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.
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.
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.
The Asturian strikes that occurred in the summer of 1963 were the second major challenge to the Franco dictatorship over the span of one year. The first challenge had occurred in the spring of 1962 (see “Spanish coal miners challenge Franco dictatorship, 1962”). As with the strikes in 1962, the 1963 strikes began in the privately owned mines of Asturias during the last week of July 1963. In total, the miners’ executed their strike for 60 days, finally stopping the strike at the end of September. By the end about 40,000 to 50,000 workers had participated in the campaign.
The strikes in April and May of 1962 in Asturias (the coal mining center of Spain) were executed by the miners of Asturias and were a direct challenge to General Francisco Franco’s regime. Although the mines were privately owned and operated, the state dictated the wage rate and workers’ rights. The Spanish Communist Party played a significant role in the working class’s success against the fascist dictatorship. The “economic stabilization plan” created by the Franco government called for a wage freeze.
In the mid 1950’s, segregation was widespread and legally enforced throughout the American south. Birmingham, Alabama was a hotspot of black activism in opposition to segregationist policies. Between December 26, 1956 and November 1958, Birmingham blacks, led by Fred Shuttlesworth and other black ministers, initiated a campaign against the legal segregation of Birmingham buses.
African American residents of Chester, PA, demonstrate to end de facto segregation in public schools, 1963-1966
In November 1963, African American parents in the small city of Chester, PA organized and demanded better conditions at their local elementary school, Franklin School. They picketed the school and blocked its doors, successfully shutting it down for several days. The protesters also staged sit-ins in the City Hall, municipal building, and the Board of Education's offices. After several weeks of protest, the campaign grew to encompass desegregation efforts of 10 of Chester's public elementary and middle schools.
From September to October 1990, the Congolese Trade Unions’ Confederation (CSC) conducted several strikes aimed at ending privatization, increasing wages, achieving legal trade union independence, and stopping lay-offs. The CSC almost exclusively used strikes to further its demands.
The yearlong boycott of Montgomery, Alabama’s city buses by between 40,000 and 50,000 African American residents was in the works for years before it began in December 1955. At that time in Montgomery, as well as in many cities across the southern United States, laws required African Americans to sit at the back of buses and yield their seats to white passengers if no other seats were available.
In the United States of America, the 1950s saw the emergence of key individuals in the building of the civil rights movement. The struggle for African Americans against their country’s institutionalized racism was highlighted by moments like Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. A preacher by the name of Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke of nonviolence in his people’s fight for equality. But at the turn of the decade, the civil rights movement trended a different way.
Retired Colonel Lucio Gutiérrez won the 2002 presidential elections in Ecuador after emerging as a popular ally of the poor during the years following a 2000 coup d’etat. A series of decisions followed his becoming president that increased the country’s International Monetary Fund debt and approved exploitation of oil on indigenous land.
In 1953 the South African Government passed the Bantu Education Act into law. This act gave the South African government the power to structure the education of Native South African children, separate from White South African children. This law was intended to organize a federal education system that would ensure that all students received an education. But it also engrained an apartheid framed education system that was predicted to impede the advancement of black children. Many ANC members, African parents, teachers, and ministers were unhappy with the way that the
Greenpeace and others pressure international buyers, protect Great Bear Rainforest, Canada, 1994-2001
The North and Central Coast, or Great Bear Rainforest as it would later be known, is an area of 6.4 million hectares that extends from the BC-Yukon border all the way down the BC coastline and ending before Bute Inlet. It is the largest temperate rainforest on the planet and the rich ecosystem is home to wolves, salmon, different species of bears, including the rare white kermode bear as well as many types of unique flora and fauna.
From 1961 to 1996 Guatemalans endured a bloody civil war. During this conflict the military-controlled government fought the leftist guerillas or the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG). These groups fought each other for political control. The extreme violence pushed many indigenous Guatemalans high into the country’s highlands or displaced them as refugees into other countries.
Many West Indian settled in England during the 1960’s due to looser immigration restrictions. In Southwest England West Indians easily found menial jobs in Bristol, but found themselves shut out of higher positions. It was hardly a secret that the Bristol Omnibus Company constantly turned away black and Asian applicants for drivers and conductors, but neither management nor the union, the Transport and General Worker’s Union, seemed interested in dealing with the “colour bar”.
Black South Africans suffering under restrictive racially-based laws relied heavily on public transportation to commute to their jobs in the urban center of Johannesburg. One community, Alexandra Township of Johannesburg, experienced a fare hike from five cents to six cents in 1943, which put financial strain on local individuals and families, for whom transportation constituted a major household expense.
Sarasotan Students' school boycott stops neighborhood schools from closing, Florida, United States, 1969
Before Booker Grammar School, Sarasota’s first Black public school, was established in 1925, Black students received their education at home or in churches. The establishment of three other schools for Black students -- Amaryllis Park for first through third graders, Booker Junior High, for seventh and eighth graders, and Booker High School, for ninth through twelfth graders -- followed. These schools, located centrally within Sarasota’s African-American community, Newtown, became deeply rooted institutions within the community.
Paul Robeson High School opened in Brooklyn, New York, 1984, as a replacement for the closed Alexander Hamilton High School. The school board’s vision for the new Robeson High School focused primarily on decreasing the dropout rate. To ensure this, the board replaced most of the Hamilton teachers with new ones and created a new application process for students. At first, Robeson did see an increase in the graduation rate, earning it recognition in The New York Times. However, in 2004, the graduation rate began to slowly decrease.