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198 methods of nonviolent action

In light of the growing momentum of Occupy Wall Street and the international riots this summer, we’ve decided to share the following excerpt from Sharp’s Dictionary of Power and Struggle: Language of Civil Resistance in Conflicts. These 198 methods of nonviolent action have all been used in historical instances of nonviolent struggle. Without doubt, a large number of additional methods have already been used but have not been classified, and a multitude of additional methods will be invented in the future that have the characteristics of the three classes of methods: nonviolent protest and persuasion, noncooperation, and nonviolent intervention. It must be clearly understood that the greatest effectiveness is possible when individual methods to be used are selected to implement the previously adopted strategy. It is necessary to know what kinds of pressures are to be used before choosing the precise forms of action that will best apply those pressures.

THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT PROTEST AND PERSUASION

Formal statements
1. Public speeches
2. Letters of opposition or support
3. Declarations by organizations and institutions
4. Signed public statement
5. Declarations of indictment and intention
6. Group or mass petition

Communications with a wider audience
7. Slogans, caricatures, and symbols
8. Banners, posters, and displayed communications
9. Leafl ets, pamphlets, and books
10. Newspapers and journals
11. Records, radio, and television
12. Skywriting and earthwriting

Group representations
13. Deputation
14. Mock award
15. Group lobbying
16. Picketing
17. Mock election

Symbolic public acts
18. Display of flags and symbolic colors
19. Wearing of symbols
20. Prayer and worship
21. Symbolic objects
22. Protest disrobing
23. Destruction of own property
24. Symbolic lights
25. Display of portraits
26. Paint as protest
27. New signs and names
28. Symbolic sounds
29. Symbolic reclamation
30. Rude gesture

Pressures on individuals
31. “Haunting” officials
32. Taunting officials
33. Fraternization
34. Vigil

Drama and music
35. Humorous skits and pranks
36. Performance of plays and music
37. Singing

Processions
38. March
39. Parade
40. Religious procession
41. Pilgrimage
42. Motorcade

Honoring the dead
43. Political mourning
44. Mock funeral
45. Demonstrative funeral
46. Homage at burial places

Public assemblies
47. Assembly of protest or support
48. Protest meeting
49. Camouflaged meeting of protest
50. Teach-in

Withdrawal and renunciation
51. Walkout
52. Silence
53. Renouncing honors
54. Turning one’s back

THE METHODS OF SOCIAL NONCOOPERATION

Ostracism of persons
55. Social boycott
56. Selective social boycott
57. Lysistratic nonaction
58. Excommunication
59. Interdict

Noncooperation with social events, customs, and institutions
60. Suspension of social and sports activities
61. Boycott of social aff airs
62. Student strike
63. Social disobedience
64. Withdrawal from social institutions

Withdrawal from the social system
65. Stay-at-home
66. Total personal noncooperation
67. “Flight” of workers
68. Sanctuary
69. Collective disappearance
70. Protest emigration (hijrat)

THE METHODS OF ECONOMIC NONCOOPERATION: ECONOMIC BOYCOTTS

Actions by consumers
71. Consumers’ boycott
72. Nonconsumption of boycotted goods
73. Policy of austerity
74. Rent withholding
75. Refusal to rent
76. National consumers’ boycott
77. International consumers’ boycott

Action by workers and producers
78. Workmen’s boycott
79. Producers’ boycott

Action by middlemen
80. Suppliers’ and handlers’ boycott

Action by owners and management
81. Traders’ boycott
82. Refusal to let or sell property
83. Lockout
84. Refusal of industrial assistance
85. Merchants’ “general strike”

Action by holders of financial resources
86. Withdrawal of bank deposits
87. Refusal to pay fees, dues, and assessments
88. Refusal to pay debts or interest
89. Severance of funds and credit
90. Revenue refusal
91. Refusal of government money

Action by governments
92. Domestic embargo
93. Blacklisting of traders
94. International sellers’ embargo
95. International buyers’ embargo
96. International trade embargo

THE METHODS OF ECONOMIC NONCOOPERATION: THE STRIKE

Symbolic strikes
97. Protest strike
98. Quickie walkout (lightning strike)

Agricultural strikes
99. Peasant strike
100. Farm workers’ strike

Strikes by special groups
101. Refusal of impressed labor
102. Prisoners’ strike
103. Craft strike
104. Professional strike

Ordinary industrial strikes
105. Establishment strike
106. Industry strike
107. Sympathetic strike

Restricted strikes
108. Detailed strike
109. Bumper strike
110. Slowdown strike
111. Working-to-rule strike
112. Reporting “sick” (“sick-in”)
113. Strike by resignation
114. Limited strike
115. Selective strike

Multi-industry strikes
116. Generalized strike
117. General strike

Combination of strikes and economic closures
118. Hartal
119. Economic shutdown

THE METHODS OF POLITICAL NONCOOPERATION

Rejection of authority
120. Withholding or withdrawal of allegiance
121. Refusal of public support
122. Literature and speeches advocating resistance

Citizens’ noncooperation with government
123. Boycott of legislative bodies
124. Boycott of elections
125. Boycott of government employment and positions
126. Boycott of government departments, agencies, and other bodies
127. Withdrawal from government educational institutions
128. Boycott of government-supported organizations
129. Refusal of assistance to enforcement agents
130. Removal of own signs and placemarks
131. Refusal to accept appointed offi cials
132. Refusal to dissolve existing institutions

Citizens’ alternatives to obedience
133. Reluctant and slow compliance
134. Nonobedience in absence of direct supervision
135. Popular nonobedience
136. Disguised disobedience
137. Refusal of an assemblage or meeting to disperse
138. Sitdown
139. Noncooperation with conscription and deportation
140. Hiding, escape, and false identities
141. Civil disobedience of “illegitimate” laws

Action by government personnel
142. Selective refusal of assistance by government aides
143. Blocking of lines of command and information
144. Stalling and obstruction
145. General administrative noncooperation
146. Judicial noncooperation
147. Deliberate inefficiency and selective noncooperation by enforcement agents
148. Mutiny

Domestic governmental action
149. Quasi-legal evasions and delays
150. Noncooperation by constituent governmental units

International governmental action
151. Changes in diplomatic and other representation
152. Delay and cancellation of diplomatic events
153. Withholding of diplomatic recognition
154. Severance of diplomatic relations
155. Withdrawal from international organizations
156. Refusal of membership in international bodies
157. Expulsion from international organizations

THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT INTERVENTION

Psychological intervention
158. Self-exposure to the elements
159. The fast
a) Fast of moral pressure
b) Hunger strike
c) Satyagrahic fast
160. Reverse trial
161. Nonviolent harassment

Physical intervention
162. Sit-in
163. Stand-in
164. Ride-in
165. Wade-in
166. Mill-in
167. Pray-in
168. Nonviolent raid
169. Nonviolent air raid
170. Nonviolent invasion
171. Nonviolent interjection
172. Nonviolent obstruction
173. Nonviolent occupation

Social intervention
174. Establishing new social patterns
175. Overloading of facilities
176. Stall-in
177. Speak-in
178. Guerrilla theater
179. Alternative social institution
180. Alternative communication system

Economic intervention
181. Reverse strike
182. Stay-in strike
183. Nonviolent land seizure
184. Defiance of blockade
185. Politically-motivated counterfeiting
186. Preclusive purchasing
187. Seizure of assets
188. Dumping
189. Selective patronage
190. Alternative market
191. Alternative transportation system
192. Alternative economic institution

Political intervention
193. Overloading of administrative systems
194. Disclosing identities of secret agents
195. Seeking imprisonment
196. Civil disobedience of “neutral” laws
197. Work-on without collaboration
198. Dual sovereignty and parallel government

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  1. [...] are many forms of non-violent action. In Greece, people have been taking regularly to the streets as well as refusing to pay tolls for [...]

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