Mock funerals are used to symbolically show that certain ideals and principles have met with certain death due to the way things are currently going in a society. They can also be used to suggest that there is a danger to human life if certain policies are put into place. A means of protest, mock funerals were used successfully in early American History in the colonial days.
Used in 1765, early American colonists protested the new Stamp Act that had been put in place. The Stamp Act required that anyone using paper for the purposes of creating legal documents, newspapers and other publications buy a special kind of stamped paper for their use. Paying to use that paper was a way that the government was levying a new tax on the colonists. This extra tax was protested not so much for monetary reasons, as for the principle of it. Thinking that if this tax went through without opposition, that certainly more taxes were to follow, mock funerals were staged to protest the death of freedom from taxation.
Taxes that were proposed on commerce were also protested in this way. These taxes were viewed as a way to try to control and regulate commerce, rather than a way simply to raise additional money. If this was allowed to happen, surely more taxes would follow. This was a part of the taxation without representation protest movement, and it proved to be quite successful.
Today, mock funerals are used not only as vehicles of protest, but to teach as well. In some places, mock funerals are used to raise awareness of teenage drunk driving. Citing that a teenager is killed every 15 minutes, mock funerals are held to bring home the point to teenagers that drinking and driving among teens are lethal activities with very real tragic consequences.
As a very effective protest mechanism, mock funerals were also recently used in Russia to protest Constitution Day. Symbolizing parts of the constitution that are currently dead, it was meant to be a protest of the celebration of Constitution Day by the government of Russia.
Mock funerals have in the past been and continue to be a very effective form of nonviolent protest. They can be a very graphic and symbolic way to show that certain principles either have died or are on the way to certain death if they are adopted by that society.
Continue reading the 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action.