From 3 to 18 December 2008, over 100 activists participated in a nationwide bicycle convoy in Malaysia, spanning the eastern length of the country's peninsular section, in order to garner public and governmental attention to issues that they considered to be among the most pressing concerns facing Malaysia society.
Beginning with the cacao surge during the 1870s, the conservative landowners in the Sierra and liberal exporting bourgeoisie in the Coastal region had fought for control of Ecuador. Indigenous and lower class Ecuadorians quickly became marginalized, and were extremely frustrated by this by the early 1900s. By this time, Ecuadorian politics and politicians were known to be corrupt and both the lower and even upper classes of society were disenchanted. This was only exacerbated by tough economic times, as the 1929 US Stock market crash greatly affected the Ecuadorian economy.
Despite the authoritarian nature of Fidel Castro’s Cuban Communist Party and its reputation for harsh treatment of dissident uprisings, many Cuban opposition groups persisted in calling for a more democratic Cuba throughout the late 20th century and into the new millennium. (See “Cubans petition for democratic reforms, 1998-2003” for more information on Cuba’s political history)
In December 2010, Bolivian president Evo Morales announced that the government would be unable to continue subsidizing fuel prices. In addition to changes in the cost of fuel, which increased by more than 80% without subsidies, the price of food and other commodities also skyrocketed in the same period. Morales reinstated the fuel subsidies after a week of widespread protest, but the price of food remained high.
According to the World Bank, about $1 trillion (USD) is paid in bribes annually worldwide; in India, alone, the economy is estimated to have lost half a trillion (USD) to corruption since her independence, and more than half of the country is estimated to have first-hand experience paying bribes or influence peddling.
The practice of female genital cutting (FGC) or circumcision has been a prevalent tradition in many African nations for generations. The practice, which involves removing the clitoris or entire external genitalia of young girls without anesthetic, is seen as necessary in many places to deem a woman acceptable for marriage, however young girls have died from infection due to the process. In Senegal, the tradition has been especially prevalent, where one in five girls underwent the procedure before puberty.
Dominican activists challenge Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship (Fourteenth of June Movement), 1959-1960
Rafael Leónidas Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic from the moment he won the fraudulent elections of 1930, up until his assassination in 1961. Through his more than thirty-year rule, Trujillo demanded strict obedience from all Dominicans, and had no qualms in using repressive actions to force compliance or eliminate dissent. In fact, Trujillo and his regime were accountable for more than 50,000 deaths.
Since coming to power in 1959, Cuban leader Fidel Castro systematically repressed any voice of dissent under his regime. Tens of thousands of citizens labeled dissidents were arrested and imprisoned in the years following the revolution. By 1960, all newspapers, radio and television stations were strictly censored by the Department of Revolutionary Orientation. The Interior Ministry exercised its authority by closely monitoring citizens for any sign of dissent.
After World War II, Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie took pains to ‘modernize’ Ethiopia and bolster higher education. Selassie’s control of Ethiopia was total. As ‘supreme ruler,’ he abolished all political parties and banned groups from forming cohesive organizations. Selassie was surrounded by a small group of social elites that supported him, and although the government had a Parliament, it wielded very little power. Well into the 1950’s, Ethiopia lagged behind other African nations in education and many of the social elites sent their children overseas for higher education.
Colombian women use sex strike to pressure government to repair road (Huelga de piernas cruzadas), 2011
Barbacoas is an agricultural town in Narino, Colombia. It is a small port town in southwest Colombia that linked the southern regions of the country in the 19th and 20th centuries. However, the provincial routes used in those times have not been renovated since. Its economy now relies primarily on fishing, agriculture, and mining.
African American auto workers strike for union democracy and better working conditions (DRUM), 1968-1970
Detroit, Michigan had long served as a world center for auto manufacturing. A number of U.S. automobile manufacturers centered their operations in the city, including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. For decades, as well, the city was a center of racial conflict in the country. Following World War II, a number of white soldiers had returned to Detroit to find their manufacturing jobs “taken” by women and, more so, African American men. A number of Black workers were forced out of their jobs, though many remained.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had controlled Mexico and won almost every presidential, gubernatorial, and senatorial election since its founding in 1929. The PRI also dominated politics in most municipalities and on local levels. In the 1983 and 1985 elections however, the National Action Party (PAN) won many municipal seats and posed a significant challenge to state offices held by the PRI.
Born into a family of well-to-do Ṣūfī marabouts (clerics), Sheikh Amadu Bàmba Mbàcke – whose Arabic name was Aḥmad Ibn Muḥammad
Ibn Ḥabīb al-Lah – lived from roughly 1854 to 1927. Through his emphases on piety, hard work,
singular devotion to God, the corrupting potential of governmental power,
mystical pedagogy, and principled nonviolence, Bàmba effectively (and of
secondary interest if not unwittingly) led the black Sénégalese population to de facto political and economic
After the First World War, Uruguay’s tourism industry boomed, seeing an influx of tourists from Europe into the city of Montevideo. Following the introduction of the electric streetcar in 1906, industry in Montevideo underwent massive changes to adapt to its new international popularity and the changing industrial landscape of the 20th century.
With a population of 1.3 million people, the Mapuche are currently the largest indigenous group in Chile. Before 1881, the group functioned as an independent nation, but their political and territorial sovereignty was revoked after Chileans declared their independence from Spain. Since then, the government has forced the Mapuche to live on small “reducciones” (reserves) and allowed private lumber firms to expropriate their land.
Ecuador ushered in a democratic process of election after 1978, following six years of military governments and coups d’état. During that time, the public demanded increasingly for democracy, prompting government officials to change the constitution in support of democratic elections beginning in 1979. Since then, Ecuador’s election process has involved more than six candidates in each election, and each elected president had finished their respective term. Abdala Bucaram broke that record.
In 1956, Shell British Petroleum (now Royal Dutch Shell) discovered oil in what was then the British colony of Nigeria, and by 1958 commercial production had begun. Today, Nigeria has the tenth largest proven oil reserves in the world, is the tenth largest oil producer, and is the eighth largest oil exporter; yet nearly two-thirds of Nigerians live on less than $1.25 a day, 70% live below the national poverty line, and 83% live on less than $2 a day (each of those measurements place Nigeria in the bottom ten out of countries for which data is available).
After Augosto Pinochet took power in 1973, Chile depended increasingly on its copper industry to fuel the country’s export-oriented economy. In the 1990s, the Chilean government allowed for the construction of privately owned mines. One such mine was Escondida, which became the world’s largest copper mine in terms of production. The mine was co-owned by four multinational companies, with BHP Billiton controlling the majority of its shares.
The Jim Crow laws had been in full effect for quite some time before the 1950s era of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The city, like most cities in the South, had laws regarding racial segregation. A major aspect of the city’s laws was the seating policy on the city’s buses. Black residents were restricted to sitting in a designated “colored section” located at the back of the bus while the front of the bus was reserved for white passengers. Over two-thirds of the buses’ passengers were black and consequently, many blacks stood up on the bus while empty seats were available in front of them.
Madagascar gained its independence from French colonialism in 1960 after nearly 70 years under French rule. Vice Admiral Didier Ratsiraka was sworn into office on December 21, 1975, after a military coup ousted president Philibert Tsiranana, who had been in office since 1959. In his first term as president, Ratsiraka nationalized Madagascar’s banks, insurance companies and mineral resources, following a socialist model that was wrought with censorship and government repression. By the late 1980’s Ratsiraka’s socialist regime had impoverished Madagascar.
In 1957 A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin initiated a campaign to pressure the U.S. government to intervene for the civil rights of African Americans.
Randolph, 68, was the acknowledged “elder” among civil rights leaders, with a base in the labor movement. Rustin, 57, was a veteran civil rights and peace activist who had coached Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott.
In July 1973, then-Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos announced the decision to build the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in response to the Philippines’ economic crisis at the time. The Middle East oil embargo was putting incredible stress on the Philippine economy. For the Marcos regime, investing in nuclear power was the solution to their dependence on imported oil and energy demands. However, Bataan residents and Philippine citizens responded in fierce opposition to the new plant due to its threat to public health.
Chestertown, situated in the Eastern Shore of Maryland, was one of the few northern parts of the U.S. still segregated in the early 1960s. Most African Americans could not vote. Only three black students were enrolled in the local Washington College. Moreover, the only school in Chestertown that accepted black students from the 1st grade to 12th was the Garnett School.
In 1955, just one year after the Supreme Court issued its pivotal Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the country was again shaken by the Montgomery Bus Boycotts (see “African Americans boycott buses for integration in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S., 1955-1956”). The campaign, which targeted the city’s practice of segregation on public transportation, brought leaders such as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., into the national spotlight.
The Salt Satyagraha campaign that began in 1930 sought to continue previous efforts that had attempted to undermine British colonial rule in India and establish Purna Swaraj (complete self-rule). The previous nationwide nonviolent campaign for independence (1919-22) had been called off by Gandhi because it broke into disarray and violence, even though it had been preceded by local campaigns: a campaign in Champaran (Indian peasants in Champaran campaign for rights, 1917) and a textile workers strike in Ahmedabad in 1918.