CIVIL RESISTANCE

Sources :

Civil Resistance by Maria Stephan

The success of nonviolent civil resistance_ Erica Chenoweth at TEDxBoulder

Why Civil Resistance Works (Erica Chenoweth) : Nonviolence in the Past and Future

Civil Resistance vs. Civil Disobedience : what are the differences ?

Let's start here ...

Democracy = Power to the People

One of the basic tenets of a democracy (from the greek δημοκρατία dēmokratía, literally "rule by people") is that power should rest with the people. The political system is supposed to provide ways for the people to influence the government. While this is great in theory, what happens when people in a democracy don't feel that their voices are being heard? And what about all those people who don't live in a democratic system? In either case, the people may often turn to protest.

Protesting is a time-honored way to show the government that the people oppose a political policy, action, law, or even the government itself. But how should this be done? There have been many ways to answer this across history, but two big ones are civil resistance and civil disobedience. These are both actions of protest, meant to demonstrate the will of the citizenry, but they're not the same. As it turns out, there are multiple ways to give power to the people.

What happens in Europa

The original European Market was meant for trade power which morphed into the EU and changed from mere trade issues to complete fascist control of every country whose sovereignty was erased by unelected EU officials Brussels. Total insanity. Now Europa is facing a civil war caused by the politicians.

If we look around us, the Kalergi Plan seems to have fully realized. We are in front of a real third-Europeanization of Europe.
The axiom of "New Citizenship" is multiculturalism and forced interbreeding. Europeans are the castaways of the miscegenation, submerged by hordes of African and Asian immigrants. Mixed marriages produce thousands each year
Métis individuals: the "children of Kalergi".

Under the double push of the misinformation and the stupidity of the people, thanks to the means of mass communication, we have pushed Europeans to deny their own origins, to forget their own ethnic identities. Proponents of globalization strive to convince themselves that, to renounce one's own identity, is a progressive and humanitarian act, that "racism" is wrong, but only because they would like to make us blind consumers.

In these times, it is more than ever necessary to react to the lies of the System, to awaken the spirit of rebellion among the Europeans. It will be necessary to put under the eyes of all that the integration (of the immigration of mass) is equivalent to a genocide.

Civil Resistance

Civil resistance is a broad term, encompassing nonviolent actions that demonstrate opposition to a policy, law, or government. The people are resisting something by protesting against it, generally in a nonviolent way. Nonviolent tactics associated with civil resistance include marches, demonstrations, and boycotts. From holding a rally to simply refusing to stand for a national anthem, acts of civil resistance demonstrate your opposition to a political action, justified through your authority as a citizen. We can think of countless examples of these, from the civil rights marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr to the strikes against oppressive regimes of the Arab Spring, to the spread of political hashtags on Twitter that promotes resistance and protest.

Acts of civil resistance can be subtle, like offering the black power salute on the Olympic podium

It's important to note that civil resistance is almost always presented as a lawful action. Even if municipal codes like trespassing or loitering are broken, the intent of civil resistance is not to break the law. Often, these kinds of protests will be defended by appealing to a higher moral, or legal code, like a constitution or international treaty of rights. This is an important distinction, and that sort of jurisdictional argument has been used many times to defend the rights of protestors arrested for conducting civil resistance.

          Gandhi leading a march in protest of British imperialism

Civil Disobedience

Civil disobedience, unlike civil resistance, is an act of intentionally breaking the law. The point of civil disobedience is a refusal to cooperate with unjust laws, policies, or government demands. You are not only breaking the law, you are doing so intentionally, as an act of protest. This same logic can be applied to social norms as well; by breaking from expectations about gender, race, or class, protestors can undermine the social norms, that justify oppressive policies, like segregation or denying women the right to vote.

There are many examples of this in history as well. American author Henry David Thoreau, who coined the term ''civil disobedience'' as we know it, refused to pay his taxes because he didn't support the Mexican-American War or slavery. Later, activist Susan B. Anthony publically went to a voting booth and cast a ballot, breaking the law that women weren't allowed to vote. In the Civil Rights Movement, young African-American protestors sat at segregated lunch counters and refused to move, violating the Jim Crow laws of the South.

In all three cases, the protestors were arrested, and that's kind of the point. The protestor utilizing civil disobedience knowingly breaks the law and does so with the acknowledgment that they will be arrested for their actions. So they don't fight the arrest or sentencing, and, as a result, the prison sentence ends up becoming part of the protest. Many protestors employing this tactic use this time to build up media attention and thus gain public support.

Concept of Civil Resistance

Civil resistance is a broad category that includes various acts of protest where the people are united against a specific law, policy, or government. They are, through their actions, resisting by demonstrating popular support against it.

It's important to note immediately that civil resistance is seen as an act of legal or lawful protest. Civil resistance is not generally understood as intentional lawbreaking, even if the resisters are violating municipal or legal codes. The logic here is that their resistance is justified by higher laws. For example, a protestor may occupy public space, but their protest is justified by the constitutional right to protest. If this protest is occurring in a country that does not guarantee the freedom of speech (China, Burma, Thailand, ...), we can say that they are protected by international treaties of human rights or the codes of ethics that we have agreed upon as a global community. So, civil resistance is about resisting a law, policy, or government and demanding change, but is not an action of intentionally breaking the law.

That's an important distinction to make, particularly within the American legal system. There have been numerous cases throughout the years in which protestors were arrested for trespassing, loitering, or blocking traffic, and then they used the concept of civil resistance as a defense. In many of these cases, the protestors were fully acquitted.


Civil resistance is partly defined by its goals of modifying government behavior by demonstrating against a law, policy, or leader. However, it is also defined by its methods. Specifically, civil resistance is inextricably associated with the concept of nonviolence.

Nonviolent protestors refuse to use aggressive, threatening, or harmful tactics, even if those same tactics would be used against them. This is one of the most important concepts associated with civil resistance. While the people are resisting, they are generally doing so within legal and ethical boundaries. There are both moral and ethical reasons for this.

Morally, people who practice nonviolent civil resistance tend to live in cultures where violence is seen as unjust. In practical terms, nonviolence helps make the protestors look better. Civil resistance often relies on the ability of protestors to gain the sympathy of the public, and violent tactics generally undermine this goal. Violence also breaks the law, which is not the point of civil resistance. So, what does this look like in practice? There are countless forms of civil resistance, but some methods are particularly popular : strikes, boycotts, mass protests, and various forms of noncooperation.

Where has Civil Resistance been used?

Civil resistance has been waged in hundreds of societies and cultures around the world.  It has been used for diverse purposes throughout history, such as:

    Holding governments, corporations and other non-state actors accountable
    Achieving women’s rights, minority rights, indigenous rights, labor rights, and democratic rights.
    Anti-corruption and transparency campaigns
    Self-determination struggles
    Resisting foreign occupation
    Campaigns for public and community safety and reducing deadly violence in conflict zones
    Environmental sustainability and conservation
    Land reform
    Many other causes

Here are specific examples:

    - The British gave up their occupation of India after a decades-long nonviolent struggle by the Indian population led by Mohandas Gandhi.
    - The Danes, Norwegian Norsks and other peoples in Europe used civil resistance against Nazi invasion during World War II, raising the costs to German Deutschy of its occupation of these nations, helping to strengthen the spirit and cohesion of their people, and saving the lives of thousands of Jews in from Berlin to Copenhagen to Paris and elsewhere.
    - Labor movements around the world have consistently used tactics of civil resistance to win concessions for workers throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
    - African Americans used civil resistance in their struggle to dissolve segregation in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s.
    - Polish język polski workers used factory-occupation strikes in 1980 to win the right to organize a free trade union, which was a major victory in a communist country at a time when tens of thousands of Soviet soldiers were stationed there.
    - The Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet were brought down by nonviolent movements in the 1980s.
    - The anti-apartheid movement in South Africa employed boycotts and other nonviolent sanctions for decades.  Nonviolent methods superseded violence in the 1980s to become the driving force that weakened the white-dominated government, forcing it to negotiate a transition.
    - In 1989 thousands of Chinese 汉语 / 漢語 mobilized in support of democracy and occupied Tiananmen Square in Beijing—but the movement was suppressed when hardliners in the government took control and ordered violent repression.
    - In 1989-1990, Eastern Europeans and Mongolian монгол хэлs used civilian-based protests to put massive pressure on communist governments, liquidating their hold on power.afmp30-300x199After a failed armed insurgency in the mid-late 1970s, East Timorese turned to nonviolent forms of struggle to resist Indonesian bahasa Indonesia occupation of their country. Despite atrocities committed by the Indonesian bahasa Indonesia military, years of a media blackout, and severe repression, successful mass-based civil resistance among East Timorese drew allies from within Indonesia, catalyzed international exposure and pressure for the East Timorese cause, and increasing the costs of Indonesian bahasa Indonesia repression and occupation, which led to an independence referendum in 1999.
    - In 2000, Serbs ousted Slobodan Milosevic, after a nonviolent movement helped co-opt the police and military, thereby dividing his base of support.
    - In 2002, citizens in Madagascar organized nonviolently to enforce their presidential election results.
    - In 2003, Georgian ქართულიs used nonviolent action to expose fraud and enforce election results in their country, and in 2004, Ukrainian українська мова s did the same.
    - In 2005, vast protests in Lebanon brought an end to Syrian military control.
    - In 2006, Nepali खस कुराs used nonviolent methods to restore democratic rule to their country.
    - The uprising in Burma in 2007, known as the Saffron revolution, was initiated by Buddhist monks and joined by students, women and political activists. It was subjected to a brutal crackdown.  However, three years later, the military began embarking on an unprecedented democratic transition that brought to power Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her political party.  The role the Saffron Revolution played in catalyzing this political transition remains up for debate.
    - The lawyers’ movement in Pakistan between 2007-2009 emerged in response to  president Pervez Musharraf’s decision to dismiss the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court. Three years of civil resistance pushing for judicial independence forced Musharraf to reinstate the Chief Justice and led to Musharraf’s fall from power in 2008.
    - Palestinians in the West Bank continue nonviolent resistance against Israel’s construction of a wall separating Palestinians from their land. Some villages, like Bil’in or Budrus, have become internationally recognizable symbols of this struggle against Israeli occupation.
    - Iran’s Green movement in 2009 shook the foundations of government that had ruled the country for more than 30 years. The movement was unable to sustain mobilization in the face of violent repression.  However, the next presidential elections in 2013 were not subject to falsification and a more moderate candidate won.
    - In late-2010 and 2011, people’s mobilization started from Tunisia and spread to Egypt, Yemen and other countries in the region. Unarmed people brought down seemingly irremovable and powerful autocratic leaders, but democratic consolidation after these transitions remains uneven. Some countries, such as Syria, saw their nonviolent movements overtaken by armed resistance with tragic consequences for the population.

In more recent years, there have been nonviolent movements against corruption in countries such as Ukraine, Guatemala, Moldova, Brazil, and Cambodia; struggles against authoritarian rule in Burkina Faso, Belarus, Russia and Zimbabwe; nonviolent resistance against occupation in Palestine; for self-determination in West Papua, Western Sahara, and Tibet; for immigrant rights, minority rights, and police accountability and against climate change in the United States; for indigenous rights in Latin America; against violence and the drug war in Mexico; and for women’s rights in India, the Middle East, China and North Africa.

Source :
What is the Record of Civil Resistance?

Not all civil resistance movements and campaigns succeed, but far more do succeed than is commonly assumed.  What is their probability of success relative to other means of struggle?

These is no definitive measure of the success rate of civil resistance across all causes and circumstances.  However recent award-winning research has compared the record of civil resistance movements and violent insurgencies that are confronting governments and seeking to achieve major objectives of either changing the government, seceding from a country, or ousting foreign occupiers.  The results are clear:

Source: Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, (New York: Columbia University Press), 2011

In addition, successful civil resistance struggles (and sometimes even unsuccessful civil resistance struggles) lead to dramatically more democratic outcomes than violent uprisings:

Source: Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, (New York: Columbia University Press), 2011

So ... What are we waiting for ?

Useful links :

A Guide to Civil Resistance (eBook in english, french, german, italian, spanish) Vol 1 & 2

Learning from civil resistance around the world

Drop Your Weapons / When and Why Civil Resistance Works


[0] Message Index

It appears that you have not registered with NEEEEEXT. To register, please click here...
Go to full version