Nonviolent resistance

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Nonviolent resistance (or nonviolent action) is the practice of achieving goals through symbolic protests, civil disobedience, economic or political noncooperation, and other methods, without using violence. It is largely synonymous with civil resistance. Each of these terms ("nonviolent resistance" and "civil resistance") has its distinct merits and also slightly different connotations, which are briefly explored in the entry on civil resistance. The modern form of non-violent resistance as we know it today was popularised and proven to be effective by the Indian legend Mahatma Gandhi in his efforts to gain independence from the British.

The Salt March on March 12, 1930

Nonviolent resistance advocates include Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2006 peace ethologist Judith Hand presented a strategy for abolishing war premised on using nonviolent resistance (A Future Without War: the Strategy of a Warfare Transition).

From 1966 to 1999 nonviolent civic resistance has played a critical role in 50 of 67 transitions from authoritarianism.[1] Recently, nonviolent resistance has led to the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Current nonviolent resistance includes the Jeans Revolution in Belarus and the "Jasmine" Revolution in Tunisia.

A demonstrator offers a flower to military police at an anti-Vietnam War protest in Arlington, Virginia, 21 October 1967

Many movements which promote philosophies of nonviolence or pacifism have pragmatically adopted the methods of nonviolent action as an effective way to achieve social or political goals. They employ nonviolent resistance tactics such as: information warfare, picketing, vigils, leafletting, samizdat, magnitizdat, satyagraha, protest art, protest music and poetry, community education and consciousness raising, lobbying, tax resistance, civil disobedience, boycotts or sanctions, legal/diplomatic wrestling, sabotage, underground railroads, principled refusal of awards/honours, and general strikes. Nonviolent action differs from pacifism by potentially being proactive and interventionist.

History of nonviolent resistance

Dates Region Main Article Summary Refs
BCE 470–391 China Mohism Wp→ The Mohist Wp→ philosophical school disapproved of war. However, since they lived in a time of warring polities, they cultivated the science of fortification.
around AD 26–36 Judea Wp→ Pontius Pilate Wp→ Jews demonstrated in Caesarea Wp→ to try to convince Pontius Pilate Wp→ not to set up Roman standards, with images of the Roman emperor and the eagle of Jupiter Wp→, in Jerusalem (both images were considered {{Wp link}Idolatry|idolatrous}} by religious Jews). Pilate surrounded the Jewish protesters with soldiers and threatened them with death, to which they replied that they were willing to die rather than see the laws of the Torah violated.
Before 1500–1835 Chatham Islands, New Zealand Moriori The Moriori were a branch of the New Zealand Māori that colonized the Chatham Islands and eventually became hunter-gatherers. Their lack of resources and small population made conventional war unsustainable, so it became customary to resolve disputes nonviolently or ritually. Due to this tradition of nonviolence, the entire population of 2000 people was enslaved, killed or cannibalized when 900 Māori invaded the island in 1835. [2][3][4]
1819 England Peterloo massacre Famine and chronic unemployment, coupled with the lack of suffrage in northern England, led to a peaceful demonstration of 60,000–80,000 persons, including women and children. The demonstration was organized and rehearsed, with a "prohibition of all weapons of offence or defence" and exhortations to come "armed with no other weapon but that of a self-approving conscience". Cavalry charged into the crowd, with sabres drawn, and in the ensuing confusion, 15 people were killed and 400–700 were injured. Newspapers expressed horror, and Percy Shelley glorified nonviolent resistance in the poem The Masque of Anarchy. However, the British government cracked down on reform, with the passing of what became known as the Six Acts.
1834–38 Trinidad End of Slavery in Trinidad The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, then the colonial power in Trinidad, first announced in 1833 the impending total liberation of slaves by 1840. In 1834 at an address by the Governor at Government House about the new laws, an unarmed group of mainly elderly Negroes began chanting: Pas de six ans. Point de six ans ("Not six years. No six years"), drowning out the voice of the Governor. Peaceful protests continued until the passing of a resolution to abolish apprenticeship and the achievement of de facto freedom. [5][6]
1838 USA Cherokee removal The Cherokee refused to recognize the fraudulent Treaty of New Echota and therefore did not sell their livestock or goods, and did not pack anything to travel to the west before the soldiers came and forcibly removed them. That ended tragically in the Cherokee trail of tears.
1860–1894, 1915–1918 New Zealand Tainui-Waikato Māori King Tāwhiao forbade Waikato Māori using violence in the face of British colonisation, saying in 1881 "The killing of men must stop; the destruction of land must stop. I shall bury my patu in the earth and it shall not rise again ... Waikato, lie down. Do not allow blood to flow from this time on." This was inspirational to Waikato Māori who refused to fight in World War I. In response, the government brought in conscription for the Tainui-Waikato people (other Māori iwi were exempt), but they continued to resist, the majority of conscripts choosing to suffer harsh military punishments rather than join the army. For the duration of the war, no Tainui soldiers were sent overseas. [7]
1879–1880 New Zealand Parihaka The Māori village of Parihaka became the center of passive resistance campaigns against Europeans occupying confiscated land in the area. More than 400 followers of the prophet Te Whiti o Rongomai were arrested and jailed, most without trial. Sentences as long as 16 months were handed out for the acts of ploughing land and erecting fences on their property. More than 2000 inhabitants remained seated when 1600 armed soldiers raided and destroyed the village. [8][9]
1908–62 Samoa Mau movement Nonviolent movement for Samoan independence from colonial rule in the early 20th century. [10][11]
1919. 2.8, 3.1 Korea March 1st Movement This movement became the inspiration of the later Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's Satyagraha—resistance and many other non-violent movement in Asia. [12]
1919–22 Egypt Egyptian Revolution of 1919 A countrywide revolution against the British occupation of Egypt. It was carried out by Egyptians from different walks of life in the wake of the British-ordered exile of revolutionary leader Saad Zaghlul and other members of the Wafd Party in 1919. The event led to Egyptian independence in 1922 and the implementation of a new constitution in 1923.
1919–21 Ireland Irish Non-cooperation movement During the Irish War for Independence, Irish nationalists used many non-violent means to resist British rule. Amongst these was abstention from the British parliament, tax boycotts, and the creation of alternative local government, Dáil Courts, and police. [13]
1919–present Palestine Mubarak Awad
First Intifada
Third Intifada
Palestinian groups have worked with Israelis and foreign citizens to organize civilian monitors of Israeli military activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Peace camps and strategic non-violent resistance to Israeli construction of Jewish settlements and of the West Bank Barrier have also been consistently adopted as tactics by Palestinians. Citizens of the Palestinian village of Beit Sahour also engaged in a tax strike during the First Intifada.
1920–22 British India Non-cooperation movement A series of nationwide people's movements of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience, led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) and the Indian National Congress. In addition to bringing about independence, Gandhi's nonviolence also helped improve the status of the Untouchables in Indian society.
1930–34 British India Civil disobedience movement Nonviolent resistance marked by rejecting British imposed taxes, boycotting British manufactured products and mass strikes, led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) and the Indian National Congress.
1933–45 Germany German Resistance Throughout World War II, there were a series of small and usually isolated groups that used nonviolent techniques against the Nazis. These groups include the White Rose and the Confessional Church.
1940–43 Denmark Danish resistance movement During World War II, after the invasion of the Wehrmacht, the Danish government adopted a policy of official co-operation (and unofficial obstruction) which they called "negotiation under protest." Embraced by many Danes, the unofficial resistance included slow production, emphatic celebration of Danish culture and history, and bureaucratic quagmires.
1940–45 Norway Norwegian resistance movement During World War II, Norwegian civil disobedience included preventing the Nazification of Norway's educational system, distributing of illegal newspapers, and maintaining social distance(an "ice front") from the German soldiers.
1942 British India Quit India Movement The Quit India Movement (Bharat Chhodo Andolan or the August Movement) was a civil disobedience movement launched in India in August 1942 in response to Mohandas Gandhi's call for immediate independence.
1945–71 South Africa Defiance Campaign
Internal resistance to South African apartheid
The ANC and allied anti-apartheid groups initially carried out non-violent resistance against pro-racial segregation and apartheid governments in South Africa.
1946–1958 Territory of Hawaii Hawaii Democratic Revolution of 1954 Following World War II, general strikes were initiated by the large working poor against racial and economic inequality under Hawaii's plantation economy. Movement members took over most of the government in 1954 and the State of Hawaii was established in 1959.
1955–68 USA African-American Civil Rights Movement
Chicano Civil Rights Movement
Mass protest in the United States
Tactics of nonviolent resistance, such as bus boycotts, freedom rides, sit-ins and mass demonstrations, were used during the African American Civil Rights Movement. This movement succeeded in bringing about legislative change, and making separate seats, drinking fountains, and schools for African Americans illegal. [14][15]
1957–present USA Committee for Non-Violent Action Among the most dedicated to nonviolent resistance against the US arsenal of nuclear weapons has been the Plowshares Movement, consisting largely of Catholic priests, such as Dan Berrigan, and nuns. Since the first Plowshares action in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania during the autumn of 1980, more than 70 of these actions have taken place. [16][17][18]
February 11, 1967 USA Los Angeles Black Cat Protest(1), Homosexual Bar and Site of Civil Resistance to Heightened Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Raids against Homosexual Establishments throughout the City, especially in the Homosexual Quarter known as Sunset Junction(2) District/East Hollywood An Historic Cultural Monument, City of Los Angeles, recognized as a site of Peaceful Civil Resistance in the struggle for Homosexual Civil Rights in the United States. The standoff is significant in that it occurred a year prior to the 1968 Stonewall Riots in New York. The Stonewall Bar in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan was listed to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. A tense standoff and potential riot between Hundreds of LAPD Riot Gear laden Police Officers, who were determined to quell the swelling crowds that exceeded four hundred Homosexual citizens, was averted after a last minute plea from then new Governor Ronald Reagan, via an openly Gay Republican Judicial Appointee who acted as a personal envoy of the Governor to LAPD Commanders at the site of the Standoff, was accepted, and a stand down order given which ordered the Hundreds of LAPD Officers Present to Cease and Desist from further unprovoked harassment of Homosexuals in Los Angeles for decades. The plea was successfully communicated and accepted by the LAPD hierarchy, and represented the first time that a stand down order was given by the LAPD, and was the last time until 2001, that the Los Angeles Police Department would engage in raiding an establishment, or public assembly of Homosexuals in America's 2nd largest City, for decades. The Hundreds who gathered to peacefully protest unwarranted raids, often violent, against Gay and Lesbian meeting sites in Los Angeles, observed a rare experience of success in the struggle for Homosexual Civil Rights. Sadly, Civil Rights still not allowed under Federal and State Laws of the United States to this date. Black Cat Protest (Now LeBar, City of Los Angeles, Historic Cultural Monument
Resistance to LAPD Raids Against Homosexuals| year = 2009 |
  1. 1 ^ Adair, Bill; Kenny, Moira; and Samudio, Jeffrey B. , 2000, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian History Tour (single folded sheet with text). Center for Preservation Education and Planning. ISBN 0-964-8304-7-7
  2. 2 ^ a b c d Faderman, Lillian and Timmons, Stuart (2006). Gay L.A.: a History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-02288-5
1968 Worldwide Protests of 1968 The protests that raged throughout 1968 were for the most part student-led. Worldwide, campuses became the front-line battle grounds for social change. While opposition to the Vietnam War dominated the protests, students also protested for civil liberties, against racism, for feminism, and the beginnings of the Ecology movement can be traced to the protests against nuclear and biological weapons during this year. [19]
1970–81 France Larzac In response to an expansion of a military base, local farmers including José Bové and other supporters including Lanza del Vasto took part in nonviolent resistance. The military expansion was canceled after ten years of resistance.
1979 Iran Iranian Revolution The Iranian Revolution of 1979 or 1979 Revolution (often known as the Islamic Revolution), refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. [20]
1986 Philippines People Power Revolution A series of nonviolent and prayerful mass street demonstrations that toppled Ferdinand Marcos and placed Corazon C. Aquino into power. After an election which had been condemned by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, over two million Filipinos protested human rights violations, election fraud, massive political corruption, and other abuses of the Marcos regime. Yellow was a predominant theme, the colour being associated with Corazon Aquino and her husband, Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., who was assassinated three years prior.
2000 Serbia Otpor! Otpor! (English: Resistance!) was a civic youth movement that existed as such from 1998 until 2003 in Serbia (then a federal unit within FR Yugoslavia), employing nonviolent struggle against the regime of Slobodan Milošević as their course of action. In the course of two-year nonviolent struggle against Milosevic, Otpor spread across Serbia and attracted more than 70,000 supporters. They were credited for their role in the successful overthrow of Slobodan Milošević on 5 October 2000.
Liberia Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace This peace movement, started by women praying and singing in a fish market, brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.
2004–05 Israel Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004 Protesters opposing Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004 nonviolently resisted impending evacuations of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Protesters blocked several traffic intersections, resulting in massive gridlock and delays throughout Israel. While Israeli police had received advance notice of the action, opening traffic intersections proved extremely difficult. Eventually, over 400 demonstrators were arrested, including many juveniles. Further large demonstrations planned to commence when Israeli authorities, preparing for disengagement, cut off access to the Gaza Strip. During the confrontation, mass civil disobedience failed to emerge in Israel proper. However, some settlers and their supporters resisted evacuation non-violently.
2004–2005 Ukraine Orange Revolution A series of protests and political events that took place in Ukraine in the immediate aftermath of the run-off vote of the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election which was marred by massive corruption, voter intimidation and direct electoral fraud. Nationwide, the democratic revolution was highlighted by a series of acts of civil disobedience, sit-ins, and general strikes organized by the opposition movement.
2005 Lebanon Cedar Revolution A chain of demonstrations in Lebanon (especially in the capital Beirut) triggered by the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005.
2010 Israel-Palestine Authority Palestinian Protests in West Bank A "White Intifada" has begun to take hold in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Weekly protests by Peaceful Palestinian activities accompanied by B'Tselem ( the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) in addition to Israel academics and students against settlers and security forces. The EU through its foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has criticised the peaceful movement and is she was deeply concerned about the arrest of Abdullah Abu Rahmeh. There have been two fatalities among protesters and an American peace activist suffered brain damage after being hit by a tear gas canister [21]

[22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

2011 Tunisia 2010–2011 Tunisian uprising A chain of demonstrations against unemployment and government corruption in Tunisia. Protests were triggered by the self-immolation of the vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi and resulted in the 24-year-ruling president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fleeing the country a month later.
2011 Egypt 2011 Egyptian protests started at 25 january 2011 ,
2011 Syria 2011 Syrian uprising started on March 15, 2011 as a collaborative effort between online websites such as Liberty For The People of Syria {الحرية لشعب سوريا}, The Syrian Revolution 2011, The Syrian Days of Rage {يوم الغضب السوري}, and some other media websites that facilitated the coordination and communication of Syrians on the grounds who were deprived from any local organizing bodies due to the country's 48-year old state of emergency that was instated in 1963 upon the takeover of power by Al-Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party and that was later taken over by the Assad regime in November 16, 1970. Since then, Syrians have experienced very minimal political life and virtually no exercise of freedom of expression until the Syrian revolution erupted, launching the most significant coordinated campaign of civil disobedience and peaceful protests in various Syrian cities. The response by the regime was and continue to be very brutal and has caused the death of hundreds of Syrian citizens and more than a thousand wounded in addition to thousands of people arbitrarily detained in a government campaign to quell the rebellion but it is only growing stronger by the day. The future of the Syrian revolution remains uncertain but one thing that has been certain thus far is its civil nature despite the elaborate media campaign by the ruling Assad regime to defame and attack the rebellion.
2011 USA Occupy Wall Street As more and more information becomes available (both good and bad), a good place to start would be at the source by visiting the Occupy Wall Street Other first steps to informing yourself include The New York General Assembly and their official page. You can also visit their Youtube channel for a daily video from NYC.

See also


Notes and references

  1. A Force More Powerful. A Force More Powerful. URL accessed on 2010-09-01.
  2. Diamond, Jared (1997) (book). Guns, germs, and steel: the fates of human societies. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 53. . Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  3. (book) Transactions and proceedings of the New Zealand Institute. New Zealand Institute.. 1902. p. 124.,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  4. Rawlings-Way, Charles (2008) (book). New Zealand. Lonely Planet. p. 686. .,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  5. Littell, Eliakim; Littell, Robert (1846). The Living Age. Littell, Son and Co.. p. 410.,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  6. Capadose, Henry (1845). Sixteen Years in the West Indies. T.C. Newby. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  7. Resistance to conscription - Maori and the First World War |, New Zealand history online. URL accessed on 2010-09-01.
  8. James Cowan, The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume II, 1922, page 478.
  9. The Legacy of Parihaka
  10. McCarthy, Ronald; Sharp, Gene; Bennett, Brad (1997) (book). Nonviolent action: a research guide. Taylor & Francis. p. 342. .,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  11. Powers, Roger; Vogele, William; Kruegler, Christopher (1997) (book). Protest, Power, and Change. Taylor & Francis. p. 314. .,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  12. Why Did Mao, Nehru and Tagore Applaud the March First Movement?. Korea Focus. URL accessed on 2010-09-01.
  13. Hopkinson, Michael (2004) (book). The Irish War of Independence. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 13. .,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  14. Nashville Student Movemen ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans
  15. Arsenault, Raymond (2006) (book). Freedom Riders. Oxford University Press. .,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  16. Garrison, Dee (2006) (book). Bracing for Armageddon: why civil defense never worked. Oxford University Press US. p. 89. .,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  17. Knopf, Jeffrey W. (1998) (book). Domestic society and international cooperation. Cambridge University Press. pp. 122–123. .,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  18. Bennett, Scott (2003) (book). Radical pacifism. Syracuse University Press. pp. 235–236. .,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  19. Rootes, Christopher. "1968 and the Environmental Movement in Europe." [1]. Retrieved 02-2008.
  21. "EU rebukes Israel for convicting Palestinian protester", BBC News, 2010-08-26. 
  23. "Palestinians test out Gandhi-style protest", BBC News, 2010-04-14. 

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