Social disobedience, in its truest sense, is a means by which an individual or group may shun the coagulation of social groups, in order to protest a specific idea or ideal.
Throughout history, persecuted and demonized individuals and groups used social disobedience as a means to protest their accusers’ vitreous declarations and actions. Religious groups, suffragists, feminists, groups of race and those of the “alternative lifestyle” have all used the process of social disobedience to further their cause and gain acceptance in the new age of man.
In Henry David Thoreau’s novel On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849), he states that an individual who grants power to those above him, politically, must follow his or her conscience and be willing to oppose any unjust laws or ideals which are brought forth. In the modern world, this idea is not without growing merit.
Though it can be as simple as refusing to join a church, labor union or “acceptable” cooperative, or as severe as purposely violating standing law or torte, the choice to resist can be a productive means to a satisfactory end, by way of “non-violently” posing a counter to the imposing will of those in power.
This form of protest is not without harm, however, as history has shown. Beatings, mass arrests, and the elimination of non-violent demonstrators have been important factors in swaying public opinion away from backing those in opposition. Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King and leaders of many other movements throughout time have fallen victim to the violent repercussions of a non-violent protest. Those in power who wish to stay in power often retort with such tactics, especially when their cause seems to be lacking.
It is especially important to be mindful, should you engage in this type of protest, to remain steadfast in the non-violet aspect of its nature, as further incitement of retaliation can and will be employed against you.
Though choosing to participate in a socially disobedient protest has its pros and cons, the method is as effective as any in delivering a message to any targeted establishment or group. In doing so, the end result may be an effective resolution to the intended effort.
Continue reading the 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action.