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.
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.
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.
The San Francisco general strike grew out of a coast-wide maritime strike in which ports up and down the west coast of the United States were closed by striking workers. While there were complaints about wages and working conditions, the strikers (headed by the International Longshoremen’s Association) were committed to workplace democracy, calling for worker control of unions and hiring and a coast-wide industrial organization inclusive of unskilled workers, skilled workers, and workers of all races and nationalities.
The general strike in Ådalen, Sweden, in 1931 was part of a much larger industrial struggle between the Swedish Employers’ Federation (SAF) and the Swedish Union Federation (LO), a struggle that had been continuing since the late 19th century, if not longer.
Following the collapse of French colonial administration in Vietnam in 1954, the country was temporarily divided, with Ho Chi Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam in North Vietnam, and Emperor Bao Dai's State of Vietnam in the South. The Geneva Conference peace agreement ending the French Indo-China war included a provision for nationwide elections in 1956. Soon after the country was divided, Ngo Dinh Diem had proclaimed himself president of South Vietnam by means of a fraudulent election.
East Timor, a portion of the Indonesian archipelago, was colonized by Portugal in the 16th century. It was not until 1975 that Portugal decolonized the area, at which point East Timor declared independence. Shortly after this, however, the Indonesian army, under the orders of Indonesian President Suharto, invaded and annexed East Timor. 60,000 East Timorese were killed or died of starvation during the invasion.
General Moussa Traoré obtained power in Mali in 1968 when he led a military coup d’etat that overthrew the left-leaning nationalist government that had ruled since 1960. Opposition towards Traoré grew during the 1980s, but didn’t fully emerge until the 1990s. During this time, Traoré imposed programs to satisfy demands of the International Monetary Fund, which brought increased hardship upon the country’s population while elites lived in luxury.
Yemen is a country of over 20 million people located in West Asia, at the intersection of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. After a history of being one country it experienced three centuries of separation into North and South, most recently divided between the Ottoman and British empires early in the 20th century.
The country finally united again in 1990, when the north and south merged and became the Republic of Yemen. The parliament of each former nation elected the new president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, as it formed the new government.
On February 7, 1986, Haiti's dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier fled the country for France after a non-violent campaign for his removal (see "Haitians overthrow regime, 1984-1986"). Before leaving, he set up the National Governing Council (CNG), under the leadership of Henri Namphy, to rule the country.
Today Villa El Salvador is a squatting community on the Southern outskirts of Lima, Peru, and is home to about 400,000 people. The shantytown, which was born of a small land invasion in 1971, has been recognized internationally as the largest continuously squatted area in the world.
Ferdinand Marcos was elected president of the Philippines in 1965. Marcos was reelected in 1969 and when barred to run for a third term, he declared martial law and gave himself near absolute power. Marcos assumed full control of the military, dissolved congress, and had many of his political opponents and critics arrested. One of his more prominent critics had been Senator Benigno Aquino who was prepared to challenge Marcos in the 1973 election, had it occurred.
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
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 villagers of Goth Muhammad Issa Khaskheli have lived on and farmed their village for the past fifty years, in Sanghar, Sindh, Pakistan. In 2003, a nearby feudal lord, Varyaam Faqir, began encroaching upon their land, despite the fact that they held documented ownership from the Pakistani government. Over a period of years, he began threatening the villagers and forcing them into working in his fields for free.
French-occupied Syria was facing darkening hopes for more independence from France at the end of 1935. The major Syrian nationalist party, the National Bloc, was losing power, the Syrian Parliament was adjourned and the government in power was under the unpopular Shaikh Taj al-Din al-Hasani. France was also refusing to negotiate a new treaty with Syria. In a move to squash the National Bloc altogether, the French authorities closed the office of the National Bloc in Damascus on January 20, 1936, and arrested two leaders from the Bloc: Fakhri al-Barudi and Sayf al-Din al-Ma’min.
Tunisians overthrow dictator and demand political and economic reform (Jasmine Revolution), 2010-2011
Over the past several decades, high unemployment, high food prices, and widespread poverty have characterized much of Tunisia. Government corruption and a paucity of political freedoms have also painted its landscape, making it exceedingly difficult for Tunisians to express dissent against the ruling Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party. However, on 17 December 2010, 26-year-old Mohammed Bouazizi doused himself in paint thinner and set himself on fire in front of the Sidi Bouzid municipal office in response to the confiscation of his produce stand, his violent treatment a
On February 12, 1968, sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, began a labor strike to protest unfair wages, unsafe working conditions, and the city’s refusal to recognize their sanitation workers union.
On February 14, 2005, a massive car-bomb explosion rocked Beirut, Lebanon, which killed twenty-two people, including former prime minister and leader of the opposition parties Rafiq Hariri. Suspicions were high that Syria, which had occupied Lebanon with troops and intelligence agents for three decades, was behind the attack. Parliamentary elections were approaching and the anti-Syria opposition was widely expected to win. Rafiq Hariri was a charismatic billionaire businessman who had become the most popular opposition politician in Lebanon.
On September 11, 1973, a military coup forced the democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende out of power. After the coup Augusto Pinochet established himself as the leader of Chile and set up a military dictatorship with the heavy involvement of his army. During this regime, Pinochet used repressive measures to suppress opposition to his rule, and supported politics that divided any opposition groups. Pinochet moved the country’s economic system away from socialist policies towards a market economy, gaining the support of the pro-capitalist portions of the
Agitation in Iran was visible by May 1977 in predominantly intellectual circles. A group of lawyers—upset by the government’s interference in the judiciary—drafted a strongly worded manifesto chronicling the legal abuses that had occurred under the Shah’s regime. Poets formed a Writers’ Association to call for an end to censorship and the activity of SAVAK, the Shah’s secret police. A National Organization of University Teachers began fighting for academic freedom while university and seminary students called for academic freedom in the schools.
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.
On July 14, 2002, members of ADAPT (formerly Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transit) blocked in five governors’ courtesy SUVs and harassed participants at the National Governors Association (NGA) Conference in downtown Boise, Idaho, in an attempt to gain support for the Medicaid Community Attendant Services and Supports Act, or MiCASSA. ADAPT developed MiCASSA with the intention to help people with disabilities on Medicaid choose whether to spend their support services money on nursing homes or on personal care attendants.
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.
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.