Slow Knowledge

civil disobedience

The concept of civil disobedience was concieved by American writer Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862). According to him, it is the individual’s right and duty to resist – if a government deviates morally, and alters laws in its own favour or becomes socially unjust –, and to guide the way using non-violent tools, in case the authority does not take acts of legal protest (such as petitions and legal procedures) into account.

Indian politician Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) shared similar thoughts, referring to passive resistance as our innate right. The tools of civil disobedience – such as unauthorised protests, sit-down strikes, roadblocks, squatting buildings and areas, or disruption of events at administrative or governmental institutions – are also used by numerous activist groups that aim at lessening the ecological crisis. These groups include: Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, Fridays for Future and the Sunrise Movement among others.