Practitioners of nonviolent struggle have an entire arsenal of “nonviolent weapons” at their disposal. The excuse for inaction "but what can I do?" is answered below classified into three broad categories: nonviolent protest and persuasion, noncooperation (social, economic, and political), and nonviolent intervention.
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 statements 5. Declarations of indictment and intention 6. Group or mass petitions
Communications with a Wider Audience 7. Slogans, caricatures, and symbols 8. Banners, posters, and displayed communications 9. Leaflets, pamphlets, and books 10. Newspapers and journals 11. Records, radio, and television 12. Skywriting and earthwriting
Symbolic Public Acts 18. Displays of flags and symbolic colors 19. Wearing of symbols 20. Prayer and worship 21. Delivering symbolic objects 22. Protest disrobings (See Quaker protests of literally getting naked in public.) 23. Destruction of own property 24. Symbolic lights 25. Displays of portraits 26. Paint as protest 27. New signs and names 28. Symbolic sounds 29. Symbolic reclamations 30. Rude gestures
Honoring the Dead 43. Political mourning 44. Mock funerals 45. Demonstrative funerals 46. Homage at burial places
Public Assemblies 47. Assemblies of protest or support 48. Protest meetings 49. Camouflaged meetings of protest 50. Teach-ins
Withdrawal and Renunciation 51. Walk-outs 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 affairs 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 a government’s 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
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 depts., 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 officials 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 representations 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
Social Intervention 174. Establishing new social patterns 175. Overloading of facilities 176. Stall-in 177. Speak-in 178. Guerrilla theater 179. Alternative social institutions 180. Alternative communication system
Economic Intervention 181. Reverse strike 182. Stay-in strike 183. Nonviolent land seizure 184. Defiance of blockades 185. Politically motivated counterfeiting 186. Preclusive purchasing 187. Seizure of assets 188. Dumping 189. Selective patronage 190. Alternative markets 191. Alternative transportation systems 192. Alternative economic institutions
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
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 kind of pressures are to be used before one chooses the precise forms of action that will best apply those pressures.
 Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973 and later editions.
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