Daniel Halliday
Sep 30 · Last update 13 days ago.
What are the most effective non-violent protests in history?
Nonviolent resistance is the process of achieving social change through non-violent action, and has a long history. What are the greatest or most poignant moments of nonviolent resistance in history?
Stats of Viewpoints
The woman suffrage parade of 1913
0 agrees
0 disagrees
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
0 agrees
0 disagrees
Mandela's “I Am Prepared to Die” speech, 1964
0 agrees
0 disagrees
Delano Grape Boycott 1965 - 1970
0 agrees
0 disagrees
Montgomery Bus Boycott, December 1955 to December 1956
0 agrees
0 disagrees
The Singing Revolution (1988)
0 agrees
0 disagrees
The Peaceful Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989
0 agrees
0 disagrees
Draft-card burning 1963, 1964 and 1965
0 agrees
0 disagrees
The Salt March (1930)
0 agrees
0 disagrees
The Great March on Washington (1963)
0 agrees
0 disagrees
Viewpoints
Add New Viewpoint
The woman suffrage parade of 1913

Although influenced by the more militant suffragette movement in Britain, the first suffragist parade in Washington D.C. was a non-violent march in the face of violence. Despite being harassed, and over 200 injures needing treatment in hospital, most finished the march and the protest remained one of nonviolence. This marked the beginning of an American woman suffrage movement which ended in the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, securing the voting rights for all American women in 1920.

At the turn of the 20th century Women in the United States of America were not allowed to vote and only small gains were being made at the national level to change this. The march was organised by the National American Woman Suffrage Association and took place the day before the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson attracting around 8,000 marchers. As the march continued crowds of men gathered to intimidate protesters, with the police standing by and sometimes joining in on the harassment the National Guard and Maryland Agricultural College students eventually stepped in to form a human barrier between protesters and hostile crowds.

rarehistoricalphotos.com/the-woman-suffrage-parade-of-1913

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
May 14
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
At the turn of the 20th century Women in the United States of America were not allowed to vote and only small gains were being made at the national level to change this. The march was organised by the National American Woman Suffrage Association and took place the day before the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson attracting around 8,000 marchers. As the march continued crowds of men gathered to intimidate protesters, with the police standing by and sometimes joining in on the harassment the National Guard and Maryland Agricultural College students eventually stepped in to form a human barrier between protesters and hostile crowds.
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

While possibly not the most effective, these protests were arguably one of the most important non-violent protest movements of the 20th century. Known as the June Fourth Incident in China, these student demonstrations in Beijing led to a wide scale movement against the Communist Party reforms of the 1980s, and this remains one of the most sensitive and censored issues in China today. The protests were forcibly repressed, with the government initially ordering a violent military response, followed by widespread arrests, expulsion of foreign journalists, stricter press censorship, strengthening of police and security services, and the purging of officials sympathetic to protesters.

Massive economic change in the China started to bring some prosperity but led to social problems such as corruption, leading some in the intellectual community to begin to consider democratisation being the only answer to uproot corruption. Following an economic reform meeting in Beidaihe in 1988 economic panic caused massive inflation and threatened are large percentage of people that came to be dependent on government schemes, amidst wide scale change that were forcing such schemes to cut costs. Likewise the states socialist ideology was subsequently being called into question as the growing number of private enterprises were leaving the government in a perceived legitimacy crisis, this created a divided government as well as divided society. Furthermore, education policy had generated an intellectual void in the country and universities failed to get enough graduates to meet market demands for jobs, facing harsh prospects students began to gather on campus in “Democracy salons” and become more politically active.

thoughtco.com/root-of-the-tiananmen-square-protests-688411

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
May 14
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
Massive economic change in the China started to bring some prosperity but led to social problems such as corruption, leading some in the intellectual community to begin to consider democratisation being the only answer to uproot corruption. Following an economic reform meeting in Beidaihe in 1988 economic panic caused massive inflation and threatened are large percentage of people that came to be dependent on government schemes, amidst wide scale change that were forcing such schemes to cut costs. Likewise the states socialist ideology was subsequently being called into question as the growing number of private enterprises were leaving the government in a perceived legitimacy crisis, this created a divided government as well as divided society. Furthermore, education policy had generated an intellectual void in the country and universities failed to get enough graduates to meet market demands for jobs, facing harsh prospects students began to gather on campus in “Democracy salons” and become more politically active.
Mandela's “I Am Prepared to Die” speech, 1964

It was during the prolonged struggle for political and social change in the extremely unjust environment of apartheid South Africa, which out of sheer desperation and fatigue Nelson Mandela attempted violent resistance, establishing an armed wing of his African National Congress (ANC) party. However, it was during his time on trial for sabotage in an attempt to start guerrilla war against the government that Mandela used the trial as a sort of non-violent protest in delivering his three hour “I Am Prepared to Die” speech. This speech is considered one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century and a key moment in the struggle against apartheid.

Mandela was utilising non-violent protests during his time as an activist and more regularly after being elected ANC leader in 1952, often travelling in secret, organising sit-ins, strikes and raising awareness around the movement to stop racial discrimination and challenge apartheid across the country. As Mandela’s trips to raise publicity became international and the ANC was banned following the killing of protesters at a rally in 1960, Mandela was arrested for leaving the country illegally. This period prompted a change in Mandela's outlook as he setup Umkhonto we Sizwe, an armed wing of the ANC. Through nearly a lifetime of non-violent protests, a short period of change meant Mandela spent nearly a lifetime in jail, but it was arguably Mandela’s renouncing of violence while in prison that made an even stronger case for non-violent resistance and eventually led to change in South Africa.

latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-nelson-mandela-legacy-violence-20131206-story.html 81708458.weebly.com/protests.html theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/mandela-and-the-question-of-violence/282255

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
May 14
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
https://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-nelson-mandela-legacy-violence-20131206-story.html https://81708458.weebly.com/protests.html https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/mandela-and-the-question-of-violence/282255/
Delano Grape Boycott 1965 - 1970

This movement started as a strike organised by the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee over demands for wages equal to the federal minimum wage for farm workers. The strike was joined by the Mexican-American National Farm Workers Association a week later and the strike spread to encompass 2000 protesters. The movement gained national attention and spread to include marches and a boycott of non-union grapes that spread to the general population. This act of non-violent resistance led to collective bargaining agreements that resulted in fair contracts for 10,000 farm workers.

Following years of low pay and poor working conditions on grape farms, Filipino grape pickers took strike action in Coachella Valley California to demand equal pay with Mexican pickers in line with the government’s Bracero program. Grape growing companies had a history of inciting racial tensions between pickers to quash walkouts or strike action and keep wage costs low. Despite the success of the strike in Coachella Filipino pickers that moved to Delano faced the same lower wages, until Filipino leaders of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz, contacted Cesar Chavez of the Mexican-American National Farm Workers Association to unify agricultural workers in Delano to take action.

ufw.org/1965-1970-delano-grape-strike-boycott tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/omb01

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
May 14
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
This movement started as a strike organised by the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee over demands for wages equal to the federal minimum wage for farm workers. The strike was joined by the Mexican-American National Farm Workers Association a week later and the strike spread to encompass 2000 protesters. The movement gained national attention and spread to include marches and a boycott of non-union grapes that spread to the general population. This act of non-violent resistance led to collective bargaining agreements that resulted in fair contracts for 10,000 farm workers.
Montgomery Bus Boycott, December 1955 to December 1956

Following the arrest of civil rights activist Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, many in the civil rights movement boycotted the Montgomery bus line in 1955. This nonviolent protest continued until a civil lawsuit ended segregated seating on buses the next year. In the 1956 Browder v. Gayle case the federal district court ruled that Alabama’s racial segregation laws for buses were unconstitutional. This victory supported the civil rights movement as a whole, giving it the national attention that it required to lead to social change.

This act of non-violent resistance took place amidst a backdrop of racial segregation protected by “Jim Crow” legislation, a legal framework that disenfranchised black citizens in every level of society, and enforced with particular zeal and cruelty in Southern States. Despite, or because of, this corrupt environment Rosa Parks was introduce to activism through her husband Raymond Parks and became secretary to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The NAACP had been filing lawsuits to challenge Jim Crow laws in regards to segregation imposed on bus companies, and bus boycotts were already in place in Louisiana, but it was Park’s arrest that brought national attention to this fight for equality.

books.google.co.jp/books?id=lddD_IFIJisC&pg=PA97&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false tinyurl.com/y4k4vs5d

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
May 14
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
Following the arrest of civil rights activist Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, many in the civil rights movement boycotted the Montgomery bus line in 1955. This nonviolent protest continued until a civil lawsuit ended segregated seating on buses the next year. In the 1956 Browder v. Gayle case the federal district court ruled that Alabama’s racial segregation laws for buses were unconstitutional. This victory supported the civil rights movement as a whole, giving it the national attention that it required to lead to social change.
The Singing Revolution (1988)

Sparked by the spontaneous mass singing of patriotic songs, following the Tartu Pop Festival in Estonia in May 1988, a singing protest movement spread across the Baltic states. Latvia and Lithuania soon followed suit in protests against Gorbachev’s Soviet Union lasting over four years. This movement ultimately led to the peaceful restoration of independence for all three countries.

Many factors lay the foundation for this unusual period of civil disobedience, ranging from changes in Soviet policy-making in the 80s, to the revelations regarding the war in Afghanistan and Chernobyl, and even greater access to Finnish television adding to social dissatisfaction with Soviet control. However it was revelations surrounding government plans to open a phosphorus mine in Lääne-Viru County, Estonia and direct environmental concerns surrounding this that started the “Phosphorite War Campaign” in 1987 and proved to be a direct catalyst for the Singing revolution the next year. But it was the fact that this singing protest movement went on for so long afterwards, spanning over four years before Estonian, Latvia and Lithuania gained independence in August 1991, that make this one of the most important moments of non-violent resistance in history.

daily.jstor.org/singing-started-revolution-estonia globalcomment.com/song-resistance-strange-story-estonias-singing-revolution

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
May 14
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
Sparked by the spontaneous mass singing of patriotic songs, following the Tartu Pop Festival in Estonia in May 1988, a singing protest movement spread across the Baltic states. Latvia and Lithuania soon followed suit in protests against Gorbachev’s Soviet Union lasting over four years. This movement ultimately led to the peaceful restoration of independence for all three countries.
The Peaceful Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989

From 1961 until 1989 a wall divided West Berlin from East Berlin and the surrounding Eastern Germany. Referred to as the “Wall of Shame” in West Berlin it came to symbolise the figurative 'Iron Curtain' that divided Western and Eastern Europe in the Cold War. The wall became the target of political graffiti in West Berlin, while East Berliners were shot or imprisoned if they tried to cross it. The peaceful protest movement that led to the reunification of Germany also led to the destruction of the majority of the wall, and played a visual role in the end to the Cold War.

The relaxation of the Hungarian-Austrian border in June 1989 led to thousands of East German refugees fleeing into surrounding countries overwhelming numerous countries in Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, even in the face of violent repression, a series of non-violent protest movements in East Germany known as the Peaceful Revolution put pressure on East German government, and following a slight mistake made by East Berlin ruling party spokesperson Gunter Schabowski, a public broadcast stated the East Berlin border to be open immediately. On the evening of the 9th November 1989 East Berliners gathered at the gate in the Berlin Wall, massively outnumbering the soldiers manning it, by 10:45pm the gate was opened. People scaled and started to demolish the wall that night and in the following weeks, and this momentous occasion quickly led to the first free parliamentary election in Eastern Germany and the subsequent reunification of Germany in the next year.

spiegel.de/international/germany/the-guard-who-opened-the-berlin-wall-i-gave-my-people-the-order-raise-the-barrier-a-660128.html wford1nonviolence.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/the-berlin-wall

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
May 13
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/the-guard-who-opened-the-berlin-wall-i-gave-my-people-the-order-raise-the-barrier-a-660128.html https://wford1nonviolence.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/the-berlin-wall/
Draft-card burning 1963, 1964 and 1965

On 25th December 1963 Eugene Keyes set fire to his US draft-card as an act of non-violent protest against the US’ involvement in the Vietnam War. This was the first publicised occurrence of this kind and lead to other protesters doing the same at later larger demonstrations, like the anti-Vietnam War demonstration in Union Square, New York in 1964, where 50 people did the same. This act of defiance quickly gained worldwide recognition and by 1965 was common place at protests around the US and had even spread to Australia.

The US Congress attempted to quash this powerful visual message by passing a law to punish those who burnt their draft cards but very few of the 25,000 violations were punished. This act of defiance raised awareness and became a very visual act of defiance that underpinned the Vietnam War protest movement. This anti-war sentiment grew in the coming years through support from civil rights leaders, labour union leaders, women’s liberation and Chicano movements, to then include educators, lawyers and journalists until the majority of Americans viewed the Vietnam War as a mistake.

depts.washington.edu/antiwar/vietnam_draft.shtml 2012books.lardbucket.org/books/united-states-history-volume-2/s14-vietnam-and-civil-disobedience.html

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
May 13
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
On 25th December 1963 Eugene Keyes set fire to his US draft-card as an act of non-violent protest against the US’ involvement in the Vietnam War. This was the first publicised occurrence of this kind and lead to other protesters doing the same at later larger demonstrations, like the anti-Vietnam War demonstration in Union Square, New York in 1964, where 50 people did the same. This act of defiance quickly gained worldwide recognition and by 1965 was common place at protests around the US and had even spread to Australia.
The Salt March (1930)

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi led a 240 mile 26 day march around coastal villages near present day Gujarat as an act of civil disobedience from 12th March until 6th April 1930. The march was a nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly which introduced taxation on traditional salt production activities in the area. Gandhi’s direct action campaign helped propel the Indian independence movement and gave rise to a pattern of nonviolent protests across India.

The beatings of hundreds of protesters taking part in Ghandi’s Salt March was given international news coverage, demonstrating an early effective use of nonviolent civil disobedience and gaining worldwide recognition of the Indian independence movement. Although this protest in itself didn’t directly lead to any concessions from the British, it did lead to the civil disobedience by millions across India and a change in view of British authority that their control of India relied on Indian consent, something that was changing with nationwide civil disobedience. This movement and Ghandi’s take on nonviolent resistance proved a deep influence on later American civil activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. who often mentioned Ghandi’s methods “the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom” [1].

crf-usa.org/black-history-month/gandhi-and-civil-disobedience [1] kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/nonviolence

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
May 12
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi led a 240 mile 26 day march around coastal villages near present day Gujarat as an act of civil disobedience from 12th March until 6th April 1930. The march was a nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly which introduced taxation on traditional salt production activities in the area. Gandhi’s direct action campaign helped propel the Indian independence movement and gave rise to a pattern of nonviolent protests across India.
The Great March on Washington (1963)

This peaceful protest took place in Washington D.C. to advocate for African American civil and economic rights, and is one of the largest mass protests in US history. At this march Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his poignant and influential “I have a Dream” speech, calling for an end to social and political inequality for African-Americans, such as Jim Crow Laws and prohibition of interracial marriage. Although billed last to speak and not even reported in the media King's off-the-cuff speech is regarded as one of the most influential and memorable speeches in American history.

This great moment of American non-violent resistance is also called the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, as organisers and activists A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin called for a mass rally at the Lincoln Memorial. The rallies goals were varied, ranging from elimination of school segregation, to funding cuts to discrimination tolerant programs, to a $2 per hour national minimum wage. The protest is said to have aided the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Selma Voting Rights Movement and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

history.com/topics/black-history/march-on-washington

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
May 12
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
This peaceful protest took place in Washington D.C. to advocate for African American civil and economic rights, and is one of the largest mass protests in US history. At this march Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his poignant and influential “I have a Dream” speech, calling for an end to social and political inequality for African-Americans, such as Jim Crow Laws and prohibition of interracial marriage. Although billed last to speak and not even reported in the media King's off-the-cuff speech is regarded as one of the most influential and memorable speeches in American history.
Translate