He said, “You look like you’re strong. Can you do lifting?” So my first job was stacking pallets. I took all those tests so I could stack pallets. I got so I could do it in my sleep. I’ve never forgotten what they made me do. Fighting on the shop floor After three years I was still trying to become a mechanic. They told me I couldn’t transfer because they couldn’t get a replacement for me. I knew that was nonsense. In those days Blacks didn’t go through the union, because we were denied representation. I went to Industrial Relations and told them they were hiring people off the street and not letting me transfer. I didn’t say they were hiring whites and not Blacks, but they knew what I meant. I think they gave me the job just to keep me quiet. I wound up in the tractor department. We formed a caucus to try to get some democracy in the union, get it to represent the workers and not management. Since we were unified, we became very strong. In the summer it would hit 90° on the shop floor. We walked off the job. Later other departments joined us. But we were the first department to get fans, because we made such a ruckus about it. They’re closing down our department now. Today we built the last tractor. Three­fourths of the plant is gone; there’s just the engine line left. It’s like a ghost town — you can hear your echo. They moved out all the machines, all the people, like a cancer spreading throughout the plant. If you’d asked me what I thought about my department closing down when it was first announced, I’d have been more frightened, more concerned. But now my attitude, most people’s attitude is, well, we got to do whatever it takes to survive. I mean, from day to day there’s anger, but if you let it eat you up, you won’t survive no kind of way. I talk to my wife about it sometimes, but I don’t want to burden her. It gets her down, too. Racism on the rise People are concerned about their jobs, and they’re getting more concerned because of how the company is playing favorites. Blacks are now being given less time to qualify for jobs. The union is going along with it. People are being forced to take a layoff instead of being allowed to bump someone with less seniority. The contract says people on the assembly line who transfer to the machine shop are supposed to get a three day break­-in period. One Black guy with 14 years on the line didn’t even get a chance. They just told him, “You can’t do it,” and he was laid off. A white guy got the job. They even fired one Black guy for selling peanuts inside the plant. […]


Awaken

April 9, 1982

“My lifelong goal is to alleviate the suffering of the poor” (translated from Chinese) Mr. Lim has been an organizer in the San Francisco Chinese community for over 40 years. He has been particularly active in the Chinese workers’ movement. He is also a writer and poet. His essays have appeared previously in UNITY. The […]


Organizing Chinatown in the 1930’s

March 26, 1982

OPPRESSED NATIONALITIES (Translated from Chinese) Mr. Ja Chong was one of many revolutionaries who organized among Chinese workers in the 1930’s. Today, he is an adviser to the Guandong Investment Company in the People’s Republic of China. He visited the United States upon the invitation of the Chinese American Association of Commerce last fall. With the […]


Stop RIMPAC bombing of Kaho‘olawe!

March 26, 1982

A fight for Hawaiian land, history and culture Honolulu, HI– People from all walks of life came to Iolani Palace here on March 20 to demand that the U.S. and several other countries on the rim of the Pacific call off their planned destruction of the island of Kaho‘olawe during the RIMPAC military exercises which […]


Protected: Japanese American’s struggle for full equality and political power

March 12, 1982

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.


Plant closings fight heats up

March 12, 1982

“What do we want? Jobs Now!” The 350 chanting pickets circled the big General Motors plant in Fremont, California, looking for an unlocked gate. There weren’t any unlocked gates — though the plant, slated for an indefinite shutdown, wasn’t supposed to close for another five days. Four hundred miles south in Ontario, 1,000 workers in […]


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