Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century, the "Century of Philosophy". Some consider Descartes' 1637 statement "I think" to have sparked the period. Others cite the publication of Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica. French historians traditionally date the Enlightenment from 1715 to 1789, from the beginning of the reign of Louis XV until the French Revolution. Most end it with the turn of the 19th century. Philosophers and scientists of the period circulated their ideas through meetings at scientific academies, Masonic lodges, literary salons, coffeehouses and in printed books and pamphlets; the ideas of the Enlightenment undermined the authority of the monarchy and the Church and paved the way for the political revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries. A variety of 19th-century movements, including liberalism and neo-classicism, trace their intellectual heritage to the Enlightenment; the Enlightenment included a range of ideas centered on reason as the primary source of knowledge and advanced ideals such as liberty, toleration, constitutional government and separation of church and state.
In France, the central doctrines of the Enlightenment philosophers were individual liberty and religious tolerance, in opposition to an absolute monarchy and the fixed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. The Enlightenment was marked by an emphasis on the scientific method and reductionism, along with increased questioning of religious orthodoxy—an attitude captured by the phrase Sapere aude; the Age of Enlightenment was preceded by and associated with the scientific revolution. Earlier philosophers whose work influenced the Enlightenment included Bacon, Descartes and Spinoza; the major figures of the Enlightenment included Beccaria, Hume, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Voltaire. Some European rulers, including Catherine II of Russia, Joseph II of Austria and Frederick II of Prussia, tried to apply Enlightenment thought on religious and political tolerance, which became known as enlightened absolutism. Benjamin Franklin visited Europe and contributed to the scientific and political debates there and brought the newest ideas back to Philadelphia.
Thomas Jefferson followed European ideas and incorporated some of the ideals of the Enlightenment into the Declaration of Independence. One of his peers, James Madison, incorporated these ideals into the United States Constitution during its framing in 1787; the most influential publication of the Enlightenment was the Encyclopédie. Published between 1751 and 1772 in thirty-five volumes, it was compiled by Diderot, d'Alembert and a team of 150 scientists and philosophers, it helped spread the ideas of the Enlightenment across Europe and beyond. Other landmark publications were Voltaire's Dictionnaire Letters on the English; the ideas of the Enlightenment played a major role in inspiring the French Revolution, which began in 1789. After the Revolution, the Enlightenment was followed by the intellectual movement known as Romanticism. René Descartes' rationalist philosophy laid the foundation for enlightenment thinking, his attempt to construct the sciences on a secure metaphysical foundation was not as successful as his method of doubt applied in philosophic areas leading to a dualistic doctrine of mind and matter.
His skepticism was refined by John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding and David Hume's writings in the 1740s. His dualism was challenged by Spinoza's uncompromising assertion of the unity of matter in his Tractatus and Ethics; these laid down two distinct lines of Enlightenment thought: first, the moderate variety, following Descartes and Christian Wolff, which sought accommodation between reform and the traditional systems of power and faith, second, the radical enlightenment, inspired by the philosophy of Spinoza, advocating democracy, individual liberty, freedom of expression and eradication of religious authority. The moderate variety tended to be deistic, whereas the radical tendency separated the basis of morality from theology. Both lines of thought were opposed by a conservative Counter-Enlightenment, which sought a return to faith. In the mid-18th century, Paris became the center of an explosion of philosophic and scientific activity challenging traditional doctrines and dogmas.
The philosophic movement was led by Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who argued for a society based upon reason as in ancient Greece rather than faith and Catholic doctrine, for a new civil order based on natural law, for science based on experiments and observation. The political philosopher Montesquieu introduced the idea of a separation of powers in a government, a concept, enthusiastically adopted by the authors of the United States Constitution. While the Philosophes of the French Enlightenment were not revolutionaries and many were members of the nobility, their ideas played an important part in undermining the legitimacy of the Old Regime and shaping the French Revolution. Francis Hutcheson, a moral philosopher, described the utilitarian and consequentialist principle that virtue is that which provides, in his words, "the greatest happiness for the greatest numbers". Much of what is incorporated in the scientific method
Natural and legal rights
Natural and legal rights are two types of rights. Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, so are universal and inalienable Legal rights are those bestowed onto a person by a given legal system; the concept of natural law is related to the concept of natural rights. Natural law first appeared in ancient Greek philosophy, was referred to by Roman philosopher Cicero, it was subsequently alluded to in the Bible, developed in the Middle Ages by Catholic philosophers such as Albert the Great and his pupil Thomas Aquinas. During the Age of Enlightenment, the concept of natural laws was used to challenge the divine right of kings, became an alternative justification for the establishment of a social contract, positive law, government – and thus legal rights – in the form of classical republicanism. Conversely, the concept of natural rights is used by others to challenge the legitimacy of all such establishments; the idea of human rights is closely related to that of natural rights: some acknowledge no difference between the two, regarding them as synonymous, while others choose to keep the terms separate to eliminate association with some features traditionally associated with natural rights.
Natural rights, in particular, are considered beyond the authority of any government or international body to dismiss. The 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an important legal instrument enshrining one conception of natural rights into international soft law. Natural rights were traditionally viewed as negative rights, whereas human rights comprise positive rights. On a natural rights conception of human rights, the two terms may not be synonymous; the proposition that animals have natural rights is one that gained the interest of philosophers and legal scholars in the 20th century and into the 21st. The idea that certain rights are natural or inalienable has a history dating back at least to the Stoics of late Antiquity and Catholic law of the early Middle Ages, descending through the Protestant Reformation and the Age of Enlightenment to today; the existence of natural rights has been asserted by different individuals on different premises, such as a priori philosophical reasoning or religious principles.
For example, Immanuel Kant claimed to derive natural rights through reason alone. The United States Declaration of Independence, meanwhile, is based upon the "self-evident" truth that "all men are … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights". Different philosophers and statesmen have designed different lists of what they believe to be natural rights. H. L. A. Hart argued that if there are any rights at all, there must be the right to liberty, for all the others would depend upon this. T. H. Green argued that “if there are such things as rights at all there must be a right to life and liberty, or, to put it more properly to free life.” John Locke emphasized "life and property" as primary. However, despite Locke's influential defense of the right of revolution, Thomas Jefferson substituted "pursuit of happiness" in place of "property" in the United States Declaration of Independence. Stephen Kinzer, a veteran journalist for The New York Times and the author of the book All The Shah's Men, writes in the latter that: The Zoroastrian religion taught Iranians that citizens have an inalienable right to enlightened leadership and that the duty of subjects is not to obey wise kings but to rise up against those who are wicked.
Leaders are seen as representative of God on earth, but they deserve allegiance only as long as they have farr, a kind of divine blessing that they must earn by moral behavior. The Stoics held. Seneca the Younger wrote: It is a mistake to imagine that slavery pervades a man's whole being. Of fundamental importance to the development of the idea of natural rights was the emergence of the idea of natural human equality; as the historian A. J. Carlyle notes: "There is no change in political theory so startling in its completeness as the change from the theory of Aristotle to the philosophical view represented by Cicero and Seneca.... We think that this cannot be better exemplified than with regard to the theory of the equality of human nature." Charles H. McIlwain observes that "the idea of the equality of men is the profoundest contribution of the Stoics to political thought" and that "its greatest influence is in the changed conception of law that in part resulted from it." Cicero argues in De Legibus that "we are born for Justice, that right is based, not upon opinions, but upon Nature."
One of the first Western thinkers to develop the contemporary idea of natural rights was French theologian Jean Gerson, whose 1402 treatise De Vita Spirituali Animae is considered one of the first attempts to develop what would come to be called modern natural rights theory. Centuries the Stoic doctrine that the "inner part cannot be delivered into bondage" re-emerged in the Reformation doctrine of liberty of conscience. Martin Luther wrote: Furthermore, every man is responsible for his own faith, he must see it for hi
Murray Bookchin was an American social theorist, orator and political philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin formulated and developed the theory of social ecology and urban planning, within anarchist, libertarian socialist, ecological thought, he was the author of two dozen books covering topics in politics, history, urban affairs, ecology. Among the most important were Our Synthetic Environment, Post-Scarcity Anarchism, The Ecology of Freedom and Urbanization Without Cities. In the late-1990s he became disenchanted with the apolitical lifestylism of the contemporary anarchist movement, stopped referring to himself as an anarchist, founded his own libertarian socialist ideology called Communalism, which seeks to reconcile Marxist and anarchist thought. Bookchin was a prominent anti-capitalist and advocate of society's decentralisation along ecological and democratic lines, his ideas have influenced social movements since the 1960s, including the New Left, the anti-nuclear movement, the anti-globalization movement, Occupy Wall Street, more the democratic confederalism of Rojava.
He was a central figure in the Burlington Greens. Bookchin was born in New York City to Russian Jewish immigrants Nathan Rose Bookchin, he grew up in the Bronx, where his grandmother, Zeitel, a Socialist Revolutionary, imbued him with Russian populist ideas. After her death in 1930, he joined the Young Pioneers, the Communist youth organization and the Young Communist League in 1935, he attended the Workers School near Union Square. In the late 1930s he broke with Stalinism and gravitated toward Trotskyism, joining the Socialist Workers Party. In the early 1940s he worked in a foundry in Bayonne, New Jersey where he was an organizer and shop steward for the United Electrical Workers as well as a recruiter for the SWP. Within the SWP he adhered to the Goldman-Morrow faction, he was an auto worker and UAW member at the time of the great General Motors strike of 1945-46. In 1949, while speaking to a Zionist youth organization at City College, Bookchin met a mathematics student, Beatrice Appelstein, whom he married in 1951.
They were married for 12 years and lived together for 35, remaining close friends and political allies for the rest of his life. They had two children and Joseph. From 1947, he collaborated with a fellow lapsed Trotskyist, the German expatriate Josef Weber, in New York in the Movement for a Democracy of Content, a group of 20 or so post-Trotskyists who collectively edited the periodical Contemporary Issues – A Magazine for a Democracy of Content. Contemporary Issues embraced utopianism; the periodical provided a forum for the belief that previous attempts to create utopia had foundered on the necessity of toil and drudgery. To achieve this "post-scarcity" society, Bookchin developed a theory of ecological decentralism; the magazine published Bookchin's first articles, including the pathbreaking "The Problem of Chemicals in Food". In 1958, Bookchin defined himself as an anarchist, seeing parallels between ecology, his first book, Our Synthetic Environment, was published under the pseudonym Lewis Herber in 1962, a few months before Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.
The book described a broad range of environmental ills but received little attention because of its political radicalism. In 1964, Bookchin joined the Congress of Racial Equality, protested racism at the 1964 World's Fair. During 1964-67, while living on Manhattan's Lower East Side, he cofounded and was the principal figure in the New York Federation of Anarchists, his groundbreaking essay "Ecology and Revolutionary Thought" introduced ecology as a concept in radical politics. In 1968, he founded another group that published the influential Anarchos magazine, which published that and other innovative essays on post-scarcity and on ecological technologies such as solar and wind energy, on decentralization and miniaturization. Lecturing throughout the United States, he helped popularize the concept of ecology to the counterculture, his republished 1969 essay "Listen, Marxist!" Warned Students for a Democratic Society against an impending takeover by a Marxist group. "Once again the dead are walking in our midst," he wrote, "ironically, draped in the name of Marx, the man who tried to bury the dead of the nineteenth century.
So the revolution of our own day can do nothing better than parody, in turn, the October Revolution of 1917 and the civil war of 1918-1920, with its'class line,' its Bolshevik Party, its'proletarian dictatorship,' its puritanical morality, its slogan,'Soviet power'". These and other influential 1960s essays are anthologized in Post-Scarcity Anarchism. In 1969-1970, he taught at Alternate U, a counter-cultural radical school based on 14th Street in Manhattan. In 1971, he moved to Burlington, Vermont with a group of friends, to put into practice his ideas of decentralization. In the fall of 1973, he was hired by Goddard College to lecture on technology. In 1974, he was hired by Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey, where he became a full professor; the ISE was a hub for study of appropriate technology in the 1970s. In 1977-78 he was a member of the Spruce Mountain Affinity Group of the Clamshell Alliance. In 1977, he publ
Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government with regional governments in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism by the United States under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established, it can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status. Federalism differs from confederalism, in which the general level of government is subordinate to the regional level, from devolution within a unitary state, in which the regional level of government is subordinate to the general level, it represents the central form in the pathway of regional integration or separation, bounded on the less integrated side by confederalism and on the more integrated side by devolution within a unitary state. Leading examples of the federation or federal state include India, the United States, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland and Australia.
Some today characterize the European Union as the pioneering example of federalism in a multi-state setting, in a concept termed the federal union of states. The terms'federalism' and'confederalism' both have a root in the Latin word foedus, meaning "treaty, pact or covenant." Their common meaning until the late eighteenth century was a simple league or inter-governmental relationship among sovereign states based upon a treaty. They were therefore synonyms, it was in this sense that James Madison in Federalist 39 had referred to the new US Constitution as'neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both'. In the course of the nineteenth century the meaning of federalism would come to shift, strengthening to refer uniquely to the novel compound political form established, while the meaning of confederalism would remain at a league of states. Thus, this article relates to the modern usage of the word'federalism'. Modern federalism is a system based upon democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state governments.
The term federalist describes several political beliefs around the world depending on context. Federalism is sometimes viewed as in the context of international negotiation as "the best system for integrating diverse nations, ethnic groups, or combatant parties, all of whom may have cause to fear control by an overly powerful center." However, in some countries, those skeptical of federal prescriptions believe that increased regional autonomy is to lead to secession or dissolution of the nation. In Syria, federalization proposals have failed in part because "Syrians fear that these borders could turn out to be the same as the ones that the fighting parties have carved out."Federations such as Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia collapsed as soon as it was possible to put the model to the test. According to Daniel Ziblatt's Structuring the State, there are four competing theoretical explanations in the academic literature for the adoption of federal systems: Ideational theories, which hold that a greater degree of ideological commitment to decentralist ideas in society makes federalism more to be adopted.
Cultural-historical theories, which hold that federal institutions are more to be adopted in societies with culturally or ethnically fragmented populations. "Social contract" theories, which hold that federalism emerges as a bargain between a center and a periphery where the center is not powerful enough to dominate the periphery and the periphery is not powerful enough to secede from the center. "Infrastructural power" theories, which hold that federalism is to emerge when the subunits of a potential federation have developed infrastructures. Immanuel Kant was an advocate of federalism, noting that "the problem of setting up a state can be solved by a nation of devils" so long as they possess an appropriate constitution which pits opposing factions against each other with a system of checks and balances. In particular individual states required a federation as a safeguard against the possibility of war. On the 1st of January 1901 the nation-state of Australia came into existence as a federation.
The Australian continent was colonised by the United Kingdom in 1788, which subsequently established six self-governing, colonies there. In the 1890s the governments of these colonies all held referendums on becoming the unified, self-governing "Commonwealth of Australia" within the British Empire; when all the colonies voted in favour of federation, the Federation of Australia commenced, resulting in the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The model of Australian federalism adheres to the original model of the United States of America, although it does so through a parliamentary Westminster system rather than a presidential system. In Brazil, the fall of the monarchy in 1889 by a military coup d'état led to the rise of the presidential system, headed by Deodoro da Fonseca. Aided by well-known jurist Ruy Barbosa, Fonseca established federalism in Brazil by decree, but this system of government would be confirmed by every Brazilian constitution since 1891, although some of them would distort some of the federalist principles.
The 1937 federal government had the authority to appoint State Governors at will, thus centralizing power in the hands of P
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance and advocate that interests of the individual should achieve precedence over the state or a social group, while opposing external interference upon one's own interests by society or institutions such as the government. Individualism is defined in contrast to totalitarianism and more corporate social forms. Individualism makes the individual its focus and so starts "with the fundamental premise that the human individual is of primary importance in the struggle for liberation." Classical liberalism and anarchism are examples of movements that take the human individual as a central unit of analysis. Individualism thus involves "the right of the individual to freedom and self-realization", it has been used as a term denoting "The quality of being an individual.
Individualism is thus associated with artistic and bohemian interests and lifestyles where there is a tendency towards self-creation and experimentation as opposed to tradition or popular mass opinions and behaviors, as with humanist philosophical positions and ethics. In the English language, the word "individualism" was first introduced, as a pejorative, by the Owenites in the late 1830s, although it is unclear if they were influenced by Saint-Simonianism or came up with it independently. A more positive use of the term in Britain came to be used with the writings of James Elishama Smith, a millenarian and a Christian Israelite. Although an early Owenite socialist, he rejected its collective idea of property, found in individualism a "universalism" that allowed for the development of the "original genius." Without individualism, Smith argued, individuals cannot amass property to increase one's happiness. William Maccall, another Unitarian preacher, an acquaintance of Smith, came somewhat although influenced by John Stuart Mill, Thomas Carlyle, German Romanticism, to the same positive conclusions, in his 1847 work "Elements of Individualism".
An individual is any specific object in a collection. In the 15th century and earlier, today within the fields of statistics and metaphysics, individual means "indivisible" describing any numerically singular thing, but sometimes meaning "a person.". From the 17th century on, individual indicates separateness, as in individualism. Individuality is the quality of being an individuated being; the principle of individuation, or principium individuationis, describes the manner in which a thing is identified as distinguished from other things. For Carl Jung, individuation is a process of transformation, whereby the personal and collective unconscious is brought into consciousness to be assimilated into the whole personality, it is a natural process necessary for the integration of the psyche to take place. Jung considered individuation to be the central process of human development. In L'individuation psychique et collective, Gilbert Simondon developed a theory of individual and collective individuation in which the individual subject is considered as an effect of individuation rather than a cause.
Thus, the individual atom is replaced by a never-ending ontological process of individuation. Individuation is an always incomplete process, always leaving a "pre-individual" left-over, itself making possible future individuations; the philosophy of Bernard Stiegler draws upon and modifies the work of Gilbert Simondon on individuation and upon similar ideas in Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. For Stiegler "the I, as a psychic individual, can only be thought in relationship to we, a collective individual; the I is constituted in adopting a collective tradition, which it inherits and in which a plurality of I's acknowledge each other's existence." Individualism holds that a person taking part in society attempts to learn and discover what his or her own interests are on a personal basis, without a presumed following of the interests of a societal structure. The individualist does not follow one particular philosophy, rather creates an amalgamation of elements of many, based on personal interests in particular aspects that he/she finds of use.
On a societal level, the individualist participates on a structured political and moral ground. Independent thinking and opinion is a common trait of an individualist. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, claims that his concept of "general will" in the "social contract" is not the simple collection of individual wills and that it furthers the interests of the individual. Societies and groups can differ in the extent to which they are based upon predominantly "self-regarding" behaviors, rather than "other-regarding" behaviors. Ruth Benedict made a distinction, relevant in this context, between "guilt" societies with an "internal reference standard", "shame" societies with an "external reference
Anarchism is an anti-authoritarian political philosophy that advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary, cooperative institutions and the rejection of hierarchies those societies view as unjust. These institutions are described as stateless societies, although several authors have defined them more as distinct institutions based on non-hierarchical or free associations. Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable and harmful. Anarchism is considered a far-left ideology and much of its economics and legal philosophy reflect anti-authoritarian interpretations of communism, syndicalism, mutualism, or participatory economics; as anarchism does not offer a fixed body of doctrine from a single particular worldview, many anarchist types and traditions exist and varieties of anarchy diverge widely. Anarchist schools of thought can differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism. Strains of anarchism have been divided into the categories of social and individualist anarchism, or similar dual classifications.
The etymological origin of anarchism derives from ancient Greek word anarkhia. Anarkhia meant "without a ruler" as it was composed by the word arkhos; the suffix -ism is used to denote the ideological current that favours anarchism. The first known use of this word was in 1642. Various factions within the French Revolution labelled opponents as anarchists although few shared many views of anarchists. There would be many revolutionaries of the early 19th century who contributed to the anarchist doctrines of the next generation, such as William Godwin and Wilhelm Weitling, but they did not use the word anarchist or anarchism in describing themselves or their beliefs; the first political philosopher to call himself an anarchist was Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, marking the formal birth of anarchism in the mid-19th century. Since the 1890s and beginning in France, the term libertarianism has been used as a synonym for anarchism and its use as a synonym is still common outside the United States. On the other hand, some use libertarianism to refer to individualistic free-market philosophy only, referring to free-market anarchism as libertarian anarchism.
While opposition to the state is central, defining anarchism is not an easy task as there is a lot of talk among scholars and anarchists on the matter and various currents perceive anarchism differently. Hence, it might be true to say that anarchism is a cluster of political philosophies opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of all human relations in favour of a society based on voluntary association and decentralisation, but this definition has its own shortcomings as the definition based on etymology, or based on anti-statism or the anti-authoritarian. Major elements of the definition of anarchism include: a) the will for a non coercive society. During the prehistoric era of mankind, an established authority did not exist, it was after the creation of towns and cities that hierarchy was invented and anarchistic ideas espoused as a reaction. Most notable examples of anarchism in the ancient world were in Greece. In China, philosophical anarchism, meaning peaceful delegitimizing of the state, was delineated by Taoist philosophers.
In Greece, anarchist attitudes were articulated by tragedians and philosophers. Aeschylus and Sophocles used the myth of Antigone to illustrate the conflict of personal autonomy with the state rules. Socrates questioned Athenian authorities and insisted to the right of individual freedom of consciousness. Cynics associated authorities while trying to live according to nature. Stoics were supportive of a society based on unofficial and friendly relations among its citizens without the presence of a state. During the Middle Ages, there was no anarchistic activity except some ascetic religious movements in the Islamic world or in Christian Europe; this kind of tradition gave birth to religious anarchism. In Persia, a Zoroastrian Prophet known as Mazdak was calling for an egalitarian society and the abolition of monarchy, but he soon found himself executed by the king. In Basra, religious sects preached against the state. In Europe, various sects developed anti-state and libertarian tendencies; those currents were the precursor of religious anarchism in the centuries to come.
It was in the Renaissance and with the spread of reasoning and humanism through Europe that libertarian ideas emerged. Writers were outlining in their novels ideal societies that were based not on coercion but voluntarism; the Enlightenment further pushed towards anarchism with the optimism for social progress. The turning point towards anarchism was the French Revolution in which the anti-state and federalist sentiments began to take a form by Enragés and sans-culottes; some prominent figures of anarchism begun developing the first anarchist currents. That is the era of classical anarchism that lasted until the end of the Spanish Civil War of 1936 and was the golden age of anarchism. William Godwin espoused philosophical anarchism in England morally delegitimizing the state, Max Stirner's thinking paved the way to individualism and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's theory of mutualism found fertile soil in France. Michael Bakunin took mutualism and extended
Direct action originated as a political activist term for economical and political acts in which the actors use their power to directly reach certain goals of interest, in contrast to those actions that appeal to others by, for instance, revealing an existing problem, highlighting an alternative, or demonstrating a possible solution. Both direct action and actions appealing to others can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the action participants. Examples of nonviolent direct action can include sit-ins, workplace occupations, street blockades or hacktivism, while violent direct action may include political violence or assaults. Tactics such as sabotage and property destruction are sometimes considered violent. By contrast, electoral politics, negotiation and arbitration are not described as direct action, as they are politically mediated. Non-violent actions are sometimes a form of civil disobedience, may involve a degree of intentional law-breaking where persons place themselves in arrestable situations in order to make a political statement but other actions may not violate criminal law.
The aim of direct action is to either obstruct another political agent or political organization from performing some practice to which the activists object, or to solve perceived problems which traditional societal institutions are not addressing to the satisfaction of the direct action participants. Non-violent direct action has been an assertive regular feature of the tactics employed by social movements, including Mahatma Gandhi's Indian Independence Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. Direct action tactics have been around for as long as conflicts have existed but it is not known when the term first appeared; the radical union the Industrial Workers of the World first mentioned the term "direct action" in a publication in reference to a Chicago strike conducted in 1910. Other noted historical practitioners of direct action include the American Civil Rights Movement, the Global Justice Movement, the Suffragettes, revolutionary Che Guevara, certain environmental advocacy groups. American anarchist Voltairine de Cleyre wrote an essay called "Direct Action" in 1912, cited today.
In this essay, de Cleyre points to historical examples such as the Boston Tea Party and the American anti-slavery movement, noting that "direct action has always been used, has the historical sanction of the people now reprobating it."In his 1920 book, Direct Action, William Mellor placed direct action in the struggle between worker and employer for control "over the economic life of society." Mellor defined direct action "as the use of some form of economic power for securing of ends desired by those who possess that power." Mellor considered direct action a tool of both owners and workers and for this reason, he included within his definition lockouts and cartels, as well as strikes and sabotage. However, by this time the US anarchist and feminist Voltairine de Cleyre had given a strong defense of direct action, linking it with struggles for civil rights:...the Salvation Army, started by a gentleman named William Booth was vigorously practising direct action in the maintenance of the freedom of its members to speak and pray.
Over and over they were arrested and imprisoned... till they compelled their persecutors to let them alone. Martin Luther King felt that non-violent direct action's goal was to "create such a crisis and foster such a tension" as to demand a response; the rhetoric of Martin Luther King, James Bevel, Mohandas Gandhi promoted non-violent revolutionary direct action as a means to social change. Gandhi and Bevel had been influenced by Leo Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You, considered a classic text that ideologically promotes passive resistance. By the middle of the 20th century, the sphere of direct action had undoubtedly expanded, though the meaning of the term had contracted. Many campaigns for social change—such as those seeking suffrage, improved working conditions, civil rights, abortion rights or an end to abortion, an end to gentrification, environmental protection—claim to employ at least some types of violent or nonviolent direct action; some sections of the anti-nuclear movement used direct action during the 1980s.
Groups opposing the introduction of cruise missiles into the United Kingdom employed tactics such as breaking into and occupying United States air bases, blocking roads to prevent the movement of military convoys and disrupt military projects. In the US, mass protests opposed nuclear energy and military intervention throughout the decade, resulting in thousands of arrests. Many groups set up semi-permanent "peace camps" outside air bases such as Molesworth and Greenham Common, at the Nevada Test Site. Environmental movement organizations such as Greenpeace have used direct action to pressure governments and companies to change environmental policies for years. On April 28, 2009, Greenpeace activists, including Phil Radford, scaled a crane across the street from the Department of State, calling on world leaders to address climate change. Soon thereafter, Greenpeace activists dropped a banner off of Mt. Rushmore, placing President Obama's face next to other historic presidents, which read "History Honors Leaders.
Overall, more than 2,600 people were arrested while protesting energy policy and associated health issues under the Barack Obama Administration. In 2009