In the 1870s, the Maharaja (prince) of Patiala, a small princely state in the Punjab region of northern India, implemented the Biswedari (big landlord) system, which appointed biswedaris as local authorities of agrarian villages. The biswedaris, mostly government officials and close kin of the Maharaja, gradually took full possession of lands and reduced the original owners to the status of muzaras (tenants). Muzaras had to pay batai (share rent) to their landlords, consisting of half of their crop, though landlords often overestimated the crop yield to justify taking a larger share.
University of Glasgow students occupy Hetherington House protesting proposed education cuts (Free Hetherington Campaign), 2011
In January of 2011, reports began to circulate at the University of Glasgow that massive cuts were coming to academic programs, staff employment rates and student services. Student activists targeted the abandoned Hetherington Research club, a former post-graduate club that had been shut down in January of 2010 due to a previous round of budget cuts, as a potential place of occupation from which protesters could issue demands against austerity. The university was beginning renovations on the building that appeared geared towards the university selling it as private office space.
On 14 October 2007, citizens of El Alto, Bolivia demanded that all bars and brothels facilitating sex work be located at least 3,200 feet away from schools, because they believed that the establishments were facilitating crime in the area. They then began a three-day rampage of the bars and brothels in the impoverished red-lights district of El Alto. These El Alto citizens, primarily parents and students, burned or destroyed at least 50 brothels, burned sex workers’ belongings, and beat sex workers.
Phulbari is a region in the northwest region of Bangladesh. It is an important agricultural region that is also home to low quality coal deposit. Several companies have proposed to use the open pit technique for mining the coal, which would displace thousands of people, many of them indigenous people. The proposed mining projects would destroy farmland, homes, and divert water sources to be used in the mining process.
For Chileans living in the southern Patagonia region, natural
gas is crucial for heating their homes, most importantly during the frigid
winter months. The Chilean Government has been subsidizing natural gas up to
85% for all people in this region because it is the most remote and holds the
highest cost of living in the country. Without this government support, many of
its users would struggle or be unable to pay for it.
Wukan is a coastal Chinese fishing village with a population of approximately 13,000. Located in the southeastern province of Guangdong, Wukan rose to international prominence in 2011 when villagers began protesting against corruption at the city level and unfair compensation for land seizure. Villagers claim that, since 1998, more than 400 hectares of land had been seized without compensation and that corrupt Lufeng city officials have skimmed more than 110 million U.S. dollars from commercial land sale.
In the fall of 2009, the University of California Board of Regents met at UCLA to discuss and vote for a tuition hike necessary for them to deal with shrinking budget and spending cuts across the board. The Universities’ budget deficits were associated with those troubling the state of California. The proposed increase in tuition of 32% would force annual tuition costs above $10,000 for the first time in history.
In the face of a stagnating post-war economy, Polish Communist leader Władysław Gomułka, the First Secretary of the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR), decided to end government subsidies for food and other everyday items in late 1970. Although the system of fixed, artificially low food prices kept urban discontent in check, it was unsustainable, absorbing approximately one third of the budget.
In the early 1900s livestock, often the currency of exchange, formed the foundation of the Kenyan Kamba tribe’s economy. A family’s herd size determined its wealth. As Britain colonized Kenya, this localized provisioning enabled the Kamba to remain relatively self-sufficient.
In the early twentieth century, Kansas was the third largest coal producing state in the United States, with more than 8,000 unionized miners concentrated in the two southwestern counties of Crawford and Cherokee. In January 1920, the Kansas legislature had established a board of compulsory arbitration, known as the Kansas Industrial Court, which banned strikes against unfair labor practices and working conditions.
In February of 2010, Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand called for what he deemed a "cultural revolution" to change the way the Quebecois populace used public services, including a tuition fee hike for post-secondary education.
The Tachikawa Air Force Base (AFB) was a US airfield in western Tokyo. The US military and the Japanese government planned to use this airfield for transporting nuclear weapons. In order to accommodate for the larger aircraft needed to transport these weapons, the Tachikawa AFB needed to expand and lengthen the runway for longer landing and takeoff distances. However, that meant that the government would need to use the surrounding farmland for the expansion. The US military announced the plans for expansion in 1955.
The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) is the largest university in Latin America, with over 270,000 enrolled students. It is credited with educating a number of Mexican presidents as well as prominent Latin American academics. In 1999, students attending UNAM paid approximately $0.02 for semester tuition.
On February 4, 1976, a massive earthquake hit the highlands of Guatemala and displaced more than one million people. Indigenous groups from the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango, Guatemala, and Quiche were hit the hardest and the weak response from the national government brought to light the racial inequalities affecting indigenous peoples.
Coal is the main commercial energy in India and the government launched an internal improvement program in the early 2000s to bring energy to the hundreds of millions of people in the country without technology and other modern conveniences. Andhra Pradesh was the most ambitious state in this endeavor, as it proposed for 7 major and 30 smaller coal-powered power stations.
Formed in 1995, the WTO serves as an organization that facilitates trade amongst 123 nations. The first major protest against the WTO occurred in 1999 in Seattle, Washington. United States citizens were protesting the WTO’s ministerial conference because they claimed that the WTO was breaking down nation states’ sovereignty. Specifically they were concerned with workers’ rights and the concept of the “race to the bottom”, in which countries companies compete to pay their employees the lowest wages, resulting in massive employee exploitation.
In the wake of economic depression in 1893, George Pullman, Illinois businessman and inventor of the sleeping railway car, sought to cut costs in his company town outside of Chicago. Mr. Pullman fired approximately one third of his workers, and reduced remaining wages by over 25 percent. He refused to decrease housing and food prices in the town.
Following a loss in World War I, Germany was charged to pay reparations for their destructive role. The bill was $33 billion. Germany had been weakened by the war and paying the reparations at the rate in which they were due would have completely crippled the country. Germany therefore tried to gain more time to pay. The Germans set forth a proposal for U.S banks to loan funds for the reparations and for France to reevaluate the reparations.
In the late nineteenth century foreign governments were increasingly asserting control, and in some cases Iranian governmental figures adopted a fatalistic attitude about being colonized by Britain or Russia, both of which were competing for power inside Iran. In this atmosphere the shah of Iran signed a secret agreement with a British company in March 1890 granting a concession over all Iranian tobacco.
The Brent Spar, a 450-foot-long floating rig used as a loading buoy and storage tank for oil from the North Sea for fifteen years, was decommissioned in 1991. When Greenpeace learned of plans to dump the Brent Spar by sinking the structure in the North Atlantic, just west of Ireland and Scotland, and of the UK government’s approval, it jumped into action. More than 24 activists from 6 North Sea countries made plans to occupy the rig. Video and photo staff documented the occupation.
In response to labor strikes on banana plantations throughout the country, which were a result of a large drop in wages for plantation workers, Chiquita Brands International closed its plantation in Tacamiche and three other farms in June of 1994 due to their heightened involvement in the strikes. The closure was not only devastating to the strike, which soon after conceded to a pay increase, which due to inflation was far below the amount from before the strike, but also for the people living on the plantations.
Post-WWI China was fraught with political turbulence and social unrest. The Qing Dynasty was overthrown in 1911 and the Republic of China was instated in its place, ending thousands of years of imperial rule in the country and generating a host of new streams of intellectual and political thought. However, warlords still ruled strong throughout many of the provinces, fueling a chaotic and backwards politics that an emerging intelligentsia sought to change.
When the United States proposed an expansion of its military base in the Pyeongtaek region of South Korea in 2001, it threatened to be the third time that the people of the region were to be displaced from their land. The people who lived in Pyeongtaek, primarily farmers, were first evicted when the Japanese occupied the region in World War II. Then they were forcibly displaced a second time in 1952, when the United States built its military base, Camp Humphreys.
Throughout the 90s, Bolivia came under increasing pressure from the World Bank to privatize public goods in order to fulfill loan conditionality. In September 1999, in response to this pressure, the Bolivian government auctioned off the municipal water system ‘SEMAPA’ of Cochabamba, a city of 800,000 residents. When the auction drew only one bidder, the government signed water resources over in a 40-year concession to Aguas del Tunari, a foreign-led consortium of private investors dominated by the Bechtel Corporation.
The general strike in Ådalen, Sweden, in 1931 was part of a much larger industrial struggle between the Swedish Employers’ Federation (SAF) and the Swedish Union Federation (LO), a struggle that had been continuing since the late 19th century, if not longer.