On 5 January 2019, Metropolitan Detention Center Brooklyn (MDC Brooklyn), a federal jail in Brooklyn, New York that housed 1,500 incarcerated people, lost power for the first time that year for unknown reasons. Three weeks later, an electrical fire caused the entire building to lose heating capabilities as well. This loss of power and heat took place over some of the coldest days and nights of the 2019 winter in New York City (NYC).
A series of revolutionary movements aimed at freeing India from British colonial rule started in the early 1900s. In an effort to overthrow the British Empire and to end colonial rule, Indian revolutionaries and organizations undertook several tactics to free the region and become an independent country. Under colonial rule, the British government authority started penal colonies––one of which was established in Pakistan––to house Indian prisoners where they faced forced labor and worse conditions in contrast to English prisoners.
In 2011, over 12,000 prisoners of California’s corrections system participated in a hunger strike to protest their inhumane conditions of confinement.
On the morning of 16 April 2014, as the MV Sewol was traveling its usual route, from Incheon, South Korea to Jeju, South Korea, the ferry capsized, killing 304 of the 476 passengers onboard - most of whom were high school students on a class field trip. As the boat was sinking, Captain Lee Joon-seok and his crew told passengers to stay seated, while they fled the scene and were among the first to be rescued by the Korean Coast Guard.
University of Sydney students uncover and protest discrimination of Aboriginal people in New South Wales, 1965
In 1965, a group of student students at the University of Sydney who were members of Student Action for Aborigines (SAFA) embarked on a two week bus ride through several towns and villages in New South Wales to draw attention to the prevalent discrimination against Aborigines in Australia. This campaign is often credited with directing national and international attention to the ongoing human rights violations against Aboriginal people and leading to the 1967 referendum that approved two amendments relating to Aboriginal rights and status in Australia.
Starting in 2008, the Brazilian government began commissioning nearly forty police pacification units (UPP) in over two-hundred of Rio de Janeiro’s shantytowns, known as favelas. This pacification project aimed to maintain security in territories after Rio’s special police unit (BOPE) cleared the communities of gang leaders and drug traffickers who, for decades, controlled the favelas and inspired their violent reputations.
The city of Rio de Janeiro is home to 6 million people with approximately 1.5 million residents living in favelas. These residential communities, named after the favela trees native to the region, are commonly misunderstood by outsiders. Although 32% of favela residents belong to the lower-class, a 2013 study found that 85% of people residing in favelas like where they live. Some favelas have high crime rates, but many are high-functioning, self-governing communities.
In the 1870s, the Maharaja (prince) of Patiala, a small princely state in the Punjab region of northern India, implemented the Biswedari (big landlord) system, which appointed biswedaris as local authorities of agrarian villages. The biswedaris, mostly government officials and close kin of the Maharaja, gradually took full possession of lands and reduced the original owners to the status of muzaras (tenants). Muzaras had to pay batai (share rent) to their landlords, consisting of half of their crop, though landlords often overestimated the crop yield to justify taking a larger share.
Garfield High School teachers in Seattle, Washington boycott Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test, 2012-2013
Standardized testing in the United States dates back to the early 1900s, when the military issued standardized tests of intelligence to potential candidates for the armed services. In the 1970s, public school students began taking “high stakes” tests, in which their scores affected school district funding and the students’ ability to move on to the next grade. The original purpose of these tests was to hold school districts accountable by providing a standard measure of academic comparison across students and school districts.
Kazakh oil workers strike against three leading oil companies for better pay and increased unionization activities, 2011
Oil is a central feature of the economy in Kazakhstan, the largest country in Central Asia. In 2010, Kazakhstan was among the top 20 global oil producers, with the oil sector comprising over 11% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). Three of the most prominent oil companies in the country included (1) Ersai Caspian Contractor LLC, an oil service contractor, (2) KarazhanbasMunai JSC and (3) OzenMunaiGas, both owned by the parent company KazMunaiGas Exploration Production (KMG EP).
On 11 September 1973, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinoche came to power and during the 1970s, he privatized Chile’s education system. The central government gave money to some private schools, while the public schools remained grossly underfunded. This commercialization of education began a legacy of educational attainment disparity along socioeconomic class lines—the poor received poor quality education, received jobs that paid meager wages, and remained poor, while the wealthy received high quality education, went on to university, and obtained well-paying jobs that increased their wealth.
The May 1959 opening of French government internment camps for Algerians suspected of being subversive agents of the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) came towards the end of the Algerian War (11/1954-03/1962). The war, which ended with Algeria winning its independence from France, featured a wide variety of tactics, including torture by both sides. This torture led to the original conferences and protests of l’Action civique non-violente, a group dedicated to the right to resist oppression.
The British commissioner governed the state of Mysore in southern India from 1831 to 1881 when the administration reinstated the pre-existing Wodeyar (Wadiyar) Dynasty. Mysore became a princely state with the Wodeyar Dynasty ruling under the paramountcy of the British. The reigning Maharaja (king) during the Indian independence movement was Jayachamaraja Wodeyar. On 15 August 1947, India gained its independence from the British Raj.
On 14 October 2007, citizens of El Alto, Bolivia demanded that all bars and brothels facilitating sex work be located at least 3,200 feet away from schools, because they believed that the establishments were facilitating crime in the area. They then began a three-day rampage of the bars and brothels in the impoverished red-lights district of El Alto. These El Alto citizens, primarily parents and students, burned or destroyed at least 50 brothels, burned sex workers’ belongings, and beat sex workers.
Marikana platinum mine, near Rustenburg, South Africa, employed thousands of workers, composed mostly of migrants working for low wages. Lonmin, a British mining company, owned Marikana. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) represented most of the workers at Marikana. NUM was one of the two largest unions in the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), an extremely powerful organization and a major player in South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).
In dire economic crisis under the leadership of President Robert Mugabe, many Zimbabwean citizens and human rights activists felt that Zimbabwe was a “dictatorship under another name.” Political violence was common, especially in the months leading up to the general election of March 2008, and the government used police to violently suppress any voices that opposed the current leadership. The organization Women of Zimbabwe Arise (“WOZA”, a Ndebele word meaning “come forward”) was formed in 2003 to give women a voice against injustice and violence.
Since its founding in 1859, Cooper Union had operated as a tuition-free art, architecture, and engineering school. However, after years of financial troubles, the College announced on 24 April 2012 that it would begin charging graduate students tuition beginning in the fall of 2014. Large numbers of students, faculty, and alumni strongly opposed this announcement; many blamed the shortfall on poor management of the endowment, expensive building construction, and over-reliance on poorly performing hedge fund investments.
Student governments of Chilean universities assembled to be represented as the Confederation of Chilean Students Federations (CONFECH), the leading organization of the campaign. College students Camila Vallejo and Giorgio Jackson took leadership of the protests and were both integral in creating the "Social Agreement for Chilean Education" (Acuerdo Social por la Educación Chilena), the proposal that was presented to the Chilean government. The students of CONFECH demanded the following:
ME Jallow founded the Gambia Workers’ Union (GWU) in 1956, and held the position of General Secretary until the mid 1980s. GWU’s base consisted of unskilled laborers, especially the growing number of workers in Bathurst. The union first began by supporting industrial workers who were taking action to protest low pay. In February 1960, the colonial government, pressured by an upcoming election, responded positively to a strike in Bathurst led by daily paid workers. Government officials formed a commission on wage rates and increased the minimum wage by 25 percent.
At the beginning of May 2013, Brazil was seen internationally as a development success and was preparing for the first of three major international sporting events in four years. However, a twenty-cent price hike in Sao Paulo’s bus and metro tickets sparked the largest protests Brazil had seen in years. The MPL (Movimento Passe Livre/Free Fare Movement) started the protests in response to the fare hikes, but the protests came to represent popular discontent with the Brazilian government.
Jackson was the largest city in Mississippi in 1960, with 250,000 residents, 50,000 of whom were black. Medgar Evers, a field secretary for the Jackson chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) began to build up NAACP Youth Councils at colleges and high schools in the area since 1961. Since the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were in other parts of Mississippi, the NAACP was the only consistent nonviolent group in Jackson.
Marshall, Texas, despite having a black majority, practiced public and private racial segregation like most of the South in the 1950’s. The town included two historically black colleges: Bishop College and Wiley College.
In 2004 the Ukrainian people heard reports that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych rigged the presidential elections so he could step in as Ukraine’s new president. The people’s campaign of strikes and protests forced a re-run election that was fairly contested, and was won by opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko. [Ukrainians overthrow dictatorship (Orange Revolution), 2004.]
Many West Indian settled in England during the 1960’s due to looser immigration restrictions. In Southwest England West Indians easily found menial jobs in Bristol, but found themselves shut out of higher positions. It was hardly a secret that the Bristol Omnibus Company constantly turned away black and Asian applicants for drivers and conductors, but neither management nor the union, the Transport and General Worker’s Union, seemed interested in dealing with the “colour bar”.
In early 1968, the Polish
National Theater in Warsaw decided to stage a production of “Dziady,” a classic
Polish play by the revered 19th century writer Adam Modzelewski. The
production’s director, Kazmierz Dejmek, choose to highlight the text’s
connection to early Christianity as well as the story of Poland’s struggle for
liberation. Although the communist government rejected religion, no pundits
viewed the play’s content as an exceptional departure from the guidelines of