American Labor Activists rally to build support for the Employee Free Choice Act, 2003
The AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States, moved to counteract the shrinking union strength and the ever growing corporate power via legislation, the Employee Free Choice Act. Andy Levin and Stewart Acuff, two veteran union organizers, spearheaded the effort. In the summer of 2003, Acuff and Levin agreed on what the act would entail.
Dutch church holds marathon service to protect immigrants, 2018-2019
Sasun and Anousche Tamrazyan, a married couple, and their children Hayarpi, 21, Warduhi, 19, and Seyran, 15 were originally from Armenia, but they fled from political persecution to the Netherlands in 2010 due to Sasun’s political actions. Although they had been living in the Netherlands for nine years, there was a legal battle surrounding their ability to stay in the country. The Dutch government attempted to deport the family three times, but the courts twice overruled the attempts.
Norillag prisoners strike for better conditions (Norilsk uprising), 1953
The Norillag was a gulag labor camp, located in Norilsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, a town in the Taimyr Peninsula on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, close to the mouth of the Enisei River. Inmates of the Norillag worked 12-hour days, in temperatures as low as negative 50 degrees Celsius during the winter. They worked in mines, brickyards, cement plants, and in the base camps, as well as on road and railroad construction.
San Francisco strippers win right to form a union, 1996-1997
The Lusty Lady was a strip club in San Francisco. Opened since 1976, this North Beach club featured exotic dancers “Lusties” in a peep show on a stage and in individual booths. While being one of the most popular spots for nightlife in the city, the Lusty Lady was infamous among the dancers for its random firings and pay cuts, racist and ambiguous shift policies, and no-sick-day rules. According to Antonia Crane, a former stripper at the Club, “[the Lusty Lady] is playing the notoriously exploitative game in the adult entertainment world.”
Chinese-Americans protest conviction of NYPD Officer Peter Liang, 2016
On 20 November 2014, a New York police officer Peter Liang, joined by his partner, Shaun Landau, entered the Louis H. Pink Houses for a routine patrol of the Brooklyn public housing complex. During the vertical-patrol of the building, Liang drew his weapon as he opened the door to the stairwell. According to Liang’s defense, a loud noise startled him which caused him to accidentally pull the trigger. The bullet ricocheted against the wall and fatally struck Akai Gurley, who had entered the stairwell with his friend, Melissa Butler, a floor below.
Black residents of Diamond win fight with Shell Chemical for relocation 1989-2002
In the early 1950s, Royal Dutch/Shell purchased land in the community of Diamond, Louisiana and built a chemical plant. Margie Richard, a Black resident of Diamond, founded Concerned Citizens of Norco (CCN) in 1989 after two large-scale accidents at the Shell/Motiva Chemical plant. A pipeline explosion in 1973 killed two Diamond residents, while another event in 1988 killed seven workers.
Emelle residents protest Chemical Waste Management hazardous waste landfill 1978-1995
In 1978, Chemical Waste Management Inc. (CWM), a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc. (WMX), bought 300-acres of land near Emelle, Alabama for a hazardous waste landfill. Residents did not have the opportunity to protest the landfill prior to its construction because CWM was not legally obligated to disclose information about land use.
Paul Robeson High School Students in New York Campaign Against Closing, 2009-2011
Paul Robeson High School opened in Brooklyn, New York, 1984, as a replacement for the closed Alexander Hamilton High School. The school board’s vision for the new Robeson High School focused primarily on decreasing the dropout rate. To ensure this, the board replaced most of the Hamilton teachers with new ones and created a new application process for students. At first, Robeson did see an increase in the graduation rate, earning it recognition in The New York Times. However, in 2004, the graduation rate began to slowly decrease.
Students Win Gay-Straight Alliance Club at Flour Bluff, Texas, High School 2010-2011
In November 2010, Bianca “Nikki” Peet attempted to start a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) in Flour Bluff, Texas, part of the greater Corpus Christi area. She initially went through the normal channels within the local high school, but the school’s principal, James Crenshaw, denied her request to form a GSA. Crenshaw asked her to change the club’s name and mission and come back for reconsideration. After this initial denial, Peet revised the club’s mission statement. She resubmitted it in January of 2011 and was again denied.
Citizens stop development companies’ destruction of bay habitat in Manatee County, Florida, 2013
On 6 June 2013, developers Carlos Beruff and Larry Lieberman asked
Florida’s Manatee County Commission for environmental exceptions and
zoning changes to Long Bar Pointe, a 523-acre area of land along
Sarasota Bay. In 2012, Lieberman, the land’s owner, as well as the
president and founder of Sarasota’s Barrington Group, partnered with
Beruff of Medallion Homes to complete the development project. Beruff
and Lieberman aimed to build a 300-room hotel, two retail centers, a
convention center, 1,086 single-family homes, 1,587 low-rise multi
Kurdish Men Wear Women's Clothes for Gender Equality, 2013
On 15 April 2013, policemen in Marivan, Iran executed a form of criminal
punishment that quickly garnered public criticism. A 25 year old man,
Tawfik Dabash, had been convicted of “disturbing public order,” and
police later paraded him around the city in handcuffs wearing
traditional Kurdish women’s clothes (similar to the bridal robe) in
order to humiliate him. Later that day, Kurdish women of Marivan, who
had been historically oppressed on the basis of both gender and ethnic
identity, quickly organized into a 400-person march through the city to
Senegalese successfully protest proposal of change to Constitution, 2011
Abdoulaye Wade became the democratically elected President of Senegal in 2000. The country was one of Africa’s most stable democracies, and had never experienced a coup. During his term as President, the Constitution was changed to limit Presidents to two terms. In 2009, Wade announced that he would not run for a third time. However, his government still suffered from low popularity. Frequent power outages, government scandals, and economic problems bred popular discontent.
Belgian doctors strike to block single-payer healthcare, 1964
During the 1950’s and 60’s, as many countries advanced and became more
industrialized, doctors in organized medicine tried to push back against
the post-World War II trend of increased state involvement in medical
care. The worry was that state involvement would, over time, reduce
doctors’ income and self-governance. Belgium was a unitary state in the
1960’s and only became a constitutional federation in 1993. Belgium’s
social insurance system was private but also corporatist. At the time,
the system consisted of five health insurance funds called mutualités.
Philadelphians prevent deportation of Honduran immigrant through church sanctuary, United States, 2014-15
The New Sanctuary Movement (NSM) was established to build a community
that does not discriminate based on faith, ethnicity, class, and to end
injustices against immigrants regardless of their legal or illegal
status. They are a national movement of civil disobedience trying to
pressure President Obama to reform immigration laws. Their movement
goals include pushing Obama to end all deportations, regardless of
“origin, status, criminal convictions, sexual or gender identity,
socioeconomic status, marital status, or previous deportation order”
Greenpeace pressures Coca-Cola to phase out HFC refrigeration for Olympic Games in Australia 2000-2004
After the dramatic discovery of the ozone hole in 1986, activists, particularly working with Greenpeace, campaigned for an international ban on the use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, often used in refrigeration. In 1987 country representatives in the United Nations wrote the Montreal Protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer as an international treaty calling on countries to phase out and ban chlorofluorocarbons.
Kansas women protest anti-abortion advocate Governor Sam Brownback, 2012
In January 2011, Governor Sam Brownback took office in the U.S. state of Kansas. In rapid succession, strict new anti-abortion legislation passed through both houses of the state legislature.
Brownback signed into law new restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion, parental consent clauses for minors, blocks on Planned Parenthood funding (including that for non-abortion services), and limits on late-term abortion. Many of these measures went into effect during summer 2011.
Greenpeace pressures Unilever, gains moratorium on destructive palm oil production in Indonesia, 2008
Palm oil is a versatile and inexpensive oil used in many products, from ice cream and cookies to soap and lipstick. Expansion of palm oil plantations is the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Indonesia. Unilever is the world’s largest consumer of palm oil, which they use in many of their products such as Dove soap, Breyers Ice Cream, and Flora Margarine.
Tasmanian Wilderness Society blocks dam construction (Franklin River Campaign) 1981-83
the Hydro Electric Commission of Tasmania solidified their plans with the
Australian government to build a dam across the Franklin and Gordon Rivers, in
the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. The Tasmanian Wilderness Society
formed not long after this announcement to take action against the Hydro
Electric Commission and their plans to bulldoze the surrounding wilderness for
the construction of the dam. The director of the Wilderness Society and leader
of the anti-dam campaign for the following seven years was Bob Brown, a local
United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) launches double-pronged attack to defend benefits, 2012-2013
Peabody Energy Corporation is an international coal company based in St. Louis, Missouri (MO). In 2007, they created a spinoff company Patriot Coal Corp., also based in St. Louis, MO. Following the spinoff, Peabody Energy has gradually transferred responsibilities for many of its retirees over to the new company.
Peace Brigades International (PBI) protects and aids Guatemalan Mutual Support Group (GAM), 1984-1989
From 1960 to 1996 Guatemalans endured a civil war in which the Guatemalan military and leftist guerrillas fought for control. In order to defeat the guerrillas, the government focused on controlling and depleting the potential guerrilla population- generally the Mayan Guatemalans.
Guatemalans refuse to serve in civil patrols, 1988-1993
From 1961 to 1996 Guatemalans endured a bloody civil war. During this conflict the military-controlled government fought the leftist guerillas or the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG). These groups fought each other for political control. The extreme violence pushed many indigenous Guatemalans high into the country’s highlands or displaced them as refugees into other countries.
Peace Brigades International protects human rights activists in El Salvador, 1987-1992
In 1979 the United States of America (USA) supported a coup against Salvadoran General Humberto Romero in reaction to the deaths, disappearances, and torture that had reached international attention. The new Salvadoran government became a civilian-military “revolutionary junta” which used armed forces to suppress the Salvadoran population. Opposition forces acted, using nonviolent and violent means, in order to prevent their suppression. The government enforced a complete and violent repression against dissent.
Israelis campaign for affordable housing, better economic life ("Tentifada"), 2011
On 14 July 2011, Daphni Leef, a freelance filmmaker, began a campaign to be known as the “Tent Revolt” or “Tentifada.” Leef, like many middle-class citizens in Tel Aviv and in the nation of Israel, faced great financial hardships in an economy that statistically should have provided a level of comfort. Barely able to afford her home, Leef created a Facebook page, inviting those with similar grievances to pitch tents on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv Thursday of that week in order to convince the government to lower housing costs.
Greenpeace stops Shell Oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean, 2012
In February 2012, Greenpeace launched an initiative to stop Royal Dutch Shell’s oil drilling project in the Arctic Ocean. They claimed that Shell was not prepared for a spill, with the nearest port to their drilling location over a thousand nautical miles away. Greenpeace also protested drilling in the Arctic because the region is only accessible as a result of climate change, produced by greenhouse gas emissions that are enabled by Shell and the oil industry.