Prior to the 1893 Belgian general strike, some miners and other workers had gone on strike sporadically, first in 1890 and most notably in 1891 in Liege, Charleroi and Borinage. Most of these labor skirmishes lacked the strength and the impact to really challenge the Belgian parliamentary system. In 1890, leaders of the Belgian Worker’s Party did issue a call to spread the strike and then quickly called it off when the parliament agreed to consider a proposal to constitutionally enact suffrage reform.
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. Political reforms in the 1990s expanded parliamentary power in 1992 and 1996, and in 1996 a bicameral legislature consisting of two chambers was established. On his accession to the throne in 1999, King Mohammed VI promised to enact a series of reforms democratizing the monarchy, but this was seen as largely unfulfilled. King Mohammad VI succeeded his father, King Hassan, who had ruled for thirty-seven years. Hassan’s rule, known as the “Years of Lead,” was largely marked by violence against state dissidents.
In 2011, the Independent Electoral Commission of Benin organized a new electronic voting system for the upcoming presidential election, which would require voters to be pre-registered in order to fill out their ballots. The Commission registered people by going door to door in 77 different Beninese counties. This method didn’t prove to be effective enough however, as around 1.3 million Beninese citizens were still not registered to vote. Many questioned the credibility of the voters role when such a large number of voters were unregistered by the end of February (close to election time).
Bolivia’s transition to a democratic government began in 1978 when then military dictator Hugo Banzer Suarez stepped down after international and internal pressure for Bolivia to hold democratic elections. While the Democratic Popular Union (Unidad Democratica y Popular, UDP), led by Hernan Siles Zuazo, won the 1978 elections, Juan Pereda Asbum, Banzer’s chosen successor, launched a military coup and declared the elections invalid.
Apartheid, the legalized segregation of blacks – and other people of color – and whites, was actively employed in South Africa. Black South Africans experienced discrimination in facilities, workplaces, educational institutions, medical care, and public services. However, organizations and individuals began rising up and demanding the end of apartheid. The African National Congress (ANC) was founded in 1912 and was the primary organization through which black South Africans began actively pursuing their rights through legal means.
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.
Before becoming the democratically elected president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez was, himself, a prominent leader of a failed coup attempt in 1992. Since his election in 1998, however, his popularity among many sectors of society, especially the private, rapidly decreased. Discontent among this sector finally culminated on 11 April 2002 when a chain of events led to the swift removal of president Chávez from office in a coup d’etat led largely by mainstream union members (of the CTV) and business people (Fedecamaras) and facilitated by the private media.
In January 2011, in the wake of the Tunisian revolution and in the midst of the Egyptian revolution, Yemeni students and youth began a yearlong revolution to oust the regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh, president for the past thirty years. This revolution did not come without great cost. More than 2,000 people were killed (including protesters, military defectors and children) and more than 22,000 people were wounded.
In 2006, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) began what would become a 6-year campaign against Chipotle for fair food and farmworker rights. The CIW, “a membership-led farmworker organization of mostly Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida,” had been organizing in Immokalee since 1993. Over time, they have won historic campaigns.
Nepal is a small Himalayan country that borders China and India with a population of about 20 million and with a famous ethnic and religious diversity. Established as a monarchy in the mid-18th century, its form of government was hotly contested in 1972 with the death of King Mahendra and the accession of his son, Birenda. The king maintained power but promised a national referendum on the panchayat system of councils, which then allowed the king almost total autocratic control.
The year 1997 marked the start of a nation-wide anti-sweatshop movement led and fueled by college and university students from over 200 campuses. Inspired by early movements on Georgetown and University of Pennsylvania campuses and enraged by Bill Clinton’s attempt to mollify the public’s anger with the creation of the corrupt Fair Labor Union (FLA), University of Iowa students established a Students Against Sweatshops (SAS, or UISAS) chapter in 1999.
Beginning in January of 2000, Tulane University students formed a student organization on campus as a result of distress about sweatshop-made Tulane Apparel. The students were unhappy with the school’s membership with the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a sweatshop monitoring organization. They believed that the FLA was an organization that indirectly helped to preserve low wages, long hours, and unhealthy working conditions, like the ones found in sweatshops.
In 1917, the government of Alfredo Gonzalez Flores was overthrown in a coup d'état, wherein Minister of War Federico Tinoco seized power and appointed his brother, Jose Joaquin Tinoco, the new Minister of War. During this time the Tinoco regime severely curtailed civil liberties and the freedom of the press and assembly.
The University of Texas admitted black graduate students in 1955 and undergraduate students in 1956, but conditions on campus remained unequal. Admission was limited to an educationally elite section of black students. Facilities, such as dorms, were still segregated and of worse quality than the equivalent dorms for white students. Black students were not allowed to participate in athletics or drama. Protests emerged in the early 1960’s to improve these conditions, but after 3 days of picketing, students decided to focus on other ways of addressing discrimination.
In the 1950s the Eisenhower administration enacted the Relocation and Termination programs in regard to American Indian federal policy. The first part meant that Native Americans were to relocate from their respective reservations into big cities. In doing this, Native Americans would lose the unity of the immediate communities as they individually integrated as citizens into separate cities. Meanwhile, the reservation lands would be liquidated into the hands of the federal government. The second part, termination, was a broader result of the relocation.
Dissatisfied with lack of democracy and the Soviet Union’s influence on their country, Ukrainian university students in L'viv established the Student Brotherhood in March of 1989. In December students in the capital city of Kiev formed the Ukrainian Students Union.
The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is a private company that receives government funding to run prison and detention centers for-profit. The CCA’s immigrant detention centers are notorious for particularly bad living conditions.
On 1 March 2000, 400 Yale University students rallied to demand that their administration withdraw from the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and join the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) instead. Both organizations focused on monitoring sweatshop labor and apparel companies overseas to ensure that the workers in these companies receive fair treatment; however, universities across the country began to oppose the FLA and argue that it did not actually monitor the companies properly or ensure good working conditions for employees.
In the summer of 1990, Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Canadians gathered at a “Peace Camp” in Oka, Quebec, Canada and a “Peace Village” in Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada. Their goal was four-fold:
To support the Mohawks of Kanehsatake and Kahnawake Quebec who were in a stand-off with the Canadian government and military
To bring attention to issues of injustice towards Aboriginal people in Canada
After the 2008 home mortgage crisis, and particularly after the 2010-2011 recession, home foreclosure rates skyrocketed. Very few cases received much media attention. Dirma Rodgriguez’s situation is almost unique in that it was featured in local and syndicated newspapers. Due to high-profile actions and support from the Occupy Fights Foreclosure sub-committee within the larger group of Occupy Los Angeles, Dirma’s case reached the level of mainstream consciousness throughout the campaign.
In 2008, trans woman Angie Zapata was beaten to death in Greeley, CO. Hate crimes against trans people such as this are not uncommon. So when, in 2010, information from Zapata’s murder was used in a movie trailer to promote the comedic film, Ticked-off Trannies with Knives, in New York’s Tribeca Film Festival, the transgender community, led by Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Trans People (MAGNET) and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), protested the film’s inclusion in the competition.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is situated on the confluence of four rivers: the Upper and Lower Mekong rivers, the Bassac River and the Tonle Sap river. The surrounding area is flat and low-lying, subject to annual flooding. Natural lakes formed as the rivers changed course over time and communities grew up around the edges of these lakes, using them for fishing and aquatic agriculture.
Thailand is one of the world's largest exporters of shrimp, with customers all over the globe including the US, Europe and Australia. Walmart's purchases of Thai shrimp provided around 70 percent of the US market.
On 23 January 2012 Keo Ratha, a Cambodian migrant worker at the Phatthana Seafood Factory in Thailand, contacted the Cambodian newspaper Phnom Penh Post to call attention to poor working conditions and broken contractual agreements with the factory and CDM Trading Manpower, the company which recruited hundreds of Cambodians to work at the factory.
In Crystal City, Texas, 87 percent of high school students in 1968 were Chicano, or Mexican American, and nearly half of these were children of migrant farm workers. But the high school principal, five of the seven school board members, and 75 percent of the teachers were white. During the summers, local government and school officials, all white, selected candidates for the fall elections. In doing so, the minority population maintained a majority white school board with just one or two Chicanos they believed to align with their views.
Following an industrial boom during World War II, Chester, Pennsylvania began an economic decline. In 1990, the census reported that about 60% of residents were African American, 25% were living below the poverty line, and 20% were unemployed.