INTRODUCTION TO CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE; ECONOMIC DISOBEDIENCE AND INTEGRAL DISOBEDIENCE
“When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.”
“As soon as someone realizes that obey unjust laws is contrary to the dignity of man, no tyranny can dominate.” Gandhi
WHAT IS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE?
We understand civil disobedience as a public practice, nonviolent, conscious and political, contrary to a law or order of authority which is considered as unjust or illegitimate from the concerned civil society, in order to invalidate the law or order and inaugurate a new law in which those social and civil rights, that the law denies, are recognized. When, like in the Spanish State, forms of political expression is limited to institutional channels and to vote every four years, with no direct mechanisms for participation and consultation, civil disobedience becomes an essential tool to expose and express the rejection of a policy or unjust law.
1. In general, it is exercised by aware individuals who are committed to society. This is what Hannah Arendt called qualitatively significant minorities, which leads them to be as active as criticism of certain political decisions that have become law. The effort made by those who exercise civil disobedience is so intense and of such a nature that goes beyond the traditional channels of formation and execution of political will. Citizens who practice civil disobedience are able to imagine a better social order and in construction civil disobedience becomes a useful and necessary procedure.
2. It’s understood that the behavior of these people is not motivated by selfishness but by the desire to universalize proposals objectively to improve life in society. This condition doesn’t deny that sometimes personal or corporate interests can coincident with general interests. It imply that it would be impossible to consolidate a movement of civil disobedience if it’s only limited to the defence of particular interests.
3. Consequently, citizens who are practicing this feel consistent between their thinking and doing. For them, civil disobedience is more a civic duty. It is a demand that comes from certain convictions from which point it’s possible to attribute an objective and a constructive value.
4. Therefore, it is easy to see that the practice of civil disobedience must be public, which also contributes to the aim of its practitioners to convince the rest of the citizens about the justice of their demands.
The reflection of civil disobedience in a political system as the democratic one, must necessarily from the fact that this is an illegal activity that violates valid and enforceable legal standards -although they may be morally and legally committed reprobables- in order to make a social change. In this sense, civil disobedience not only violates legal standards, but beyond those, both legal and political, that in a democratic system exist for the production of changing laws or government policies, that is, standing out of the ordinary channels which sustains this political system.
For any act or process of public opposition to a law or policy adopted by an established government, the author must be aware that his/her actions are illegal or have a questionable legality, and has to be carried out and maintained to achieve specific social purposes.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.
Between 1846 and 1848 there was a war between the US and Mexico. In 1846, at the beginning of the conflict, Thoreau announced its refusal to pay taxes for two specific reasons: he opposed funding the military conflict and was not willing to contribute financially to the maintenance of a government that was legal considering slavery in the United United.
“It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would cost me to obey. I feel as if it were worth less in this case. […] There are unjust laws we, then, settle obey? Should we try to amend them, and obey them until we got that first goal? Or, on the contrary, we transgress them at once? “
“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison”
Gandhi campaigns of civil disobedience were a form of protest that consisted deny obedience to certain laws; ie they opposed to comply with them when they were considered unfair or illegitimate. This form of nonviolent struggle had to publicly demonstrate the injustice of British colonial laws.
Their struggle for liberation of India was based on the right of resistance, which acquired collectively, publicly and peacefully. When members of the Congress Party were arrested, they did not recognize the right of the English courts to judge. The movement of non-cooperation with the British authorities included the resignation from their posts by the Indian officials. Other historical examples of actions of disobedience or resistance to the law, they may be unable to meet the obligation of military service, deserting in exceptional circumstances (as with young Americans during the Vietnam War) or, in the case of blacks in the US, sitting in a public place forbidden for people of color.
DISOBEDIENCE NOW BECOME INTEGRAL
As we live this new world we are building must take into account the interference causing the attempts of coercion and assimilation of states without focus all our attention and intention. Perhaps the most revolutionary act would dispense with all of them and let the masters without slaves, but because the power will not dispense with us, we can not do anything different that disobey; nd then we are attacked by the normality with we disobey authority, whether judicial, health, intellectual, cultural, economic or political.
That’s why we opted for the Integral disobedience as a necessary condition to continue building.
To facilitate the understanding of this term, we will introduce the concept of “social contract”. The social contract is a philosophical and political concept that links an individual to a social system. This contract really is not so, because we’ve never had legal option of choosing not to sign.
Thus, the Integral disobedience involves breaking the supposed social contract with the state of the territory where they live, to make a new social contract with a community in which the individual is actually being linked.
In the context of the emerging new Integral Revolution reference communities where people can go to be welcomed and participate actively in the process of defining rights and inherent to this social contract that makes possible to live in society participating of the duties. A self-managed rural community, an autonomous region or am integral cooperative would be three examples of these new institutions that choose to do this new social contract. Instead of delegating sovereignty deposit in an alleged parliamentary democracy, we participate directly in decisions through a true assembly-based democracy. Passing an implicit contract that really have not signed to an explicit contract, we are making a leap of empowerment to live in society becomes also live in freedom. In this context, we can also choose to be part simultaneously in several communities among which we distribute our participation and commitment; from the more experiential and small, to the more structured and wide, many of which can be complemented because none is totalitarian, as if it is the state, and therefore any not attempt to control all aspects of the individual but only bring you those areas in which each person choose to link.
Local assemblies, trying to become more prefigurative assemblies, self-managed spaces to meet community needs and the integral cooperatives which are becoming a reality day by day, are some of the examples of Integral Revolution, much more worthy examples take over popular sovereignty of people participating daily in politics since the asamblearian movements than the supposedly democratic institutions of a state, kidnapped by the real top down power.
When we make Integral disobedience, we are removing the legitimacy of the capitalist state system, and providing our appearance of legitimacy to a new system involvement.