On December 1, 1960, just after a rally in San Francisco, ten members of the Committee for Non-Violent Action marched out of the city, intent on marching across the country, all the way to Moscow in the Soviet Union. Their chances for success were slim. Despite the backing of the (admittedly small) CNVA, marching most of the way around the world is a monumental task. Even if the distance were not an issue, the Soviet Union was notoriously unsympathetic to peace groups or protest action in general. Breaching the Iron Curtain would not be easy.
In 1984, South Africa was ruled by an increasingly brutal and repressive regime under Prime Minister Pieter Botha, a strong supporter of apartheid, a system of legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government under which the rights of the majority black inhabitants of South Africa were curtailed and minority rule by whites was maintained. In response to increased anti-apartheid protest in 1984, the Botha regime repressed political dissent with increasing brutality. In November of that year, Ronald Reagan had been reelected as President of the United States.
The anti-sweatshop movement was the largest student activism movement in the United States since the South African divestment movement over ten years before. Students all around the country pressured college and university administrators to adopt strict labor codes that guaranteed that merchandise bearing the college’s logo was not made by people working under unacceptable, “sweatshop-like” conditions.
During the first decades of the 20th century, Spain saw the rise of several radical left and right groups that continually vied for power against the largely ineffectual civilian government.
On the left the groups included the socialist Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT) and its more radical rival the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT).
Belize formally became an independent nation in 1981 and quickly established itself as a parliamentary democracy with a high degree of electoral participation and a Constitution that guaranteed basic rights and freedoms to all citizens. In 1998, the People's United Party won a landslide victory and party leader Said Musa was sworn in as Prime Minister - a position he held until 2008.
Throughout most of the U.S. civil rights campaigns of the 1950s, Baton Rouge, Louisiana remained quiet. The city of “broad avenues and tree-lined streets” (Sinclair 1998) remained fully segregated despite movements towards desegregation in neighboring states. However, at the beginning of 1960, when university students staged sit-ins at lunch counters across the south, students at Baton Rouge’s Southern University took notice. Southern University, a black university on the edge of the city, became home to the main civil rights campaign in Baton Rouge.
Swarthmore Afro-American Student Society fights for greater representation and support services, 1968-1969
The first attempt by an African American to enroll in Swarthmore College was 1905 when the admissions committee mistakenly admitted a light-skinned black student thinking he was white. Upon discovering his race the college withdrew its acceptance. The next attempt was not made until 1932 when a black student from Philadelphia High School applied to Swarthmore College. The admission’s committee decision was that, as a co-educational institution, Swarthmore College was not yet prepared to admit African American students.
The mass demonstrations of 1963 in Durham were the culmination of a local black freedom movement that had slowly gained momentum over the preceding years. Durham had been the site of a thwarted sit-in at the Royal Ice Cream Parlor in 1957, limited desegregation of schools, and the long-standing lunch-counter sit-ins in 1960 (see “Durham students sit-in for U.S. Civil Rights, 1960”). Throughout the next few years, civil rights activists continued to attack segregation in theaters, schools, motels, and restaurants as well as demand increased employment opportunities for blacks.
Maxxam, a logging company run by CEO Charles Hurwitz, took over Pacific Lumber Company in 1986. Hurwitz doubled the rate of logging in Northern California forests, including Headwaters forest, an old-growth redwood forest in Humboldt County, California. Environmental activists were outraged and began to organize to protect the Headwaters forest. Several rabbis realized that Hurwitz was Jewish, and decided that they might be able to use Jewish theology to persuade him to change his mind and protect the forests.
During the second half of the 20th century, Chinese society experienced profound and tumultuous changes. Communist rule was declared in 1949, and the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s resulted in much social and economic upheaval. Students were particularly hard hit by the changes made during the Cultural Revolution as university funding decreased and education quality deteriorated. Student resentment towards the Communist government was further exacerbated by the practices of nepotism and profiteering among party officials.
In 1983, the UNC-Chapel Hill Endowment Board agreed to stop investing with firms that rejected the Sullivan Principles, a code of business practices of foreign companies that wished to treat South African workers fairly which was developed by the Rev. Leon Sullivan, a civil rights activist.
Even after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, most African Americans in the southern United States were still unable to vote because of registration requirements such as literacy tests and slow registration processes. In Selma, Alabama the registration office was open only two days a month and could only process 15 registrations for each of these days. This was not nearly enough to register the 15,000 black citizens of voting age in the county.
On April 4, 1985, seven students at Columbia University, members of the Coalition for a Free South Africa (CFSA), chained closed the doors to Columbia’s administrative building, Hamilton Hall, and sat on the steps, blockading the entrance. They were there to protest the University’s investments in corporations that operated in Apartheid South Africa. Soon after, a march coordinated by other members of CFSA passed by Hamilton Hall. When the marchers saw the small blockade on the steps, they rushed to join in.
In the fall of 1997, students at Duke University formed the group Students Against Sweatshops (SAS) to push the Duke administration to create and adopt a code of conduct policy that would require the companies that manufactured Duke apparel and merchandise to uphold workers’ rights and eliminate the use of sweatshops.
When King Christian X of Denmark dismissed Prime Minister Zahle and his Radical Party Cabinet in late March 1920, the Socialists and Radicals, who held a political majority at the time, were furious. Although the King still had the right to do this under the Danish constitution, Denmark freely elected parliament members to the Folketing chamber of the Rigsdag (Parliament), who in turn determined the cabinet and no king had interfered with this process since the constitution was created in 1848.
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) emerged in England in the late 1640's among those who challenged the standard doctrine of the Church of England. Quakerism began as a sect whose members believed that there was a piece of God within every person and that everyone could communicate with God directly. This was a radical view for the time. Out of this belief, Quakers developed a strong sense of equality and believed that every person could be a minister.
The first labor strike in recorded history took place in the 12th Century, BCE, in Egypt. The strike was recorded on papyrus, discovered in Egypt, and though it is damaged and incomplete, it is the only record of the strike in existence. All records of this strike refer to dates with reference to the then-current Pharaoh, Ramses III. During the 29th year of his reign (roughly 1170 BCE), artisans tasked with building the necropolis (burial chambers) of King Ramses III repeatedly struck, apparently complaining of insufficient rations.
Guadeloupe is generally a tourist-friendly French Caribbean island (a department of the French state, whose residents are citizens of the EU). The island's inhabitants rely mostly on imported goods sold in French-owned supermarkets at a significantly higher price than on the mainland, despite having a 23 percent rate of unemployment, more than twice that of France's.
In Greensboro, North Carolina in 1960, Jim Crow laws were in widespread effect. Though the African-American Civil Rights Movement had led to some successful desegregation (notably within the school system thanks to Brown v. Board and Swann v. Charlotte), “separate but equal” was still the norm with respect to the vast majority of businesses in Greensboro, and the rest of the South.
During the 1950s, Honduras was characterized by a large gap between the few rich citizens and the many poor laborers. In 1952, Honduras held its first ever agrarian census. The wealthy landowners, who only consisted of 4.2 percent of the total population, owned an astonishing 56.8 percent of the arable land in Honduras. Meanwhile, the poor farmers of Honduras, who made up 65.1 percent of the population, only owned 15.7 percent of the arable land. To make matters worse, the wealthy landowners who possessed the majority of the land did not use it effectively.
The Haitian President, Elie Lescot had been granted the powers of a dictator by his congress and was backed by the United States. He was representative of the mulatto ruling class during a time when black political radicalism was growing in Haiti. Lescot was also closely tied with the Dominican Dictator Rafael Trujillo. The Haitian student journal, Zinglins, had criticized President Lescot’s dictatorship and begun a call for freedom of press even as early as May 1945. The government quickly suppressed this opposition voice. However, the editors of another stude
From the late 19th century into the early 20th century, Ecuador’s labor movement was slowly growing. However, most workers’ organizations consisted of groups of artisans, rather than industrial workers. These mutual aid societies collected dues mainly to pay for funerals of members who passed away and to financially help the family of the deceased. Additionally, some started night schools and reading groups. They also received most of their funding from the government, which helped keep their actions and goals moderate.
In 1954, a young military officer, Alfredo Stroessner, organized a military coup and overthrew Paraguayan President Federico Chávez. A devoted anti-communist, Stroessner declared a state of siege and suspended constitutional freedoms for the entirety of his 35-year rule. Throughout Stroessner’s last two decades in power, indigenous people organized widely to oppose the negative effects that his massive development projects were having on their communities.
In the French Island of La Réunion located in the Indian Ocean, 52% of the inhabitants lived under the poverty line, 50% of the youth were underemployed and there was a 25% unemployment rate at the time of this campaign. This had been the situation for decades, but the recent increase in unemployment and inflation (which affected La Reunion in a greater way than it affected France) made life increasingly expensive in La Réunion.
The economy of the town of Stafford, located in Humboldt County, has been dominated by timber production since the seventeenth century. Pacific Lumber Company, a family owned company, was the primary producer of lumber in the area from 1885 to 1985. Then in 1985 Maxxam Corporation, a Texas based company staged a hostile takeover of Pacific Lumber. This marked an aggressive stepping up in cutting, resulting in a policy of clear cutting. This change in policy was met with wariness by many local people, who feared the long-term sustainability of this method.