What is Civil Disobedience?
Civil disobience is the use of non-violent action as a protest against the government or social injustices, usually, and most effectively, by large numbers of people. It will usually involve acts that are considered unlawful.
In almost all historic cases of civil disobedience, the government, opressing classes, or authorative body will attempt to paint those conducting civil disobedience as extremists or rogue ?? This tactic is still used extensively, in a desperate bid to dissaude the rest of the public from joining the campaign, despite the fact that most fellow citizens suffer exactly the same injustices or social issues.
The aim of civil disobedience is to force the government to engage with the campaign, or to comply with the requests of those demonstrating.
Unfortunately, civil disobedience is often the only possible way in which citizens can balance the huge difference in power between themselves and the government in order that injustice or repression can be countered by the public.
Is Civil Disobedience Necessary?
Civil disobedience has proven crucial in bringing about social and political reform throughout history
In fact, most major societal changes in the past 200 years have been delivered through the use of civil disobedience. This includes women gaining the right to vote, the civil rights and gay rights movements, and the poll tax strikes.
Martin Luther King Jr and Ghandi are two of the most notable leaders from civil disobedience movements. Both fought to end social injustices in their countries. Both used disruption techniques to force engagement by the authorities. Both were labelled as law breakers and criminals, and both were eventually assassinated, simply for the struggle to bring about social justice.
We now stand at a similar point in history.
The human race faces a truly existential crisis. The United Nations IPCC states that we have as little as 11 years to avert environmental catastrophe. At this point, climate breakdown becomes uncontrollable, and unfixable. Our governments must surely act in the face of this emergency.
Yet the British government continues to grant extraction licenses, banks and councils refuse to divest from fossil fuels, plans for Heathrow and Gatwick expansion are pushed through. Extinction Rebellion refuses to let our governments wipe out life on earth because of inaction or corprorate pressure.
The cost of civil disobedience a tiny fraction of the cost of climate breakdown.