Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups

By Stephen E. Atkins | Go to book overview

A

ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power)

ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) is a militant AIDS awareness organization which sponsors demonstrations to promote its cause. Members of the gay community formed the group in March 1987 in New York City to make the American public confront the issue of AIDS. ACT UP is a unique organization because, according to critic Stanley Aronowitz, “it is a movement of and by the victims not merely for them.” Larry Kramer was one of the founders as was Mark Kostopoulos. Kramer has continued to play an active role on the national scene. Almost immediately after founding ACT UP, the leadership adopted guerrilla tactics to gain maximum publicity. Starting with a protest at the New York Stock Exchange over the pricing of the drug AZT, ACT UP has engaged in a series of direct confrontation operations. Some of these confrontations have become violent, the most famous being the interuption of trading on the New York Stock Exchange on September 14, 1989 and the disruption of a sermon by John Cardinal O'Connor at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on December 10, 1989. More than 2,000 protesters demonstrated at President George Bush's Kennebunkport vacation home in September 1991. A nationwide boycott of Philip Morris Corporation for its financial support of North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms's campaign against gays ended in May 1991 when the company doubled its annual contribution of $1.3 million to AIDS research and education. By the early 1990s, ACT UP had a network of more than ninety chapters in most of the major cities in the United States. The leadership of ACT UP concluded an unofficial alliance with another militant direct action gay group, Queer Nation. Among ACT UP's accomplishments has been forcing the Federal Drug Administration to overhaul its approval process and expedite the introduction of medicines to help AIDS sufferers. Another activity has been pressuring drug companies to lower drug prices for AIDS medicine. ACT UP has been less active since the mid-1990s because more attention and resources have been devoted to AIDS research at the national level. By 1997 only twelve functioning chapters existed. These chapters, however, still lobby against the pharmaceutical industry for the high prices of life-prolonging medicines and for lower prices to combat the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

When the national ACT UP movement started gearing down, the chapter in San Francisco broke away from the national movement. The San Francisco area had two ACT UP chapters, ACT UP-Golden Gate and ACT UP-San Francisco. The Golden

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Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Chronology of Events vii
  • Introduction xxi
  • A 1
  • B 26
  • C 57
  • D 80
  • E 89
  • F 96
  • G 110
  • H 123
  • I 137
  • J 142
  • K 149
  • L 166
  • M 184
  • N 215
  • O 230
  • P 238
  • Q 252
  • R 253
  • S 267
  • T 291
  • U 301
  • V 304
  • W 306
  • Y 326
  • Z 328
  • Selected Bibliography 331
  • Index 339
  • About the Author 375
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