The Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign was developed by the African National Congress (ANC) to combat apartheid. More specifically, the campaign used large-scale national noncooperation to target laws enacted by the South African government that the ANC deemed unjust. The campaign began on June 26, 1952, as groups throughout South Africa executed various acts of defiance in main cities. The ANC and the South African Indian Congress (SAIC) united Africans and Indians alike to take on apartheid.
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.
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.
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
By 1989, Bulgaria’s Communist Party Leader Todor Zhivkov had ruled the country for 35 years through a constitutionally sanctioned single-party government. Zhivkov and the communist Politburo had always quickly repressed any opposition and independent unions or organizations were illegal in the country. In the late 1980s Zhivkov and his regime had also begun an assimilation program for Muslims and ethnic Turks, which had forced nearly 300,000 Turks to leave Bulgaria in 1989 to avoid persecution. At the same time, however, reforms were sweeping through Eastern Europe as prot
The Pakistan that gained independence from the British Empire in 1947 was a strange and ultimately ill-fated state. The country included two geographically disparate regions, West and East Pakistan (modern-day Bangladesh), separated by nearly one thousand miles of Indian territory. Throughout the military regimes of the 1950s and 60s, Bengali needs were neglected to benefit the “22 families,” all West Pakistani, who controlled the country’s economy. A movement for East Pakistani autonomy emerged from this climate, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (known popularly as Mujib).&nb
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 Klamath was one of the largest and most important rivers in the American northwest, running through Oregon and California. It was home to four Native American tribes and many fishermen and provided irrigation water for nearby farmers. Between 1902 and 1962, energy producing PacifiCorp constructed five dams on the Klamath for hydropower purposes. Although PacifiCorp has turned a consistent profit since then, the environmental damage caused by the dams has been enormous.
On the island nation of Mauritius, three languages appear on the banknotes. Traditionally, the languages are English, Tamil, and Hindi - in that order. On October 18, 1998, the Central Bank of Mauritius released a new series of banknotes upon which the order of the latter two languages were reversed, with Hindi appearing before Tamil.
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.
Bosnian, Croatian, and Macedonian parents protest conscription of sons and civil war in Yugoslavia, 1991
In the early 1990s the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) was a confederation made up of six constituent republics: Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. However, the ethnic groups from each of these regions were spread throughout the SFRY, which blurred the borders between the constituent republics and made politics in each region much more complicated. For instance, Bosnia-Herzegovina was 44% Bosnian Muslims, 31% Serbs, and 17% Croats. In order to provide federal representation to each constituent republic, the leadership
The strikes and demonstrations that deposed President Gustavo Rojas Pinilla of Colombia were planned somewhat day to day and began as reactionary actions in response to Rojas’s attempts to hold power indefinitely. The opposition to Rojas had a wide base, across social classes and political party lines, and varied spokesmen, from students to political leaders to the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. This was a result of the growing discontentment with the direction of the Rojas regime.
The Nuxalk people live mid-way up the British Columbian coast, in the region around the town Bella Coola. The Nuxalk have long refused to enter into any treaties with Canada or cede any of their ancestral territory to the national or provincial government. As such, they still claim sovereign rights to much land that the government claims belongs to it. One of those areas is King Island. On King Island is a valley called Itsa, which, according to the Nuxalk, is the sacred place of origin of their people.
Beginning in 1981, Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt for over twenty-nine years. Though he ran for
presidential reelection several times, elections were marked by widespread
fraud, and opposing politicians were legally prohibited from running against
Mubarak until 2005. Virtually all key officials in government were from
Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP). Mubarak constructed a vast security
apparatus to control public dissent; in the 1990s, citizens would only whisper
his name for fear of reprisal. For his entire tenure as president, Egypt was in
Before the start of the 20th century, there were about 62,000 Indians living in South Africa, including the British colonies of Natal and the Cape, and the Boer republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State (OFS). Most Indians were indentured laborers or newly freed laborers.
The Dublin strike of 1913 occurred against a backdrop of deplorable living conditions for workers in the city, as well as widespread economic stagnation. The death rate was high at 27.6 per 1000, and there was a high infant mortality rate as well. Unemployment was at an all-time low, and unskilled, casual workers had a particularly hard time finding jobs and supporting their families. Poor union organization gave unskilled workers very few outlets for improving their situation. An added layer of division to that between rich and poor was the sectarian divide.
The Druze are a religious and ethnic sect on the Eastern edge of the Mediterranean. They live in mountainous regions in modern Lebanon, Israel and Syria (the Golan Heights). During the Arab-Israeli war in 1967 nearly all of the 110,000 Druze in the Golan Heights fled, though around 13,000 remained near the foot of Mount Harmon. They generally farmed olives and fruit. That same land was strategically important to both Israel and Syria, and Israel occupied it after the 1967 war.
In 1894, William T. Love started construction on a power canal in an area outside of Niagara Falls in upstate New York. Although the canal was never completed, the neighborhood of Love Canal was born and soon became a locus of major chemical companies. In 1942, Hooker Chemical Company began dumping chemical waste into the abandoned canal. Through 1953, Hooker Chemical dumped 21,000 tons of chemical waste, including sludge, fly ash, and chlorinated hydrocarbon residues.
From 1916 to 1921, villagers in Kumaon in northern India set hundreds of forest fires to protest the colonial British state’s increasing regulations of the natural environment.
Prison camps were set up in Russia by the Bolsheviks soon after the October 1917 revolution and the scale of imprisonment expanded enormously beginning in the late 1920s, with most prisoners forced to labor, especially in mining, logging, and construction. From the 1930s through the mid 1950s, camps around the country contained millions of prisoners (from common criminals to political prisoners such as dissidents and opponents of the regime) working in inhumane conditions. Many died due to overwork, extreme climate, disease and malnutrition.
When Alice Paul emerged into the somewhat stagnant scene of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association’s (NAWSA) campaign for the right to vote in 1912, the energy and momentum of the movement surged. Having just come from Britain where women were fighting a similar battle in which they were imprisoned, partaking in hunger strikes and smashing windows, NAWSA’s polite pleading over a cup of tea with political leaders and legislators was not only ineffective in the eyes of Paul and other emerging women leaders, it was a blow to the dignity of women to request basic human rights.
In order to strengthen their hold on political and economic power, the white settlers of British-controlled Northern Rhodesia sought to unite the British colonial territories of Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland during the late 1930s and 1940s. This was a response to the growing strength of African organizations (e.g.
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.
U.S. anti-nuclear activists campaign against restarting Three Mile Island nuclear generator, 1979-1985
At 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 28 March 1979 began the worst accident in the history of United States commercial nuclear power, when the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station experienced a failure that would ultimately lead to the release of “approximately 2.5 million curies of radioactive noble gases” into the surrounding areas. This mishap, in turn, sparked the largest string of anti-nuclear protests in the country’s history. That weekend, activists held rallies across the country.
Artificial baby milks—so called “infant formula”—became widespread commercial product during the early decades of the twentieth century. Among many companies involved, Nestlé’s was the biggest promoter, controlling more than 40% of the estimated $1.72 billion market. Nestle aggressively pursued the interest from infant formula with indiscriminate marketing. The marketing that evoked popular indictment was their promotion of infant formula in the Third World.