The plebeians made up the majority of the citizen population of Ancient Rome and occupied the economic range anywhere below the ruling Patrician class and above the slave class. A Senate made up of 100 men from traditional patrician families and 200 conscripti, selected from other wealthy families, ruled the Roman Republic, which began in 509 BCE. The Senate elected two Consuls with executive authority to oversee the city’s day-to-day governance for a one-year period.
In February 1931, in the face of an economic crisis, the Chilean Congress granted President Carlos Ibáñez Del Campo authority to enact any necessary measures to keep Chile from further depression. As the value of exports dropped and unemployment rose, Ibáñez increased taxes, stopped public works projects, and cut governmental wages. He also announced that he would maintain order with military force if necessary.
The Haitian President, Elie Lescot had been granted the powers of a dictator by his congress and was backed by the United States. He was representative of the mulatto ruling class during a time when black political radicalism was growing in Haiti. Lescot was also closely tied with the Dominican Dictator Rafael Trujillo. The Haitian student journal, Zinglins, had criticized President Lescot’s dictatorship and begun a call for freedom of press even as early as May 1945. The government quickly suppressed this opposition voice. However, the editors of another stude
During his first seven years as president of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic led the country into several wars with Croatia and Bosnia and isolated it internationally. While he spent money on the country’s secret police and military, unemployment reached as high as 50 percent before 1996. Citizens led several anti-war and pro-democracy campaigns in the early ‘90s, but failed due to lack of outside support. Opposition groups continued both violent and non-violent struggles against the regime, but neither was having any success.
Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1922, Turkey has technically been a secular democracy. Despite this, it has experienced numerous coups and the government has at times proven itself to be highly corrupt.
At its height, the Quebec General Strike in the spring of 1972 was the largest strike in North America’s history. The strike, which involved over 250,000 public and private service workers, was a very important moment in Quebecers’ self-determination and struggle for rights. Planning of the strike had been in motion since 1970, when Quebec’s three main union federations held joint meetings to discuss ways in which they could work together to address common struggles. At the time, many of Quebec’s working class felt disenchanted with and ignored by the government.
In 1947, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) conducted a “Journey of Reconciliation” to direct attention toward racial segregation in public transportation in the Southern U.S.A. Although this initial freedom ride campaign was not regarded as a great success during its time, it inspired the 1961 Freedom Rides that fueled the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
In the late 19th century, Russia’s autocracy, led by a Tsar (also czar), came under increasing attack. Alexander II was forced to liberate the serfs, but he was still assassinated in 1881 by a group called The People’s Will. His heir, Tsar Alexander III was badly shaken by this and launched a massive crackdown. In 1894, Nicholas II became Tsar and attempted to make a number of liberal reforms. For most, however, the reforms didn’t go far enough. In addition, a disastrous war with Japan from 1904-1905 shattered confidence in the Tsar’s ability to rule.
Since the late 1960’s, companies have been cutting down trees in the virgin forests of Malaysia, most notably in the state of Sarawak. Environmentalists all over the world were concerned about the effects of deforestation on the native Penan people and the effects of logging on the rich biodiversity of the rainforests. In particular, environmentalists in neighboring Australia wished to raise awareness about the issue and provide aid to the Penan people. These environmentalists formed the Rainforest Action Groups (RAG), one in each of three Australian cities, Sydney, Melbou
The Pakistan that gained independence from the British Empire in 1947 was a strange and ultimately ill-fated state. The country included two geographically disparate regions, West and East Pakistan (modern-day Bangladesh), separated by nearly one thousand miles of Indian territory. Throughout the military regimes of the 1950s and 60s, Bengali needs were neglected to benefit the “22 families,” all West Pakistani, who controlled the country’s economy. A movement for East Pakistani autonomy emerged from this climate, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (known popularly as Mujib).&nb
In the spring of 1985, campaigns against apartheid in South Africa mobilized on campuses across the United States. Students at University of California Berkeley became aware of these campaigns and were moved to act. On April 10, two student groups—the UC Divestment Committee and the Campaign Against Apartheid—began organizing daily rallies at Sproul Plaza, a main gathering place on campus. Nancy Skinner led the Divestment Committee and William Nessen headed up the Campaign Against Apartheid, but the student coalition made decisions through the consensus of all members.
The Civic Crusade in Panama was an effort by the Panamanian population to dislodge the military dictatorship of Manuel Noriega through the creation of political organizations and the mobilization of numerous demonstrations and protests. Panama’s military regime began in 1968 when Omar Torrijos Herrera, a populist general, led a coup and ousted Arnulfo Arias Madrid from the presidency of Panama.
African American residents of Chester, PA, demonstrate to end de facto segregation in public schools, 1963-1966
In November 1963, African American parents in the small city of Chester, PA organized and demanded better conditions at their local elementary school, Franklin School. They picketed the school and blocked its doors, successfully shutting it down for several days. The protesters also staged sit-ins in the City Hall, municipal building, and the Board of Education's offices. After several weeks of protest, the campaign grew to encompass desegregation efforts of 10 of Chester's public elementary and middle schools.
After the United States dropped the first atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the initial shock of the weapons’ destructive power wore off, many countries became interested in developing electricity based off of the nuclear technology. Along with the exciting new possibilities that always accompany new technology, nuclear fission carried with it a whole host of dangerous challenges as well.
In 1984, South Africa was ruled by an increasingly brutal and repressive regime under Prime Minister Pieter Botha, a strong supporter of apartheid, a system of legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government under which the rights of the majority black inhabitants of South Africa were curtailed and minority rule by whites was maintained. In response to increased anti-apartheid protest in 1984, the Botha regime repressed political dissent with increasing brutality. In November of that year, Ronald Reagan had been reelected as President of the United States.
In 1921 the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) came to power and soon aligned the country with the USSR. Until this democracy campaign in 1989, the MPRP ruled Mongolia through a constitutionally-sanctioned single-party government. By the mid-1980’s, pro-reform sentiments and movements were spreading in Eastern Europe, especially at the universities. However, Mongolians remained isolated from all of this except for the few students who could afford to study abroad in Eastern Europe.
Following World War I, Canada was suffering massive unemployment and inflation. A wave of unsuccessful strikes across Canada, the 1917 overthrow of the Tsarist regime in Russia, and the growth of revolutionary industrial unionism created an atmosphere of labor unrest in a country that had almost no labor regulations.
In March 1919, diverse labor leaders met in Calgary in Western Canada to discuss the creation of an industrial union to be called the One Big Union to work for higher wages, improved working conditions, official union recognition and collective bargaining.
Nagomo-Karabakh was an autonomous region in Azerbaijan that USSR’s leader Joseph Stalin took from Armenia during the Sovietization of Transcaucasia in the early 1920s, in an attempt to placate Turkey. The citizens of the region predominantly identified as Armenian (approximately 76%) and this also corresponded to a religious identification where Armenians are predominantly Christian while Azeris are predominantly Muslim.
The Baltic republics of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania achieved their independence from the Soviet Union by conducting movements based on nonviolence. Tactics included: nonviolent protests, noncooperation, and defiance to combat Soviet military intervention and political intrusion. The problems for Latvia in particular were born after the Soviet occupation following World War II. From that point forward the Soviet leaders employed a program to eradicate the previous Latvian society and to force the “Sovietization” of Latvian society.
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.
The Ogoni region is a highly oil-rich area in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, populated by approximately 500,000 members of the Ogoni People. Since the Shell Petroleum Development Company discovered oil in Ogoniland in 1958, the region has been plagued with serious environmental degradation resulting from the over 100 oil wells in the area.
Ever since gaining its independence from Spain in 1956, Morocco firmly held that the Spanish Sahara (now known as the Western Sahara) should be included within its borders. Morocco based this assertion on the fact that some of the nomadic populations in the region had apparently once owed allegiance to the Moroccan sultan, yet the strength of its commitment to securing control over Spanish Sahara may have increased after it became known in the early 1970s that the region contained substantial phosphate mines.
During the 1950s, Honduras was characterized by a large gap between the few rich citizens and the many poor laborers. In 1952, Honduras held its first ever agrarian census. The wealthy landowners, who only consisted of 4.2 percent of the total population, owned an astonishing 56.8 percent of the arable land in Honduras. Meanwhile, the poor farmers of Honduras, who made up 65.1 percent of the population, only owned 15.7 percent of the arable land. To make matters worse, the wealthy landowners who possessed the majority of the land did not use it effectively.
The Asturian strikes that occurred in the summer of 1963 were the second major challenge to the Franco dictatorship over the span of one year. The first challenge had occurred in the spring of 1962 (see “Spanish coal miners challenge Franco dictatorship, 1962”). As with the strikes in 1962, the 1963 strikes began in the privately owned mines of Asturias during the last week of July 1963. In total, the miners’ executed their strike for 60 days, finally stopping the strike at the end of September. By the end about 40,000 to 50,000 workers had participated in the campaign.
Swaziland borders South Africa and has a population of about one million. At the time of the campaign Swaziland had the world’s highest HIV infection rate and was both one of the poorest nations in the world and the home of Africa’s last absolute monarchy. While King Mswati III was a largely popular figure in Swaziland, he angered Swazis with his lavish lifestyle and high number of wives. Between 2000 and 2010, activists worked to promote a democratic government.