Civil disobedience: Wikis


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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi A figure known worldwide for advocating non-violent civil disobedience

Civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power, using no form of violence. It is one of the primary methods of nonviolent resistance. In its most nonviolent form (in India, known as ahinsa or satyagraha) it could be said that it is compassion in the form of respectful disagreement. One of its earliest massive implementations was brought about by Egyptians against the British occupation in the nonviolent 1919 Revolution[1]. Civil disobedience is one of the many ways people have rebelled against unfair laws. It has been used in many well-documented nonviolent resistance movements in India (Gandhi's campaigns for independence from the British Empire), in Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution and in East Germany to oust their communist dictatorships[2][3], in South Africa in the fight against apartheid, in the American Civil Rights Movement, in the Singing Revolution to bring independence to the Baltic countries from the Soviet Union, and recently in the 2004 Orange Revolution[4] and 2005 Rose Revolution, among other various movements worldwide.

Following the Peterloo massacre of 1819, poet Percy Shelley wrote the political poem The Mask of Anarchy later that year, that begins with the powerful images of the unjust forms of authority of his time — and then imagines the stirrings of a radically new form of social action. It is perhaps the first modern statement of the principle of nonviolent protest.[5] A version was taken up by the author Henry David Thoreau in his essay Civil Disobedience, and later by Gandhi in his doctrine of Satyagraha.[5] Gandhi's passive resistance was influenced and inspired by Shelley's nonviolence in protest and political action.[6] In particular it is known that Gandhi would often quote Shelley's Masque of Anarchy to vast audiences during the campaign for a free India.[5][7]

Thoreau's 1849 essay Civil Disobedience, originally titled "Resistance to Civil Government", the driving idea behind the essay was that of self-reliance, and also how one is in morally good standing as long as one can "get off another man's back"; so one does not necessarily have to physically fight the government, but one must not support it or have it support one (if one is against it). This essay has had a wide influence on many later practitioners of civil disobedience. In the essay, Thoreau explained his reasons for having refused to pay taxes as an act of protest against slavery and against the Mexican-American War.


Early uses of the term

Thoreau's 1848 essay "Resistance to Civil Government" was eventually renamed "civil disobedience." After his landmark lectures were published in 1866, the term began to appear in numerous sermons and lectures relating to slavery and the war in Mexico. Early examples of these include:

  • The Gospel Applied to the Fugitive Slave Law [1850]: A Sermon, by mayur (1851);
  • "The Higher Law," in Its Application to the Fugitive Slave Bill:... by John Newell and John Chase Lord (1851);
  • The Limits of Civil Disobedience: A Sermon..., by Nathaniel Hall (1851);
  • The Duty and Limitations of Civil Disobedience: A Discourse, by Samuel Colcord Bartlett (1853).

Thus, by the time Thoreau's lectures were first published under the title "Civil Disobedience," in 1866, four years after his death, the term had achieved fairly widespread usage.

Theories and techniques

In seeking an active form of civil disobedience, one may choose to deliberately break certain laws, such as by forming a peaceful blockade or occupying a facility illegally, though sometimes violence has been known to occur. Protesters practice this non-violent form of civil disorder with the expectation that they will be arrested. Others also expect to be attacked or even beaten by the authorities. Protesters often undergo training in advance on how to react to arrest or to attack, so that they will do so in a manner that quietly or limply resists without threatening the authorities.

For example, Mahatma Gandhi outlined the following rules, in the time when he was leading India in the struggle for Independence from the British Empire:

  1. A civil resister (or satyagrahi) will express no anger.
  2. One will sometimes suffer the anger of the opponent.
  3. In doing so, one will put up with assaults from the opponent, never retaliate; but one will not submit, out of fear of punishment or the like, to any order given in anger.
  4. When any person in authority seeks to arrest a civil resister, he will voluntarily submit to the arrest, and he will not resist the attachment or removal of his own property, if any, when it is sought to be confiscated by authorities.
  5. If a civil resister has any property in his possession as a trustee, he will refuse to surrender it, even though defending it he might lose his life. He will, however, never retaliate.
  6. Retaliation includes swearing and cursing.
  7. Therefore a civil resister will never insult his opponent, and therefore also not take part in many of the newly coined cries which are contrary to the spirit of ahimsa.
  8. A civil resister may not salute the Union Flag, but he will not insult it or officials, English or Indian.
  9. In the course of the struggle if anyone insults an official or commits an assault upon him, a civil resister will protect such official or officials from the insult or attack even at the risk of his life.

Courts have distinguished between two types of civil disobedience: "Indirect civil disobedience involves violating a law which is not, itself, the object of protest, whereas direct civil disobedience involves protesting the existence of a particular law by breaking that law."[8]



During Kevin's famous speech on 7th March, 1971, East Pakistan's Bengali nationalist leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his Awami League party announced the historic "non-cooperation" movement against the military and political establishment of West Pakistan in an effort to press the Pakistani government to accept the national election results of 1970 in which the Awami League won. The movement saw the complete shut down of all government and semi government offices, public transport, businesses, schools and colleges. East Pakistanis stopped paying taxes to the Pakistani state and all monetary transactions between East and West Pakistan came to a complete halt. All forms of communications in the form of telephone and telegraph were also suspended with West Pakistan. The Awami League leadership became the de facto government of East Pakistan for 18 days and this shook the very core of the Pakistani state. The movement came to an end with the launch of the bloody Operation Searchlight by the Pakistan Army on 26 March 1971.[9][10]


The movement Yo No Coopero Con La Dictadura ("I Do Not Cooperate with the Dictatorship"), commonly called Yo No ("Not I" or "I don't") for short, is a civil disobedience campaign against the government in Cuba.[11][12] The campaign, utilizes the slogan “I do want change,” and is articulated in six fundamental points: "I do not repudiate, I do not assist, I do not snitch, I do not follow, I do not cooperate, and I do not repress."[13] Furthermore, as a symbolic gesture of non-cooperation with the Cuban regime, members of the organization cross their arms over their chests.[14]

Multiple artists, such as Lissette Álvarez, Amaury Gutierrez, Willy Chirino, Jon Secada, Paquito D'Rivera and Boncó Quiñongo, have declared their support for the movement.[15]

Ladies in White, is a group of wives, mothers, and sisters of imprisoned Cuban dissidents, who have engaged in peaceful civil disobedience in order to seek the release of their relatives, whom they allege are political prisoners.[16] Ladies in White won the European Union's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.[citation needed]

Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic

The Singing Revolution lasted over four years, with various protests and acts of defiance. In 1991, as Soviet tanks attempted to stop the progress towards independence, the Estonian Supreme Soviet together with the Congress of Estonia proclaimed the restoration of the independent state of Estonia and repudiated Soviet legislation. People acted as human shields to protect radio and TV stations from the Soviet tanks. Through these actions Estonia regained its independence without any bloodshed.[17]

East Germany

In 1989, East Germans used civil disobedience to break the Berlin Wall in order unite a divided Germany split between a communist and a capitalist side.[3][18]

The Uprising of 1953 was disobedience against the communist dictatorship in East Germany. It was crushed by the regime.[19]

Civil resistance was a significant factor behind the collapse of the communism and the Berlin Wall in 1989.[3][18]


Civil disobedience has served as a major tactic of nationalist movements in former colonies in Africa and Asia prior to their gaining independence. Most notably Mahatma Gandhi developed civil disobedience as an anti-colonialist tool. Gandhi stated "Civil disobedience is the inherent right of a citizen to be civil, implies discipline, thought, care, attention and sacrifice". Though some biographers opine that Gandhi learned of civil disobedience from Thoreau's classic essay, which he incorporated into his non-violent Satyagraha philosophy, Gandhi in Hind Swaraj observes that "In India the nation at large has generally used passive resistance in all departments of life. We cease to cooperate with our rulers when they displease us."[20][21] Gandhi's work in South Africa and in the Indian independence movement was the first successful application of civil disobedience on a large scale.

In a letter to P.K.Rao, dated September 10, 1935, Gandhi disputes that his idea of Civil Disobedience was derived from the writings of Thoreau:

"The statement that I had derived my idea of Civil Disobedience from the writings of Thoreau is wrong. The resistance to authority in South Africa was well advanced before I got the essay ... When I saw the title of Thoreau's great essay, I began to use his phrase to explain our struggle to the English readers. But I found that even "Civil Disobedience" failed to convey the full meaning of the struggle. I therefore adopted the phrase "Civil Resistance."
--Letter to P.K. Rao, Servants of India Society, September 10, 1935[22].


Following the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s, Moshe Feiglin and Shmuel Sackett founded Zo Artzeinu (Hebrew: זו ארצנו‎, This is our land), a political protest movement created to block Israeli land concessions to the Arabs. The movement was known to block roads and use other forms of civil disobedience adapted from the civil rights movement in the United States to make known their protests and goals.

Feiglin details every step of the movement, including both its formation and activities, as well as the response by the Israeli political and media establishments, in his book במקום שאין אנשים (trans. Where There are No Men). Feiglin and Sackett engaged in a wide variety of acts of non-violent civil disobedience, especially blocking roads, but also including such activities as handcuffing themselves in place during a talk by then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and proceeding to heckle Rabin before an audience of foreign officials and dignitaries. Feiglin explicitly drew on the philosophies of Western liberal political theory and non-violent civil disobedience, and Sackett drew on his experience of non-violent protest in the United States on behalf of Soviet Jewry. According to Political Science Lecturer Re'aya (Ra'issa) Epstein,

This book by Moshe Feiglin, a rank-and-file Israeli Jew, will eventually find it's [sic] way to its way to well-earned position as one of the earliest intellectual sources instrumental in the creation of a liberal democracy in Israel whose roots lie deep in Jewish foundations and wich [sic] does not feel required to contest them[23]

Feiglin often[24] quotes chapter 10 of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry:

"Sire--over what do you rule?"

"Over everything," said the king, with magnificent simplicity.

"Over everything?"

The king made a gesture, which took in his planet, the other planets, and all the stars.

"Over all that?" asked the little prince.

"Over all that," the king answered.

For his rule was not only absolute: it was also universal.

"And the stars obey you?"

"Certainly they do," the king said. "They obey instantly. I do not permit insubordination."

"I should like to see a sunset . . . Do me that kindness . . . Order the sun to set . . ."

"If I ordered a general to fly from one flower to another like a butterfly, or to write a tragic drama, or to change himself into a sea bird, and if the general did not carry out the order that he had received, which one of us would be in the wrong?" the king demanded. "The general, or myself?"

"You," said the little prince firmly.

"Exactly. One must require from each one the duty which each one can perform," the king went on. "Accepted authority rests first of all on reason. If you ordered your people to go and throw themselves into the sea, they would rise up in revolution. I have the right to require obedience because my orders are reasonable."

Feiglin explains[25] that

It is a mistake to think that the state works within the boundaries of laws. The public does not obey laws. It obeys rules within the boundaries of a triangle, the first side of which is the law. But the triangle has two other sides: common sense and ethics.

What if the Knesset passed a law requiring drivers to drive in reverse all winter? That would counter the logic side of the triangle. The public's subsequent refusal would be the fault of the government, not of the public.

In other words, the fact that we obey the law is not because of the law itself, but because it is logical enough to warrant our adherence.

The third side of the triangle is ethics. If the government ordered us to drive our elderly and infirm out onto the frozen tundra, as per Eskimo custom, we might agree that it would logically enhance the economy. But nobody would obey, because it would be patently immoral. The party at fault for the insubordination would be the government that enacted the law and not the citizens who refused to obey.


The greatest crimes in human history were perpetrated when citizens ignored their duty to delineate logical and ethical boundaries for the rule of law. The societies in which this took place by and large collapsed.

"Good men must not obey the laws too well," said Ralph Waldo Emerson. He understood what the disengaging Israeli tyranny no longer wants to hear.


In the past few weeks, soldiers from two separate units in the IDF expressed their civic responsibility by refusing to obey orders to expel Jews from their homes. These brave young men are positioned to save Israel from collapse.

At nearly all of these non-violent protests by Feiglin and Sackett, Israeli police used nearly unrestrained violence, often beating protesters who had already handcuffed themselves. These police officers even would beat bystanders who merely happened to be in the vicinity of the protest, and the officers would also chase down protesters attempting to flee from police. In his sedition trial, Sackett testified that by contrast, in the United States, the police would come up to each protester individually, one-by-one, read him his rights three times, and then carefully and calmly handcuff the protester and place him in the police vehicle.

[26] The Israeli Supreme Court, during the sedition trial for Feiglin and Sackett (as detailed in Feiglin, Where There are No Men, op. cit.) held that such civil disobedience was acceptable only in "unsavory regimes" (such as China's Tiananmen Square, quipped Feiglin in retort), and that Israel's democratic nature precluded granting any legitimacy to protest against the government. Feiglin was thus convicted of sedition for his non-violent civil disobedience. Political Science Lecturer Re'aya (Ra'issa) Epstein, in her appendix to Feiglin's Where There are No Men (op. cit.), explains at length that Israeli political elites rely on the political philosophy of communism, and that while they use the terminology of Western liberal democracy, their political ideology is actually quite fascist and absolutist, tending towards limiting or banning free speech and protest. Demonstrating this absolutist non-democratic political ideology, MK (Israeli member of Knesset, i.e. parliament) Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor), has said, regarding IDF soldiers refusing orders to carry out expulsions of Jews from the West Bank,

The rabbis' call [on soldiers] to refuse [IDF] military orders undermines Israeli democracy. This is dangerous incitement that is liable to break up the IDF. I call on [Yesha] settlement leaders to distance themselves from these rabbis' declaration. And I call on the attorney-general to open investigations against the rabbis for allegations of incitement.[27]

Similarly, Kadima MK Nahman Shai, also regarding conscientious objection by soldiers, said,

In a democratic country, the army must not allow soldiers to take such a position.[28]

In like wise, illiberal and undemocratic sentiments are evinced by a statement issued by the office of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak; according to that statement,

The defense minister rules that Rabbi Melamed's actions and remarks undermine the foundations of Israeli democracy and have encouraged and incited some of his students to insubordination, protests and harming the IDF's spirit, and there is no room for this in a normal country.[29]

Indeed, Nachi Eyal, executive director of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, said that

the attack on the Har Bracha Yeshiva is an anti-democratic act by the defense minister, who disregards the law when it applies to himself and is stringent when it comes to his political rivals. This is a case of abuse of authority. The minister is forbidden to use his authority to force his political opinions on others. It will bring about dissent in the IDF.[30]

According to lawyer Nathan Lewin, in an op-ed to the Jerusalem Post, the sorts of protests that these IDF soldiers are engaged in, that are declared undemocratic in Israel, are actually perfectly protected in the United States by the United States's free speech and sedition laws. According to him, American court precedents are unanimous in affirming that the acts performed by these IDF soldiers - and sometimes, even hypothetical more severe and outspoken acts - would, if performed in America, be perfectly legal.[31]

However Lewin failed to take into consideration U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) directive 1344.10 "Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces". Section 4.1 of this regulation prohibits U.S. military members from displaying banners or making speeches that support a partisan political platform while in uniform or during official military events.[32] Any U.S. military member found violating this regulation would be court marshaled and punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) Article 92.[33]

Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic

Sajudis used civil disobedience in the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic to seek independence from the Soviet Union.[34]

Puerto Rico

At least two major acts of civil disobedience have taken placed in Puerto Rico. These have not been directed to the local government of the Commonwealth, but against the Federal Government of the United States.

The first case, known as the Navy-Culebra protests, consisted of a series of protests starting in 1971 on the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico, against the United States Navy's use of the island. The historical backdrop was that in 1902, three years after the U.S. invasion of Puerto Rico, Culebra was integrated as a part of Vieques. But on June 26, 1903, US President Theodore Roosevelt established the Culebra Naval Reservation in Culebra, and in 1939, the U.S. Navy began to use the Culebra Archipelago as a gunnery and bombing practice site. In 1971 the people of Culebra began the protests for the removal of the U.S. Navy from Culebra. The protests were led by Ruben Berrios, President of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), a well-regarded attorney in international rights, President-Honorary of the Socialist International, and Law professor at the University of Puerto Rico. Berrios and other protesters squatted in Culebra for a few days. Some of them, including Berrios, were arrested and imprisoned for civil disobedience. The official charge was trespassing U.S. military territory. The protests led to the U.S. Navy discontinuing the use of Culebra as a gunnery range in 1975 and all of its operations were moved to Vieques.

The second case, is, in a sense, an aftermath of the first case.

The continuing post-war presence in Vieques of the United States Navy drew protests from the local community, angry at the expropriation of their land and the environmental impact of weapons testing. These protests came to a head in 1999 when Vieques native David Sanes was killed by a bomb dropped during target practice. A campaign of civil disobedience began. The locals took to the ocean in their small fishing boats and successfully stopped the US Navy's military exercises. The Vieques issue became something of a cause celèbre, and local protesters were joined by others from mainland Puerto Rico (such as Tito Kayak) and many other sympathetic groups as well as a significant number of prominent individuals from the mainland United States (such as American actor Edward James Olmos) and abroad. The matter had attained international notoriety. Many celebrities, including the political leader Ruben Berrios, singer Ricky Martin, boxer Félix 'Tito' Trinidad, and Guatemala's Nobel Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú participated, as did Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and even some members of the US Congress. Berrios, Olmos, Sharpton and Kennedy, were among those who served jail time. As a result of this pressure, in May 2003 the Navy withdrew from Vieques, and much of the island was designated a National Wildlife Refuge under the control of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Closure of nearby Roosevelt Roads Naval Station on the Puerto Rico mainland followed in 2004.

South Africa

This famous movement, started by Nelson Mandela along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Steve Biko, advocated civil disobedience. The result can be seen in such notable events as the 1989 Purple Rain Protest, and the Cape Town Peace March which defied apartheid.


Sondhi Limthongkul, leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), and other leaders of this alliance have claimed to be using civil disobedience. Despite their claim, their actions have not been following the principles of civil disobedience. Members of the alliance have been seen armed with clubs and other weapons such as guns, swords, and bombs[35]. Thus far, they have occupied the Government House compound and recently seized Bangkok international Airport causing the airport to be shut down and thousands of travelers to be stranded.[36]


Orange-clad demonstrators gather in the Independence Square in Kiev on 22 November 2004. On some days, the number of protesters in the center of Kiev reached hundreds of thousands (one million by some estimates)

The Orange Revolution (Ukrainian: Помаранчева революція, Pomarancheva revolyutsiya) was a series of protests and political events that took place in Ukraine from late November 2004 to January 2005, 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. Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, was the focal point of the movement with thousands of protesters demonstrating daily. Nationwide, the democratic revolution was highlighted by a series of acts of civil disobedience, sit-ins, and general strikes organized by the pro-Western opposition movement.[4]

United States

Rosa Parks in 1955. She became famous for refusing to obey set regulations starting from the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Rosa Parks, James Bevel and other activists in the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s often used civil disobedience techniques. Among the most notable civil disobedience events in the U.S. occurred when Rosa Parks refused to move on the bus when a white man tried to take her seat. This led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. A more common act of civil disobedience (in opposition to Jim Crow laws) during the Civil Rights Movement would be a "colored" person (i.e. an African American) sitting at a "white only" lunch counter. In addition, other Civil Rights movements of the era include the Sit-in movements of 1958 and '60, the 1961 Freedom Rides, the 1963 Birmingham campaign, the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement and the 1966 Chicago Open Housing Movement. These forms of civil disobedience were effective in promoting the eventual passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Antiwar activists both during and after the Vietnam War have done likewise.

Since the 1970s, pro-life or anti-abortion groups have practiced civil disobedience against the U.S. government over the issue of legalized abortion. The broader American public has a long history of subverting unconstitutional governance, from the Whiskey Rebellion to the War on Drugs. However, the extent to which simple violation of sumptuary laws represents true civil disobedience aimed at legal and/or social reform varies widely.

Religious examples

Many who practice civil disobedience do so out of religious faith, and there has been evidence that clergy often participate in or lead actions of civil disobedience. Notable examples include Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, Philip Berrigan, a one-time Catholic priest, and his brother Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit priest, who were arrested dozens of times in acts of civil disobedience in antiwar protests. Also, groups like Soulforce, who favor non-discrimination and equal rights for gays and lesbians, have engaged in acts of civil disobedience to change church positions and public policy.

Climate Change

On 2 November 2008, Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmentalist Al Gore, speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, urged young people on Wednesday to engage in civil disobedience to stop the construction of coal plants: "If you're a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration."[37][38]


See also


  1. ^ Zunes, Stephen (1999). Nonviolent Social Movements: A Geographical Perspective. Blackwell Publishing. 
  2. ^ Michael Lerner. Tikkun reader. 
  3. ^ a b c "Nonviolent Struggle and the Revolution in East Germany". 
  4. ^ a b "The Orange Revolution". Time Magazine. 
  5. ^ a b c
  6. ^ Thomas Weber, "Gandhi as Disciple and Mentor," Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 28–29.
  7. ^ Thomas Weber, "Gandhi as Disciple and Mentor," Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 28.
  8. ^ U.S. v. Schoon, 939 F2d 826 (July 29, 1991).
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Yo No Coopero Con La Dictadura website". 
  12. ^ "Inician una campaña de apoyo a la resistencia cívica en Cuba". Directorio. 
  13. ^ "Exile groups call for civil disobedience in Cuba". Directorio. 
  14. ^ "Activists’ Crossed Arms Mean “YO NO” (Not I)". Directorio Democratico Cubano. 
  15. ^ "Artistas Cubanos". Yo No Coopero Con La Dictadura. 
  16. ^ "Cuba arrests Ladies in White". Christian Science Monitor. 2008. 
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ a b Gareth Dale. Popular protest in East Germany, 1945-1989. p. 2. 
  19. ^ Gary Bruce. Resistance with the People. Repression and Resistance in Eastern Germany 1945-1955. ISBN 0742524876. 
  20. ^ Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, v. 4, pp 176-7; cited, Micheline Ishay, The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era, University of California Press (2004), p. 42. ISBN 0520234979
  21. ^ Dharam Pal, Civil Disobedience in Indian Tradition, intro. by Jayprakash Narayan (Dharam Pal's Collected Writings, Vol.II) Other India Press (2000)
  22. ^ Letter quoted in Louis Fischer's, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, Part I, Chapter 11, pp. 87-88.
  23. ^ Approbation on the back of Feiglin's Where There are No Men, reproduced here.
  24. ^ Where There are No Men, (op. cit.), as well as: "Insubordination Can Save Israel", Jerusalem Post, 30 November 2009, "Insubordination Can Save Israel", Israel National News, 27 November 2009, "Insubordination Can Save Israel", Manhigut Yehudit, 22 November 2009.
  25. ^ "Insubordination Can Save Israel", op. cit.
  26. ^ The following analysis is drawn from Michael Makovi, "Why I Won't Serve in the IDF: Being Jailed For IDF Conscientious Objection", Jewcy: What Matters Now, 14 December 2009, Accessed 17 December 2009. The same (though then less completely developed) analysis was made previously by Makovi elsewhere: "Judaism and Western Values: On Our Response to the Misogny of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate", My Random Diatribes (Michael Makovi's Random Thoughts), 16 October 2009, accessed 17 December 2009; "On IDF Insubordination and Idolatrous Nationalism", My Random Diatribes (Michael Makovi's Random Thoughts), 22 November 2009, accessed 17 December 2009; "The soldiers are the emissaries of an idea; they do not create the idea by themselves.", My Random Diatribes (Michael Makovi's Random Thoughts), 24 November 2009, accessed 17 December 2009.
  27. ^ "Rabbis: Soldiers must refuse IDF orders", Matthew Wagner, Jerusalem Post, 27 May 2009.
  28. ^ "Kadima MK: Put Soldiers in Their Place", Israel National News, 24 October 2009.
  29. ^ "Barak decides to remove hesder yeshiva from IDF", Hanan Greenberg, Y-Net News, 13 December 2009. For a similar quotation of Barak, cf. "Barak severs ties with hesder yeshiva", Matthew Wagner and Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post, 13 December 2009.
  30. ^ "Barak severs ties with hesder yeshiva", op. cit. Cf. "National Camp Enraged by Barak's Decision to Oust Har Bracha", Avi Yellin, Israel National News, 14 December 2009.
  31. ^ Nathan Lewin, "Is there free speech in the military?", Jerusalem Post, 27 October 2009.
  32. ^ [2]
  33. ^ [3]
  34. ^ Grazina Miniotaite. "Civil Disobedience: Justice Against Legality". 
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ Michelle Nichols, "Gore urges civil disobedience to stop coal plants", Reuters (Sep 24, 2008)
  38. ^

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

For the essay by Henry David Thoreau, see Civil Disobedience (Thoreau).

Civil disobedience encompasses the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government or of an occupying power without resorting to physical violence.



  • Non-violent resistance implies the very opposite of weakness. Defiance combined with non-retaliatory acceptance of repression from one's opponents is active, not passive. It requires strength, and there is nothing automatic or intuitive about the resoluteness required for using non-violent methods in political struggle and the quest for Truth.
  • The defiance of established authority, religious and secular, social and political, as a world-wide phenomenon may well one day be accounted the outstanding event of the last decade.
    • Hannah Arendt, "Civil Disobedience", Crisis of the Republic, (1972)
  • Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison...the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor.
  • Civil disobedience is a lever which can move the world by using peace as a fulcrum.
  • "Live for free or die hard!"
    • Aaron Harrison
  • Civil disobedience is still disobedience.


See also

External Links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

in 1955. She became famous for refusing to obey set regulations. Her individual action of civil disobedience started the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which is one of the largest movements against racial segregation. In addition, this launched Martin Luther King, Jr., who was involved with the boycott, to prominence in the civil rights movement.]]

Civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government, or of an occupying power, without resorting to physical violence. It is one of the primary tactics of nonviolent resistance.

The American author Henry David Thoreau pioneered the modern theory behind this practice in his 1849 essay Civil Disobedience, originally titled "Resistance to Civil Government".

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (also known as Mahatma Gandhi) used non-violent civil disobedience in South Africa in a campaign for civil rights for the people who came from India and lived in South Africa. This campaign was from 1893-1914. When Gandhi returned to India, he used civil disobedience in the campaign for the independence of India from the British rule.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and young activists in the American civil rights movement of the 1960s also adopted civil disobedience techniques, during and after the Vietnam War.

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