Civil resistance is an action that relies on the use of non-violent resistance by civil groups to challenge a particular power, force, policy or regime. The direct opposite of this is “armed resistance,” where guns and weapons are employed to achieve the same objective. The latter, of course, results in violence and chaos.
Those who employ violent resistance to achieve their objectives have put up many arguments to justify their actions. Although some might sound convincing, other people completely oppose it.
Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, Erica Chenoweth, has given a powerful speech at the Technology Entertainment and Design (TED) conference, outlining why non-violent (civil) resistance is the best option for citizens to adopt to fight oppression.
Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan had already made their arguments in their book, “Why Civil Resistance Works,” that campaigns of non-violent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts in achieving their stated goals.
The co-authors stated that non-violent resistance attracts unparalleled support from other citizens, and that those citizens are more likely to engage in acts such as protests, boycotts, civil disobedience and other forms of non-violent, non-cooperation. Their efforts then help to separate oppressive regimes from their main sources of power and produce remarkable results. Iran, Burma, the Philippines and the Palestinian territories are the countries cited.