In 1913, sixteen to eighteen percent of all women over fourteen in and around Barcelona worked in textile factories and related industries. Spinning and weaving workshops usually employed fewer than 40 women and these women worked eleven to twelve hour days. In contrast, male workers usually worked only ten-hour days. Male wages varied between 3 and 3.75 pesetas while female wages were between 1.75 and 2.50 pesetas, with few women earning over 2. Some women worked from the home, manufacturing corsets, paper boxes, shoes, and garments for employers who provided them with piecework.
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.
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) emerged in England in the late 1640's among those who challenged the standard doctrine of the Church of England. Quakerism began as a sect whose members believed that there was a piece of God within every person and that everyone could communicate with God directly. This was a radical view for the time. Out of this belief, Quakers developed a strong sense of equality and believed that every person could be a minister.
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.
Venezuelen President Hugo Chávez has often played a controversial role in Latin American politics, sometimes by testing the limits of freedom of expression.
Following World War I, Canada was suffering massive unemployment and inflation. A wave of unsuccessful strikes across Canada, the 1917 overthrow of the Tsarist regime in Russia, and the growth of revolutionary industrial unionism created an atmosphere of labor unrest in a country that had almost no labor regulations.
In March 1919, diverse labor leaders met in Calgary in Western Canada to discuss the creation of an industrial union to be called the One Big Union to work for higher wages, improved working conditions, official union recognition and collective bargaining.
For a half-century prior to the Acehnese campaign, the Indonesian government had ruled Aceh, located at the northwestern end of the island of Sumatra. The Acehnese suffered a high level of human rights abuses at the hands of the Indonesian government. From the 1950s until 1998, an Acehnese group resisted using violence. But in the late 1990’s, their resistance, led by student activists, took the form of nonviolence in a series of rallies, boycotts and strikes.
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
For the first eight months of 1968, the Czechoslovak Communist Party engaged in limited but significant reforms known as ‘Prague Spring,’ including declarations of freedom of expression and organization. The reform movement began in January, when moderate Alexander Dubcek replaced the Party’s hard-line First Secretary.
Grenada under the dictatorship of Eric Gairy suffered from economic deterioration and widespread corruption. In the face of domestic repression, support for the Left built strength during events leading up to the creation of the New Jewel Movement (NJM). In November 1970, 30 nurses staged a non-violent protest demonstration against poor working conditions at St. George’s General Hospital, their place of work. They were joined by youth groups, trade unions, and school children. Police responded by teargasing demonstrators and arresting 22 nurses.
In 2004, Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz became Governor of Oaxaca in a contentious election, rumored to involve fraud. Many civilians and activists were angered over his win and led protest campaigns against him, resulting in the detention, incarceration, and disappearance of hundreds of social leaders throughout Oaxaca. State forces silenced those who attempted to demonstrate even though the Oaxacan constitution permits protest.
In March 1942, the British Parliament sent a delegation to India under Sir Stafford Cripps, a Labor Party Politician, in order to negotiate with the Indian National Congress a constitution that would secure Indian support of World War II. The Indian National Congress (INC) found the proposal for the new constitution unsatisfactory, since the draft declaration promised India domination status—but not complete independence—in return for its total cooperation during the war.
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.
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.
The plateau of Larzac is a limestone karst plateau located in the southern Massif Central area of France, extending between Millau (Aveyron region) and Lodeve (Herault region). The area is mainly agricultural and the economy relied mostly on sheep breeding and production of ewes’ milk for Roquefort cheese. Sheep farms dominated the landscape, and the land is rocky, arid, and windswept, with thin and relatively infertile soil. The French army established a military camp on the plateau of Larzac in Aveyron in June 1902, where it served as a garrison and training center.
In 1889, workers at the Carnegie Company’s Homestead Works on the Monongahela River southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania forced the company to pay workers according to a sliding scale corresponding to the price of steel. This set up a correlation between wages and the company’s profits. It also officially recognized the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, or AA, as the representative craft union for the plant and introduced the union as a powerful force in the operation of the plant.
After India’s independence (for example see, “Indians campaign for independence (Salt Satyagraha), 1930-1931”), tensions between Hindus and Muslims erupted in violent riots in the north of what was an undivided India. At that time, Gandhi had the idea of creating Shanti Sena, or the Gandhian Peace Army, an army of nonviolent soldiers that could keep the peace. Gandhi planned a conference in 1948 at his Sevagram Ashram to discuss the organization of the Shanti Sena, but he was assassinated before talks began.
Walpole was a maximum-security prison in South Walpole, Massachusetts. The Observer Program’s campaign to bring civilian volunteers into Walpole Prison formed part of a larger movement of opposition to cruelties of the prison system. It also coincided with, and helped to support, a campaign by inmates at Walpole under a local chapter of the National Prisoners Reform Association (NPRA) to take control of the prison. Read about the prisoners’ nonviolent campaign in this database: “U.S. prisoners take control of Walpole Prison, 1973”.
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon was a community located in south central France. With a history of being a refuge for persecuted Protestant Huguenots in 17th century, it was primarily a Presbyterian town.
During the 1950’s and 60’s, as many countries advanced and became more
industrialized, doctors in organized medicine tried to push back against
the post-World War II trend of increased state involvement in medical
care. The worry was that state involvement would, over time, reduce
doctors’ income and self-governance. Belgium was a unitary state in the
1960’s and only became a constitutional federation in 1993. Belgium’s
social insurance system was private but also corporatist. At the time,
the system consisted of five health insurance funds called mutualités.
Inspired by the protests in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, Bahrainis rose up against the monarchy in February and March of 2011. Initiated by activists and propelled by the “February 14th Revolution in Bahrain” Facebook group, the protests had clear goals: disband the Bahraini National Assembly, abrogate the current constitution, and form a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution. They demanded the new constitution stipulate that an elected parliament hold legislative authority and that an elected Prime Minister exercise executive authority.