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 1940, at the brink of World War II, Denmark found itself declaring neutrality and cutting its troops in half. Despite this, the German war machine was not to be stopped. The German army invaded Denmark offering an ultimatum demanding submission. To minimize Danish casualties at the hand of a superior German army, the Danish King Christian submitted. Although it was occupied by German troops, Denmark had not surrendered and remained a sovereign state.
In May of 1940, the Netherlands was occupied by the Nazi war machine. At that time, the Netherlands had a total area of 33,000 square kilometers, and only approximately nine million people living there. The country was also relatively flat, with little natural features that could contribute to an armed resistance against the Nazis. The Netherlands had a policy of neutrality and had no recent experience with outside invading forces. In addition, Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch royal family refused to accept the Nazi offer for protection under the Reich and instead fled to London.
By November 1929, Igbo women in southeastern Nigeria had had enough. From the perspective of the British colonizers, the women became loud, angry, and disruptive. They marched through cities and towns and demanded political leaders to step down. The women took their British rulers completely by surprise. The British were ignorant of the discontent among women that had been building for years, and that had recently bubbled over the surface. They mistook the women’s organized action for spontaneous, ‘crazy’ outbursts.
The Jewish and Palestinian territorial claim to the same area of land has resulted in one of the most protracted conflicts in recent history. Stemming from the Zionist demand for a Jewish homeland in the historic state of Israel, a homeland that would serve as a sanctuary for this persecuted and globally displaced people, large influxes of Jews into the former British mandate of Palestine have and continue to displace millions of Palestinian residents.
In 1921 the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) came to power and soon aligned the country with the USSR. Until this democracy campaign in 1989, the MPRP ruled Mongolia through a constitutionally-sanctioned single-party government. By the mid-1980’s, pro-reform sentiments and movements were spreading in Eastern Europe, especially at the universities. However, Mongolians remained isolated from all of this except for the few students who could afford to study abroad in Eastern Europe.
Norway was invaded by the Nazis on April 9, 1940. Within two months, the Nazis had crushed Norwegian military resistance and installed a puppet government. Norwegians responded to the occupation of their country both nonviolently and violently. Because of the unprovoked aggression that the Nazis unleashed upon them, many Norwegians felt that all forms of resistance were fully legitimate. However, most saw nonviolent resistance as the only practical option, given the massive military advantage of the occupying military forces.
Halt All Racist Tours (HART) was organized in New Zealand in 1969 to protest rugby tours to and from South Africa. Their first protest, in 1970, was intended to prevent the All Blacks, New Zealand’s flagship rugby squad, from playing in South Africa, unless the Apartheid regime would accept a mixed-race team. South Africa relented, and an integrated All Black team toured the country.
In an effort to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from entering its borders, the State of Israel began constructing a 425-mile separation barrier along its border with the West Bank in June 2002. The separation barrier, known to Israelis as the “Security Barrier” and to Palestinians as the “Apartheid Separation Wall”, extends beyond Israel’s internationally recognized borders and weaves through Palestinian territory, often cutting through Palestinian farmland and dividing villages.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Regarding the First Intifada as "nonviolent" is controversial because of the violence that accompanied the campaign. Aden Tedla's narrative does not try to hide the violent dimension. Three considerations lead us to include the case in this database. First, a significant part of the campaign leadership worked very hard to keep the campaign nonviolent. Second, the masses participated in the nonviolent methods, not in the violence. Third, other scholars in the field of nonviolent action include the Intifada, although acknowledging its ambiguities.
The Samoan archipelago, located in the southwest of the Pacific Ocean, is comprised of six main islands and several smaller ones. Prior to World War I, Germany and the United States occupied most of the Samoan Islands. During WWI, New Zealand, upon a request by Britain, captured German Samoa and established the British Military Occupation of Samoa. An influenza pandemic in November 1918 killed about 22% of the Samoan population. The administration's lack of response to the disaster became the foundation for Samoans grievances against the New Zealand administration.
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.
Colorado disability rights activists (ADAPT) prevent budget cuts to Medicaid Home-Health Services, 2002
On July 5-18, 2002, between 11 and 22 members of Colorado ADAPT (Americans for Attendant Policies Today) held a constant vigil outside of the state Human Services Building in Denver in order to protest the state Health Care Policy Finance (HCPF) committee making any cuts, caps, or changes to the community long-term care policy in Colorado Medicaid. Their goal was to put pressure on HCPF in order to enforce the promises that HCPF had previously made to ADAPT about not cutting Medicaid funds and services.
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 student-led Yale Divestment Campaign that began in 1985 sought to pressure the Yale administration into withdrawing its shares in companies that operated in apartheid South Africa. Although in 1978 the administration had incorporated the Sullivan Principles (an ethical purchasing guideline) into its purchasing policies, application of these principles was slow.
In 1948, the newly elected National Party introduced systematized and legalized segregation in South Africa. The apartheid regime sought white minority rule and the suppression of other racial groups in order to maintain a cheap labor supply. Government officials segregated public institutions and removed the oppressed black Africans from their land onto racially divided reservations. This system sparked internal protests, often met with violence. International groups of people were outraged at apartheid and asked companies to withdraw their holdings from the South African government.
The students’ anti-sweatshop movement began to generate support in the mid 90s, but was most impactful by the end of the decade. Universities and colleges nationwide began investigating where their college merchandise was made and inquiring about the manufacturers’ labor laws. The main target for many universities, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was Nike because of their partnership with the athletic teams. UNC signed a 7.1 million dollar contract with Nike during the summer of 1997, thus committing to Nike products for the duration of their con
Since the late 1960’s, companies have been cutting down trees in the virgin forests of Malaysia, most notably in the state of Sarawak. Environmentalists all over the world were concerned about the effects of deforestation on the native Penan people and the effects of logging on the rich biodiversity of the rainforests. In particular, environmentalists in neighboring Australia wished to raise awareness about the issue and provide aid to the Penan people. These environmentalists formed the Rainforest Action Groups (RAG), one in each of three Australian cities, Sydney, Melbou
Environmental Activists prevent construction of coal-fired power plant in Kingsnorth, England, 2007-2010
In December of 2006, Eon, an energy company, submitted an application to the Medway council in Kent, England to build coal-fired generating units, the first to be built in England since 1974. The plant would emit more carbon dioxide than the world’s thirty lowest emitting countries combined. Within a few months, two other companies were proposing similar projects, with even more to follow. Eon planned to implement Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), as per the government’s request.
In 1991, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority (TLLRWDA) began searching for a disposal site for dangerous toxic waste in the Hudspeth County area. According to the 1983 La Paz agreement, Hudspeth County falls in a no-contamination zone surrounding the Mexican border. Regardless, the TLLRWDA selected Sierra Blanca, a small low-income town in an environmentally fragile region.
Swaziland borders South Africa and has a population of about one million. At the time of the campaign Swaziland had the world’s highest HIV infection rate and was both one of the poorest nations in the world and the home of Africa’s last absolute monarchy. While King Mswati III was a largely popular figure in Swaziland, he angered Swazis with his lavish lifestyle and high number of wives. Between 2000 and 2010, activists worked to promote a democratic government.
Benin gained its independence from France in 1960 and was then named Dahomey. Colonel Mathieu Kérékou took power of the country in a coup in 1972 and later renamed the country the People’s Republic of Benin, organized the economy under a Marxist-Leninist ideology, and outlawed all political parties except his People’s Revolutionary Party of Benin. By the 1980s, Kérékou remained as the president of Benin, but the economy was failing. The government had to lower government aid to students and the salaries for civil servants and in 1988 the state owned banks crashed. Fa
After the United States dropped the first atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the initial shock of the weapons’ destructive power wore off, many countries became interested in developing electricity based off of the nuclear technology. Along with the exciting new possibilities that always accompany new technology, nuclear fission carried with it a whole host of dangerous challenges as well.
The Brisbane tramways, located in Queensland, Australia, were owned by General Electric Company, a private British company. Joseph Stillman Badger, an American, was its manager. He refused to allow the formation of any industrial union among the company employees. In other parts of Australia, tramway employees in Melbourne and Adelaide faced similar opposition and they were forbidden to wear any sign of membership of the union. The higher authority claimed the wearing of badges by unionists would intimidate the non-badge-wearers.