By the mid-1980s, the Apartheid regime had been in control of South Africa for nearly 40 years. The country was in the midst of a national crisis, had declared a state of emergency, and over 5,000 people had been killed by the violence. Despite the African Nation Congress’ requests for international aid, specifically in the form of divestment, the United States (as well as many other powerful countries) resisted.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) formed the Local 399 shortly after World War II. The Local 399 was a labor union for janitors which had reached its peak in the 1970s, but was struggling in the 1980s. During this time, the Local 399 fought for higher wages for its members, which motivated cleaning contractors to invest in nonunion options. The cleaning industry was extremely competitive at the time and as a result of this emphasis on nonunion cleaners, membership in the Local 399 had fallen from approximately 5,000 members to only 1,800.
Starting in the 1960’s, students in the United States started organizing against apartheid in South Africa. They targeted banks and other companies involved in South Africa, and by the 1970’s, many students were starting campaigns to encourage their universities to divest from all companies with investments in South Africa.
As early as 1965, students at Swarthmore College had signed a letter to the college president calling for a removal of investment with Chase Manhattan Bank, but the issue was overshadowed by activism against the Vietnam War.
The Bologna Process, a European agreement signed by Germany in 1999, made degree programs comparable throughout Europe. In Germany this meant that programs originally designed to last five or six years were compressed into three or four, creating a degree program quite similar to the United States’. This substantially increased the course load for students. Decreased funding for universities also meant a poorer standard of education, larger classes, and the implementation of tuition fees. Between February and December 2009, thousands of German students protested thes
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.
In 1997, student activists formed an organization called United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS). Entirely student run, the organization strives to "win victories that set precedents in the struggle for self-determination of working people everywhere, particularly campus workers and garment workers who make collegiate licensed apparel." In an effort to pursue these goals, USAS created another organization in 2000: the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC).
In the winter of 2004, the Charest Government of Quebec cut $103 million in grants for low-income students at Quebec universities and CEGEP (junior colleges). The Quebec people disliked the Charest government to begin with, and in early December, students threatened to go on strike.
University of North Carolina (UNC) Sierra Student Coalition members and students created the Coal-Free UNC movement in an effort to end the University’s use of coal and close the on-campus coal plant. Its goal is to eliminate coal on campus by 2015. Coal-Free UNC also wanted the University to adhere to its green initiative EXPLAIN. The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal national campaign to end dependence on coal and its use on campus, while encouraging the use of renewable sources of energy inspired UNC’s campaign.
Billboard Utilising Graffitists Against Unhealthy Promotions (BUGA UP) campaigns against tobacco advertising, Australia, 1978-1994
In the 70s and 80s in Australia, tobacco companies had free reign to advertise in nearly all media, and tobacco advertising was a visual mainstay throughout public spaces. In addition, the prevailing mainstream view considered smoking to be an issue of individual behavior change rather than policy solutions. Disillusioned by this, Professor Simon Chapman and three of his colleagues theatrically convened a public meeting in the lecture theatre of the city morgue.
Jeffrey Deitch, the director of Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) commissioned Blu, an Italian street artist, to paint a mural on the Geffen Contemporary building as part of the “Art in the Streets” exhibit about graffiti, which was planned to open April 17, 2011. While Blu painted the mural on December 8, 2010, Deitch decided to remove the mural within mere hours after he started painting it, and the mural was completely whitewashed by the next day, Thursday December 9.
The London Heathrow Airport was of the busiest airports in the world when the English government began to contemplate expansion in 2002. Considered to be one of the premier airports in the world, the English government wanted to preserve the airport’s place among the best airports by improving its efficiency through expansion, including a third runway.
In July of 1968, as the student-led uprising of May and June in France was fading away, a new one was just beginning in Mexico City. Students inspired by the success of the movement in France saw their own opportunity to bring more open democracy to Mexico. They saw the summer Olympics that were to take place in Mexico City in October as an opportunity to put pressure on the government, led by President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
In the late 70s and 80s, American colleges and universities were engulfed in a heated debate over the ethical implications of financial investments. Educational institutions had invested billions of dollars in financial institutions and corporations with holdings in South Africa. Since the mid 1900s, the South African Nationalist government had implemented apartheid – a form of institutionalized racial segregation that had forced over a million South Africans to move out of urban spaces to designated rural areas. Many saw U.S.
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
The 1980s saw a new consciousness of environmental awareness, particularly around the Earth’s rain forests. Scientists had discovered that, aside from their enormous biodiversity, rainforests also helped to keep carbon from being released into the atmosphere.
Industrial forces, however, saw the rainforests as a means for profit. While environmental groups in Europe and Australia had been actively fighting deforestation on a grassroots level, the U.S. environmental movements had failed to evoke widespread activism on the subject.
Kimberley-Clark Corporation is the largest tissue-product manufacturer in the world, producer of well-known brands including Kleenex, Scott, and Cottonelle. It is no surprise that Kimberly-Clark is also arguably the leading consumer of wood-fiber. However, before 2009, Kimberley-Clark continued to take 90% this wood-fiber from unsustainably managed forests, most notably the ancient Boreal Forest in Canada.
In the early 1980s, it was no secret that United States president Ronald Reagan would use any means necessary to end or prevent the influence of Communism and the Soviet Union around the globe. The two countries had been engaged in a bitter ideological struggle since the end of World War II, and each sought to expand their influence to other, mostly developing nations. From Central America to Sub-Saharan Africa to the Middle East, the U.S.
Swarthmore College, a small liberal arts college just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had long been respected as an institution with a strong commitment to social justice. While the College had pioneered such practices as co-education and comprehensive financial aid, by 2000 many College staff—including those in the environmental and dining services departments—were paid just above poverty levels for Delaware County, where the College and the majority of its workers reside. In the fall of 2000, a group of students began to talk with staff about the College’s employment practices.
Activism against militarism in the toy industry began in the 1920s with groups such as Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the New York-based Women’s Peace Society. These groups aimed to induce the public and leaders of the toy industry to re-conceptualize their ideas of childhood and toys. They believed that childhood is the most malleable time in a child’s life where their conceptions of violence and peacemaking are formed. War toys normalize violence for children.
Maryland Route 200, also called the Intercounty Connector or simply the ICC by locals, is an 18.8-mile six-lane toll highway meant to provide an express road connection between the neighboring Maryland counties of Montgomery and Prince George’s, both of which are suburbs of Washington, DC. Initially conceived as a section of the proposed Outer Beltway that would fully encircle Washington, the ICC appeared on the master plans of both counties starting in 1950, at that time proposed as 32 miles.
The government began planning to build a hydroelectric dam on the Mun River (also called the Moon, Mul, and Mool River but referred to henceforth only as Mun) in the early 1980s. In 1989, the government approved the plans. In 1991, construction of the dam began and was completed four years later in January 1995. Not only did the dam cost almost twice as much money as the Thai government originally predicted, but it also resulted in substantially more damage to the ecosystem than early studies suggested.
During the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with the entire world watching, the Pivot Legal Society and the City Wide Housing Coalition held a nonviolent campaign. This campaign was an attempt to put pressure on the federal government to establish a National Social Housing Policy, to raise awareness of the magnitude of homelessness in Vancouver and to expose the government's failure to keep their promise of an Olympic housing legacy.
International migrant workers and activists protest the Sixth Ministerial of the World Trade Organization in Hong Kong, 2005
The Sixth Ministerial of the World Trade Organization met from 13-18 December 2005. In this Ministerial, the WTO hoped to move forward after the collapse of trade negotiations in the WTO’s Fifth Ministerial in Cancun, Mexico in 2003.
In 2006, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) began what would become a 6-year campaign against Chipotle for fair food and farmworker rights. The CIW, “a membership-led farmworker organization of mostly Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida,” had been organizing in Immokalee since 1993. Over time, they have won historic campaigns.
During World War I, the New Zealand government seized burial grounds and traditionally valuable land from the Tainui Awhiro people to build an air base and bunker. Ten years after the end of the war, in 1928, the Public Works Act codified the government’s justification for keeping the land.