The 2006 general strike in Nepal was part of a larger democracy movement in the country. Nepal has had a historically monarchal government dating back to the mid-eighteenth century. In the 1940’s, political opposition rose, critical of the enduring, often unstable, autocratic rule and calling for democratic reforms. In 1951, Nepal instated the Nepali Congress Party, dissolving some of the monarchic hegemony.
The province of Kosovo enjoyed significant political autonomy (which had been accorded under the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution) and cultural rights until the 1980s, when tension began to build up between the Serbian minority and the Albanians in Kosovo. This tension soon translated into difficult relations between the Serbian regime and the province.
After a year of striking and sit-ins outside the British Embassy, Iranian citizens were granted a constitution and parliamentary body called the Majlis on August 5, 1906. Democracy was already being expressed on the streets in the form of grassroots anjumans, or councils. Before the Constitutional Revolution in August, these anjumans were secret assemblies of unsatisfied politicians and educated Muslim scholars called ulamas. But following the revolution, the anjumans became open, mass organizations of the kind of democracy Iranians wished to see.
“I have decided to quit as president.”- Indonesian President Suharto, 21st May 1998
These words echoed across Indonesia, as students who had been occupying parliament for the past three days fell to their knees; while others cheered around television sets watching their president, in power for the past thirty years, resign.
Grenada under the dictatorship of Eric Gairy suffered from economic deterioration and widespread corruption. In the face of domestic repression, support for the Left built strength during events leading up to the creation of the New Jewel Movement (NJM). In November 1970, 30 nurses staged a non-violent protest demonstration against poor working conditions at St. George’s General Hospital, their place of work. They were joined by youth groups, trade unions, and school children. Police responded by teargasing demonstrators and arresting 22 nurses.
For a half-century prior to the Acehnese campaign, the Indonesian government had ruled Aceh, located at the northwestern end of the island of Sumatra. The Acehnese suffered a high level of human rights abuses at the hands of the Indonesian government. From the 1950s until 1998, an Acehnese group resisted using violence. But in the late 1990’s, their resistance, led by student activists, took the form of nonviolence in a series of rallies, boycotts and strikes.
In the mid-1990s, basic government functions were being restored in the Republic of Chad after years of violent political turmoil. President Idriss Déby entered into deals with the World Bank and the IMF to carry out economic reforms, including oil exploitation in June 2000. By 2001, Déby’s first-round ‘reelection’ victory was riddled with corruption, fraud, and intimidation of political opposition.
In Cameroon in 1989, attorney and Duala chief Yondo Black formed a new major political party, initiating a significant change in the national political climate towards support for a multi-party system. The ruling party of Cameroon was the Cameroonian People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), and at its helm was President Paul Biya. One of Black’s aims was to challenge the rule of Biya, who had been in office for nine years at that point. Biya and the party have been able to maintain a stronghold on national governance largely due to significant external support from France.
Mobutu Sese Seko became the president of Zaire in 1965. Mobutu’s presidency began after serving as a Chief of Staff of the Congolese Army during the Congo Crisis, which started off as a war of independence from Belgium. Soon after becoming president, Mobutu established an authoritarian government with a new constitution and a one political party system.
The strikes and demonstrations that deposed President Gustavo Rojas Pinilla of Colombia were planned somewhat day to day and began as reactionary actions in response to Rojas’s attempts to hold power indefinitely. The opposition to Rojas had a wide base, across social classes and political party lines, and varied spokesmen, from students to political leaders to the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. This was a result of the growing discontentment with the direction of the Rojas regime.
In July 1977 Z.A Bhutto, the democratically elected president of Pakistan, was removed from power by the Pakistani military, which was at that point under the control of General Muhammad Zia-ul Haq. General Zia promised to hold an election within ninety days of seizing power, yet upon taking office he suspended the constitution and dissolved many of the country’s legislative bodies. Over the next years, Zia repeatedly postponed the promised national elections, leaving the country in the hands of a de-facto military dictatorship.
In 1957, Haitian elections put Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier in power as “president-for-life.” When he died in 1971, his son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier took over. There were no elections during either regime, and both presidents used force to keep the populace subservient. Papa Doc was dependent on his secret police, the Ton-Ton Macoutes (Haitian Creole for Bogeymen), to use violence against the people. Although Baby Doc formally disbanded the Macoutes, the group continued throughout his regime as the Volunteers for National Security, and maintained the same violent presence.
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.
In 1954, a young military officer, Alfredo Stroessner, organized a military coup and overthrew Paraguayan President Federico Chávez. A devoted anti-communist, Stroessner declared a state of siege and suspended constitutional freedoms for the entirety of his 35-year rule. Throughout Stroessner’s last two decades in power, indigenous people organized widely to oppose the negative effects that his massive development projects were having on their communities.
After only three years in office, the president of Suriname Jules Wijdenbosch became the target of harsh criticism and dissatisfaction because of his government’s management of the economy and domestic affairs. In 1998, the Dutch government had decided to stop aid to Suriname amid drug and financial mismanagement scandals, which increased the economic crisis. In May 1999, the struggling national economy reached a new low when its currency plummeted in value, from 800 guilders to the dollar to 2,000, and inflation was at 70%, inciting civil unrest and nationwide protests.
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.
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.
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 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
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.