During the 1860s and 1870s, workers in Sicily supported each other through mutual aid societies, which claimed the right to strike and to lobby for wage increases. This precedent of organized labor, along with a recent history of peasant uprisings against feudal aristocracy and the spread of socialist ideology, set the stage for the Fasci Siciliani movement.
In the 1980’s, gay activists made their stand against sexual orientation discrimination in Manitoba. At this point in time, the members of the LGBTQ* were asking the Manitoba NDP government to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination under the existing Manitoba Human Rights Act.
In 1960 South Africa was under the rule of the National Party, which was imposing harsh, demeaning laws on black South Africans. The party was made up entirely of white people, mostly the descendants of Dutch immigrants. The party was devoted to apartheid and white supremacy, maintained through a collection of policies, including the pass laws.
Reforms to the Canadian Criminal Code legalized abortion in 1969. Under the direction of Pierre Trudeau’s government, a constitutional amendment was made to Section 251 of the Code. The alteration limited legal abortions to be performed only when the mother’s health was at risk. In addition, abortions could only be performed in credible hospitals with licensed physicians and needed to be approved by a panel of doctors called Therapeutic Abortion Committees, which often consisted of all males.
In 2001, Thaksin
Shinawatra was elected the Prime Minister of Thailand and was the first one to
serve a full term in that role. In March 2005, Thaksin was reelected in a
landslide victory, with more than 60% of the popular vote. As the leader of the
Thai Rak Thai (TRT, Thais love Thais) party, Thaksin’s neo-liberalist, populist
policies made him very popular with the majority of Thais, especially the rural
poor. However, his autocratic style, numerous human rights violations and favor
towards privatization created opposition from urban elites, NGOs, and royalist
The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) came to power in 2001. Since 2003 some Moldovans were in conflict with the government with regard to issues such as national identity and foreign policy. Many Moldovans still identified as Romanian, creating confusion and division as to which nationality was historically more accurate. Due to constant shifts in rulers and boundaries, there has been debate over whether the Moldovan or Romanian identity should be recognized by the government.
On 19 March 2006, Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko won his third term in office. The citizens of Belarus, however, did not meet the announcement of Lukashenko’s 82.6% majority win with cheers. Rather, immediately after the Sunday election, oppositional forces organized by presidential candidates Alaksandar Kozulin and Alaksandar Milinkievič claimed that the Belarusian government had rigged the vote. Citizens came to a mass rally in October Square in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
On 17 September 2000, the Ukrainian government under President Leonid Kuchma kidnapped a journalist, Georgiy Gongadze. Gongadze was known for speaking out openly against the government, using his popular radio show and website to expose the widespread corruption in Kuchma’s cabinet. His decapitated body was found two weeks later. In November, Socialist Party leader Oleksander Moroz released recordings of conversations between members of Kuchma’s party planning the execution.
During the fall of 1968, Ayub Khan celebrated his tenth year as president of Pakistan. In honor of this anniversary, he declared his reign as the “Decade of Development,” an action that sparked an outbreak of protests against the state.
Much of Pakistan was already discontent with the Ayub regime. Following the 1965 war with India, Pakistan experienced a huge economic gap. The working classes faced the burden of this disparity.
Rural Ecuador had functioned under the huasipungo land-tenure system since the 16th century. The tenant farmers, called huasipungueros, were mainly of indigenous descent and worked 3 to 6 days a week on hacienda estates in the highlands, owned by absentee elite white families. In exchange for their labor, the laborers received a small plot of land for subsistence, access to pasture land for cattle, and a small cash wage. The indigenous farmers were highly attached to their land although their plots were still owned by the hacienda.
Retired Colonel Lucio Gutiérrez won the 2002 presidential elections in Ecuador after emerging as a popular ally of the poor during the years following a 2000 coup d’etat. A series of decisions followed his becoming president that increased the country’s International Monetary Fund debt and approved exploitation of oil on indigenous land.
The League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY) wanted to situate Yugoslavia in a balance between the Soviet dominated Eastern Europe and US dominated West. In order to ensure this global placement, Yugoslavians exercised an economic reform program during 1964-65. LCY utilized market mechanisms to overcome stagnation and stimulate economic growth, but employment and a growth in wage disparity ensued instead. Members of the Yugoslavian Student League as well as professors and editors of dissonant magazines established spaces for critique and set the stage for nonviolent
In March of 2011 the Brandon University Faculty Association’s (BUFA) collective agreement with the Brandon University expired. Entering into negotiations was delayed due to a declared state of emergency. The Assiniboine River was rising, flooding the lower portion of the city and causing parts of Brandon to be evacuated. Negotiations did not commence until May 18, 2011.
On 1 June 1961, Isaac Coggs, the only African American Member of the Wisconsin legislature, introduced a Humans Rights bill with two civil rights provisions: a fair housing law and a plan to reorganize the Fair Employment Practices Commission. Though Governor Gaylord Nelson supported the bill, it was met with resistance in committee, facing amendments to kill or cripple it. Opponents of the bill argued that real estate
brokers and home sellers should have the right to decide to whom they should sell homes.
Along the Whanganui River, which flows through the North Island of New Zealand, lies a contested piece of land that indigenous Māori call Pakaitore. The government calls this same land Moutoa Gardens, a public park they created in memorial to those who died in the Battle of Moutoa Island in 1864.
In October of 1998, environmental groups organized protests against Home Depot, the world’s largest do-it-yourself hardware and supply store. The protests were in response to the purchasing and selling of old-growth wood (OGW), or wood from endangered, never before forested regions. In part the impetus for this campaign was that Home Depot had not fulfilled a promise made to Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and other environmentalist groups one year prior to stop the selling of OGW.
The Canadian General strike of 1976 was a result of the Bill C-73 passed by Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and the House of Commons in Ottawa on 14 October 1975. This bill limited wage increases to 8% the first year, 6% the second year, and 4% the third year after its enactment.
The majority of the provinces of Canada accepted the bill by spring of 1976, but within eighteen months they began to withdraw from the program. Despite its introduction in 1975, it was not until 1976 that the Anti-Inflation Board (AIB) began to roll back workers' wages.
South Korea was one of the countries to vote in favor of Resolution 17/19 on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity,” which was adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2011. Yet, on a local level, there was still much controversy when the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education drafted a students’ human rights ordinance on 7 September 2011. The ordinance contained articles that specifically addressed the right of LGBT students to not be discriminated against.
In November of 1960, the United States and British governments reached an agreement on the use of the Holy Loch in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland as an overseas base for the US Navy. The governments believed the U.S. military required an overseas nuclear base for refit and crew overturn for its new Polaris missile submarines, built to serve as a deterrent to Soviet military might.
Undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison founded the Student Labor Action Coalition (SLAC) in 1994 after watching a video in a sociology course about the lockout of 700 workers at A.E. Staley, a sweetener company in Decatur, Illinois. They formed the organization to support the workers’ campaign there, and later spread to university campuses across the country.
In the fall of 1998, Harvard students began a Living Wage Campaign that would last for almost four years. The Campaign was headed by the Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM) and aimed to help all Harvard employees receive a “living wage”. The demands of the LWC were that each Harvard employee (janitors, security guards, cafeteria workers, etc.) receive a wage of $10 per hour or more. Most workers were receiving the minimum wage at the time, which was around $6.50. In 1998 Cambridge, MA, this was not enough to get by individually, let alone to support a family.
In April of 2006 Chilean high school students had many complaints against the government and the way it ran the public school system. Chief among their concerns included bus fares and university exam fees. Over the previous few years, there had been isolated protests throughout the city, but none had gathered very much momentum. In 2006, however, in the first major social movement since “Chileans overthrow Pinochet regime,” the students took the general public by surprise.
On 1 January 2008, Mexico repealed all tariffs on corn, beans, milk, and sugar imported from north of the border as part of a 14-year phase out provision agreed to under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexican farmers quickly mobilized to voice their opposition, and tried to pressure the government to renegotiate the agricultural provisions of NAFTA, a free trade agreement passed in 1994 that removed most trade barriers between Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
In September 2010, Iranian authorities sentenced prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh to 11 years in prison on charges of acting against national security and propaganda against the Iranian regime. She was also originally barred from practicing law or leaving the country for 20 years, but in September 2011, authorities reduced her sentence to 6 years and the bans on law practice and travel to 10 years.