8-CitzenDisobedience | Nonviolence | Civil Disobedience

Chapter 8: Citizenship and Civil Disobedience

At a meeting of the group on Wednesday 8 May 1996, April Carter gave a presentation on the topic of civil disobedience and notions of citizenship Present at the meeting !ere" Christina Arber, #ricia Allen, April Carter, $o!ard Clar%, &ob 'very, (indis )ercy, Michael *andle, Carol *an%, Andre! *igby, Walter +tein ,otes for a paper from April Carter !ere circulated before the meeting At her suggestion have incorporated some of the points from it into her opening address Note" -n May .//1 April Carter0s boo% The Politics of Global Citizenship !as published by *outledge, (ondon -t e1plores further the ideas set out in this presentation

Presentation - April Carter
April said that the presentation she had prepared came primarily out of academic rather than activists0 concerns -t !as !or% in progress rather than a finished product and she !ould particularly !elcome the response of the group to the notion of !orld citizenship #he purpose of her tal% !as to e1plore ho! civil disobedience could be 2ustified in relation to various perspectives on government and concepts of citizenship )ossible theoretical approaches !ere" an anarchist belief in individual responsibility to society but re2ection of government3 a republican concept of active political participation, and responsibility for the public good3 a liberal concept of civic obligation modified by appeal to individual conscience and universal principles3 or an attempt to realise a model of !orld citizenship #hese approaches suggested different vie!s on !hat methods and styles of civil disobedience are either 2ustifiable or effective As a starting point she !ould loo% briefly at the arguments in #horeau0s 18495classic tract Civil 6isobedience !hich did invo%e an appeal to the individual but also suggested a near anarchist position, some!hat modified by his invo%ing elements of a republican vie! of citizenship dra!n from the American revolutionary tradition +he !ould also raise some 7uestions about the elitist implications of #horeau0s stress on the fe! 2ust men 8or even one 2ust man9, !ho could have a disproportionate impact, and as% if a moral elitism is an issue for contemporary civil disobedience #hat morning0s Guardian had a supplement on the history of protest !ith some interesting articles on the nature of civil disobedience and direct action today #he concept of citizenship cropped up in several of the articles #he global dimension also emerged strongly both in relation to the issues ta%en up and the nature of many protests +he !ould consider both aspects #he Guardian also raised t!o other issues :irst, the causes !hich prompt people to ta%e up civil disobedience 5 such as nuclear !eapons, or environmental concerns +econd, methods and tactics including the 7uestion of !hether it is ever 2ustified and of ho! strictly nonviolence is defined -n many contemporary protests nonviolence !as not defined at all strictly, although there !as a general sense that these !ere peaceful protests &ut there !ere 7uestions about sabotage against property, minor physical violence, secrecy ahead of demonstrations, attitude

although no! usually grounded in a more secular or humanist philosophy )rimarily it seemed to be an argument for individual disobedience and noncooperation Conscientious ob2ectors had often used this %ind of argument -t !as e1tended to various forms of group protest #he 6irect Action Committee Against . to the police and so forth !hich !ere all part of this debate Challenge to .o! it had become a more individualised right both in the >nited +tates and other liberal societies &ut it perhaps made more sense as a group right !here the group held a particular set of beliefs and shared a particular culture rather than as a purely individual claim $er third point about this approach !as that it could become very elitist 5 an argument that my conscience tells me . but in relation to ho! !e understand our form of society and government or our conceptions of citizenship A long standing 2ustification for civil disobedience.ustifications for civil disobedience !ere clearly related to the type of methods used #he more confrontational methods !ere harder to 2ustify from various standpoints Another consideration !as the long5term implications of direct action becoming a standard form of protest !hich others !ould ta%e up #his in turn opened up 7uestions of ho! !e vie!ed our !ider social and political system and ho! !e theorised civil disobedience !ithin that +he mainly !anted to consider 2ustification not in relation to issues or methods.onviolence *egarding the causes !hich 2ustify civil disobedience. to one0s individual sense of right and !rong. in a more religious sense. !as apolitical -t !as an appeal to morals. and therefore .believe this is a crucial issue My conscience !ill not allo! me to countenance this %ind of action. !hether its effectiveness should be measured in terms of some sort of direct victory. at least ta%en by itself. the sort of issues arising !ere !hether civil disobedience !as symbolically appropriate and thus made its point clearly.evertheless it !as debatable !hether it !as a satisfactory basis for 2ustifying civil disobedience -t !as unsatisfactory for a number of reasons :irstly if it !as not based on an appeal to generally agreed principles but to inner conviction it !as highly arbitrary +econdly it presupposed a protestant culture and tradition At a recent conference she had attended she !as interested to learn that in the >nited +tates conscientious ob2ection !as originally a group right rather than an individual right and !as associated !ith ?ua%ers and other dissenting groups -t covered such issues as the right not to serve in the army. !as the appeal to personal conscience <. or ta%ing action against it 0 -n its origins this !as clearly a religious position. or in terms of such things as publicity and changing public opinion .am right and therefore all of you must be !rong if you disagree !ith me -t !as partly a 7uestion of tone here. though of course usually lin%ed to more specific arguments rather than being left dangling as a purely individual claim . there !as the vie! that it should be underta%en only in relation to ma2or social and political issues .. particularly !ithin the pacifist tradition.uclear War in the late 19=/s5early 196/s invo%ed this %ind of language #his argument from conscience. the specific policies you proposed might be contentious #he peace movement !as only too !ell a!are of this after the endless debates about deterrence and unilateralism 'n methods.am !ithholding my support.uclear !eapons !ere clearly such an issue from any standpoint3 the roads issue !as more open to debate &ut even !here you had agreement that the issue !as important. and the right to opt out of various aspects of civil and political life . that you !ere in direct communication !ith @od Alternatively it loo%ed very . the right not to pay ta1es. of ho! you presented the argument &ut the claim from conscience seemed either to imply an elitist claim that you %ne! !hat !as right or.

often e1pressed in . ho!ever. !as also one in !hich one si1th of the population !ere slaves #hat !as one of the %ey issues for him. the liberal and the republican. and !as a!are that the rather small number of people !ho decided to refuse their cooperation or to underta%e various forms of dissident activity could be seen to be either morally very arrogant. or standards of honesty. he !as certainly not advocating that everyone should disobey all the la!s but suggesting one should concentrate on !hat !as really important at that moment -n the language and images #horeau uses. you found in #horeau a number of different images and concepts of the role of the individual and the state #here !as a strong appeal to individual conscience !ith religious overtones in some of the rhetoric Cou also found 7uite an anarchistic strand though it !asn0t 7uite pure anarchism but rather a deep distrust of government #he opening paragraphs loo%ed anarchist but then he bac%trac%ed 7uite a bit (ater there !ere biting comments about voting and elections Dven so. $avel had an interesting analysis of the nature of !hat he calls post5totalitarian society 5 i e societies in places li%e Czechoslova%ia in the 19B/s $e argued that these societies depended on a regime of lies and silent cooperation !ith them. and therefore that anyone !ho stood out !as almost necessarily challenging the system -f you stood out on a small issue li%e 2ust doing your 2ob decently. though she !ould concentrate on the last t!o -f you adopted some %ind of anarchist position this left you much freer in terms of the %ind of protest you made because you did not have the sense of obligation to the constitution and political system implied by a liberal stance or !hat she had labelled a republican stance -t !as instructive to go bac% to $enry 6avid #horeau0s famous essay 5 !hich conveniently had 2ust been republished in paperbac% by )enguin #he conte1t of the essay !as 1849 in America !hich !as by far the most democratic and egalitarian society then e1isting but !hich. this tended to spread out and you started ta%ing stands on other issues and bringing in other people -t became politicised +ome of the arguments about nonviolent resistance !hich also loo%ed at the role of the individual and small group depended on a similar sort of analysis 5 a sense that this %ind of action !ould challenge the !hole system -f you had that %ind of analysis it placed the individual action and gave it political meaning #he problem !as that it !as easier to argue that position convincingly in the conte1t of a post5totalitarian or other highly oppressive system -t !as much harder to demonstrate that individual conscientious protest in a society !hich !as more liberal had those %inds of repercussions and political significance -f one !anted to thin% politically and to argue a case not only in terms of the issues but in terms of the political implications for one0s society. this raised 7uestions about one0s vie!s of society and of !hat constituted a good society +he had set up three models" the anarchist. there !as also a strong republican sense !hich no doubt came from his living in America and inheriting American democratic language and ideas #he emphasis !as on active. the other one being the !ar !ith Me1ico #hese !ere his main grounds for arguing for civil disobedience -n terms of his more general arguments. responsible. courageous citizenship. as #horeau pointed out. or odd or eccentric $avel0s !ay of dealing !ith this !as to e1plore the political implications of such dissent 5 a dissent !hich might be based on individual conscience or on an appeal to an understanding of certain sorts of standards such as standards in the !or%place. or standards about certain %inds of political activity -n The Power of the Powerless particularly.Citizenship and Civil 6isobedience E eccentric3 your vie!s didn0t relate to those of a significant portion of the population #his !as 7uite a common problem for individuals or small groups !ho decided to stand out Aaclav $avel discussed this problem in relation to the Czechoslova% dissidents.

and the authorities !ere to be told in advance !hat you !ere planning to do $e also stressed the importance of adopting a nonviolent attitude to!ards the opponents at every level and of a !illingness to suffer the penalties of the la! :or @andhi. in practice only a fe! people !ould underta%e it $e also made the claim that if a fe! people did so it !ould have enormous repercussions #here !as some splendid rhetoric about this !hich he did not fully 2ustify &ut he did not seem bothered by this sense of the elitism of those !illing to underta%e civil disobedience #urning to a consideration of @andhi. communitarian %ind of politics 'n the other hand he !as a consummate politician and he also. and there !as a rather contemptuous set of references to the <mass of people0 #here !as a strong sense that although civil disobedience should be morally obligatory for all citizens on issues li%e slavery and the Me1ican !ar. and on e1hausting all available legal and constitutional channels before resorting to civil disobedience $e !as also concerned to find the appropriate symbolism and the right %ind of civil disobedience in relation to !hat you !ere opposing $e held to a strict interpretation of nonviolence at least in ho! he conceptualised the campaigns +abotage !as to be avoided. civil disobedience did not imply disrespect for the la! as such but a conviction that the particular la! !as !rong and therefore should be bro%en @andhi0s legal training !as evident in his constitutional concerns and in his general precepts about ho! to conduct civil disobedience . @andhi0s approach !as very different from #horeau0s Whereas #horeau !as saying not to bother !ith all these constitutional channels because there !asn0t the time and they !ere not important. then you had an absolute obligation to resist and not to cooperate +uch a stance !ould not provide a basis for a good deal of contemporary civil disobedience #horeau !as also elitist in his !hole tone and attitude -n appealing to conscience there !as an elitist assumption. @andhi proposed a careful political campaign $e placed a strong emphasis on persuasion rather than coercion. or ta1es !hich maintained the state and supported !ar. April said you certainly found in him the appeal to conscience.onviolence very masculine terms -t !as related to the sense that real citizens are prepared to fight for the good constitution both internally and e1ternally and that this re7uired courage and a sense of public duty -t !as a strong theme. an interesting fact given his religious bac%ground #here !as also 7uite a strong anarchist strand in his distrust of a centralised state and his opposition to various compromise proposals in the E/s !hich !ould permit the Congress )arty to partly ta%e over the reins of po!er #here !as also the claim that 2ust before he died he proposed that the Congress )arty should dissolve itself #his suggested an opposition to party politics and that !hole %ind of parliamentary. li%e!ise conspiracies. for after all you did have another life to lead &ut once the state came do!n on you by re7uiring military service. especially in his earlier !ritings and speeches. stressed the obligation people had to the state they lived in 5 even to the e1tent of arguing that -ndians had a strong obligation to the &ritish Dmpire $ence his decision to recruit -ndians to fight on the &ritish side in the first World War #his seemed to lin% up !ith a republican sense of citizenship even though it might seem an odd !ord to use in this conte1t @andhi also emphasised manliness and courage -n his specific vie!s on ho! one should conduct a civil disobedience campaign. though more implicit than e1plicit #horeau0s 2ustification of civil disobedience !as in a sense a passive interpretation Cou didn0t have to go out and loo% for trouble. centralised government $e clearly loo%ed to!ards a more decentralised.4 Challenge to .

peaceful and nonviolent political means to achieve change 5 hence political meetings. only if it !as strictly nonviolent and in the conte1t of having first tried other means #uring to a consideration of liberalism. 2ustified it very much in these terms. elections and so forth -t also. a more militant claiming of rights. a concept that individuals had a right to claim full citizenship or to deal !ith corruptions in the system #he methods available !ere less strictly defined by that approach and might not totally e1clude violence. or attempt to reform the republic. and supported the toleration of differences (iberals could fairly easily accept the %ind of conscientious ob2ection !e had considered earlier because it fitted in !ith tolerating odd individuals and groups. readiness to defend the republic internally and e1ternally. hatred of tyranny. more militant direct action !hich involved a !ide range of issues and a !ide range of protest actions !as rather harder to fit in !ith a strict conception of liberalism 5 though if it dealt !ith issues of !ide public concern. it presupposed reasoned debate. April said that. or Muslim schoolgirls in :rance recently refused to !ear certain types of headdress (iberal democracies tended to be fairly sympathetic to that %ind of civil disobedience. pride in being a citizen of the republic )atriotism !as usually associated !ith republicanism Dmphasis on civic pride and shared political culture suggested limits to tolerance of dissenting religious or cultural groups -t !ould be difficult to 2ustify disobedience for some %inds of minority rights in republican terms #he patriotic emphasis of republicanism !as unsympathetic to individual conscientious ob2ection but it might be responsive to 2ust !ar arguments and the claims of individuals in other countries to the right to have a free republic +o civil disobedience to promote these principles could be 2ustified Civil disobedience in the republican conte1t !as in some !ays more permissible because there !as a concept of the right of rebellion if your political system !as un2ust and not a true republic. and a respect for people0s beliefs and !ays of life #hus it could encompass the sort of civil disobedience in !hich.ohn *a!ls. seemed 2ustified in a republican setting $o!ever. !hether consciously or as a result of the logic of his o!n position *a!ls argued that civil disobedience may be 2ustified but only if it !as persuasive rather than coercive. ideals. of course. +i%hs refused to !ear motor5cycle helmets. that standpoint did suggest that specific protests should be an integral part of an attempt to reform the !hole political system #hus if you !ere protesting on environmental issues you should also be trying to change the political institutions !hich dealt !ith them so that they !ere more open to popular participation and influence #here !as a strong political component related to improving the system . !as freedom of the citizens rather than freedom of the individual to do !hatever she or he li%ed. although one !ould have to argue in detail the case for using violence in a particular situation -n general.Citizenship and Civil 6isobedience = #his lin%ed up !ith the 2ustification for civil disobedience that !as easiest to defend from a liberal standpoint . the contemporary theorist of liberalism. to oversimplify some!hat. dra!ing on @andhian precepts. only if it !as appealing to the !ider public to thin% again. but they presupposed that people ought to subordinate their individual interests to the good of the republic :reedom. assumed there !ould be limited political activism by the ma2ority of the population !ho !ould vote every fe! years and not get deeply engaged in politics -t stressed individual rights and a large individual sphere !hich should be protected both from the state and ma2ority pressure. it might be seen as tolerable provided it did not become seriously violent -n contrast to the liberal approach. and it could lead to changes in the la! $o!ever. in republican thin%ing. for e1ample. the republican tradition emphasised more active citizenship and a much stronger a!areness about public good amongst members of the society #hese !ere. she thought. loyalty.

though not involved in civil disobedience. and that republican principles !ere universally valid #his international focus !as e1emplified by #om )aine0s moving from Dngland to :rance to America to propagate republican vie!s #he idea of republicans fighting for republican principles in other countries seemed to be totally compatible !ith a republican vie! of the !orld *epublican hatred of tyranny !as also indicative of internationalism. liberals !ere far more inclined to use petitions and the li%e !hen acting internationally rather than to use civil disobedience or direct action #hey might !ell find it harder to 2ustify protesting illegally in someone else0s country. having an international focus. and made universal claims. ho!ever. about !hether trying to create a concept of !orld citizenship advanced the argument much further 'ne strand in thin%ing about !orld citizenship !as clearly associated !ith the peace movement Airginia Woolf0s Three Guineas had the famous statement" < as a !oman . for e1ample. there !as the 7uestion of ho! far liberalism or republicanism could meet the obvious need for an international dimension >p to a point they both could (iberalism !as intrinsically a %ind of universalist position in that it asserted.onviolence *epublicanism. that all human beings had rights -t !as therefore able to 2ustify 7uite a !ide range of protests related to people in other parts of the !orld. also had elitist implications. not 2ust in one0s o!n country (iberalism in pure theory. but in terms of some concept of !orld citizenship &efore pursuing that. or help others to resist.evertheless it !as associated !ith the belief that other countries should be republican too.!ant no country As a !oman .evertheless as a long5term position it implied self5 selection if not conscious elitism 'ne could also thin% in terms of a groups of semi5 professional activists alongside the professional politicians and opposing them in many cases April !ent on to consider the internationalisation of protest.have no country As a !oman . e1cept possibly in the case of some very harsh tyrannies *epublicanism in its historical origins and some of its associations seemed to support patriotism or loyalty to one0s o!n republic as against cosmopolitanism and internationalism. and ran against the notion of activism as elitist #here !ere clearly times both on the national scale in periods of revolution. !as strongly anti5militarist in its general approach Clearly much international action could be seen as a manifestation of liberal principles Amnesty -nternational. therefore. or some mi1 of those. and at local level occasionally. and to this e1tent !as antipathetic to !orld citizenship . and again might suggest a more militant approach to protest 5 a !illingness to ta%e up arms or certainly to resist. seemed almost an archetypal liberal organisation 5 appealing to human rights. !ith fe!er concerns about legality and constitutionalism than liberals !ould have #here !as a 7uestion. as she and Michael had both argued. at least as a long5term conception of ho! individuals should behave.am a citizen of the !hole !orld 0 #hat idea !as very much around in the 19E/s and Woolf used it to rhetorical effect A grave distrust of nationalism and of nation states naturally pushed you to!ards having a %ind of . !hen this militant direct action could be genuinely popular rather than involving 2ust a fe! people . but acting very carefully in terms of procedures and maintaining balance $o!ever she !ould provisionally suggest that although liberalism had a strong internationalist dimension. and !hether a lot of protest could and should be 2ustified not 2ust in national terms. or in terms of liberal or republican concepts.6 Challenge to . direct action and civil disobedience could empo!er people !ho !ere disempo!ered by the political system -t !as a valid point. either as citizens or as protesting citizens )robably very fe! people could meet the e1acting standards demanded by high levels of political participation or protest -n that sense #horeau0s republican elitism might have some 2ustification in terms of !hat !as at all li%ely to happen #here !as also a certain parado1 in that. as opposed to practice in most supposedly liberal states.

particularly the strongly realist model !hich emphasised the e1clusive. la!yer and classicist !ho had been arguing for cosmopolitan citizenship #he Boston Review had published a !hole issue called <)atriotism or CosmopolitanismG0 !hich !as spar%ed off by an essay she had !ritten *ichard :al%. !ere attractive and had a resonance at this time 6id the concept of !orld citizenship have any meaningG #here !as a case both for and against 'ne could argue that the development of international la!. the American @ary 6avis declared himself a !orld citizen.ussbaum. and to thin%ing about the notion of global democracy and global citizenship -n international relations it !as lin%ed to dissatisfaction !ith various models of international society.ils )eter @leditsch from . and Mary Faldor from &ritain !ere both at the Cambridge conference #hus there seemed to be a coming5together of different strands !ith an interest in this idea -n Australia the government itself !as very proud to call itself a good international citizen Whether this !as true !as another matter. burnt his passport. and the establishment of international organisations had created a semi5legal and semi5political set of structures !hich lin%ed states together.period. especially the e1pansion of communications 5 the establishment of a <global village0 as the clichH has it #here !as also the argument that the many problems. or almost e1clusive role of nation states -nterest in !orld citizenship reflected the increasing interconnectedness of the !orld. numerous international governmental organisations and agreements. !ith one foot in the peace movement and one foot in academia. and to an e1tent !ith the strand of liberalism concerned !ith human rights #he concept had been interestingly revived 7uite recently in academic circles in the fields of both political theory and international relations -n political theory it !as related to Fant and his pamphlet Perpetual Peace. and travelled illegally from country to country 5 and he !as still actively promoting this ideal $o!ever. and the gro!th of transnational organisations and movements among peoples -t had been discussed in America by Martha .Citizenship and Civil 6isobedience B allegiance and obligation !hich transcended nation states and an embryonic sense of !orld citizenship -n the post5World War -. the concept of !orld citizenship had roots that !ent bac% to the collapse of the @ree% city5states and to the +toics !ho started thin%ing in terms of being citizens of the !orld rather than 2ust citizens of Athens or +parta or !herever And the concept did tie in !ith notions of natural la! and natural rights. and imposed certain obligations upon them #here !ere also debates about the implications of ne! technology. a very interesting theorist. had for a long time been thin%ing in these terms April had attended a conference in Cambridge about a month previously organised by 6avid $eld !hich !as discussing global democracy and global citizenship -t had obviously become a trendy and live issue #hat raised the 7uestion of !hy +he had also noted that some people prominent in the peace movement for many years had become engaged !ith this topic3 . including obviously environmental problems.or!ay. the signing of various agreements. but it !as interesting that it used that %ind of rhetoric -t !as intended to suggest that as a middle5level country Australia !as trying to promote international agreements and to adhere to them conscientiously -t again suggested that that idea. and that set of concepts. could not be solved on a state by state basis but re7uired action at a global level #his also implied a degree of responsibility for your country0s actions if it !as creating environmental problems some!here else #here had also been a huge increase in the number of transnational people0s organisations and movements suggesting there !as some degree of reality in the notion of !orld citizenship #he argument against this from the <realist0 school of thought !as that although states said they !ould adhere to certain la!s and international agreements !henever their real national interest .

and subse7uently converted the !hole thing into a strategy . but it !as lin%ed to !ider political concepts Why for instance !ould !e have gone to @hana to protest against the :rench nuclear tests in the +ahara had there not been that strong internationalist element in our thin%ingG $o!ard responded that the notion of the individual right of dissent and resistance did not e1ist in all cultures. liberal or republican position. but you could 2ustify your actions in terms of your obligations as a !orld citizen to uphold certain rights or resist certain in2ustices -t might suggest a positive duty almost to participate in international protests !hich brought people of different countries together April concluded. but it !as much more difficult to say precisely !hat that implied World citizenship related very obviously to the debate about civil disobedience if one0s o!n government !as contravening international la!s.uremberg )rinciples to 2ustify civil disobedience against nuclear !eapons 'ne could e1tend that to a !hole range of agreements concerned !ith human rights 5 poverty. by saying that at this point she herself !as very uncertain and !ould !elcome the responses of the group Discussion The appeal to conscience Michael. citing for instance the .onviolence !as at sta%e they ignored them or else pretended to follo! them !hile in practice doing as little as possible -n terms of individuals. there !as still a sense that the individual or the group had the right to act in accordance !ith those beliefs -n the 6irect Action Committee days. agreements or principles #he peace movement had used this argument. too.apanese !ar resisters at the time of the +econd World War !ould rather commit suicide rather than be ob2ectors in the Western sense @enerally. there !as a strong emphasis on the individual conscience. commented that the notion of an appeal to conscience !as not limited to the protestant ethic Cou found the same notion in the Antigone of +ophocles in classical anti7uity. then national boundaries !ere not very important )ragmatic considerations !ould influence !hat you felt should be done. !omen0s rights and so forth 5 and suggest that there !ere specific agreements embodying principles !hich !ere not as yet fully realised in international la! 'ne might also perhaps argue that the claim to be first of all a citizen of the !orld might 2ustify a !ide range of protest actions. ho!ever. the environment. from a republican standpoint -f you did things for yourself as a !orld citizen.8 Challenge to . and in Catholic as !ell as )rotestant thin%ing Moreover. Asian notions of conscience !ere 7uite different -n the current Conscientious 'b2ector movement there !as a tendency to re2ect the idea that the individual conscience !as the %ey element #he cutting edge of a ne! approach !as to be found in the +tate of +pain !here in the first instance they had decided to refuse to ma%e individual declarations of ob2ection but instead to ma%e collective ones. too. the appeal to conscience did not e1ist in isolation and in practice !as inevitably lin%ed to a certain set of beliefs -f you too% the anarchist. though doubtless it !as not confined to the protestant ethic . it !as argued that real political obligations e1isted in relation to your o!n state and could not do so in relation to an embryonic international society #he notion. of a duty to human%ind !as so general and abstract that it really didn0t mean anything -t !as also difficult to envisage !hat in a strict sense !orld citizenship might mean 'ne could argue that there !as a %ind of general moral human duty. including the use of civil disobedience in other parts of the !orld #he latter !ould not be 2ustified by a strict liberal interpretation and not necessarily in all instances.

and !as beginning to happen in the19th century.ations and subse7uently the >nited . Walter continued.Citizenship and Civil 6isobedience 9 April as%ed if the +paniards and some of the Americans. !ith even an incipient organisation Christina commented that transnational agreements could sometimes galvanise people into acting more effectively A recent article by +tern and 6ruc%man raised the 7uestion of !hether the 1989 revolutions had destroyed the discipline of international relations #hey argued that the discipline had been dominated by the realist school of thin%ing. !ere ta%ing their action from a particular political standpoint $o!ard ans!ered that they didn0t necessarily ta%e an anarchist stance though they !ere close to that #he basis for much of their civil disobedience and direct action !as that the state had lost its legitimacy 5 !here for instance it !as destroying your home or your environment #he re2ection of an obligation to a criminal state !as at the heart of a lot of people0s attitudes -t !as only 7uite recently that he had begun to address in his o!n mind the 7uestion !hich Walter often raised about the direct action methods becoming standard social practice Individual Conscience and Universal Values Walter said he !as struc% listening to April that one could thin% of the historical developments almost as an evolution of analytic models +omeone !ho started from a conception purely of private conscience might thin% of himself or herself as acting simply on the model of an inner voice !ithout e1amining !hat that might imply &ut as soon as they came into any %ind of conflict or dispute !ith someone !ho did not share their conscientious vie!. you !ere on the !ay to an appeal to some %ind of universal All the people. as an indisputable thing 5 <#hat0s my vie!0 #his !as becoming 7uite a common phrase. in fact. it !as of relatively academic interest !hether one0s starting point !as republicanism or liberalism -t !as difficult to unscramble the t!o concepts since they seemed so closely related #he crunch came !ith the notion of internationalisation What had happened in our century. !as that the theoretical universals !hich !ere implicit in any form of conscientious action had begun to find incipient institutionalised embodiment. and all the schools of thought. though you !ould be a!are that your protest !ould be totally beyond the comprehension of most of the public at home . and !as a good !ay of closing do!n a discussion Alternatively they might !ant to enter into a discussion !ith the other person As soon as that happened. they !ere faced !ith a dilemma Dither they could simply assert their vie!s. particularly !ith the birth the (eague of .ations +o the universal one !as thin%ing of !as not merely a theory but represented some %ind of ideal society. yet had completely failed to predict the revolutions of 1989 #his !as because it had not ta%en account of certain phenomena. amongst them the normative agreements established by various treaties. April had named !ere in a sense engaged in the process of defining !hat this universal should be and !hat its credentials !ere :rom the point of vie! of current problems concerning the credentials of civil disobedience. notably the $elsin%i Accords !hich enshrined respect for certain basic human rights Citizens or consu ers! $o!ard. spo%e of the %ind of consciousness that resistance to transnational corporations had brought #his !as a conte1t in !hich you might ta%e civil disobedience in this country against one that !as doing things you %ne! !ere harming populations else!here.

some clearly relevant to the peace movement #he term. !as being used rather rhetorically and it !as debatable !hether it !as the best one to use -t had the advantage of being provocative and ma%ing a large claim &ut it did raise 7uestions of !hat it could mean in practice and !hether the notion of citizenship re7uired a set of political institutions. but &ob responded that in terms of civil disobedience and ob2ection to the !orld system it !as potentially important -ncreasingly the !orld no longer comprised a system of states but a system of global domination by capitalism and mar%ets Many of the successful international actions in recent years !ere actions by customers !ho ob2ected to !hat transnational corporations !ere doing #hey !ere acting as customers Dven at Men!ith $ill. ho!ever. !as to substantiate an appeal to standards !hich one0s o!n state might be failing to observe #he 7uestion of legitimacy !as the underlying one in the !hole discussion 5 the legitimacy of direct action of various %inds and in various situations -f you did not hold to a doctrinaire anarchist position. but concerned la!. if the state misbehaved. you presumably accepted that the state !as in some sense a necessary institution in human societies -n traditional @ree% and medieval philosophy the state !as regarded as a natural institution -t !asn0t an arbitrary institution created by a $obbesian %ind of contract. various !orld trends and 7uestions about the future of the nation5state #he other aspect of it !as loo%ing to!ards consolidating democracy )art of 6avid $eld0s argument !as that you could not have democracy in one country Without global underpinning. associated !ith an older generation and the idea of World @overnment +he !as therefore rather surprised !hen April said that it !as no! trendy April said she !as tal%ing mainly about the academic !orld. li%e state communism. restricted the capacity of people to do an honest 2ob of !or% #o some e1tent that altered the discussion around civil disobedience "orld Citizenship as legiti ising direct action Carol said that in )eace +tudies in the 198/s the idea of !orld citizenship had seemed a bit passH. though there !as a peace movement. democracy in one country !as continually eroded #hus there !ere a number of overlapping concerns.onviolence &ob said the concept of citizenship had strengths but all sorts of problems A different concept !hich related nicely to the transnational corporation !as the concept of customer -t !as being introduced all over the place. or e1 peace5 movement. part of the ob2ection !as to industrial and commercial espionage #he rights and obligations of customers !ere li%ely to ta%e on increased significance !ith the spread of mar%ets and the creation of a global economy $o!ard said this tied up !ith April0s reference to $avel and the difference bet!een post5 totalitarianism and liberal democracy What $avel !as saying !ould have found an echo in the West from the late )aul @oodman !ith his ideas of the honest professional !ho !ould be brought into conflict not necessarily !ith the state but !ith organisations of po!er -ncreasingly in liberal democracies !e !ere not going to be tal%ing about the formal democratic structures of po!er but about corporations and shado!y conspiracies Corporate capitalism. obligations and rights !hich certainly didn0t e1ist at the moment Walter said that one purpose the concept of !orld citizenship served. ho! should the citizen respondG #here !ere different !ays in !hich traditionally this 7uestion !as ans!ered !ith reference to . component #here did appear to be a gro!ing interest in the idea and a ne! discussion about !hat it might mean -t !as not about pure !orld government. but had an intrinsic legitimacy #he 7uestion !as.1/ Challenge to . and !e hated it &ut as a !orld concept customer !as in many !ays stronger than citizen +everal people voiced their dissent.

maintaining strict nonviolence #piritual di ension &ob commented that April had virtually removed religion from the discussion in her opening paragraph -f there !as going to be a universal basis. using persuasion not coercion. !as legitimate -f you defined this too loosely. liberal and republican traditions. April said" <#he problem !as identifying a form of political discourse !hich !as genuinely global0 5 a recognition of the fact that there !ere problems about ho! !e represented to ourselves a situation in !hich a radical attac% on the state though e1tra5 constitutional acts of disobedience. or even genocide. had dra!n on anarchist. one element !as surely people0s religious a!areness. !hatever their particular faith @andhi. follo!ing the brea%do!n of a state #here !ere a number of alarming scenarios. especially if you considered not 2ust &ritain but other parts of the !orld $o!ever.onviolent resistance came into the picture !here it !as 2udged that these traditional forms of opposing an oppressive state !ere insufficient.Citizenship and Civil 6isobedience 11 constitutional action . as April had noted. !here an urgent threat to global society !as involved 0 #his !as !here an appeal to !orld citizenship came in. Civil Resistance. &ut he dre! also on the religious element #his !as a universal that could mobilise people and do so globally . $o!ard continued. and therefore some more radical opposition to the state !as legitimate #he problem that advocates of nonviolent action had to face had been touched on by April. the %ind of issues. entrenched in the nation5state system. even if it !as not e1plicit -n her final sentence. !here he said" <#he problems to !hich e1tensive and habitual resort to civil disobedience could give rise are an argument for those committed to democratic self rule to resort to it !ith care and discrimination0 &ut ho! could one define the situations in !hich this e1treme form of action !hich has a tendency to undermine the legitimacy of the state !as 2ustifiedG April0s ans!er !as that it !as 2ustified !here there !as an urgent threat to global society -t !as a difficult test to apply !hen one !anted to %no! !hether a particular issue !as a legitimate occasion for such action &ut at least you had the beginnings of some criteria Carol said that some of those involved in thin%ing about !orld order argued that sooner or later the nation5state !ould !ither a!ay &ut ho! !e !ere to get from !here !e !ere no!. especially in the concluding paragraph of her paper !here she said that such action might have to ta%e <more radical forms than suggested by liberalism. anti5democratic forces to seize po!er $o!ard added that you could also envisage !idespread gang !arfare. to a global system in !hich !e !ould all be identifying the needs of the planet and so forth represented a huge challenge -n some of the e1amples Michael gave you could see ho! undermining the state could be e1tremely destructive in the short term Cou might end up !ith something !orse 'ne danger to !hich he had pointed in the chapter !as that the state might be fatally !ea%ened by e1tensive civil disobedience and thereby provide an opportunity for unscrupulous. @andhi !as !illing to go to e1tremes over a small issue @andhi 2ustified that position not simply in terms of the issue but in terms of a social process $e also laid do!n other criteria such as e1hausting the constitutional channels. on !hich civil disobedience should be underta%en !as not the only consideration At one point in her tal% April had pointed out the importance of the process of decision5ma%ing and the manner in !hich you too% your action As &ob had pointed out on other occasions. you !ould gradually arrive at a culture in !hich the legitimacy of the state had actually been diso!ned Michael addressed the point on page 194 of his boo%.

it !as something given not something you created Cou discovered it and therefore could engage in dispute about it -f you held a different moral 2udgement from someone else you could tal% about it because you both thought there !as an ob2ective moral order. though he hadn0t been a!are of this :or Fant the notion of human rights !as totally inseparable from divinity Although morality !as something !e discovered by reason. even though you might have got it !rong Fant0s !hole philosophy in some !ays focussed on the implications of moral values. and that !as true too of the notion of !orld citizenship April agreed !ith that +he said she !as partly using politics to distinguish bet!een a purely individual religious appeal and a sense of its !ider social implications &ut &ob !as right in saying that she !as not including a sense of the sacred. Challenge to . and the clashes bet!een -slam. believing there !as a universality about religion !hich could be dra!n upon Christina said that often @andhi lin%ed religion and morality 'ur political system as it had evolved !as in part concerned !ith Machiavellian po!er struggles. that politics !as based on morality )olitics. fundamentalist Christianity.1. &uddhism and so forth What struc% her !as not the unifying force of religion but its divisiveness 'ne could say that appeals to human rights and principles !ere a secular version of religion and that !hat they !ere appealing to in some sense !as people0s better nature &ob said that the concept of the sacred !as perhaps another thing one could appeal to #hat !as present in all religions Cou found something a%in to animism also in the ecological movement @andhi !as not concerned !ith any particular faith. had more of a moral underpinning than April0s presentation suggested Walter thought that Christina !as simply using some!hat different language from April0s #he notion of a universal appeal in terms of !orld citizenship !as itself essentially a moral concept #he real opposition !as bet!een almost all forms of political philosophy and the ideas of Machiavelli and figures a%in to him All political philosophies had important ethical elements in them. and for him they !ere inseparable from the idea of a la!giver #he aim of +artre and the D1istentialist movement !as to deny that this !as ho! human values !or%ed. perhaps too strongly. she felt. and this !as true not only of this paper but of her more general thin%ing Andre! said it !as necessary to distinguish bet!een a religious sense and religious organisations !hich he !ould say are state5li%e structures to be transcended along !ith the nation5state #here !as a sense of the divine !hich !as the very basis of global thin%ing Walter said he thought the notion of human rights !as itself inseparable ultimately from religion $uman rights could either be asserted in a purely po!er5political sense Cou pro2ected yourself and claimed a right 5 in the sense that you landed on a territory and claimed a right to it &ut he thought it could be sho!n by analysis that the terms !e normally used in tal%ing about human rights didn0t really ma%e sense !ithout reference to transcendence #his !as possibly !hy Fant !as coming bac%. and to proclaim that these !ere created by human choice -t !asn0t 2ust that human choice selected actions according to certain values !hich it discovered but that the values themselves !ere created by human choice #his !as !hat a . at least since the :rench *evolution #here seemed to be a strong dichotomy in April0s presentation bet!een individual conscience and politics !hereas @andhi insisted. but notions of democracy and the rights of individuals had provided a moral basis for it also.onviolence April agreed that the appeal to a general spiritual sense !as e1tremely important for @andhi &ut !hether one could do that in most Western secular societies !as 7uestionable +ocieties that had adopted a fundamentalist religious stance !ere not very susceptible either to such an appeal -t !as difficult to see ho! it could !or% at a global level given the variety of faiths and sects.

but to criticise the concept as elitist !as entirely !rong . or at any rate principles !ithin that society +he had been tal%ing about !hy one might engage in civil disobedience and ho! one 2ustified it. if it had not got roots some!here. the !orld citizen belonged no!here #hese individual notions and these big concepts associated !ith civil disobedience needed tempering With !orld citizenship. and could be e1tremely po!erful +he !as not arguing against that +he had perhaps been setting up something of a stra! figure3 nevertheless there had been 7uite prevalent assumption in civil disobedience that the appeal to one0s o!n conscience !as a primary 2ustification -t might !ell be that in practice the 2ustification usually !ent beyond that. because of !here it could lead $e agreed that the individual ob2ection or act of civil disobedience that nobody sees should be supported &ut it could lead to e1cessive individualism and partly e1plained !hy so many ob2ectors and individual practitioners of civil disobedience !ere impossible people #here !ere of course times !hen you had no option but to register your individual ob2ection 5 everything in you demanded it &ut !hen you !ere thin%ing about strategies for change you needed to ta%e account of. and !or% !ith. some notion of cultural appropriateness 5 perhaps bio5regionalism 5 you could land up !ith imperialist civil disobedience And individualist civil disobedience could lead to a martyrdom comple1 &ob responded that the absolute determination of an individual !as the %ey thing -f you shied a!ay from that in tal%ing about civil disobedience. not !hether it !as one person or a group $o!ard said he had a real problem !ith !hat &ob !as saying. and certainly !hen one got into discussion one !as almost forced to consider universal principles. other li%e5minded people #his related. and it could have a political impact #he reason !e responded to a lot of civil disobedience !as that it !as an individual action -t !as the strength of that individual and his or her refusal to buc%le that !as at the heart of the action and !as the po!er of the action -t !as the symbol and the identification that generated the leverage April said it !asn0t so much the individual act she had been discussing at the start of her presentation as the formulation of the reasons for ta%ing it 5 !hy one says one is doing it -ndividual civil disobedience could be 2ustified on many grounds. he continued. you lost the essence of it #his he feared !as !hat happened !hen one stopped tal%ing about the individual and also !hen one began to ma%e criticisms about elitism +ome people could be 2ustifiably criticised for elitism.onetheless the po!er !as there.Citizenship and Civil 6isobedience religious outloo% fundamentally denied 1E Christina said it !as running ahead too fast to lin% human rights so directly to religion #he !hole humanist tendency in the present century !as based on a different premise and there !ere many people !ho !ould feel there !ere basic human rights !ithout subscribing to a religious vie! Walter said it !as perfectly possible to tal% about human rights !ithout bringing in religion :or Fant especially you didn0t deduce the notion of morality from a belief in @od3 on the contrary you believed in @od because you believed in morality #ignificance of individual civil disobedience &ob said another point he !anted to raise about April0s presentation !as her tendency to dismiss individual civil disobedience $e !ould defend not only apolitical civil disobedience but individual apolitical civil disobedience #he person engaged in individual civil disobedience by definition couldn0t %no! !hat its outcome !ould be . to the problem he had !ith the !orld citizen idea -n a sense.

had spo%en of the <alienating and disempo!ering force of the modern bureaucratic state 0 -t !as important to be a!are that the state !as constantly gro!ing and encroaching on the individual Civil disobedience !as a process for chec%ing that e1pansion of state po!er Walter said he agreed !ith most of that #he state might misbehave in various !ays including ta%ing some forms of action !hich violated human rights &ut did the state lose its legitimacy as soon as it violated any human right to any e1tentG 'r did it depend on ho! great the violation !as before it opened itself to the sort of radical anti5state activity constituted by civil disobedienceG Michael pointed out that civil disobedience !as not necessarily aimed at overthro!ing the state altogether but !as more often aimed at correcting particular in2ustices and violations of rights Walter responded that one had to ta%e into account the effect not only of any particular action but the cumulative effect of many such actions Cou did not have a state that !as 1// per cent good #he 7uestion !as therefore 5 !hat must the state do before it opened itself to the %ind of radical action !e had been tal%ing aboutG -t !as a matter of degree and of very careful thin%ing out !hich !e had hardly begun to attain . or series of acts. violated those rights. but important because for him individual civil disobedience !as at the heart of civil disobedience Walter said that at the ris% of sounding pedantic he !ould prefer to say that individual action !as at the root of civil disobedience. or at least a very rare %ind of activity. partially if not totally Michael also. all intellectuals too. became a %ind of norm !ithout further reference to its !ider repercussions As he had noted earlier. civil disobedience in addition to its strengths carried the ris% of tending to delegitimise the authority of the state !hich !e re7uired in order to e1ist as communities at all. or some such phrase. as he himself !as. and certainly to e1ist as democratic communities +o those committed to civil disobedience in some circumstances. it forfeited its legitimacy. in the final paragraph of his chapter. in this sense &ob said that this !as a minor part of the !ider argument.14 Civil $isobedience and the threshold principle Challenge to .onviolence Andre! said one had to recognize that individuals !ho !ere prepared to say no and to ma%e a stand !ere going to be difficult #hey !ere an elite in the best sense of the !ord and should be recognized as such #he elite did challenge the rest of us Michael said it had to be an open elite Dlitism in the pe2orative sense implied a group or section of society !hich en2oyed special privileges and as a matter of policy e1cluded outsiders from 2oining it #he elite !e !ere tal%ing about !as open to anyone but !as li%ely for various reasons to remain a minority !ithin the society Walter said an elite in this sense meant those !ho in2ected a ne! element into an e1isting culture All artists !ere elitist. should be prepared to define a threshold at !hich civil disobedience became legitimate 5 in the same !ay in !hich in 2ust !ar theory there !ere strict criteria defining at !hat point violence became legitimate Christina said Michael in his chapter had attempted to define a threshold principle !hen he said that in democracy there !as the ma2ority principle but also the principle of respect for human rights -f a state by a particular act. rather than <at the heart0 of it -t could become much more than individual activity and the danger !as that it became so much more that it produced an embryonic culture At that point something !hich ought in a sense to be an elitist activity.

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