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This week at a glance.

Nov 20

1st Scab
•Nuremberg Trials Begin
•Rights of the Child
•Alcatraz seized
= Peace Action

Nov 21
UAW strikes GM over fair share
•Congress frees up information
•Church Committee reveals secrets
•Europe: no more nukes

Nov 22

Uprising of the 20,000
•TV taboo broken
•Thousands peacefully arrested protesting SOA

Nov 23
First striking workers
•The Thibodaux Massacre
•Anti-insurgent effort funds insurgents

Nov 24
Darwin publishes evolution theory
•Hollywood Ten charged
•Peoples' Peace Treaty
•Plowshares deface bombers
Nov 25
Peaceful resistance meets violence
•Hollywood Ten blacklisted
•Iran-Contra Scandal unravels

Nov 26
U.N. finds capital punishment ineffective
•Indians re-claim Plymouth Rock
•Reagan props up Saddam

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November 20, 1816

The term "scab" was first used in print by the Albany (N.Y.) Typographical Society.
A scab is someone who crosses a union’s picket line and takes the job of a striking worker.


Read The Scab by Jack London


Woody Guthrie
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November 20, 1945

The International War Crimes Tribunal began in Nuremberg, Germany, and continued until October 1, 1946, establishing that military and political subordinates are responsible for their own actions even if ordered by their superiors.

Twenty-four high-ranking Nazis were on trial for atrocities committed during World War II, ranging from crimes against peace to crimes of war, to crimes against humanity. The Nuremberg Trials were conducted by judges from the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and Great Britain.

The Nuremberg defendants

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-Cathy, Terra Haute, IN


November 20, 1959

The United Nations proclaimed "The Declaration of the Rights of the Child," because “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”

Read the text of the Declaration

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November 20, 1969

Fourteen Indians from 20 tribes seized Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, offering to buy the island from the federal government for $24 worth of beads (the alleged price paid to the Canarsee Delaware Indians for Manhattan Island; it was actually 60 Dutch guilders).
Their numbers swelled to nearly eighty; the General Services Administration, which had responsibility for the site of the former federal prison, and Coast Guard gave them the opportunity to leave the island peacefully.

They were reclaiming it as Indian land by right of discovery, and demanding fairness and respect for native peoples. The occupation lasted for more than a year. Said Richard Oakes, a Mohawk from New York, "We hold The Rock."

Indian people and their supporters wait for the ferry.
Photo/Ilka Hartmann

    a new entrance to Alcatraz                           Photo/Michelle Vignes

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LaNada Boyer (formerly Means) inside one of the Alcatraz guard barracks where occupiers lived from 1969-71. Much of the graffiti from 30 years ago remains throughout the island today.
Photo by Linda Sue Scott.

"What we did in the 1960s and early 1970s was raise the consciousness of white America that this government has a responsibility to Indian people. That there are treaties; that textbooks in every school in America have a responsibility to tell the truth..."
- Dennis Banks

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November 20, 1987
SANE (The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy) and FREEZE (the campaign to freeze all testing of nuclear weapons) merged at their first combined convention in Cleveland, Ohio, becoming the largest U.S. peace organization.
Peace Action today



November 21, 1945

200,000 members of the United Auto Workers went on strike against General Motors, the first major strike following World War II. The UAW’s demand for a 30% wage increase was based on the increase in the cost of living during the war (28% according to the Department of Labor), the wartime freeze on wages, and the cut in the average workweek with the disappearance of overtime pay in manufacturing.

But the UAW also considered profits and prices a subject for negotiation, a position rejected by GM. The union did not merely say that labor was entitled to enough wages to live on. It also said that labor was entitled to share in the wealth produced by industry.


“... Unless we get a more realistic distribution of America’s wealth, we won’t get enough to keep this machine going.”

–Walter Reuther, UAW President

"There is no power in the world that can stop the forward march of free men and women when they are joined in the solidarity of human brotherhood."

– Walter Reuther

Walter Reuther
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November 21, 1974
Both Houses of Congress voted to override President Gerald Ford’s veto of updates to the Freedom of Information Act. Originally passed in 1966, it required federal agencies to release information upon request to citizens and journalists.
The amendments put an end to governmental resistance to compliance, including excessive fees, bureaucratic delays, and the need to sometimes resort to expensive litigation to force the government to share copies of documents.
Ford advisors Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy Dick Cheney, and government lawyer Antonin Scalia advised him to veto it.
Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld, President Gerald Ford
and Deputy Chief of Staff Richard Cheney April 28, 1975
What was the dispute?

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November 21, 1975
The Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, led by Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho), issued a report charging U.S. government officials were behind assassination plots against two foreign leaders – Fidel Castro (Cuba) and Patrice Lumumba (Congo), and were heavily involved in at least three other plots: Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic), Ngo Dinh Diem (Vietnam), Rene Schneider (Chile).
Fidel Castro / Patrice Lumumba / Rafael Trujillo / Ngo Dinh Diem / Rene Schneider
continued (info, photos, links). . .

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November 21, 1981

More than 350,000 demonstrated in Amsterdam against U.S. nuclear-armed cruise missiles on European soil.
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November 22, 1909

In New York City, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union went on strike against sweatshop conditions in what became known as the "Uprising of the 20,000" and the "Girl's Revolt."
The strikers won the support of other workers and the women's suffrage movement for their persistence and unity in the face of police brutality and biased courts. A judge told arrested pickets: "You are on strike against God." This was the first mass strike by women in the U.S.

ILGWU timeline

November 22, 1968


What is believed to be the first interracial kiss on U.S. broadcast television occurred in an episode of Star Trek between William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols.

"Sometimes we respond foolishly before we respond sensibly. We've experienced terrorism, negativism and man's inhumanity to one another before, and yet today we're a better people because of how we respond to it. The evolutionary process moves one step foreword, then two back; then three foreword and two back; then three foreword and only one step back, so that in the end there is a positive process."

- Nichelle Nichols


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November 22, 1998

7,000 marched on the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (SOA) at Fort Benning, outside Columbus, Georgia.

They were protesting the school’s training of Latin American soldiers and other security personnel who return to their countries and are involved in violence and oppression of their populations. 2,319 people were arrested for trespassing.
Protests at the School of the Americas, organized by SOA Watch, occur every November. The school is now known by the U.S. Army as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

2002 protest at SOA

Visit School of the Americas watch.


November 23, 1170 BCE 

The first recorded strike took place in Egypt when necropolis workers who had not been paid for their work in more than two months sat down and refused to work until they were paid and able to eat.



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November 23, 1887

Black Louisiana sugarcane workers, in cooperation with the racially integrated Knights of Labor, had gone on strike at the beginning of the month over their meager pay issued in script (not cash). The script was redeemable only at the company store where excessive prices were charged. When the first freeze of the season arrived and damaged the crop, the plantation owners were angered. The Louisiana Militia, aided by bands of "prominent citizens," shot and killed at least 35 unarmed black sugar workers striking to gain a dollar-per-day wage, and lynched two strike leaders in what became known as the Thibodaux Massacre.

More on the Thibodaux Massacre.

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November 23, 1981

President Ronald Reagan signed off on a top secret document, National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17), which gave the Central Intelligence Agency a budget of $19 million to recruit and support a 500-man force of Nicaraguan insurgents to conduct covert actions against the leftist Sandinista elected government. This marked the beginning of official U.S. support for the so-called contras in their war against the Nicaraguans.

Read (most of) the memo More on the Reagan policy
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November 24, 1859
British naturalist Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, which explained his theory of evolution.

The basis for the theory is natural selection, the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable (genetically based) physical or behavioral traits. Such changes allow an organism to better adapt to its environment and help it survive and have more offspring.
Evolution is now universally accepted among scientists, and is the organizing principle upon which modern biological and related sciences are based.

Behind the Controversy: How Evolution Works Darwin and "On the Origin of Species"

Charles Darwin
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November 24, 1947

A group of writers, producers and directors that became known as the "Hollywood 10" were cited for contempt of Congress when they refused to cooperate at hearings about alleged Communist influence in the movie industry.

Following their appearance in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) under Representative John Parnell Thomas (R-New Jersey), the House of Representatives voted 346-17 for the citations. All were convicted and sentenced to 6-12 months in prison. The charges were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Hollywood 10
continued (info, photos, links). . .

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November 24, 1970

14 American students met with Vietnamese in Hanoi to plan the "Peoples' Peace Treaty" between the peoples of the United States, South Vietnam and North Vietnam.

It begins, "Be it known that the American people and the Vietnamese people are not enemies. The war is carried out in the names of the people of the United States and South Vietnam, but without our consent. It destroys the land and people of Vietnam. It drains America of its resources, its youth, and its honor."
The treaty was ultimately endorsed by millions.

Read the treaty

"Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's brains and then as ceremonial shrouds
to bury the dead."

- Arundhati Roy

November 24, 1983

On Thanksgiving Day seven Plowshares activists hammered and poured blood on B-52 bombers converted to carry cruise missiles at Griffiss Air Force Base near Syracuse, New York.

Bloody handprint on missile.

Watch Plowshares history video
Read more

Our take on
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November 25, 1913

Indians marching with Mohandas Gandhi for recognition of their religious and cultural legitimacy, and individual freedom, were attacked by police, leaving five dead (shot from the back according to the inquest) and nine wounded. He was marching with more than 2000 striking miners from Natal to Transvaal provinces in South Africa in violation of the law.
Gandhi in his publication, Indian Opinion, had advocated the end of a
£3 tax on ex-indentured Indians. He had lamented the violence
that had been inflicted on his peaceful marchers.


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November 25, 1947

Film industry executives, meeting in New York, announced that the “Hollywood Ten” directors, producers, and writers who had refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) would be fired or suspended, and not hired in the future, thus “blacklisted.”


Who were the Hollywood Ten?

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November 25, 1986

President Ronald Reagan and Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that $30 million in profits from secret arms sales to Iran had been diverted to support the Nicaraguan contra insurgents in violation of U.S. law. What became known as the Iran-Contra Affair was revealed three weeks after a Lebanese magazine reported arms had been sold in violation of U.S. policy. Reagan & Meese

The arms trade with the revolutionary government of the Islamic Republic of Iran was carried out in hopes of freeing some of the Western hostages held by Iran’s allies in the middle east. Reagan had repeatedly pledged never to negotiate with terrorists.
However, notes of an earlier meeting kept by then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger said, "President decided to go with Israeli-Iranian offer to release our 5 hostages in return for sale of 4,000 TOWs [U.S. missiles] to Iran by Israel.  [Sec. of State] George Shultz + I opposed -- [CIA Director] Bill Casey, Ed Meese + VP [George H.W. Bush] favored -- as did Poindexter."
The Congress had specifically barred U.S. funds going to the contras (Boland amendment) who were terrorizing the Nicaraguan countryside.

John Poindexter

Reagan and Meese denied knowledge of the activity and named two subordinates — National Security Advisor Admiral John M. Poindexter and National Security Council staffer Colonel Oliver L. North — as responsible and being dismissed from their jobs as a result. ". . . [I] was not fully informed on the nature of one of the activities," said President Reagan, referring to the fact that money from weapons sales to Iran was diverted to the contras.
Who's who in Iran-Contra

Tom Tomorrow on Iran-Contra


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November 26, 1968

U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution against capital punishment following an official report which said, “Examination of the number of murders before and after the abolition of the death penalty does not support the theory that capital punishment has a unique deterrent effect.”

More on capital punishment and homicide

There's more peace and justice history to see
For a more complete listing for this week or to visit another month

November 26, 1970

American Indian activists marked Thanksgiving with a National Day of Mourning for Native Americans by occupying Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts, the alleged landing spot of the Pilgrims’ landing in Massachusetts colony. Led by Wamsutta Frank James, an Aquinnah Wampanoag elder and music teacher, over 200 Indians seized the Mayflower II and painted Plymouth Rock red.
Day of Mourning demo in downtown Plymouth
James had refused to speak at a state dinner the night before commemorating the 350th anniversary of the landing, and went on to organize United American Indians of New England
Wamsutta Frank James

"What we did in the 1960s and early 1970s was raise the consciousness of white America that this government has a responsibility to Indian people. That there are treaties; that textbooks in every school in America have a responsibility to tell the truth..."
- Dennis Banks

November 26, 1983

President Ronald Reagan ordered military assistance to Iraq in the war Saddam Hussein had begun by invading Iran. To prevent an Iraqi military collapse, the Reagan administration supplied battlefield intelligence on Iranian troop buildups to the Iraqis, sometimes through third parties such as Saudi Arabia.
National Security Decision Directive 114, signed on that day, stated that the United States would do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran. It called for heightened regional military cooperation to defend oil facilities, and measures to improve U.S. military capabilities in the Persian Gulf.
The assistance was granted despite frequent and consistent reports of Iraqi use of chemical weapons, a clear violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol. Mustard gas had been used against Iranian troops and against “human wave” attacks by thousands of Basij (Popular Mobilization Army or People's Army) volunteers.
The full story on U.S.-Iraq relations at that time The Geneva Protocol

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