The enclosure system involved fencing off plots of arable land. The land would then be deeded to an individual or group of owners who could use it as they saw fit. Despite slowly losing access to the commons, commoners preserved their access to rights of ways (the right to pass through someone else’s or public property on a specific path), even those now enclosed on private land, through the countryside. Foot paths, roads, carriageways, and trails were considered highways to which all individuals had the right of way.
By 2013, pressure to use hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to release methane (natural gas) from shale rock formations in the UK began to grow. Prime Minister David Cameron endorsed pursuing this method of extracting natural gas. The government began issuing permits to companies to do test drilling across the UK, in spite of growing opposition from local communities. This campaign was one of the early campaigns to build community opposition with the long range goal of preventing fracking across the country.
United Kingdom Public and Commercial Services Union strikes against cuts to Civil Service Compensation Scheme 2010
In March 2009, British Prime Minister (PM) Gordon Brown of the Labor Government proposed to reform the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS). The Superannuation Act of 1972 governed the CSCS and provided cash compensation for civil servants who lost their jobs and established early retirement terms.
Greenpeace pressures Unilever, gains moratorium on destructive palm oil production in Indonesia, 2008
Palm oil is a versatile and inexpensive oil used in many products, from ice cream and cookies to soap and lipstick. Expansion of palm oil plantations is the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Indonesia. Unilever is the world’s largest consumer of palm oil, which they use in many of their products such as Dove soap, Breyers Ice Cream, and Flora Margarine.
Margaret Thatcher was reelected for her third term in 1987. One of the changes she promised to implement was to levy a flat tax that she called a “Community Charge,” although it became popularly known as the poll tax. A flat tax means that everybody, regardless of wealth, has to pay the same amount. The tax was to be set in the 1989-1990 financial year in Scotland, and in the 1990-1991 financial year in England. However, it was unpopular from the moment she proposed it, and she met resistance from both the people and her party.
Greenpeace and others pressure international buyers, protect Great Bear Rainforest, Canada, 1994-2001
The North and Central Coast, or Great Bear Rainforest as it would later be known, is an area of 6.4 million hectares that extends from the BC-Yukon border all the way down the BC coastline and ending before Bute Inlet. It is the largest temperate rainforest on the planet and the rich ecosystem is home to wolves, salmon, different species of bears, including the rare white kermode bear as well as many types of unique flora and fauna.
In April 2009, Vestas Wind Systems announced the planned closure of two of its factories, which together employed 625 people. The larger of the two, located in Newport, Isle of White, was the UK’s only major wind turbine production site. Despite the UK environment secretary Ed Miliband’s discourse about green energy, the company claimed that there was not sufficient demand in the UK for wind turbines. Vestas relocated these facilities to Colorado, where the market was better.
On 28 September 1995 the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company fired 329 port workers in Liverpool, England, for joining a picket line in solidarity with fellow port workers in Torside. The Torside workers were fired for protesting against the “free-market” style of labor, in which there was no job security, no wage security, and a constant change of working hours. In this format, workers could be phoned at any time and asked to come in to work.
On 6 April 2006, a group of people dressed as large chickens entered McDonald’s fast food restaurants in seven cities around the United Kingdom. These chickens were a part of Greenpeace’s campaign against McDonald’s use of soya, a soybean plant, to feed its chickens.
By 1986, Australian Rupert Murdoch was already well on his way to becoming the head of what would be the world’s largest news conglomerate, News International. His meteoric rise to the top, however, clashed with a centuries-old printing tradition in the United Kingdom, where he owned four of the company’s largest papers. The Fleet Street area of London, England had served as the iconic home to the nation’s printmaking industry since as far back as the 15th century. As Murdoch saw it, however, this history represented a method of printmaking that had long since passed its peak.
Kimberley-Clark Corporation is the largest tissue-product manufacturer in the world, producer of well-known brands including Kleenex, Scott, and Cottonelle. It is no surprise that Kimberly-Clark is also arguably the leading consumer of wood-fiber. However, before 2009, Kimberley-Clark continued to take 90% this wood-fiber from unsustainably managed forests, most notably the ancient Boreal Forest in Canada.
The Industrial Revolution brought prosperity to Britain’s upper classes and in the process created a new industrial working class. To this class belonged, in 1842, 350,000 textile workers, 120,000 coal miners, and 400,000 metal workers. Most of these laborers lived in the coal-rich counties of Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire and Staffordshire in western Britain. Far from sharing in the newfound industrial wealth of their employers, however, workers endured abysmal working conditions, unpredictable wages, and no job security. The constant advancement of technolo
The world voiced its opposition to the National Party’s apartheid government ruling in South Africa in a new way in 1964. International sports tours and matches had become a focal point of cultural identity for whites in South Africa. Victories, to them, demonstrated a kind of symbolic power of white South Africa. White elite South Africa was considered “sports mad.” Once this became apparent to other countries in objection to the political state of South Africa, they found a way to use the situation to send a message.
The general strike of 1926 in Britain was one of the largest strikes Britain has ever experienced and, simultaneously, perhaps the least successful. Previous strikes in the wake of World War I (such as 1919, 1920, and 1921) were precursors to the strike of 1926 and suggest the extreme volatility of the British economy in the post-World War I time period. Although this strike was a general strike comprised of almost every industry in Britain, the mineworkers’ standard of living was the sole concern of the strike.
In 1976, Pete Roche and a few other activists founded the Scottish Campaign to Resist the Atomic Menace (SCRAM). Aimed at protesting the construction of the Torness nuclear power station in the South-East of Scotland, as well as opposing nuclear power in general, SCRAM organized some of the largest anti-nuclear power demonstrations in the UK in the 1970s and 80s. The organization was composed of eight full time volunteer workers, plus vacillating numbers of members. The decision-making process was mainly represented by consensus reached during public meetings.
In May of 2010, the United Kingdom held its general elections. The Conservative Party formed the new government by making an alliance with a smaller party, the Liberal Democrats.