>> January >> Wildfire wins a victory as a result of one of the most successful actions of Earth First! at Warner Creek, Oregon, US. Activists maintain a 11 month blockade of logging roads, through harsh winter snowhall, and frequent visit by curious tourists! The camp, christened Cascadia Free State, features a watchover, a moat and drawbridge, a wide variety of barricades, and frequent trainings and planning meetings for establishing other "Free States."As part of the fallout of new "salvage gogging" legislation, the forest service had plans fo log over 1,200 acres after the second largest wildfire in the region. In addition to the blockades, activists hold a thorough educational campaign explaining the ecology of fire, and the natural regeneration that will occur if allowed. The blockade ends when a presidential decree withdraws the salvage sale and the forest is allowed to continiue its cycle.
>> January 1 >> The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) becomes the World Trade Organization (WTO).
>> January 25 >> Protesting tuition hikes and education cuts, the Canadian Federation of Students take action on the Pan-Canadian Day of Action, as 16,000 students take to the streets in Montreal, and at least 100,000 participate nationwide. As a result, tuition fees are frozen in the provinces of British Colombia and Québec.
>> February 12 >> Over 1000,000 people demonstrate in Mexico City, demanding rhat the military withdraw from Chiapas, in response to the issuance of arrest warrants for 11 Zapatistas, the "unmasking" of Sumcomandante Marcos as a former philosophy professor, increased military aggression in Chiapas, and the government's breaking of the ceasefire with the EZLN. The aggression backfires, as not only do the Zapatistas fight off the Federal Army troops and retain control of most of the southern regions of the state, they turn offensive to their advantage by organizing a popular consultation of the people, or consulta.
>> April 13 >> Huge solidarity demonstrations erupt in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, following the brutal eviction of 200 workers who had occupied their elections plant and shut it down, demanding their pay back. The police attack, killing Víctor Choque, a 37-year-old construction worker, and wounding sixty others workers. The Metalworkers Union and the Union Front, which includes government employees, teachers, taxi drivers, and sanitation workers, organize a general strike.
>> April 15 >> International protests take place to mark the fortieth aniversary of the opening of the worls's first McDonald's restaurant, and to celebrate ten years of coordinated international resistance to the corporation. There are actions in at least 20 countries including Aotearoa/New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Poland, Denmark, Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Netherlands, Germany, Finland, US, and the UK.
>> April 19 >> Following a six week strike against privatization by Bolivian teachers, a general strike is called in solidarity with them, and against the neoliberal policies of the government. Roads are blocked throughout the country and one southern province declares independence from the government. The government imposes a 90-day state of siege, and over 1,000 trade union, student, peasant, and political leaders are arrested.
>> April 24 >> The government's firing of 12,000 bus drivers and its closure of bus routes in Mexico City generates a demonstration of 50,000 people. The bus drivers, members of SUTAUR, the independent and militant Mexico City Bus Driver's union, continue their daily protest. Two days later, students seize several buses in support of the drivers and hold them for several days. The following year, after a dogged struggle, which includes countless marches, constant clashes with the police, the year-long imprisonment of 12 union leaders, several 40-day hunger strikes, and an offer from a union leader to crucify himself on Good Friday, the union becomes a worker-owned cooperative, taking control of two of the newly privatized lines, and struggeling to increase their control and regain jobs for the thousands who remain unemployed.
>> May 1 >> One and a half million demonstrate in Mexico City calling for an end to NAFTA, an increase in salaries, and declaring their support for the EZLN. The government declares a ceasefire, for the time being.
>> May 3 >> Declaring "The oil is ours," 50,000 workers at Brasil's government-run oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro, walk off the job over pay cuts and a plan to privatize the company. The strike is reinforced by a strike of thousands of rail workers and truckers, as well as tens of thousands of other government workers demanding higher wages and an end to privatization.
>> May 14 >> Two cars collide and block Camden High Street, a busy shopping district in London, UK. The drivers argue, and then begin smashing up the cars. Suddenly 500 people pour out of the underground station and occupy the street. The first Reclaim the Streets street party begins, challenging the privatization of public space by the car, while bringing together the spirit of carnival and rebellion, rejuvenating creative forms of direct action.
>> June >> Health care workers occupy hospitals throughout Cordoba, Argentina. Nurse Ana María Martoglio says, "We've taken over this hospital because they haven't paid us in two months and because the government has send the health-care system to hell."
>> June 1 >> About 5,000 Argentinian students surround the Congress, preventing deputies from entering, and forcing the government to postpone discussion and voting on President Menem's proposal to introduce tuitions fees for the first time. Days later, the vote is in favour of fees, and riots erupt throughout the night.
>> June 5 >> Over 3,000 people occupy the Mexico City stock exchange, protesting against election fraud in the state of Tabasco. Three hundred people arrive on foot, having walked 500 miles from Tabasco to draw attention netionwide to what has become known as "Tabascogate."
>> June 8 >> South Korean President Kim Young Sam warns unions that planned strike at the state-owned telephone company would be akin to "an attempt to overthrow the state".
>> June 15-17 >> The Halifax People's Summit in Canada, brings together international non-governmental organizations (NGO) and local networks of activists, and linking global issues with local converns. Workshops, protests, carnivalesque street theatre, and outdoor picnics prevail, while the G7 meet under extremely low security, with delegates freely walking about the city, and meeting in a Maritime Museum which features, ironically, a deck chair from the Titanic.
>> June 19 >> Workers at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea approved a provisional wage agreement providing for a 5.6 per vent wage increase and bonuses of three months pay.
>> July 13 >> Energy workers in Ecuador begin a long strike that threatens to halt electricy and petroleum production. The unions demand the repeal of laws restricting the right of public workers to strike. Administration buildings of the state-run companies are occupied by workers.
>> July 17 >> Some 50,000 teachers in Costa Rica strike, closing about 4,000 public schools, as well as four state universities. The teachers demand a presidential veto of a recently approved pension law. Another 10,000 state workers join the teacher's strike two days later, protesting government plans to reduce the work force. Meanwhile, the central labour union in Costa Rica prepares for a general strike.
>> July 21 >> One thousand mothers and children march in Toronto, Canada against proposed cuts in social services including changes in child care benefits which would no longer grant teenage single mothers free day-care.
>> August >> Coal miners in Ukraine go on strike for back pay, higher wages and pensions, and better medical benefits. "I haven't been paid in two months," says Aleksi Tsybin, a miner from the eastern town of Makayevke. "This is a gross violation of worker's right." The miners, who have launched sporadic strkes at some of the country's 246 mines in the past few weeks, are also demanding more control over the industry, such as setting coal prices and their own wage scale. The miners' union has warned the government that a broader strike is likely in the winter if negotiations collapse.
>> August 5 >> In a campaign to get multinational corporations out of India, the Karnataka Rajy Raitha Sangha (KRRS, Karnataka State Farmers Association), a ten million strong direct action movement of Indian farmers, manages to close down India's first Kentucky Fried Chicken outled, on health grounds. At the same time billboards belong to KFC owner PepsiCo are destroyed by activists throughout the state, while the KRRS sets up training centers in organic agriculture and seed banks. The KFC eventually reopens under full-time guard.
>> August 7 >> Oil workers in South Trinidad begin a six-week strike over wages, resulting in a seven per cent pay increase.
>> August 7 >> One hundred thousand striking teachers, state workers, oil workers, and others march in San José, Costa Rica, in one of the largest demonstrations in 25 years. Some of the strikers occupy the Inter-American Court of Human Rights after the march, saying they will remain until the government listens to their demands.
>> August 8 >> Nearly 600,000 public workers in turkey go on strike against the government's austerity programme. Three days earlier, 100,000 workers marched through the capital city, Ankara, calling for an increase in the minimum wage, higher pay, and broader trade union rights.
>> August 12 >> Nearly 1,500 landless peasants try to occupy the National Bank for Housing in Guatemala. Many are beaten by police. The peasants demand the land promised to 2,800 landless and homeless families. Lorenzo Pérez, a representative of the Guatemala Council for the Displaced, says 500,000 of the two million inhabitants of Guatemala City are displaced peasants who live in extreme poverty and are homeless.
>> August 27 >> The Zapatistas hold the first international consulta, with the participation of over 1,2 million Mexicans, and more than 100,000 people from outside of Mexico. Votes overhelmingly agree with the principal demands of the EZLN, call for a broad united opposition to struggle for those demands, and agree that women should be guaranteed equal representation and participation at all levels of civil and governmental responsibility. In a country where the ruling PRI's own plebiscite on its economic plan only managed to achieve a voter participation of 600,000 voters in the spring of 1995, the Zapatista's success at dialogue with national and global civil society is illustrative of the will to change.
>> September 27 >> Hundreds of Honduran students clash with police during protest against a rise in urban bus fares.
>> September 28 >> More than half a million teachers in Russia go on a nationwide strike to protest against unpaid wages, low pay, and severe government underfunding of social services.
>> September 28 >> "Reclaim the Future," an alliance of Reclaim the Streets, rave activists, and the Liverpool dockers commemorate the anniversary of the dockers lock out. Activists break through fences, occupy cranes, and fly the RTS flag from the roof of the corporate headquaters. The action trigger a 24 hour strike by tug boat captains. No vessels enter or leave Liverpool, and Mersey Docks shares fall at further 14p, sespite the company's claims of continued normal operations.
>> October 10 >> During their annual meetings in Washington D.C., US, the IMF/WB are stunned by four days of demonstrations when activists from the Native Forest Network and Eart First! hang banners from a crane at the construction site of the lavish new World Bank headquaters. A crowd of demonstrators gathers on the sidewalk, heckling World Bank and IMF employees on their way to work. Five people are arrested; the two white people are released while the three people of colour are charged.
>> October 20 >> Security services disperse 20,000 Romanian students after three days of protest against Bucharest government control over education in the post-communist era. The students win a victory when the government withdraws controversial taxes on students who fail exams.
>> October 31 >> Some 5,000 people participate in a "Death of Education March" in Honolulu, US, to protest against budget cuts totaling $50 million over two years. Governor Benjamin Cayetano is shouted down by protesters while telling University of Hawaii faculty members and students that the state administration had no choice but to slash the school's budget.
>> October 31 >> Riots break out in Bryansk, Russia, as car workers demand payment for over five months' back wages. Coal miners and other workers have organized strikes and demonstrations also demanding back pay. The Russian government has accumulated massive debts to hundreds of enterprises in attempting to adhere to a budget arranged with the IMF last spring.
>> November - December >> In protest against the French government's liberalization of labour laws in an unpopular effort to reform the welfare system, five million union members and students go on strike, demanding that telecommunications and all other services not be privatized, and all other services not be privatized, and that more funding be allocated to overcrowded state universities. Hundreds of thousands take to the streets. The transport strike results in a 350 mile traffic jam in Paris. Strikes spread to Belgium and Luxembourg. The French government eventually backs down.
>> November 10 >> Protest against Shell erupt around the world, as the Nigerian government executes nine environmental activists, including writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, who were imprisoned on fabricated murder charges. The activists were resisting Shell's environmental destruction of Ogoniland, Nigeria, which has resulted in the loss of agricultural land to oil wells, spillage, pipelines and blowouts. In Ken Saro-Wiwa's closing statement at his trial, he predicts that "...the ecological war that [Shell] has waged in the delta will be called to question, and the crimes of that war duly punished."
>> December 4 >> To the accompaniment of bagpipes, 500 Eart First! activists storm the largest stone quarry in England, in Whatley, Somerset, swarming over gates, scaling fences, and entering a tripod blocking the rail line leading out from the quarry. Sixty-five feet of railway track "disappear;" the surveillance system falls apart; a two-story crane pulls itself to bits; three control rooms dismantle themselves; and several digging and conveyer belts "break down." At the end of the day, the media reports that $163,000 of damage occurred, with an additional loss of production of $325,000.
>> December 13 >> Students, professors, and university staff in Managua, Nicaragua, rejecting proposed tuition hikes and administrative fees, demand that the government abide by the constitution and allocate six per cent of the national budget for university education. Riot police break up demonstrations at the National Assembly with tear gas followed by gunfire. Two students are killed, one loses a leg, and more than 60 are injured.
>> December 13 >> Members of the Machinists' Union in Seattle, US, celebrate victory with a new contract with Boeing, Inc, which finally capitulated after a strike of 34,500 workers. The picketed 69 days in almost non-stop rainstroms and sacrificed $6,000 per worker in wages.