Civil disobedience is a nonviolent form of protest. It involves people coming together to stand against its government or any oppressor, to protest vocally and using all mediums available but without any physical force or violence. Civil disobedience cannot be an armed struggle. Civil disobedience has been used by the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. It has been used by Martin Luther King and many other social crusaders in subsequent decades. Like any form of protest or uprising against the government, ruling class, oppressors or occupiers, civil disobedience has certain advantages and some shortcomings. Here are the civil obedience pros and cons.
List of Pros of Civil Disobedience
1. Civil disobedience is a legal way to protest.
If you think that a law has been passed that is not in the best interest of the people, if the government is doing something wrong, if you want the government to do something or if you simply wish to stand up for a cause and let the people in power hear you then civil disobedience allows you to express yourself without breaking the law. The fundamental rights or civil rights of most democratic countries in the world allow the citizens to engage in peaceful protests. While certain legal restrictions may be imposed in certain places bearing in mind their significance, sensitivity or national interest, there is no law that punishes people just because they are protesting in a nonviolent manner.
2. Civil disobedience will get you attention and it would be positive interest.
Whenever someone engages in a violent protest or ends up damaging public property and hate mongering, it gets negative press. Civil disobedience will get you the attention of the press, public figures, the government and international forums but in a positive light. People will want to hear what you have to say.
3. Civil disobedience has the power to cause real change in society, law, government and even in foreign relations.
Civil disobedience has worked successfully in India, South Africa and in the United States among other countries.
List of Cons of Civil Disobedience
1. Civil disobedience can easily spiral out of control if there are some nonviolent or aggressive people among the protestors.
Breaking any law will defeat the purpose of the movement, get people imprisoned and there can be jail time involved. Civil disobedience can tarnish the legal history of a person in such cases.
2. Civil disobedience doesn’t always work.
Since there is no immediate threat to the people in power and the movement is not aggressive in a literal sense, there is less inclination to initiate the change or even respond to the expression of the protestors. Even if there is some result, it takes a long time for a civil disobedience movement to have any impact.