In 1955, before the sit-in campaign in Rock Hill, South Carolina even began, Rock Hill’s St. Anne School desegregated in compliance with the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling. In 1957, Rev. Cecil Ivory (who would later become a leader in the sit-in campaign), led a bus boycott that put the Rock Hill bus company out of business. Sit-ins elsewhere, including in nearby Charlotte (see “University students campaign for racial integration in Charlotte, NC, 1960”), helped start Rock Hill’s own sit-in campaign. Sit-in protests lasted throughout the entire year.
The Rose Revolution in Georgia sought to overthrow President Eduard Shevardnadze. Shevardnadze was elected as president in 1995. A hold-over from the communist period, Shevardnadze was often seen as a puppet for the Soviet Union. In 2003, his actions would lead to the downfall of his regime and the institution of free elections in Georgia.
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.
The San Francisco general strike grew out of a coast-wide maritime strike in which ports up and down the west coast of the United States were closed by striking workers. While there were complaints about wages and working conditions, the strikers (headed by the International Longshoremen’s Association) were committed to workplace democracy, calling for worker control of unions and hiring and a coast-wide industrial organization inclusive of unskilled workers, skilled workers, and workers of all races and nationalities.
The Seattle General Strike was the first general strike in the U.S. and marked the beginning of a post-WWI era of labor conflict.
Beginning in the year 1944, French West Africa experienced economic difficulties. Prices continued to augment, while salaries remained the same. This was complicated by the fact that insufficient sales (because of the poor salaries) also affected the wages of the workers. Wanting an increase in wages, on December 22, 1945, the workers of the ports of the French Company in the city of Dakar organized a strike. The workers from the printing shops of Dakar and the Senegalese electrical factory in Saint Louis joined in the strike.
In 1946, a general strike in Dakar (with the exception of railway workers) guaranteed wage increases, family allowances for government workers, the recognition of unions, the expansion of wage hierarchies, and bonuses for seniority. In 1947, 164 cases of collective conflicts were reported to the Inspection du Travail; most dealt with wage disputes and were settled without incident. In that year, 133 unions in the public sector and 51 in the private had been recognized. The Fédération Syndicale des Cheminots (Railway Workers Union) was one of these autonomous and recognized unions.
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 strikes in April and May of 1962 in Asturias (the coal mining center of Spain) were executed by the miners of Asturias and were a direct challenge to General Francisco Franco’s regime. Although the mines were privately owned and operated, the state dictated the wage rate and workers’ rights. The Spanish Communist Party played a significant role in the working class’s success against the fascist dictatorship. The “economic stabilization plan” created by the Franco government called for a wage freeze.
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.
African Americans campaign for reopening of public schools in Prince Edward County, Farmville, VA, 1959-1964
Rather than comply with the 1954 Supreme Court ruling on
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.
Starting in the 1960’s, students in the United States started organizing against apartheid in South Africa. They targeted banks and other companies involved in South Africa, and by the 1970’s, many students were starting campaigns to encourage their universities to divest from all companies with investments in South Africa.
As early as 1965, students at Swarthmore College had signed a letter to the college president calling for a removal of investment with Chase Manhattan Bank, but the issue was overshadowed by activism against the Vietnam War.
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 Kingdom of Tonga is a small island nation in the South Pacific. It is one of the few that did not undergo formal colonization, though became a British-protected state in 1900. Despite this, however, it has retained its own system of government: monarchy. The political structure of the country had barely changed since King Taufa’ahua drafted the constitution in 1875. The cabinet and 2/3 of the parliament are appointed by the king, so the people of the country have very little representation.
“This is how every worker feels it: with varying degrees of clarity they feel themselves living at a moment that could be decisive for their class, a moment in which all can be staked, everything risked, and perhaps everything lost.
In the Spring of 2007, Alphonso Jackson, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, promised to meet with ADAPT in Chicago in the Fall of 2007 and present a number of vouchers that the HUD had recovered, and then to meet regularly with ADAPT in order to work on eliminating housing discrimination against persons with disabilities. The meeting was held on Sunday, September 9, 2007, but Secretary Jackson did not attend. Instead, Kim Kendricks and Paula Blunt represented him, but did not deliver the promised number of recovered housing subsidies.
On Saturday, October 20, 2001, five hundred ADAPT advocates gathered in San Francisco at the Ramada Plaza Hotel to get organized for their protest of the rebuilding of Laguna Honda, the largest nursing home in the nation, which demanded the majority of San Francisco’s Long Term Care Budget, causing community-based services to become neglected and under-funded.
The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) was founded in 1967 by Baldemar Velasquez as a labor group that would allow farm workers to stand up for their rights. The FLOC fought to improve the working conditions for farmworkers who were having their rights ignored while being mistreated and underpaid in the fields. In addition to being paid at a very low level, leaving many farmworkers living below the national poverty level, farmworkers’ health conditions were very poor.
“If the government won’t stop the war, we’ll stop the government.”
That was the central slogan of the Mayday campaign.
The Anti-Vietnam War movement included striking examples of nonviolent direct action. Many of the protests against the Vietnam War took place in the mid-1960s, when the war was still in its early stages, but demonstrations grew in numbers toward the end of the decade. One of the more dramatic efforts to end the war took place in 1971, when the war was rapidly losing public support among American citizens.
The 13 English colonies in North America were established and grew during the 17th and 18th centuries. During most of this time, the colonists lived under what historians have termed “salutary neglect,” meaning that the English government mostly left them alone and the colonies prospered under these conditions.
In most of United States history cloth was manufactured largely in the North while cotton and other fibers were grown largely in the South. In the early twentieth century textile manufacturing workers formed unions to increase wages and safety, reduce working hours, and gain dignity. As the labor unions grew in strength, textile mills moved to southern states to avoid the need for collective bargaining, along with factories where clothing apparel was made from the cloth.
Many women were put in great danger by abortions in the 1960s. Abortions were illegal, forcing many women to turn to back-alley abortionists, many of whom utilized unsafe techniques. A small group of determined activists had been campaigning for abortion law reform for decades, but to even mouth the word was controversial. The 1960s, though, saw the emergence of several revolutionary social movements, among them the civil rights movement and the women’s movement. This period of change and political involvement fostered the environment necessary for an abortion movement to develop.
In February of 1999, members of the Progressive Activist Network (PAN) at Penn joined with United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) chapters at other Ivy League universities in an anti-sweatshop campaign by sending a joint letter to their university presidents. The letter requested a response by March 8, 1999, from University President Judith Rodin and seven other Ivy League university presidents, (excluding Dartmouth’s,) to four demands regarding the possible use of sweatshops in school-insignia apparel production.
In response to other universities’ anti-sweatshop protests, students at the University of Michigan formed SOLE, Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality. Their goal was for the University of Michigan to require companies that made clothing for the school to disclose where their factories were located. Once this information was available, outside independent organizations could make sure that the factories were not sweatshops.