Civil Disobedience .
What is civil disobedience? The dictionary defines it as a refusal to obey governmental demands especially as a nonviolent and usually collective means of forcing concessions from the government. Civil disobedience is something millions of people around the world have used to make changes to an unjust system. In the 1920's Mohandas Gandhi organized and led a huge campaign to free India from British rule. His only weapon was civil disobedience. .
Disobedience is a refusal to obey. When people practice civil disobedience, laws are often broken and boundaries are crossed. Action is taken to bring about a change. But there is more to civil disobedience then that. The action taken must be under control. As soon as a crowd becomes unruly and disorganized or violent in any way, the action ceases to be civil.
There are many forms of civil disobedience. During the time of British occupation of America, revolutionaries used tea and tax boycotts to mobilize citizens to their cause. In the late 1800's, women used silent vigils, mass demonstrations and hunger strikes to acquire the right to vote. Labor organizations have used civil disobedience to receive benefits on many occasions. From 1935-1937 the Congress of Industrial Organizations organized sit down strikes in auto factories involving 400,000 people. In the early 60's blacks fought for their rights with sit-ins, freedom rides, jail-ins, and the famous 1963 march on Washington. During the 60's and 70's people used draft card burnings, draft file destruction, sit-ins, mass demonstrations, blocking traffic, and blocking induction centers to protest the Vietnam war.
Civil disobedience has made many changes, but Gandhi's struggle may have been the greatest of them all. It was not without sacrifice and pain that Gandhi and the Indian people managed to obtain their freedom but through it all Gandhi stuck to his principles and kept violence to a minimum.