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This week at a glance.

Sept 26

•Triangle Shirtwaist
•1st American death in Vietnam
•Britain drops test A-bomb on Australia
•Puget Sound Women's Peace Camp

Sept 27
•Call To Resist Illegitimate Authority
•Pershing II evicted

Sept 28

•Cherokees resist expulsion
•Wobblies busted
•Danes smuggle Jews to safety

Sept 29
•Hunger strike against censorship
•Dutch resist cruise missiles
•Londoners protest preemptive war

Sept 30
•U.S. troops enforce court order
Oct 1
•The Jerry Rescue
•Integration comes to Ole Miss
•Berkley Free Speech Movement began
•Trident II Plowshares

Oct 2
•Leader for peace born in India
•Disarmament march ends in Moscow
•Civil rights champion on Supreme Court

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September 26, 1909

International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU Local 25) began a strike against the Triangle Shirtwaist Company.
In November their strike would become part of the "Uprising of the 20,000," during which 339 of 352 firms would be struck and reach agreements with the union over the following five months but Triangle was not one of them. The strike ended after thirteen weeks that saw over 700 striking workers arrested.


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September 26, 1945

OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the precursor of the CIA) officer Lieutenant Colonel A. Peter Dewey became the first American to die in Vietnam. During unrest in Saigon, he was killed by Viet Minh guerrillas who mistook him for a French officer. Before his death, Dewey had filed a report on the deepening crisis in Vietnam, stating his opinion that the U.S. "ought to clear out of Southeast Asia."

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September 26, 1957

Despite international protests, the United Kingdom began a series of atmospheric nuclear bomb tests beginning with Operation Buffalo on aboriginal land
at Maralinga, South Australia. The series of tests included dropping a bomb from a height of 30,000 feet. This was the first launching of a British atomic weapon from an aircraft.

The Buffalo Nuclear Test, Maralinga

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September 26, 1983
Five members of Puget Sound Women's Peace Camp entered Boeing's cruise missile production plant in Seattle, Washington, to leaflet the workers and were arrested.
In November of 1980 and 1981 the Women's Pentagon Actions, where hundreds of women came together to challenge patriarchy and militarism, took place.

A movement grew that found ways to use direct action to put pressure on the military establishment and to show positive examples of life-affirming ways to live together. This movement spawned women's peace camps at military bases around the world from Greenham Common, England, to the Puget Sound Peace Camp, as well as camps in Japan and Italy, among others.

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September 27, 1967

An advertisement headed "A Call To Resist Illegitimate Authority," signed by over 320 influential people (professors, writers, ministers, and other professional people), appeared in the New Republic and the New York Review of Books, asking for funds to help youths resist the draft.

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September 27, 1990

The last U.S. Pershing II tactical nuclear missiles were removed from Germany, fewer than ten years after their installation provoked a massive anti-nuclear movement across Europe.

The range and accuracy of the Pershing II pushed the Soviet Union to negotiate the Treaty on Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) which completely eliminated all nuclear-armed ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (about 300 to 3400 miles) and their infrastructure.

German Anti Pershing missile demonstration poster, 1983.

The INF Treaty is the first nuclear arms control agreement to actually reduce nuclear arms, and the signatories destroyed almost 2700 nuclear weapons (including 234 Pershing II) by May of 1991.

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September 28, 1836

Cherokee Chief John Ross wrote a letter to both houses of the U.S. Congress stating that the Treaty of New Echota was not negotiated by any legitimate representatives of his nation.
Its terms required the Cherokees to relinquish all lands east of the Mississippi River for a payment of $5 million. Ross was the democratically chosen leader of a nation with its own language, its own newspaper, a bi-cameral legislature and a republican form of government.

Cherokee Chief John Ross
The Cherokee Nation celebrated its own arts and sports, and produced a wide variety of agricultural and commercial goods. I had twelve political units ranging from northern Alabama to western North Carolina.
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September 28, 1917

166 people who were (or had been) active in the I.W.W. (Industrial Workers of the World, whose members were also known as Wobblies) were indicted for protesting World War I.

They were accused of trying to "cause insubordination, disloyalty, and refusal of duty in the military and naval forces" in violation of the Espionage Act. One hundred and one defendants were found guilty, and received prison sentences ranging from days to twenty years, with accompanying fines of $10,000-$20,000. This was part of a successful U.S. government campaign to cripple the radical union movement.

The I.W.W. - A Brief History (U.S.)

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September 28, 1943

In Denmark, underground anti-Nazi activists began systematic smuggling of Jews to Sweden. In just three weeks, all but 481 of Denmark's 8000 Jews had been moved to safety.

< Kim Malthe-Bruun, a 21-year-old
Danish resistance fighter.
Unfortunately one of the ones who did not make it.

A Danish Jewish family ready to go>

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September 29, 1943

Six conscientious objectors, imprisoned at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, for refusing to serve in World War II, began a hunger strike against censorship of mail and reading material by federal prison authorities.

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September 29, 1983

The municipal council of Woensdrecht, a southern Dutch town, voted against cooperating in the possible siting of 48 U.S. nuclear-tipped cruise missiles at the nearby air base.
The council voted Tuesday by 9 to 4 not to cooperate with the national government, and to stop any activities that might lead to the missiles being sited at the base.

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September 29, 2002

A London crowd - estimated between 200,000 and 500,000 - protested British and U.S. plans for a "preemptive" (that is, without provocation) invasion of Iraq.


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September 30, 1965

Hundreds of Ku Klux Klan members, white students and others, tried to keep a black student, James Meredith, 29, from attending classes at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. They were supported by the governor, Ross Barnett, who had explicitly resisted the order of the Federal Circuit Court.

In spite of the efforts to block his court-ordered registration, a deal to allow Meredith to register had been made between U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Governor Barnett. Meredith was secretly escorted onto campus; deputy U.S. marshals, border patrolmen and federal prison guards were stationed on and around the campus to protect him. Those standing guard were assaulted throughout the night with guns, bricks, Molotov cocktails, and bottles.

James Meredith being escorted to his classes
by U.S.marshals and the military.

Tear gas was used to try and control the crowd. Federal troops arrived, bringing the total to 12,000 (President Kennedy had activated soldiers and national guardsmen totaling 30,000), and the mob finally retreated. In the end, two were dead, 160 U.S. Marshalls were injured (28 shot), 200 others injured, and 300 arrested.

"My answer to
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The founding fathers
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- James Meredith


October 1, 1851

In the "Jerry Rescue," citizens of Syracuse, New York, broke into the city’s police station and freed William Henry (known as Jerry), a runaway slave who had been working as a barrel-maker. The federal Fugitive Slave Law required "good citizens" to assist in the return of those who had fled “ownership” by another. A group of black and white men created a chaotic diversion and managed to free Jerry but he was later re-arrested.

Jerry Rescue monument. Syracuse, New York

At his second hearing, a group of men, their skin color disguised with burnt cork, forcibly overpowered the guards with clubs and axes, and freed Jerry a second time; he was then secretly taken over the border to Canada.

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Samuel Ringgold Ward, whose parents were also escaped slaves, urged the crowd to help release Jerry. “They say he is a slave. What a term to apply to an American! How does this sound beneath the pole of liberty and the flag of freedom?” He asked those present not ever to vote for those who support “. . . laws which empower persons to hunt, chain and cage men in our midst.” Ward also fled to Canada.

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October 1, 1962

James Meredith became the first black American to attend classes at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. In the nearly two years Meredith spent trying to register for classes at then all-white “Ole Miss,” he had to file a federal lawsuit and, ultimately, be escorted through registration by U.S. Justice department attorney John Doar, protected by U.S. Army troops.
The night before whites had rioted and attacked U.S. Marshalls after Mississippi Highway Patrol officers withdrew as the crowd became larger and more unruly.

President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent the troops and federalized the state’s National Guard to enforce the federal court’s order which Governor Ross Barnett refused to accept.
Meredith went on to graduate in 1964 and still lives nearby.

Meredith’s struggle
Role of the U.S. Marshalls

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October 1, 1964

The Free Speech Movement was launched at the University of California–Berkeley when mathematics grad student Jack Weinberg was arrested for setting up an information table for CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) in front of Sproul Hall, the administration building.
Hundreds of students surrounded the police car holding Weinberg for 32 hours, keeping him from being taken away. Many made speeches from atop the car, and ultimately Weinberg’s release was negotiated.

University Chancellor Clark Kerr had been under pressure from the Board of Regents to ban expression of views considered communist, but the students, inspired by the Civil Rights movement, questioned and resisted the restrictions.

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Jack Weinberg 

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all."

Mario Savio, Berkeley Free Speech Movement, 1964

October 1, 1984

Five activists, in what became known as the Trident II Plowshares, hammered and poured blood on six missile tubes and unfurled a banner which read: "Harvest of Hope – Swords into Plowshares" at shipbuilder Electric Boat’s Quonset Point facility in North Kingston, Rhode Island.

General Dynamics built the fourteen Ohio-class nuclear-powered submarines there, each of which is armed with 24 Trident II nuclear-tipped missiles (3.8 megatons each) launched from underwater with a range of 4000 nautical miles (4600 miles; 7400 kilometers).
Plowshares participants, individually or in groups, actually or symbolically damage parts of the U.S. first-strike nuclear arsenal or its conventional weaponry, and take public responsibility for their actions.

 Read more about this action  A chronology of Plowshares actions

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October 2, 1869

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Indian nationalist leader whose philosophy of nonviolence would influence movements around the world, was born in Porbandar, one of the cities of Gujarat State. He came to prominence as the leader of the successful nonviolent resistance to British colonial rule of India.

A brief biography

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October 2, 1961

Ten months after its start in San Francisco, an anti-nuclear peace march sponsored by the Committee for Nonviolent Action arrived in Moscow’s Red Square where they distributed leaflets calling for disarmament.

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"Today's Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments. Those amendments speak to a sense of decency and fairness that I and other Blacks cherish."
- Justice Thurgood Marshall

October 2, 1967

Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, the first African American on the nation's highest court. He was appointed to the Court by President Lyndon Johnson who previously had appointed him Solicitor General, the legal officer in the Justice Department responsible for representing the United States before the Supreme and federal appellate courts. Marshall had been the lead attorney in the Brown v. Board of Education case which led to the end of legal segregation in the nation’s schools.

Read more about Thurgood Marshall

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