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Counterculture Timeline: The Eighties: Nuclear Freeze and US a Debtor Nation 1982 - 1984

1981-2001 GenX generation (Nomad/Reactive) born 1961-1981 turns 20

[next generation after Baby Boomers] [children of the Silent Generation (Artist), NOT of Hippies]
[A Nomad (or Reactive) generation is born during an Awakening, spends its rising adult years during an Unraveling, spends midlife during a Crisis, and spends old age in a new High. Nomadic leaders have been cunning, hard-to-fool realists, taciturn warriors who prefer to meet problems and adversaries one-on-one.]
1982   Recession of 1981-1982 ("Worst since the 1930s")
("Due to Paul Volcker's tight money policies")
Highest unemployment since 1940/WWII: 10.8% / 11 mill people

Peak year of U.S. arms exports to third world countries
mid-year: Stock market starts great rise
Highest rate of business failures since 1933 (including Banks - from ca 9 to 42 & S&L's)
Texas (Houston) oil-based boom starts to go bust

Three +? increases in prime rate (July: 13%)
Unemployed steelworkers organize ad hoc relief programs such as Northeastern Minnesota Food Shelves

Divorce rates, rising through the 60's & 70's, peak in 1979 and 1981, and stabilize

early 1982: public officials disclose that toxic solvents from Fairchild semiconductor's south San Jose plant have contaminated Silicon Valley water supply (-> high tech not so clean)

New York Fire Department hires women

Congress places moratorium on ocean dumping of nuclear wastes until the end of 1984

Amory & Hunter Lovins found Rocky Mountain Institute

?First nuclear-free zone municipality declared

Santa Monica mayor Ruth Yanatta Goldway loses re-election to David Epstein of All Sa Mo Coalition ?to Dennis Zane??

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) founded

Scandel at Swami Muktananda's ashram

In the 10 years since DDT banned, bald eagle, osprey, brown pelican & peregrine falcon populations have increased

Return of Halley's Comet after 77 years

First implant of an artificial heart

ERA defeat|

Dr. William DeVries at University of Utah performs first artificial heart implant

Height of the Nuclear Freeze demonstrations




*Springsteen: Nebraska
Eddie Murphy
U2: War (is this their first?)
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five: The Message
(first Hip-Hop -
Grandmaster Flash's The Messge)
Who's farewell tour

late 1982: First Hearts of Space on KQED

TV: Eddie Murphy's comedy revives Saturday Night Live;
John Belushi dies

Sophie's Choice, Tootsie, Diva, Missing,
Soldier Girls, El Salvador: Another Vietnam, Missing
Blade Runner
Quest for Fire, E.T., Poltergeist
Fitzcarraldo, Burden of Dreams
(Chan is Missing - Wayne Wong)
Moonlighting (Pols in London)
(The World According to Garp)
(Atomic Cafe)
Fassbinder dies June 10

Cats opens on Broadway

Jonathan Schell: The Fate of the Earth
Edible Landscaping
Dreaming the Dark - Starhawk

(USA Today started)

G Spot
Jane Fonda workout
boom boxes
Frank Zappa introduces "Valley Girl"

Frances Moore Lappe publishes revised Diet fora Small Planet

Mime Troupe: Factwino Meets the Moral Majority & Last Tango in Huahuatenango

Jan   Greece asks removal of American nuclear missiles if no progress in making Balkan peninsula nuclear-free zone

Jan 7   Reagan continues draft registration

Jan 8   AT&T lawsuit settled: AT&T gives up the 22 local Bell System phone companies

Feb 1   General Motors announces small profit for 4th quarter 1981

Feb   Mexico devalues peso

Feb   Dresden peace demonstration - first in East Germany since 1954 - call for disarmament & sing Lennon's Give Peace A Chance

Feb 28   Puerto Rican bombs both stock exchanges & Merrill Lynch & Chase Manhattan headquarters

Mar 2   Great Britain reduces price of its North Sea oil by 4 dollars/barrel to 31 dollars/ barrel (2nd cut in a month by British)

Mar 20   OPEC agrees to cut its oil production to 17.5 million barrels/day (1979 production was 31 million barrels/day)

Apr 2   Argentina seizes the Falkland Islands, U.K. sends navy

Apr   U.S. orders demolition of homes in Navajo/Hopi "Joint Use Area", elders resist

Apr 18-25   Ground Zero Week - Nuclear Freeze  
Apr 19   Reagan re-bans travel to Cuba

Apr ?   United Nations Law of the Sea, international sea treaty, completed after ten years negotiations among 151 nations (rejected by President Reagan in July 1982 & still NOT SIGNED BY THE UNITED STATES IN 2005!!!)

May 18   Rev Sun Myung Moon convicted of tax fraud

June 1   The Revolutionary Cells Terrorist Group explodes bombs at 4 U.S. military bases in West Germany

June 12   700,000 Nuclear Freeze march from United Nations to Central Park
Largest protest in New York City's history
New York Central Park & Los Angeles Rose Bowl: hundreds of thousands
sing Lennon's "Imagine"

when? Peace & Freedom NYC march (is this the same?

June   when? Tom Hayden elected to Calif State Assembly ($1.7 million campaign)

June?? Gore Vidal not elected to Caliornia Senate xx
[from email: "It would be more accurate to say that Vidal loses California Democratic Senatorial primary to outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown (neo-Nazi activist Tom Metzger comes in a surprisingly strong third, after Vidal, in a crowded field).  Brown is subsequently defeated by dim bulb Pete Wilson."]

California: Peripheral Canal (Prop. 9) defeated

Reagan vetoes Congressional settlement of Native American water rights claim (Papago tribe of Arizona)

June 15   USSR announces at U.N. that Brezhnev has pledged no first use of nuclear weapons

June 17   National Marine Fisheries Service of US Dept of Commerce, after 14 month SAM-SCAM investigation of illegal fish sales on the Columbia River - using wire taps, body microphones, aerial reconnaissance photography & river patrols, & zeroing in on the 147-mile stretch between the Bonneville and McNary Dams where only Native Americans fish under the 1974 Boldt decision based on the 1855 treaty, raids camp of and arrests David SoHappy, 50, Howard Jim, 65, & 73 other Native Americans.

June 24   Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) supporters admit defeat: 33 states have ratified in 10 years, 3 short of the three-quarters needed by the June 30 deadline

Jul 15   Rev Sun Myung Moon performs a mass-marriage for 4,150

Jul 23   International Whaling Commission votes to ban all commercial whaling effective 1986

Aug 4   US Court of Appeals rules that all new autos sold after Sept 83 must have seat belts

Aug   IRS rules Mother Jones magazine is commercial & removes its tax exempt status

Interest rates start to fall, Stock Market starts series of sharp rises

Mexico's near-default on its "debt"

Sept 12   First dump trucks loaded with PCBs drive into Afton, Warren County, the poorest county in North Carolina, are met by vigil of 50 to 300 protestors waiting daily for the last month; 510 arrests made

Sept   First American Indian International Tribunal held at Deqanawida-Quetzalqualtal University in Davis, California to gather testimony from native peoples of the world on the economic effects of U.S. foreign & domestic policies;
Also world pilgrimage of indigenous peoples from 450 countries arrives at Yellow Thunder Camp in South Dakota to help save it from usurpation by coal and uranium corporations.

Oct 8   Polish government bans Solidarity

Oct 19   John Delorean, chairman of Delorean Motor Co, arrested LA on possession of 59 lbs cocaine (explain xx)

Nov   Deukmejian elected governor of California (vs Bradley) (end of Jerry Brown's term as California governor)

Nov 3   Stock Market rises record 43.41 points to close at all-time high of 1,065.49
But recession is deepening: October unemployment rose to 10.4% (11.6 million) & industrial production has 13th decline in 15 months; utilization of factory capacity is 68.4%, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1948

Nov 5   Demonstration at Honeywell, Minnesota's largest defense contractor, 36 arrested

Nov 13   Vietnam Veterans Memorial "Wall" dedicated, Washington D. C.

Dec   In These Times: Jerry Rubin holding Business Networking salons

Dec?   Bethlehem Steel lays off 10,000

Dec 17   Federal District Court Judge decides not to grant preliminary injunction against completion of the Gasquet-Orleans Road thru Siskiyou Indian religious area

Dec 22   Congress passes first version Boland amendment (411-0) prohibiting covert efforts by President Reagan to overthrow the Nicaraguan government

1983   First year of (small) U.S. trade deficit with Europe
Bank failures continue to rise (ca 47) but "economy expanding" for next 6 years
Number of Americans over 65 surpasses number of teenagers (July) (WER Spring 89 p.85)
First California condor chick born in captivity
Sally Ride becomes first American woman in space
253 Marines killed in suicide bombing in Beirut
Scott Nearing dies at age 100
PCP ("angel dust") deaths
May 15 NYT: Vast Office Glut Plagues Downtowns: Average vacancy rate across the nation hits 10.8% in March (includes Denver, Houston, Chicago, etc) up from 3.4% in 1980

Garry Trudeau takes a year off doing Doonesbury comic strip
ripped sweatshirts "a la Flashdance"
anti-nuclear: Shoreham
Apple Computer hires Sculley
when? Southern Poverty Law Center firebombed by KKK.
Three KKK caught & convicted.
early Hopi & Navajo both elect new tribal chairs (Hopi: Ivan Sidney; Navajo: Peterson Zah) who work to resolve historic dispute between the two tribes



Hearts of Space radio show goes national

Bergman: Fanny & Alexander
Never Cry Wolf
Trading Places (black man becomes prince)
Baby It's You - John Sayles
Staying Alive (Travolta)
Terms of Endearment
Local Hero
The Big Chill
Streamers - Altman (Viet)
?Four Corners: A Natl Sac Area?
The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez
Monty Python: The Meaning of Life
Season of Thunder (Philippine resistance)
Alsino and the Condor (Nicaraguan struggle)
Under Fire (Nicaraguan struggle)
The Year of Living Dangerously [This movie is about (among other things) the turmoil leading up to the 1965 Indonesian (not Thai) coup in which President Sukarno is deposed by Suharto.]

Sept 29 - Chorus Line becomes longest-running play on Broadway

The Deindustrialization of America: Plant Closings,
Community Abandonment & the Dismantling of Basic
Industry - Bluestone & Harrison (ck - saw as 82)
In The Spirit of Crazy Horse - Peter Mathiessen (sp?)

Jan   California Gov Deukmejian extradites Dennis Banks (52) to South Dakota, where most of the 40 AIM members murdered since 74 were killed. Banks flees to New York.

Jan 3   Times Beach, Mo. declared disaster area due to dioxin contamination

Jan 4   Colorado farmers protest foreclosures

Jan 22   3000 West Germans protest construction of new runway at Frankfurt airport

Feb   Economic indicators begin to show upturn in economy

Feb 4   One of two biggest oil spills, Nowruz oilfield, north of Kharg Island, Persian Gulf
600,000 tons; still going August 7

Mar 14   OPEC lowers oil prices for the first time (34 to 29 dollars/barrel)

Mar   Greens win over 5% of vote in West German elections

Animal rights activists confront U.C. Berkeley over E.I.R. for new animal facility

Mar 25   Congress passes legislation to "rescue" the Social Security System from bankruptcy (by putting a greater burden on younger wage-earners) (explain xx)

April   San Francisco Zen Center roshi asked to leave

Reagan vetos Congressional settlement of American Indian land claims (Pequot tribe of Connecticut)

Apr 12   First black mayor of Chicago elected (Harold Washington)

May 4   US House of Representatives passes (watered down) Nuclear Freeze, to be tabled in Senate

May   Over 1 million Sicilians have signed a petition against US base at Comiso (1/5 of total population of Sicily)

May   Gasquet-Orleans Road bulldozers blockaded by Earth First! & the Kalmiopsis Action Alliance Injunction finally granted in late May

June   President Reagan approves operation to bypass Congress's restrictions on giving aid to to the opponents of Nicaragua's government

Alice Kahn creates the concept of Yuppie in the East Bay Express (California)

July 14   Earth First! & the Oregon Natural Resources Council granted preliminary injunction against building of the Bald Mountain Road, after over 40 arrests

July 21   Israel is reported to be giving weapons to the Nicaraguan contras, at US request

Aug 6   Second biggest ever tanker oil spill off Cape Town, South Africa 250,000 tons
(Castillo de Bellver); luckily rain, wind, and calm seas spared nearby wildlife sanctuary

  (Hiroshima Day) French freeze movement launched in meetings at Larzac

Aug 21   Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino killed Manila

Aug 27   300,000 march in Washington on 20th anniversary of MLK march for "Jobs, Peace, & Freedom" (NYT estimates 200,000) (Almanac sez 250,000)

Sept   Continental & Eastern Airlines file bankruptcies (the first fall-outs to deregulation)

Sept? First Conference on the Fate of the Earth

Sept? Craxi & Socialist Party win power in Italy from 40 years of Christian Democrats

Oct 4-   Vietnam: A Television History (13 weekly segments)

Oct 9   James Watt resigns as Interior Secretary

Oct 10   CIA operatives attack fuel-storage tanks at Corinto, Nicaragua

Oct 22   Protest against placement of nuclear missiles in Europe??
1.2 million Germans, including 180,000 at Bonn
and 64 mile human chain between Stuttgart & New Ulm
(+ Hamburg, W. Berlin)
+ hundreds of thousabds London + 350,000 Rome
+ 100,000 Vienna, 25,000 Paris, 20,000 Stockholm, 4000 Dublin
+ 140 sites in US

Oct 23   U.S. Marine headquarters in Beirut bombed - 241 killed (U.S. Marines have been there since 1958, when 5000 were sent to protect the elected government from threatened overthrow July-Oct [ck]); In February, Reagan removes all marines from Lebanon

Oct 25   U.S. invasion of Grenada

Oct 30   500,000 Dutch anti-nuclear missile rally, the Hague

Oct 31   Conference on "The Long Term Worldwide Biological Consequences of Nuclear War", Wash D.C.: Nuclear Winter
Scientists from the U.S., U.S.S.R. & other nations participate

Nov   German government report finds great damage to Germany's forests due to air pollution and acid rain

Nov   (mid) nuclear Cruise missiles deployed in England

Nov 20   German opposition Socialist Democratic party opposes US placement of nuclear Cruise missiles in Europe

The Day After shown on television - 100 million watch

Dec   Dow stops manufacture & sale of 2,4,5-T (Agent Orange ingredient) in US

Dec 8   Congress sets maximum of $24 million that can be spent by the CIA, the Pentagon or any agency "involved in intelligence activities" for the purpose of "supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua"

Dec 11   20,000 women demonstrate at Greenham Common anti-nuclear
(?1985- encampment)

Dec   Dennis Banks granted asylum in the Onandaga Indian Nation, New York (50,000 letters delivered to Governor Cuomo)

U.S. Steel lays off 15,500 & closes all or part of 29 mills, the largest shut-down in American history


1984   U.S. trade deficit with Europe jumps to $13 billion
U.S. trade deficit with Japan is $36.8 billion
"due to high U.S. dollar"
and U.S. banks also borrow $21.6 billion
Japanese invest $4.7 billion in the U.S.
Mergers/takeovers skyrocket (from $52.2 bill (83) to 124.8 bill)
Bank failure rate skyrocket to worst since 1938 (79 banks)
(Debt $172 billion - $111 billion interest on past debts)
"Savings & Loan problem first came up, but no politicians talked about
the problem until the day after the 1988 elections."
Farmers going bankrupt

Farm Policy Reform Act not adopted by Reagan
Foreign debt repayment worries year #2
U.S. deficit worries
Foreign investment has doubled since 1979

British miners fight Thatcher's coal pit closures

European left asking for 35-hour week

Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson (& hymie statement)

Abortion-clinic bombings

Native Americans at Wounded Knee, aided by Tiyospaye Crisis Center in Dever, starting to plant gardens, arrange to re-release wild horses & re-introduce buffalo

Institute for Transportation & Devpmt, Wash begins sending bicycles to Nicaragua

Southern Poverty Law Center's Klanwatch program goes to court to outlaw a paramilitary army built by the North Carolina Klan, which had been marching through black neighborhoods.
When court order violated (arsenal built of stolen military weapons) Klanwatch wins second suit which puts North Carolina Klan out of business.

Chavez calls grape boycott to persuade growers not to use five pesticides

(Newsweek: year of the Yuppie (Dec 31, 84 issue)

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh to Oregon?

BCA majority in Berkeley

First conception of a human ovum in a surrogate mother

Identification of the AIDS virus

Astronauts fly free in space for the first time

Buckminster Fuller dies

U.K.: building begins at self-build community at Lightmoor in Telford new town, awarded top prize by Prince Charles for Royal Institute of British Architects, June 1987

Soviet boycott of Olympics

The Lower East Side of New York starts to turn into the East Village



Replacements: Let It Be (pre-cursor of Seattle & grunge)
Boy George
*Springsteen: Born in the USA
"World Beat"

TV: Saturday Night Live (still)
(Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)

Wild Style (break dancing) (or was this 83?) (or 82)
Seeing Red
Silkwood (movie)
Paris, Texas - Wim Wenders
Moscow on the Hudson
Sugar Cane Alley
The Cotton Club
When the Mountains Tremble (Guatemalan struggle)
El Norte (Guatemalan refugees) (shot in Mexico)
Nicaragua: No Pasaran (David Bradbury, Australian)
farmers: The River, The Dollmaker, Country
Iceman (prehistoric man)
?Hopi: Songs of the Fourth World
The Gods Must Be Crazy
The Brother From Another Planet - John Sayles
(Ah Ying - Allen Fong (did Father & Son - 81)

The Sixties Papers
Green Politics - Fritjof Capra & Charlene Spretnak
?Robert Reich: The Next American Frontier
Alperowitz & Faux: Rebuilding America
Indian Country: Peter Matthiessen
William Gibson: Neuromancer

Utne Reader

male empowerment

Mime Troupe: Steeltown & 1985
Jan   Weirton Steel employees buy-out plant

Jan 12   Cholesterol is linked to heart disease after 10-yr study by the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute

Jan 25   INFACT (Infant Formula Action Coalition) wins settlement with Nestle Corporation after seven year boycott

Feb 13   FTC approves Texaco purchase of Getty Oil

Mar 5   Standard Oil of California buys Gulf

Mar   Major U.S. banks raise prime lending rate from 11 to 11.5%, the first increase since August 1983

Mar 13   Reagan agrees to cleanup Bikini Atoll of nuclear contamination so Bikinians can return (est 42 million)

Mar 14   Hard Rock Cafe

Mar 30   U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, & Colombia agree to give Argentina $500 million aid to meet its payments on $43.6 billion debt

Apr 5   Banks raise prime rate from 11.5 to 12% (highest since Oct 82)

Apr 6   Federal Reserve Board raises its rate from 8.5 to 9%

Apr   CIA reveals its participation in the mining of Nicaraguan harbors

May   Dutch government appears to conclude it cannot accept nuclear missile deployment

The MX program barely survives a House vote

May 3   Iran, Iraq attack ships in Persian Gulf

May 7   Veterans & 7 chemical companies settle Agent Orange suit (out of court): 15,000 vets & families to get $180 million

May 10   US government held negligent in above-ground testing of nuclear weapons in Nevada from 51 to 62, though only one cancer victim compensated

May 21-26   First North American Bioregional Congress meets in Excelsior Springs, Ozarkia bioregion, Missouri

May 23   Contra Eden Pastora admits receiving CIA aid

May 24   Longest Run leaves New York City, 51 days to Sactramento, California (is this AIM??)

Jun 1   Dutch cabinet votes to postpone its decision on accepting nuclear Cruise missiles until Nov 1, 1985

Jun 9   150,000 in London protest nuclear Cruise missiles

Jun 14   Reagan agrees to talks with USSR about nuclear weapons control

June 22-24   SLATE reunion, Berkeley  
July 6   King Fahd of Saudi Arabia gives first monthly contribution of $1 million to the Nicaraguan contras

July 12   Walter Mondale announces Geraldine Ferraro as candidate for vice president

July   Reagan's Advisory Council on Oceans and Atmosphere recommend that the U.S. government "reconsider" disposal of nuclear waste at sea

P.M. David Lange of New Zealand comes out against nuclear warships in New Zealand's waters

In the biggest environmental protest in the Soviet countries, 6-7,000 Hungarians have signed a petition protesting plan to dam or divert the Danube River for a hydroelectric project

July 25   Volcker says Fed will not tighten growth in money supply to control inflation (any more)

July 30 - Aug 3   Heaviest trading ever on Stock Market
Stock Market rises 87.46 pts to 1,202.08 (Aug 3 - 36 pts)
Even as economy slows

fall?   Voter Registration in attempt to defeat Reagan: xxx new voters registered (ITT)

Aug 2   Census Bureau: Poverty rate up 15.2% in 1983, highest since 1965
(to 35.3 million poor)

Aug   Australia, New Zealand, and 12 other Pacific island members of the Pacific Forum declare the area a nuclear-free zone, including ban on French nuclear testing & possible dumping of nuclear waste by Japan and the U.S.

Sept 1   Helicopter from Civilian Military Assistance - a US private group - crashes in Nicaragua

Sept 28   (week of) Free Speech Movement 20-year celebration, University of California Berkeley

Oct 12   Congress passes its second version of the Boland Amendment, saying that no funds available to any US agency may be spent for supporting military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua

Oct 17   Britain drops its oil price 1.35/barrel

Oct 18   Nigeria, member of OPEC, drops its oil price 2/barrel

Oct 20   Reagan vetoes bill to improve Federal health care for American Indian reservations

Repeat of European anti-nuclear missile protests

Oct 28   OPEC decides to cut oil production

Nov   Boston area is prohibited from adding new commercial sewer connections until it cleans up its aged sewer system which has been dumping 6 billion gallons raw sewage a year into Boston harbor

Nov   Pledge of Resistance campaign

when?   Mitch Snyder, head of the Community for Creative Non-Violence goes on hunger strike to get fed government to make an abandoned building available to street people. Eve of election, Reagan & Dept of Health & Human Services capitulate

Nov   Reagan re-elected (versus Mondale/Ferraro) but with Democratic Congress

Dec 3   Bhopal Union Carbide pesticide factory disaster kills 2,000 and injures some 50,000 in India

Dec 11   U.K.: 20,000 women anti-nuclear demo at Greenham Common

Dec   Department of Energy narrows choice of nuclear waste sites west of the Mississippi River to three: Washington, Texas, Nevada (after activism on original nine sites through the late 70s)

Dec 22   Bernhard Goetz, riding on NYC subway, shoots & wounds 4 teen-age boys after one of them asks for 5 dollars


On to The Eighties: Apartheid Ended and Iran-Contra: 1985-1987