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.]
South African Academics Call for an End to Ties Between the University of Johannesburg and Ben Gurion University, 2011
Since the 1980’s, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in South Africa has held institutional ties with Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Israel. For most of this time, these ties were little more than a formality, with no active meaning. Then in August 2009, the two institutions signed an academic cooperation agreement to work together on water purification and a biotechnology research project.
In March 2012, the parliament of the province of Ontario in Canada notified public schoolteachers that they would have a two-year salary freeze. Premier Dalton McGuinty, the head of the provincial government, announced this initiative as a step toward reducing the government’s $14.8 billion deficit. On 11 September, the Ontario Parliament passed Bill 115, called the “Putting Students First Act,” which locked all public school teachers into a two-year contract with frozen wages, decreased teachers’ sick days, and prohibited teachers from going on strike.
In 1945 Kenya was a colony of Great Britain. Workers were paid low wages and a wave of complaints led to threats of a strike. The British created the Phillips Committee to investigate the workers’ complaints. Forming the committee pacified the workers for a time, but by the end of 1946, workers in Mombasa were upset with the lack of change.
The Dream Defenders' occupation to end racial profiling and repeal Stand Your Ground laws in Florida, 2013
On 14 July 2013, a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager who Zimmerman had shot in early 2012. The jury cited Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in their acquittal, which permitted civilian use of potentially lethal force in self-defense. Two hours after this acquittal, the Dream Defenders, a youth-led racial justice organization in Florida, marched with 300 students and residents to the Florida State Capitol to protest the verdict.
Students and staff at the College of William and Mary campaign for higher wages for housekeepers 2010-2011
Beginning in 1999 and lasting into 2001, students at William and Mary and members of the Tidewater Labor Support Committee (TSLC) carried out what they called a "Living Wage Campaign," during which they protested and petitioned the school’s administration to raise the salary for housekeepers employed by the college. The campaigners declared victory after the administration conceded to raising wages of the housekeepers to $8.29 per hour, which was far from their original goal, and ceased their campaign in 2001.
On 12 February 1960, nearly two weeks after sit-ins at Greensboro, North Carolina (the Greensboro Four) began, over 100 students at the historically black school Barber-Scotia College started sit-ins in the lunch counter at Belk’s department store and three other lunch counters in Concord, North Carolina. In addition to sit-ins, the students organized pray-ins, where they gathered for prayer in public areas and places reserved for whites. Aside from white teenage hecklers, the students did not face much initial repression.
In 2008, the Federal Government of the United States launched a
program called “Secure Communities” that would allow Immigration and Customs
Enforcement to review records of suspects in the custody of local and state
police. In cases where officials found
out that prisoners were in the country illegally, officials could issue
detainer orders for local police to keep the prisoner in custody and begin
deportation proceedings. The effect of this enforcement policy was that
undocumented immigrants arrested on minor traffic infractions—or even
In early May and June of 1960, students from Howard University, a historically black college, joined the ongoing civil rights movement by picketing the White House in D.C. and conducting sit-ins and pickets at segregated Woolworth chain stores in the D.C. area. These early actions led by Paul Dietrich, Stokely Carmichael, John Moody, Jan Triggs, Dion Diamond, Gwendolyn Green, Joan Trumpauer, and others spread interest for a more organized form of action by Howard students.
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
In 1919, the United Textile Workers and Central Labor Union, in
a rush of union activity, managed to shorten the work week from 54 hours to 48
hours. The unions negotiated this reform by making a concession of an overall
cut in wages, which were already below the cost of living. Immigrant workers at
textile mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts welcomed the change in hours, but
could not afford a decrease in wages. Aware of a successful strike involving
immigrant workers in Lawrence back in 1912, the mill workers decided to use the
same tactic to combat the wage decrease.
In late April and early May of 2012, the Norwegian government and the National Farmers Union were negotiating about governmental support for agriculture. The National Farmers Union asked for 2.2 billion kroner in subsidies and other support to farmers, but when the government offered only 900 million kroner ($152 million USD) the union cut off the negotiations completely—the first time the union had done so since the year 2000. The union argued that the proposed government subsidies would have widened the wage gap between farmers and other sectors of the economy.
In the summer of 2013, massive protests against the World Cup and public service cuts erupted across Brazil. Following this wave of protest, the State Union of Education Professional of Rio de Janeiro (SEPE-RJ), which represents both state teachers in Rio de Janeiro and municipal teachers in the city of Rio, launched a strike on 8 August 2013.
In January of 2009, protests broke out worldwide to condemn Israel’s military actions in Gaza. The weekend of the 10th and 11th of January, crowds gathered in cities worldwide for demonstrations of up to 250,000 people. In London, 100,000 people gathered to protest the war in Gaza.
A couple of days following these demonstrations, student occupations at universities in the United Kingdom (UK) began to break out, starting with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on 13 January.
On 18 February 1960, the High Point Biracial Committee was formed to ease racial tensions in High Point. As the group gained more legitimacy, more facilities desegregated thanks in part to negotiations between the committee and city officials. By 1963, nearly all government and public institutions were integrated. The remaining stronghold of segregation was privately-owned buildings such the town theaters.
Apartheid was a legal and political system of racial segregation in South Africa in which the National Party used violence to uphold political and economic control by the white minority. Apartheid began under colonial Dutch rule and was officially introduced as an official policy in 1948.
From the mid-1990s into the early 2000s a wave of economic justice activism swept through college campuses in the United States, spurred in large part by the global justice movement’s spotlighting of corporate malfeasance in the United States and especially in the global South. Seeking to fight in solidarity with underpaid and unprotected laborers, a number of college campuses launched campaigns demanding their universities end the purchasing of apparel produced in sweatshops. Between 1999 and 2000, 18 campus campaigns used sit-ins and building occupations in pursuit of this goal.
As Haverford College became more racially diverse in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the actions of minority students protesting against discrimination became increasingly visible.
High Point, North Carolina was a city viewed as progressive on racial relations, but the black community felt alienated as nearly all of High Point’s public institutions were segregated.
On 1 February 1960, a group of four college students began a sit-in at a Woolworth’s in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina. News spread quickly to High Point, about 16 miles away.
Arizona State University students win better wages and working conditions for food service workers, 2006-2007
In 2006, Arizona State University was one of the larger schools in the United States of America, and employed over 12,000 people. However, many employees at Arizona State University, including the food service workers, made the federal minimum wage of $5.15/hour, well below the “Living Wage” of Tempe calculated to be $10.46.
Since the late 1990’s, students at many different colleges across American had held campaigns to raise the wages of low-income workers. (See this database for other campaigns.)
Colombia is an important supplier of coal to European markets and although Colombian output is small compared to the United States and China, it is a major player in the seaborne coal export trade since those countries consume much of their own production for electricity. After oil, coal is Colombia’s main export. Drummond Co. is Colombia’s No.2 coal miner exporting 26 million tons of coal in 2012, about one-third of the national total.
In 1942 the Canadian government used the War Measures Act to force eighteen Chippewa families from Stony Point First nation off their land. The land, which came to be camp Ipperwash, was used for military proposes, and the federal government agreed to return the land once they were done with it. This land is traditional burial grounds of the Chippewa Natives, but the Canadian government broke their promise and never returned the land.
In the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, many activists and organizers in the neighborhood of East Side (DTES) initiated a campaign in 1990 to change policies regarding intraveneous drug use. Intravenous drug use was rampant – the spread of HIV/AIDS, drug overdoses and deaths were reaching epidemic proportions. From 1988 – 1993 illicit drug deaths in British Columbia increased 800% and 60% of these cases took place in Vancouver.
Bangladesh, located to the east of India, is a leading global garment manufacturer, producing clothing for such American companies as Gap, Walmart, and J.C. Penney. The Ready Made Garment (RMG) industry makes up 80% of the country’s exports and employs about 4 million Bangladeshis, 80% of whom are women. A survey published by the Japan External Trade Organization in December 2013 reported that Bangladesh garment workers earn nearly the lowest monthly wage in the world, second only to Myanmar.