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I personally despise Pajamas Media for their treatment of Ron Paul during the campaign, and all the BS about their online presidential poll, but this was too good not to repost.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Civil disobedience (disambiguation).
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi A figure known worldwide for advocating non-violent civil disobedience
Civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government, or of an occupying power, without resorting to physical violence. It is one of the primary tactics of nonviolent resistance. In its most nonviolent form (in India, known as ahimsa or satyagraha) it could be said that it is compassion in the form of respectful disagreement.
One of its earliest massive implementations was brought about by Egyptians against the British occupation in the nonviolent 1919 Revolution. Civil disobedience is one of the many ways people have rebelled against unfair laws. It has been used in many well-documented nonviolent resistance movements in India (Gandhi's campaigns for independence from the British Empire), in Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution and in East Germany to oust their communist dictatorships, in South Africa in the fight against apartheid, in the American Civil Rights Movement, in the Singing Revolution to bring independence to the Baltic countries from the Soviet Union, and recently in the 2004 Orange Revolution and 2005 Rose Revolution, among other various movements worldwide.
The American author Henry David Thoreau pioneered the modern theory behind this practice in his 1849 essay Civil Disobedience, originally titled "Resistance to Civil Government". The driving idea behind the essay was that of self-reliance, and also how one is in morally good standing as long as one can "get off another man's back"; so one does not necessarily have to physically fight the government, but one must not support it or have it support one (if one is against it). This essay has had a wide influence on many later practitioners of civil disobedience. In the essay, Thoreau explained his reasons for having refused to pay taxes as an act of protest against slavery and against the Mexican-American War.
"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward."
— Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn