To South Africans and Australians alike, rugby is not just a sport, but a cultural symbol. In the 1960s and early 1970s, it was also a unifying force between apartheid South Africa and its “white neighbor by the sea”—Australia. At the time, Australia had in place many racist policies that discriminated against Aboriginal peoples and the Australian public was only beginning to gain an awareness of both the domestic and international issues of human rights at stake.
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.
Zanzibar, a former colony of Great Britain, is an island off the coast of Tanzania, located in East Africa. Under British rule the population of Zanzibar was divided between small but influential groups of Arabs, Indians, and Europeans and the two larger, primary groups on the island: those Africans born on Zanzibar itself and those born on the mainland of Tanzania, who later immigrated.
In 1977, Guyana was in the midst of a long power struggle between the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), which had ruled the country until 1964, and the People’s National Congress (PNC) led by Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, who had ruled since before the country’s independence from Great Britain in 1966. Since 1966 the PPP had been trying to regain governmental power from the PNC. Trade unions in Guyana were often at the forefront of this struggle, and would begin strikes for both political and economic reasons.
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
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
Once celebrated as a symbol of anti-colonial struggle, Zimbabwe degenerated into a state of chaos during the turn of the 21st century after decades of internal struggle. During the thirty-year rule of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) political corruption and suppression increased alongside a deepening economic and public health crisis. State violence and suppression became explicit especially during election seasons, where ZANU-PF intimidated voters.
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 Bombay Government (through its Revenue Department) had, in 1927, enhanced the land revenue assessment in the Bardoli taluka (county) by a nominal 22 percent, which, when applied, amounted in some cases to as much as 60 percent enhancement. This translated in increased land taxes. The Bardoli peasants had immediately made several claims regarding this modification, the most important of which were that the rate of enhancement was unjust and that it had been established without full and appropriate investigation.
Pakistan was splitting apart. Its eastern part, Bengali, declared independence and held a free election. West Pakistan declared war to end the secession, with U.S. support. President Nixon denied that the U.S. was sending weapons to Pakistani dictator Yaya Khan, but insiders knew otherwise.
In Philadelphia a group of activists decided in June to make it difficult for Pakistani freighters to load weapons at U.S. ports, by launching nonviolent fleets of small boats that would get between the freighters and the dock, a first in U.S. history.
Before the grape strike in 1965, the average annual income
of a California farmworker was less than $1,400. In addition, variations in
weather or market patterns could lessen this amount. Working conditions were
also poor, as many workers did not have access to a sufficient amount of food
or sanitary facilities.
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.
By 1986, Australian Rupert Murdoch was already well on his way to becoming the head of what would be the world’s largest news conglomerate, News International. His meteoric rise to the top, however, clashed with a centuries-old printing tradition in the United Kingdom, where he owned four of the company’s largest papers. The Fleet Street area of London, England had served as the iconic home to the nation’s printmaking industry since as far back as the 15th century. As Murdoch saw it, however, this history represented a method of printmaking that had long since passed its peak.
On 28 September 1995 the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company fired 329 port workers in Liverpool, England, for joining a picket line in solidarity with fellow port workers in Torside. The Torside workers were fired for protesting against the “free-market” style of labor, in which there was no job security, no wage security, and a constant change of working hours. In this format, workers could be phoned at any time and asked to come in to work.
By 26 January 1949, negotiations between the International Longshoreman’s Worker Union (ILWU) and the longshoreman employers had reached a standstill. Leaders Jack Hall, Harry Bridges, and Louis Goldblatt negotiated for pay raises for the Hawaii longshoremen. Workers were aware that longshoremen on the west coast of the U.S., who were employed by the same company and loading/unloading the same cargo, were being paid $1.82/hour whereas the Hawaii longshoremen were only being paid $1.40.
Hawaiian workers attempting to organize unions in the 1920s and 1930s faced enormous difficulties. They met stern opposition from an alliance of plantation owners and large companies, including the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company. Hawaiian workers were also divided into various ethnic groups, which made it easy for the companies to use a policy of divide-and-rule.
Goa, a state in Western India that borders the Arabian Sea, was a Portuguese colony until 1961. The anti-colonial movement of Goa started in 1910, when the Portuguese monarchy was abolished after a popular revolution, and went through several phases and sub-movements until India took Goa through force in 1961. This included constant diplomatic efforts and negotiations, several instances of extensive non-violent action, and ultimately Indian military action.