The Mechanics of Positive Action Campaigns

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Civil disobedience is not our problem.  Our problem is civil obedience.

Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience...

Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty.  Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running and robbing the country.  That's our problem."  

 

  - Howard Zinn

Philosophies of Civil Disobedience

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TRANSACTIONAL

•Strictly a tactic

 

TRANSITIONAL

•A broader strategy

•Can launch & build a movement

•Means to build power, not just win a campaign

 

TRANSFORMATIVE

•Function of a broader philosophy of non-violence

•Can transform people's lives

What is Civil Disobedience? 

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•Directly addresses a social, environmental, or political injustice;

 

•Serves as a symbolic punctuation;

 

•an escalation in tactics within the framework of a larger campaign;

 

•Helps achieve objectives when other methods fail;

 

•INTENTIONALLY BREAKS AN IMMORAL LAW;

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POLITICAL VOICE

Expression · Discussion

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PETITION

Sign petition  · Write official · Letter to the editor

POLITICAL VOICE

Expression · Discussion

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PROTEST

 Rally  · Protest · Signs & chanting

PETITION

Sign petition  · Write official · Letter to the editor

POLITICAL VOICE

Expression · Discussion

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PROTEST

 Rally  · Protest · Signs & chanting

PETITION

Sign petition  · Write official · Letter to the editor

POLITICAL VOICE

Expression · Discussion

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DIRECT ACTION

More confrontational  · Disruptive · Can include illegal acts

PROTEST

 Rally  · Protest · Signs & chanting

PETITION

Sign petition  · Write official · Letter to the editor

POLITICAL VOICE

Expression · Discussion

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CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

Intentionally breaking the law(s) with which one has moral opposition

DIRECT ACTION

More confrontational  · Disruptive · Can include illegal acts

PROTEST

 Rally  · Protest · Signs & chanting

PETITION

Sign petition  · Write official · Letter to the editor

POLITICAL VOICE

Expression · Discussion

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POSITIVE ACTION

Implementing "laws" with which one has moral obligations towards

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

Intentionally breaking the law(s) with which one has moral opposition

DIRECT ACTION

More confrontational  · Disruptive · Can include illegal acts

PROTEST

 Rally  · Protest · Signs & chanting

PETITION

Sign petition  · Write official · Letter to the editor

POLITICAL VOICE

Expression · Discussion

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•Moral Opposition to law, policy or practice

 

•Necessity or last resort

 

•Public support

 

•Organizational capacity

 

•Proportionality & issue at stake

 

•Moment in history

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•Re-imagines the society (or function) and puts that vision into practice

 

•Implements a "Moral Law" even if that implementation is illegal

 

•Not just Civil Disobedience, but Moral Obedience

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Civil Disobedience

Intentionally breaking an immoral law;

Drinking out of a "whites only" fountain

 

Positive Action

Implementing a moral mandate

Moving a homeless family into a 

vacant foreclosed home, 

in the middle of a housing crisis