On 10 June 2014, the Guatemalan Congress approved Decree 19-2014, more commonly known as Plant Varieties Protection Bill or the Monsanto Law (because of Monsanto’s, a multinational company, promotion of the law) and it was planned to take effect on 26 September 2014. The Monsanto Law outlawed the replanting, transportation, or selling of privatized seeds without permission, and made these actions punishable by one to four years in jail and a fine of 1,000 to 10,000 quetzals (130 to 1,300 US dollars).
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.
Russian politics have long consisted of a close relationship between the state and United Russia, the dominant political party in Russian politics since 2000. United Russia is a centrist party that political elites created to support their favored candidate, Vladimir Putin, who held the post of President from 2000-2008, Prime Minister from 200-2012 and won re-election for the 2012-2018 Presidential term.
University of Hawaii Students, Faculty and Staff Successfully Campaign for Fossil Fuel Divestment, (2013-2015)
In the fall of 2013, University of Hawaii graduate student and oceanography major Michelle Tigchelaar launched a fossil fuel divestment campaign after witnessing the devastation that climate change was bring to Hawaii’s famed coral reefs. Initially, the campaign was organized by members of the University’s Graduate Student Organization. The campaign launched in September 2013 with a movie screening 350.org’s movie Do the Math. The campaign lost traction in its first year after several members of the Graduate Student Organization graduated in the at the end of the fall semester.
Texas has consistently ranked poorly among other states with regard to education. In 2010, Texas ranked dead last in the percentage of adults with high school diplomas and ranked very low in spending per student in public schools, a problem that became exacerbated in 2011. During the Great Recession in 2007, Texas was able to avoid the housing industry meltdown and soaring unemployment rates that plagued the rest of the United States due to its booming oil and gas industries.
As of 2014, about 168 million rural migrant workers traveled annually to China’s cities. This significant portion of China’s workforce consists of workers leaving rural areas to find employment in cities in other provinces in order to send wages to families left behind. As the average age of the migrant worker force has increased, workers have switched the focus of strikes and protests from demanding wage increases to pensions, healthcare, and unemployment insurance. As of 2013, only one out of six migrant workers had a pension.
Kazakh oil workers strike against three leading oil companies for better pay and increased unionization activities, 2011
Oil is a central feature of the economy in Kazakhstan, the largest country in Central Asia. In 2010, Kazakhstan was among the top 20 global oil producers, with the oil sector comprising over 11% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). Three of the most prominent oil companies in the country included (1) Ersai Caspian Contractor LLC, an oil service contractor, (2) KarazhanbasMunai JSC and (3) OzenMunaiGas, both owned by the parent company KazMunaiGas Exploration Production (KMG EP).
Language is an important aspect of culture as it communicates and preserves heritage, ideas, and identity. Pakistan and India became independent from British rule in August of 1947. The British Imperial Government, the Indian Muslim League, and the Indian National Congress split the region based on religious lines of Hinduism and Islam. Large regions that were majority Muslim became Pakistan, and regions that were majority Hindu became India. Pakistan was geographically separated into East Pakistan (modern day Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (modern day Pakistan).
From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala was embroiled in a civil war fought between the government of Guatemala and the rural poor. In the early 1980s, under the leadership of military dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, the Guatemalan military massacred 250,000 indigenous Mayans leaving deep wounds in Guatemalan society, which have contributed to the high murder and crime rates that continued to plague the country. Additionally, the government was famously corrupt; one non-governmental organization asserted that up to thirty percent of the annual national budget was lost to corruption.
The Fossil Free SOAS’s (the School of Oriental and African Studies at University of London) divestment campaign began in the autumn of the 2013 school year as part of a cluster of divestment campaigns led by People & Planet, a network of student campaign groups in the UK focused on alleviating global poverty, defending human rights, and protecting the environment. On 13 November 2013, SOAS students, staff, and alumni joined together in signing a divestment petition to Professor Paul Webley, the director of SOAS at the time.
The ten year civil war in Nepal that claimed over 13,000 lives ended in 2006 when Maoist insurgents gave up their armed revolt in order to integrate themselves socially and politically. At the end of the war, more than 19,000 former Maoist combatants remained sequestered in barracks controlled by the U.N. Part of the peace agreement called for their gradual integration into Nepal’s security forces, but army chief Rookmangud Katawal, who strongly opposed the integration of politically indoctrinated enemy soldiers, blocked this process.
In December 2009, 948 Burmese migrant workers who had entered Thailand legally began work at the Dechapanich Fishing Net Factory in Khon Kaen. Their employer confiscated the workers’ passports and personal documents, and for nine months, they worked in poor conditions. Additionally, the employer forced the Burmese workers to work without pay for an hour and a half each day to cover the cost of a recruiter for Burmese laborers.
In 1892, students at Havana University in Cuba (then called The Royal University at Havana) staged a strike in protest of the suspension of Doctoral degrees from the University. The student campaign took place from mid-March to mid-September and utilized striking, letters and public exhibitions comprised of notes displayed on the school walls as acts of nonviolent protest. During this time of the campaign, the president of the University of Havana was Joaquín Francisco Lastres y Juiz, whom the student activists held accountable for the suspension of Doctoral Degrees.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected President of Iran on 12 June 2009 The next day, hundreds of thousands of people peacefully protested the results, chanting “Where is my vote?,” because they believed that the election was fraudulent. Most of the protesters joined the Green Movement, a nonviolent pro-democracy group opposed to Ahmadinejad’s leadership and was led by Mir Hossein Mousavi and his spouse, Zahra Rahnavard. The Ahmadinejad regime responded violently to the protesters with its Revolutionary Guards, Basij paramilitary units, and Lebas Shakhsi forces. Many were beaten and arrested.
In July 2007, the Ministry of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works published the “General Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development Framework” with no plans for new coal plants in Greece. A month later, the Ministry of Development published the “1st report on the long-term energy planning of Greece, 2008-2020,” stating that 5.6 to 21 percent of Greece’s energy would come from coal in the years 2008 to 2020.
Brazilian workers of Portland Cement Company (PERUS) strike for economic justice and better working conditions, 1962-1974
The Portland Cement Company plant at PERUS opened in 1925. Located on the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city, the plant served as the main source of raw building materials for the city. In 1951, prominent Brazilian businessman, José João Abdalla, took over the plant, making it one of the thirty subsidiaries under his control. J.J. Abdalla showed serious disregard to the needs of the workers, neglecting to provide the proper maintenance and development of facilities, which hugely impacted production and quality and safety of working conditions.
Following Chiang Ching-kuo’s death in 1988, Lee Teng-hui continued to implement reforms. He promoted Taiwanese nationalism, and also worked to suspend the Taiwan Provincial Government, among other actions. Nonetheless, Lee Teng-hui’s actions proved to not be enough for the Taiwanese people. Frustrated with the outdated National Assembly and its members’ attempts to gain more power and influence, Taiwanese university students began to demonstrate on 16 March 1990.
University of Glasgow students occupy Hetherington House protesting proposed education cuts (Free Hetherington Campaign), 2011
In January of 2011, reports began to circulate at the University of Glasgow that massive cuts were coming to academic programs, staff employment rates and student services. Student activists targeted the abandoned Hetherington Research club, a former post-graduate club that had been shut down in January of 2010 due to a previous round of budget cuts, as a potential place of occupation from which protesters could issue demands against austerity. The university was beginning renovations on the building that appeared geared towards the university selling it as private office space.
Romanian environmentalists protest plan to mine gold using cyanide in Rosia Montana heritage area, 2002-2013
Rosia Montana is a small group of villages in Alba County, Romania rich in minerals, especially gold and silver. Various groups have mined Rosia Montana for centuries. The area has a vast network of pre-Roman Empire gold mines, which serve as historical and archeological resources and cultural heritage sites.
In 2013, about ninety-seven percent of the publishing climate scientists agreed that climate change was occurring, and it was due to human activities. If people continued at the same rate of carbon dioxide emission, they risked permanently changing the planet’s climate and triggering irreversible increases in temperature. If the planet was to remain with levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide deemed safe by climate experts, four-fifths of known fossil fuel reserves could not be used and needed to be left in the ground.
Canadians sit-down for nuclear disarmament of the United States Bomarc Missile in La Macaza, Quebec, 1964
In fall 1958, Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker agreed to house 56 American Bomarc missiles in North Bay, Ontario and La Macaza, Quebec, in keeping with the terms of the NORAD agreement. The American manufacturers designed the Bomarc missiles to be fitted with nuclear warheads, but when the missiles arrived in Canada, the nuclear warhead parts had not yet arrived.
The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) was founded at the University of Oregon in December 1975 as a union to represent the interests of graduate students employed by the University. In 2014, during an era of weaker unions, the University hired an outside law firm to negotiate its labor relations, though in it's 39 years of existence, the GTFF had never engaged in a strike to negotiate a labor relations dispute.
Earth Quaker Action Team Campaigns Against PNC Bank for Financing Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining 2010-2015
The Earth Quaker Action Team’s first campaign, BLAM! (Bank Like Appalachia Matters!) began on 18 February 2010. Ingrid Lakey, Board Member of EQAT, sent a letter to PNC Vice President Jean Caulfield, which described the health and environmental dangers of mountaintop mining and requested a meeting. Shortly after Lakey wrote her letter, three EQAT members met with J. William Mills (the president of the Philadelphia Regional PNC banks) and relayed their expectations of PNC Bank to him. Less than a week later, PNC Bank sponsored a flower show on 9 March 2010.
In 2012, Swaziland was a small landlocked country in southern Africa ruled by King Mswati III. Sixty three percent of the country’s population lived below the poverty line. Government spending on education had continuously decreased since 2008. With the economy virtually stagnated, the International Monetary Fund had urged the government in February 2012 to reduce the size of its civil service.
Divest UMaine formed in December, 2012 at the University of Maine by co-founders Brooke Lyons-Justus, Connor Scott, and Catherine Fletcher. Sparked by a growing disapproval of fossil fuels in the United States along with increased public awareness of global warming, UMaine students, staff, faculty, and alumni formed Divest UMaine and aimed to convince the University of Maine System to freeze assets invested in top 200 fossil fuel companies and to “reinvest in a sustainable, socially responsible alternatives.”