The economy of the town of Stafford, located in Humboldt County, has been dominated by timber production since the seventeenth century. Pacific Lumber Company, a family owned company, was the primary producer of lumber in the area from 1885 to 1985. Then in 1985 Maxxam Corporation, a Texas based company staged a hostile takeover of Pacific Lumber. This marked an aggressive stepping up in cutting, resulting in a policy of clear cutting. This change in policy was met with wariness by many local people, who feared the long-term sustainability of this method.
As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!
- James Oppenheim (Used as the rallying cry for the movement)
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) formed the Local 399 shortly after World War II. The Local 399 was a labor union for janitors which had reached its peak in the 1970s, but was struggling in the 1980s. During this time, the Local 399 fought for higher wages for its members, which motivated cleaning contractors to invest in nonunion options. The cleaning industry was extremely competitive at the time and as a result of this emphasis on nonunion cleaners, membership in the Local 399 had fallen from approximately 5,000 members to only 1,800.
In 2006, non-unionized janitors at the University of Miami earned as little as $6.40 an hour and received no health insurance. Demanding higher wages and better working conditions, these janitors of mostly Haitian and Cuban descent began a campaign against the University of Miami with leadership from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The Dutch and British colonization of South Africa in the 17th and 18th centuries brought a system of segregation to the region that remained in place well into the twentieth century. From 1948 to 1994 this took the form of apartheid, a system of legal racial segregation that ensured the continued rule of the country by the white minority.
In reaction to the continuing apartheid in South Africa, many colleges and universities in the United States divested from South Africa, meaning that they removed the holdings they had from companies which operated there. Apartheid separated blacks and whites; the whites, however, had a monopoly on power and had much higher living standards. Divestment was viewed as a way to put pressure on the South African government to end apartheid by hurting them economically.
Native Americans have long had to fight with the American government for recognition of their rights to land and to resources. Fishing rights were, however, one of the few rights Native Americans of Washington State thought they had secured. In 1853, Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest were stripped of most of their land and resources and forced onto reservations.
In 1960, almost 40% of New Orleans' population was African American. The city's main shopping avenue was Canal Street, where all stores were white-owned, predominantly Christian, had segregated facilities, and didn't serve blacks at lunch counters. The second busiest shopping avenue was Dryades Street, where the stores were also white-owned, but store patrons were almost all black. Blacks could use the facilities, but were not employed in the stores aside from an occasional janitor.
New York City is home to hundreds of community gardens spread throughout the city. Over the past 20 years, these gardens have served as green spaces in which community members can come together and share ideas, children can get to know the process of growing food and become familiar with the earth. However, in 1998, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani began allowing the demolition of community gardens around the city in favor of luxury apartment development.
In 1963 a long-distance peace march demanding U.S. foreign policy change got caught in the wave of civil rights campaigns in the southern United States. Beginning on May 26, 1963, the Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA), a racially integrated group of social activists left Quebec City, Canada on their Quebec-Washington-Guantanamo Walk for Peace to protest the United States' policy toward Cuba.
The students of Virginia Union University, a black university, wanted to do something to contribute to the growing sit-in movement that had begun on February 1, 1960, in Greensboro, North Carolina (see “Greensboro, NC, students sit-in for U.S. Civil Rights, 1960”). Led by students Frank Pinkston and Charles Sherrod, who had been counseled on nonviolent protest methods by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., more than 200 Virginia Union students and faculty marched from their campus to Richmond’s downtown shopping district on February 20, 1960.
In 1955, before the sit-in campaign in Rock Hill, South Carolina even began, Rock Hill’s St. Anne School desegregated in compliance with the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling. In 1957, Rev. Cecil Ivory (who would later become a leader in the sit-in campaign), led a bus boycott that put the Rock Hill bus company out of business. Sit-ins elsewhere, including in nearby Charlotte (see “University students campaign for racial integration in Charlotte, NC, 1960”), helped start Rock Hill’s own sit-in campaign. Sit-in protests lasted throughout the entire year.
The San Francisco general strike grew out of a coast-wide maritime strike in which ports up and down the west coast of the United States were closed by striking workers. While there were complaints about wages and working conditions, the strikers (headed by the International Longshoremen’s Association) were committed to workplace democracy, calling for worker control of unions and hiring and a coast-wide industrial organization inclusive of unskilled workers, skilled workers, and workers of all races and nationalities.
The Seattle General Strike was the first general strike in the U.S. and marked the beginning of a post-WWI era of labor conflict.
African Americans campaign for reopening of public schools in Prince Edward County, Farmville, VA, 1959-1964
Rather than comply with the 1954 Supreme Court ruling on
Starting in the 1960’s, students in the United States started organizing against apartheid in South Africa. They targeted banks and other companies involved in South Africa, and by the 1970’s, many students were starting campaigns to encourage their universities to divest from all companies with investments in South Africa.
As early as 1965, students at Swarthmore College had signed a letter to the college president calling for a removal of investment with Chase Manhattan Bank, but the issue was overshadowed by activism against the Vietnam War.
At the time of this campaign the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) was a community-based worker organization based in Immokalee, Florida. The CIW was comprised mostly of Latino, Haitian, and Mayan immigrants that worked low-wage jobs throughout Florida. The CIW fought for fair wages for workers, increased respect from employers and bosses, better and cheaper housing, stronger laws/punishments for those companies that violate workers’ rights, the right to organize without fear of retaliation, and an end to indentured servitude in the fields.
In the Spring of 2007, Alphonso Jackson, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, promised to meet with ADAPT in Chicago in the Fall of 2007 and present a number of vouchers that the HUD had recovered, and then to meet regularly with ADAPT in order to work on eliminating housing discrimination against persons with disabilities. The meeting was held on Sunday, September 9, 2007, but Secretary Jackson did not attend. Instead, Kim Kendricks and Paula Blunt represented him, but did not deliver the promised number of recovered housing subsidies.
Colorado disability rights activists (ADAPT) prevent budget cuts to Medicaid Home-Health Services, 2002
On July 5-18, 2002, between 11 and 22 members of Colorado ADAPT (Americans for Attendant Policies Today) held a constant vigil outside of the state Human Services Building in Denver in order to protest the state Health Care Policy Finance (HCPF) committee making any cuts, caps, or changes to the community long-term care policy in Colorado Medicaid. Their goal was to put pressure on HCPF in order to enforce the promises that HCPF had previously made to ADAPT about not cutting Medicaid funds and services.
On Saturday, October 20, 2001, five hundred ADAPT advocates gathered in San Francisco at the Ramada Plaza Hotel to get organized for their protest of the rebuilding of Laguna Honda, the largest nursing home in the nation, which demanded the majority of San Francisco’s Long Term Care Budget, causing community-based services to become neglected and under-funded.
The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) was founded in 1967 by Baldemar Velasquez as a labor group that would allow farm workers to stand up for their rights. The FLOC fought to improve the working conditions for farmworkers who were having their rights ignored while being mistreated and underpaid in the fields. In addition to being paid at a very low level, leaving many farmworkers living below the national poverty level, farmworkers’ health conditions were very poor.
“If the government won’t stop the war, we’ll stop the government.”
That was the central slogan of the Mayday campaign.
The Anti-Vietnam War movement included striking examples of nonviolent direct action. Many of the protests against the Vietnam War took place in the mid-1960s, when the war was still in its early stages, but demonstrations grew in numbers toward the end of the decade. One of the more dramatic efforts to end the war took place in 1971, when the war was rapidly losing public support among American citizens.
The 13 English colonies in North America were established and grew during the 17th and 18th centuries. During most of this time, the colonists lived under what historians have termed “salutary neglect,” meaning that the English government mostly left them alone and the colonies prospered under these conditions.
In most of United States history cloth was manufactured largely in the North while cotton and other fibers were grown largely in the South. In the early twentieth century textile manufacturing workers formed unions to increase wages and safety, reduce working hours, and gain dignity. As the labor unions grew in strength, textile mills moved to southern states to avoid the need for collective bargaining, along with factories where clothing apparel was made from the cloth.
Many women were put in great danger by abortions in the 1960s. Abortions were illegal, forcing many women to turn to back-alley abortionists, many of whom utilized unsafe techniques. A small group of determined activists had been campaigning for abortion law reform for decades, but to even mouth the word was controversial. The 1960s, though, saw the emergence of several revolutionary social movements, among them the civil rights movement and the women’s movement. This period of change and political involvement fostered the environment necessary for an abortion movement to develop.