Civil resistance

Civil resistance is political action that relies on the use of nonviolent resistance by civil groups to challenge a particular power, force, policy or regime.[1] Civil resistance operates through appeals to the adversary, pressure and coercion: it can involve systematic attempts to undermine the adversary's sources of power, both domestic and international. Forms of action have included demonstrations, vigils and petitions; strikes, go-slows, boycotts and emigration movements; and sit-ins, occupations, and the creation of parallel institutions of government. Civil resistance movements' motivations for avoiding violence are generally related to context, including a society's values and its experience of war and violence, rather than to any absolute ethical principle. Cases of civil resistance can be found throughout history and in many modern struggles, against both tyrannical rulers and democratically elected governments.[2] The phenomenon of civil resistance is often associated with the advancement of democracy.[3]

Historical examples

Civil resistance is a long-standing and widespread phenomenon in human history. Several works on civil resistance adopt a historical approach to the analysis of the subject.[4] Cases of civil resistance, both successful and unsuccessful, include:

Egypt, 25 January 2011: marchers in Cairo with ‘OUT’ signs on the 'Day of Anger' against President Mubarak. On 11 February he left office.

Numerous other campaigns, both successful and unsuccessful, could be included in a longer listing. In 1967 Gene Sharp produced a list of 84 cases.[5] He followed this with further surveys.[6] In 2013 Maciej Bartkowski authored a long list of cases in the past 200 years, arranged alphabetically by country.[7]