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Counterculture Timeline: The Eighties: End to Apartheid in South Africa & Iran-Contra 1985 - 1987
Start of Unraveling period

1981-2001 GenX generation (Nomad/Reactive) born 1961-1981 continues to turn 20

1985   Dollar reaches peak high: ca 250 yen and ca 3.50 mark
"Yen suddenly doubles in value, largely at US instigation"
US Commerce Department announces US had become a debtor nation (Sept 16) (Sept 20 NYT) & that the US economy has been in ill health since 1968.

U.S. arms exports to third world countries decline strongly
Worries about glut economy (Dow passes 1500)

T-Boone Pickens?
Arbitrageur Ivan Boesky pleads guilty of fraud on Wall Street

Europeans having trouble with unemployment

Farmers recession ("due to high dollar")

No longer lower wages overseas

People Express (airline)

?GM-Toyota joint venture auto plant opens Fremont, California

?Sanctuary movement (gets media notice) (actually began 1980 in Arizona) (explain xx)

Swiss become first country in Europe to require catalytic converters on automobiles & to begin selling lead-free gasoline needed to work with them, in effort to deal with the death of their forests

Petris bill requiring warning signs when dangerous pesticides are sprayed on a field finally passed by California legislature but vetoed by Gov. Deukmejian

Efforts to pass bottle bills in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania (7 other states already have them)

Work begins at VPL on creation of Virtual Reality machinery

DSA active through 85-> (Michael Harrington dies July 1989)

Virtual ban on leaded gasoline

U.K.: black uprisings in Handsworth (Birmingham) & Broadwater Farm [hsg devmt] (Tottenham, northeast London - Oct)

Mother of Michael Donald, young black man who was lynched in 1981 by KKK, sues KKK with the Southern Poverty Law Center

Fundamentalists Anonymous formed

Use of crack cocaine becomes a national problem




The Killing Fields (end 84) (saw again as 84)
Witness (Amish)
Alamo Bay - Louis Malle (Viet fishermen in Texas)
White Nights (Gregory Hines & Baryshnikov as defectors)
Desperately Seeking Susan
(Back to the Future)

Habits of the Heart - Bellah et al
Women Who Love Too Much - Robin Norwood
Deep Ecology - Devall & Sessions
Acid Dreams - Lee & Shlain
Uncovering the Sixties: The Life & Times of the
Underground Press - Abe Peck

Mime Troupe: Troupers (the movie)
Jan   P.M. David Lange of New Zealand refuses to allow US Navy destroyer into port which might be carrying nuclear weapons

Jan   California: Mono Lake (Rush Creek) fight starts?

Jan 30   OPEC cuts oil prices

Feb 5   P.M. Robert Hawke of Australia refuses to allow US use of bases to monitor an MX missile test

Feb   US auto workers announce record profits (= recovery)

Feb 11   President Reagan meets with King Fahd of Saudi Arabia; afterwards Fahd doubles monthly contribution to Nicaraguan contras to $2 million

Feb 13   South African police arrest 13, nearly all the leaders of the United Democratic Front (main opposition group)

  South African police kill 18 demonstrators at Crossroads near Capetown, injure 200  
Feb   (by end) some 1900 arrested in the US demonstrating against South African apartheid in last several months

Mar   On 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre (1960), South African police kill 69

Mar 1   ABC bought by Capital Cities Communications, Inc. (Biggest merger in US history outside the oil industry)

Mar 11   Mikhail Gorbachev becomes General Secretary of the USSR Communist Party

Mar 21   During funeral march for 3 killed in Sharpeville memorial demonstration, South African police kill 19

Mar - Apr?   Kesterson reservoir starts?  
Apr   Mono Lake (Rush Creek) decision

Farley Mowat denied entry into U.S.

Apr 1   EPA orders end to dumping of sludge off the New Jersey coast

Apr 4   Congress rejects Reagan's appeal for support for Nicaraguan contras

Apr 7   Gorbachev announces USSR moratorium (til Nov) on deployment of intermediate-range nuclear missiles

Apr 10   Rally at UC Berkeley calling on corporate divestment from South African companies starts a sit-in

Apr 16   UC Berkeley sit-in on South Africa continues despite 141 arrests; 2000 attend noon rally; shantytowns continue into May;
Also demonstrations at UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, and other UC campuses

Apr 18   Ted Turner launches bid to take over CBS

May   Nature magazine publishes new research by Dr. Joe Farman which indicates ozone layer levels are falling

Ret. Gen. John Singlaub sells Nicaraguan contras $5 million in arms

May 1   Reagan ends U.S. trade with (declare embargo against) Nicaragua

May 2   Senate votes to limit Pentagon spending to 85 levels, adjusted for inflation

May 12   Washington Post reports Lebanese counterterrorist unit responsible for car bomb in Beirut suburb which killed 80 on March 8 was trained by the CIA

May 12   Philadelphia police bomb & destroy 61 row houses & kill 11 in confrontation with anarchist group MOVE

May 17   US Fed cuts interest rate to 7.5% (lowest since 78)
Two major banks immediately drop rate 10.5 to 10%

May 20   (Next trading day) Stock Market rises 19.54 points to finish above 1300 for the first time

May 23   Reagan & Senate agree to compromise limiting MX missiles to 50

June 2   General Motors acquires Hughes Aircraft

June 5   Senate votes to ask Reagan to stay within SALT II treaty limits

June 10   Reagan announces U.S. will stay within SALT II treaty limits

June 11   Gorbachev calls for economic reforms in USSR

June 27   Senate refuses to approve Reagan appointee for associate attorney general

June?   Pesticide Action Network names list of "Dirty Dozen" pesticides used internationally which should be banned

July 13   Live Aid Concert raises $70,000 for African famine relief
17 hour broadcast on radio & tv to 152 countries from live locations in London & Philadelphia attended by 160,000
Baez, Bowie, Dylan, Jagger, McCartney, Elton John, Tina Turner take part
(previously did USA for Africa with "We Are the World")

July 15-27   12,000 women attend U.N. World Conference of Women, Kenya  
July 18   UC Regents vote to divest from South Africa

July   Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior, protesting France'scapproaching nuclear tests in the region, is sunk in Auckland harbor, New Zealand by French secret service

August   United Farm Workers starts campaign against "Deadly Dozen" worst pesticides still in use in the U.S.

Aug 11   Leakage of toxic gas from Union Carbide ?pesticide plant, West Virginia

Aug 15   Congress approves $27 million in non-lethal aid to Nicaraguan contras; all other prohibitions of the Boland Amendment remain in effect

fall   California legislature makes Oct 1 "Free Speech Day" in California to commemorate the Free Speech Movement in 1964

Sept 1   To avert Senate's passage of South African sanctions, Reagan announces more restrained sanctions (11 western nations have already imposed sanctions)

Sept   US unemployment, which has stayed at 7.2% for 6 months, finally drops to 6.9% (lowest since 1980)

Sept?   Mexico City earthquake gets too much aid

Oct   Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh arrested (& deported)

Oct 26   Australian government gives Ayers Rock back to the Aborigines

Nov 15   Great Britain & Republic of Ireland sign agreement giving the Republic consultive role in governing of Northern Ireland

Nov   Oil prices about 28/barrel

Under Gorbachev, leaders of the USSR and the US meet for the first time since 1979; issue statement supporting 50% reduction in strategic nuclear arms

Dec 2   General Dynamics executives indicted for defense contract fraud

Dec 4   Congress amends Boland Amendment to allow communications and advice to Nicaraguan contras.

Dec 8   OPEC announces new strategy to compete for world oil market;
In next few days, oil futures drop from 28.74 to 25.23/barrel, then recover somewhat

Guatemala elects civilian president after 30 years of military rule

Dec 11   General Electric to buy RCA

Congress passes Gramm-Rudman forced reductions in deficit

Dec   Uprising of New Zealand Maori youths, Auckland

"Big music scene LOS ANGELES" (Rolling Stone magazine: Madchester article)


1986   Oldest Baby Boomers start to turn 40
Volcker tight money policy almost causes another recession
Interest rates down (ca 8%)
worries over third world debts
U.S. bank failures ca. 140 and rising; 1600 banks in trouble (FDIC list)
U.S. trade deficit with Japan grows to $58 billion ?51 and U.S. banks borrow $46 billion
Dollar starts to drop steeply against the yen and mark

(or is it be devalued?) -> tourism to U.S. increases
Insurance companies raise their liability rates (at end of 1986, declare 11.5 billion net income)

Ivan Boesky accused

Fourteen socially responsible investment funds

Sanctuary Movement court case (get more xx)

Prozac introduced commercially in Belgium

when? California voters adopt Prop 65 Toxics Initiative with mechanism for citizen enforcement -> law suits

when? California legislature passes Bottle Bill (AB 2020)

when? Immigration Reform Act (ck name) grants amnesty to illegal immigrants workers (ck details)

U.K.: Greater London Council & 6 metropolitan counties abolished

Thailand Puket? Island protests against airplane glue manufacture



??Paul Simon: Graceland (or was this 87?)

The Color Purple - the movie (Dec 85)
Woody Allen: Hannah & Her Sisters
My Beautiful Launderette
She's Gotta Have It
(Peggy Sue Got Married)
??Kiss of the Spider Woman
Men - Doris Dorrie (Ger)
A Great Wall - Peter Wang
(Sid and Nancy)
Star Trek IV
Contrary Warriors (Crow Indian struggle)

Richard Smolan (37) and David E. Cohen (31) bestseller: A Day in the Life of America
(photos all taken May 2, 1986)

(creole cuisine?)
Jan 1   USSR: Gorbachev asks for world ban on atomic weapons, including timetable for getting rid of nuclear weapons and extending for until April the unilateral Soviet ban on nuclear tests

Jan   New York City finally stops pumping up to 150 million gallons of raw sewage into the Hudson River daily, with the opening of new North River Water Pollution Control Plant

US unemployment rate 6.6%, lowest in 6 years

oil prices lowered again (from 15 to 10 dollars/barrel)
(worries about the effect of lowered oil prices)
(effect on Texas starts) (also Mexico starts to go into debt)

Jan 16   Energy Dept announces 12 potential nuclear waste sites in eastern U.S., including Penobscot site in Maine only re-granted to them six years before and four other tribal sites

Jan 20   U.S. officially observes Martin Luther King Day for first time

Jan 28   Space Shuttle Challenger explodes, space program put on hold

Feb 6   Stock Market closes above 1600 for first time

Feb   Texas Air takes over Eastern Airlines to create largest U.S. airline

Field testing of genetically engineered bacteria to reduce frost damage on strawberry plants planned by Advanced Genetic Sciences of Oakland, California banned by Monterey (Calif.) County Board of Supervisors

(mid) oil prices in the 15-16 dollar/barrel range
-> Stock Market buying frenzy

Feb 16   Duvaliers flee Haiti after 28-year rule by the family

Feb 19   US Senate finally ratifies 1948 U.N. treaty outlawing genocide (90 other nations have already ratified)

Feb   Consumer prices fall for first time since who knows when, continue dropping into May

Feb 27   Proceed from a US arms shipment to Iran are diverted to the Nicaraguan contras

Marcos's flee Philippines, Aquino in after Feb 7 election

Stock Market closes above 1700 for first time

Mar 7   US Fed cuts prime rate 7.5 to 7% (lowest since 1978) following lead of central banks in West Germany, France, Japan

Mar   Two Lyndon LaRouche supporters chosen in Illinois Democratic primary for Lt Gov & Sec State
Attention turns to LaRouche supporters who have gotten themselves onto other state ballots

Mar 19   Reagan & Canada's Mulroney finally agree on acid rain actions

Mar 27   US Senate approves 100 million dollars for Nicaraguan contras

Apr 15   US bombs Libya base

Apr 18   South Africa finally ends pass laws

Apr 25   Explosion starts meltdown at Chernobyl Nuclear Plant near Kiev in the USSR Ukraine

Apr   Gorbachev publicly acknowledges accident at Chernobyl, the first time the USSR had admitted an error in almost 70 years

May 12   Drexel Burnham Lambert charged with illegal "insider trading"

May 25   Hands Across America: 5 million attempt to form human chain across US & donate 10 dollars to aid hungry & homeless in US, from Battery Park, New York City to Long Beach, California

& Sport Aid: 20 million in 266 cities in 76 countries run in benefit for hunger in Africa

June 11   South Africa: "State of Emergency" imposed

June 16   Despite arrests, millions stay home in South African black trade union strike on 10th anniversary Soweto uprising

June 25   Congress approves $100 million in military aid to Nicaraguan contras

June 27   The International Court of Justice rules US support for Nicaraguan contras violates international law

Aug 4   OPEC agrees to cut oil production
Within days, oil prices rise from 11.50 to 15/barrel

Aug 6   Oliver North lies to Congress about relationship with Nicaraguan contras

Sept 4   Stock Market hits all time high of 1919.71, starts to level off

Sept 11   Stock Market has fallen 86.61 points to 1792.89

Sept 15   Texas Airlines buying out People Express & its ill-advised acquisition, Frontier Airlines

Sept 21   35 nations adopt treaty to reduce risk of accidental war, including USSR agreement to on-site inspections

Sept 27   US Congress passes Tax Reform Act (affects 87) (after 2 years)

Oct 2   US Congress overrides Reagan's veto to pass South African sanctions

Oct 3   US Congress requires schools to inspect for asbestos hazards

Oct 5   Eugene Hasenfus' plane shot down while carrying arms to Nicaraguan contras, leading to exposure of Oliver North's network to aid contras

Nov 1   Rhine River disaster: 30 tons of mercury and pesticides wash into the river during a fight against a fire at Sandoz AG warehouse in Basel, Switz; several days later, Ciba-Geigy admits it "accidentally" released 900 pounds of pesticide into the river hours before

Nov 3   Al-Shiraa, a Lebanese magazine, publishes reports of US arm shipments to Iran

Nov 25   US Attorney General Edwin Meese discloses that funds from Iran arms sales were diverted to the Nicaraguan contras

Dec   USSR under Gorbachev releases Andrei Sakharov from exile, then other dissenters

Dec 4   Hundreds of thousands of French students march against Chirac's higher education bill

Dec 20   Three black men attacked by bat-wielding young whites in Howard Beach neighborhood, Queens, NYC; one of them, Michael Griffith (23) hit by a car and dies during flight


1987   First trillion-dollar national budget

SPLC's Klanwatch wins 7 million dollar judgement against the KKK for Michael Donald's murder - including deed to national headquarters of the United Klans of America

135+ counties and municipalities have voted to become nuclear-free zones

Over half the couples getting married have lived together beforehand (Manchester Guard Wkly, Dec 31, 1989)

Intifada uprising starts among Palestinians in Israel

Safe sex ads

?? restrictions on US visas for visiting foreign musicians

?? John Berger's book on restoration volunteer heroes

when? Columbia protest

when? First national U.S. Greens conference (Amherst, Mass.)

when? Congress extends Clean Water Act (over Reagan's veto?)

Joseph Giovannini coins the word "deconstructivism" to describe the new architectural style of Frank Gehry, Peter Eisenman, Bernard Tschumi, Zaha Hadid, and the Coop Himmelblau



Prairie Home Companion last show

spring? Max Headroom, computer-generated character from Britain, premiers on U.S. tv

First Nintendo (by June 1988 - 11 million units sold)
Jan   Greens win 8.3% in German elections

Environmentalists, unionists & community members from BASF plant in Louisiana join Green Party in West Germany to protest Rhine River damage by BASF

Feb?? Mar   Brazil announces suspension of debt payments    
Mar?   Contra cease-fire - Nicaragua

Apr   Dollar starts to fall, but is propped up & rises
Stock market soars

Brazil suspends payment of interest on debts

U.S. threatening to tariff Japan if it does not stop "dumping" microchips

1,100 demo at Honeywell, Minneapolis against manufacture of nuclear weapons; arrests since 81 total 1,820 (NYT Business 9/20/87)

Apr 16   U.S. Patent Office announces genetically engineered animals can be patented
-- when was seed patent law?

Apr   New Jersey requires statewide garbage seperating

May   Start Stock Market downfall predictions

May 4?   Immigration amnesty program (1 year) starts

May-July   Hearings on Iran-Contra (Oliver North, etc)    
June   Gorbachev wins approval from USSR Communist Party Central Committee for transforming central planning system

when? 1985? glasnost & perestroika

Soviet doctors visit Native American activist Leonard Peltier in prison (Canada)

June Supreme Court decision on Southern California church vs LA County flood control - takings (explain xx)

July   First debt-for-nature swap announced (Bolivia's Beni Biosphere Reserve)

Aug   200 dolphins washed ashore from Virginia to Maine, dead of unknown disease; thousands of fish, crabs, & eels suffocated in North Carolina estuaries, apparently due to low levels of oxygen; disease ravaged Chesapeake Bay oyster beds; lobsters were asphyxiated in their pots by a brown tide of algae

Aug 6   Hodel: Hetch Hetchy xx

Aug 7   Cease fire Central America (Arias peace plan) and no S.F. (whatis?) homeporting

Aug 12   Stock Market crashes


On to The Eighties: End of the Cold War 1987-1991