Deputations are a non violent way for individuals to express their opinions in the political realm. A select group of people are elected to be delegates to represent a larger population. They are expected to represent the interests of their constituents, not have agendas of their own. When deputations are used, it is a democratic method that is chosen by the people, for the people. While there are many approaches that can be taken to be an impetus to change, deputations are a peaceful and reasonable method. They can be formed for many purposes such as to discuss budget discussions at a local council, present a presentation concerning an industry that is poised to enter a community, or to express discontent about the current state of government.
For example, in the United States, middle class and poor Americans have been protesting in a passive “Occupy America” campaign in which they are camping out around the capitals of numerous large cities, making a statement about the ever-growing gap between the wealthy and the working class. In addition, many members of these groups are seeking time to speak at legislative meetings. In spirit, they form deputations that represent the rest of the population of the United States with similar problems.
Deputations are a common practice throughout Europe as individuals and special interest groups seek time to present pertinent information at council meetings. There is a process in which deputations are generally approved by the council and must be related to items on the agenda to be discussed. However, if the need is pressing and the group can argue their case, they may be given permission to speak on unrelated matters.
Deputations are a means of providing people with a voice and forum to express areas of concern. It is important to recognize the impact such groups can have on a society. By allowing groups of people to represent themselves and the concerns of the whole, it proves that the populace matters as well as their opinions. Deputations show that each group has value and that no single view takes precedence over another. With carefully devised arguments and facts, deputation groups can make a difference in the turn of events. It is an admirable method of expression that can pave the way to many improvements. Even if there are not positive results, it still recognizes the necessity for fair representation of all views.
Continue reading the 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action.