The term passive resistance is a form of non-cooperation that is sometimes used imprecisely as a synonym for nonviolent resistance. It means resistance by inertia or refusal to comply, as opposed to resistance by active means such as protest or risking arrest. Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi at Parihaka were early, modern, passive-resistance organisers whose story is well documented in New Zealand literature.
Satyagraha is a form of resistance developed by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi—popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi—which emphasizes the search for truth and attempts to change the heart as well as the actions of the opponent.
Many movements which promote philosophies of nonviolence or pacifism have pragmatically adopted the methods of nonviolent action as an effective way to achieve social or political goals. They employ nonviolent resistance tactics such as: information warfare, picketing, vigiling, leafletting, protest art, protest music and poetry, community education and consciousness raising, lobbying, tax resistance, boycotts or sanctions, legal/diplomatic wrestling, sabotage of weapons, underground railroads, principled refusal of awards/honours, and general strikes.
On 1 August 1834, at an address by the Governor at Government House about the new laws, an unarmed group of mainly elderly negroes began chanting: Pas de six ans. Point de six ans ("Not six years. No six years"), drowning out the voice of the Governor. Peaceful protests continued until the passing of a resolution to abolish apprenticeship and the achievement of de facto freedom. The authorities finally legally granted full emancipation for all - ahead of schedule - on 1 August 1838.
The event is considered to be one of the earliest successful implementations of non-violent civil disobedience in the world.
The story of nonviolent resistance in colonial India is synonymous with the story of the Non-Cooperation Movement and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi). Besides bringing about Independence, Gandhi's nonviolence also helped to improve the status of Untouchables in Indian religion and society. In the conflicts that ensued from Independence and Partition, Gandhi is credited with keeping Calcutta and the whole eastern border of India peaceful.
The African-American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s primarily used the tactics of nonviolent resistance, such as bus boycotts, freedom rides, sit-ins and mass demonstrations, in order to abolish racial discrimination against African Americans. This movement had some amazing success in bringing about legislative changes during this time making separate seats and drinking fountains, and schools for African Americans illegal. The success is slowly achieved as the media moves away from the presentation that protesters are troublemakers and begins to portray them as civil-right activists.
The Chicano Movement of the 1960s, also called the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, and El Movimiento, is an extension of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement which began in the 1940s with the stated goal of achieving "social liberation" and Mexican American empowerment. In the 1960s Cesar Chavez organized a campaign of nonviolence to protest the treatment of farms workers in California. These three leaders proved that people can bring about social change without using violence. As Chavez once explained, "Nonviolence is not inaction. It is not for the timid or the weak. It is hard work, It is the patience to win."
However, as indicated above, the failure of this peaceful movement led to the adoption of more violent tactics.There was this symbolic act of resistance when Palestinians tried to leave the port of Jaffa on a ship and were prevented by the British. For the following decade, from 1919 to 1929, Palestinians at every level of society entered into the economic and political life of the British Mandate and tried to influence its policies in many ways and mostly non-violently. However, the appointment of a Zionist Jew (Samuel Herbert) to lead the mandate forces occupying Palestine also led to widespread resistance in many forms (mostly violent).
Bil'in is located 4 kilometers east of the Green Line, near the Israeli West Bank separation barrier. The barrier separates the village from 60 percent of its farming land. A new neighborhood of Modi'in Illit, an Israeli settlement inside the green line, is being constructed on part of this land. The settlements around Bil'in are said to be funded by Israeli businessmen Lev Leviev and Shaya Boymelgreen who are thereby promoting their political and economic interests. .
Since January 2005, the village has been organizing weekly protests against the construction of the barrier. The protests have attracted media attention and the participation of left-wing groups such as Gush Shalom, Anarchists Against the Wall, Ta'ayush and the International Solidarity Movement. The protests take the form of marches from the village to the site the barrier with the aim of halting construction and dismantling already constructed portions. The protests often end in stone-throwing and rioting in which both protesters and soldiers have been injured. In July 2005, activists entered a metal box placed on the route of the barrier, halting its construction for a short time.
Serious clashes between protesters and Israeli forces took place in September 2005 and March 2006. Solidarity conferences were held in the village in February 2006 and April 2007.
Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Corrigan, who won the prize in 1976 for her work in the Northern Ireland dispute, was hit in the leg by a rubber coated steel bullet and reportedly inhaled large quantities of teargas.
The "Barrier" that Israel is presently constructing within the Palestinian territory was held by the International court to be contrary to international law by the International Court of Justice on 9 July 2004. The International Court held that Israel is under an obligation to discontinue building the Wall and to dismantle it forthwith. In its Advisory Opinion, the Court dismissed a number of legal arguments raised by Israel relating to the applicability of humanitarian law and human rights law. In particular the International court held that Israeli settlements were unlawful. A week before the International Court of Justice gave its Advisory Opinion, the High Court of Israel gave a ruling on a 40-kilometre strip of the Wall in which it held that, while Israel as the Occupying Power had the right to construct the Wall to ensure security and that substantial sections of the Wall imposed undue hardships on Palestinians and had to be re-routed. From the "The Beit Sourik Case (HCJ 2056/04)" of 30 June 2004 the standards of proportionality between Israeli security and the injury to the Palestinian residents was set by the judgment of the Supreme Court of Israel. The Israeli Government then announced that it will not comply with the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice. The Israeli Government has indicated that it will abide by the ruling of its own High Court in respect of sections of the Wall still to be built but not in respect of completed sections of the Wall. On September 4, 2007, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the government to redraw the path of the wall because the current route was deemed "highly prejudicial" to the villagers of Bil'in. Chief Justice Dorit Beinish wrote in the ruling, "We were not convinced that it is necessary for security-military reasons to retain the current route that passes on Bilin’s lands." The case was filed two years ago by the local council leader of Bilin, Ahmed Issa Abdullah Yassin, who hired Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard to argue the case. The Israeli Defence Ministry says it will respect the ruling. On September 5, 2007, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled to legalize the Israeli settlement of Mattiyahu East, built on a disputed portion of Bil'in's land to the west of the wall,. The village of Bil'in has vowed to continue its nonviolent resistance against the wall and settlements on its land, and offered support to other villages facing similar problems.
On June 6, 2008, European Parliament vice-president Luisa Morgantini was injured at a protest in Bil'in.
In Israel, protesters against Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004 used nonviolent resistance against the impending evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and some settlements in the West Bank. On May 16, 2005, protesters blocked many traffic intersections at 5:00pm, leading to massive traffic jams and delays throughout the country. Although the police had received advance notification of the action, they had much difficulty in opening the intersections to vehicles, eventually arresting over 400 protesters, many of them juveniles. Organizers of the protests regarded this deed only as an opening volley, with the large protests planned to begin when the Israeli authorities cut off entry into the Gaza Strip in preparation of the disengagement. In the event, large-scale civil disobedience did not occur in Israel proper, although some settlers and their supporters resisted the evacuation non-violently.
On the industrial front, Danish workers subtly slowed all production that might feed the German war machine, sometimes to a perfect standstill. On the cultural front, Danes engaged in symbolic defiance by organizing mass celebrations of their own history and traditions.
On the legislative front, the Danish government insisted that since they officially co-operated with Germany, they had an ally's right to negotiate with Germany, and then proceeded to create bureaucratic quagmires which stalled or blocked German orders without having to refuse them outright. Danish authorities also proved conveniently inept at controlling the underground Danish resistance press, which at one point reached circulation numbers equivalent to the entire adult population.
The Danish government also gave room (and even secret assistance) to underground groups involved in sabotage of machinery and railway lines needed to extract Danish resources or to supply the Wehrmacht. Some may argue that the classification of this kind of resistance as "nonviolent" remains debatable, but there is a strong case also to be made for the theory that it is nonviolent to save life by destroying inanimate material that is itself about to be used to destroy human life.
Even after the official dissolution of their government, the Danes managed to block German goals without resorting to bloodshed. Underground groups smuggled over 7000 of Denmark's 8000 Jews temporarily into Sweden, at great personal risk. Workers (and even entire cities like Copenhagen) went on mass strikes, refusing to work for the occupier's benefit on the occupier's terms. After an initial response of greatly increased repression, the war-distracted Germans abandoned strike-breaking efforts in exasperation.
The Danish resistance against the Nazis proved highly effective, but it raises characteristic questions about the efficacy of nonviolence. The Danes clearly lost very few lives, while annoying and draining their foreign occupiers. But some people wonder whether the Danish strategy might not have failed abysmally if applied in other countries occupied by Germany and where German forces ruled through naked terror.
It almost certainly would have proved a more painful strategy for Denmark in such a circumstance (as in the case of the successful but agonizing nonviolent resistance to apartheid in South Africa), but as in the case of the Gandhian solution of perfect global surrender to the Nazis followed by perfect global non-cooperation with them, many questions of efficacy remain in the realm of the hypothetical. And due to the decentralized and various nature of nonviolent advocacy, questions about possible compatibility with violent resistance, or even about precise definitions of "nonviolent tactics" have no categorical answers.
Even in Berlin, capital of the Third Reich, Nonviolent Resistance was effectively used to save Jewish lives. In 1943, Frau Israel and other non-Jewish ("Aryan") women protested against the deportation of their Jewish husbands to Auschwitz. The women were in real danger of being massacred themselves. At one point, the SS set up machine guns on Rose Street where the protest was held. In the end, however, the deportations were halted, and some men came back from Auschwitz with their numbers tattooed on their arms. The Nazis planned to exterminate both the Jewish men and their non-Jewish wives after the end of the War, but this was prevented by the victory of the Allies.
The Confessional Church (Bekennende Kirche) was a Christian resistance movement in Nazi Germany.
In 1972 the farmers' struggle attracted worldwide media coverage when they brought 60 sheep to graze on the lawn under the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The issue became a famous cause among many groups, from ecologists to conscientious objectors, and in 1973 100,000 people attended a demonstration in Paris in support of the farmers of Larzac.
see also: José Bové
During the Irish War of Independence, 1919-1921 and the recent Troubles in Northern Ireland, nationalists used many non-violent means to resist British rule. Amongst these was abstention from the British parliament, setting up a local government, tax boycotts, setting up a local court system and a local police force. However, the efficacy of these acts is unknown since they occurred in tandem with violent resistance.