activism

40 methods of non-violent protest

Iceland’s ‘kitchenware revolution’, where crowds banged their pots and pans outside parliament

Last week I read How to Change the World by John Paul Flintoff, which I will review shortly. One of the themes of the book is non-violent protest, and at the back is an appendix that lists 198 different forms that it can take. When we think of protest, we probably think of marches, petitions and strikes, but there are dozens of other protest actions.

This list was compiled by Gene Sharp, an expert in non-violent struggle. It was collected over the years, observing current affairs and history, so each of the methods on the list has been used somewhere in the world. You can browse it in full at the Albert Einstein Institution website, but I thought I would just list 40 as a sample of the diverse and vibrant world of peaceful protest.

  1. Declarations by organizations and institutions
  2. Group or mass petitions
  3. Slogans, caricatures, and symbols
  4. Banners, posters, and displayed communications
  5. Skywriting and earthwriting
  6. Mock awards
  7. Prayer and worship
  8. Protest disrobings
  9. Destruction of own property
  10. Symbolic lights
  11. Rude gestures
  12. Vigils
  13. Singing
  14. Walk-outs
  15. Silence
  16. Renouncing honors
  17. Turning one’s back
  18. Stay-at-home
  19. Total personal noncooperation
  20. Collective disappearance
  21. consumers’ boycott
  22. Withdrawal of bank deposits
  23. Refusal to pay debts or interest
  24. Protest strike
  25. Working-to-rule strike
  26. Reporting “sick” (sick-in)
  27. Boycott of elections
  28. Reluctant and slow compliance
  29. Sitdown
  30. The fast
  31. Sit-in
  32. Nonviolent occupation
  33. Guerrilla theater
  34. Nonviolent land seizure
  35. Politically motivated counterfeiting
  36. Preclusive purchasing
  37. Alternative markets
  38. Alternative economic institutions
  39. Overloading of administrative systems
  40. Seeking imprisonment

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