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Essay On Nonviolent Resistance

There have been many forms of oppression throughout history. While many forms of oppression have been eradicated, many forms still exist in today’s society. Concerning the forms of oppression that have been eradicated, the question that comes to mind is how these forms of oppression were dealt with and what led to them being eradicated. The process of dealing with oppression in turn brings to light another question in how successful are the resistors’ approaches in dealing with oppression.

There are two main distinct approaches to oppression which are violent resistance and non-violent resistances. Since there have been many oppressed groups that have seen success from nonviolent resistances to oppression, the focus of this paper will be taking a stance in proving that the oppressed do see success in nonviolent approaches. In analyzing this notion, I will discuss the forms of oppression portrayed in the film Pride by Stephen Beresford and Angela Davis’s chapter “Class and Race in the Early Women’s Rights Campaign.

I will then discuss the resistors’ approaches in dealing with oppression and give my opinion of the most effective way to resist oppression which is a union of many forms of resistances coming together. Finally, I will discuss how much power really oppressed people have and how they could use it to their advantage. Two main types of oppression are portrayed in the film Pride; these are social oppression and institutionalized oppression.

For the sake of basic understanding, oppression is simply the exercise of authority or power in a cruel or unjust manner. Going more into depth, social oppression is the socially supported mistreatment of a particular group of individuals while institutionalized oppression is the systematic mistreatment of people within a social identity group, supported and enforced by the society and its institutions, solely based on the person’s membership in the social identity group.

The two groups that struggle against oppression in the film are the mine workers and the LGBT community. The mine workers can be said to have struggled against institutionalized oppression as under Margaret Thatcher’s administration, there was a closing of 20 coal mines across the UK. This administration led to walkouts and strikes by the miners. At the very beginning of the film we are introduced to the main subject of the film where a group of lesbian gay activists try to raise money to support the coal miners in the Welsh Village Dulais Valley.

Social oppression and institutionalized oppression are seen among the LGBT community as they faced legal, social, and employment discrimination and oppression. In relation to social oppression, an important point to note was the refusal of the LGBT’s support from some of the coal miners in Dulais Valley. Angela Davis’s chapter “Class and Race in the Early Women’s Rights Campaign” discusses a distinct type of oppression in the form of patriarchy. In this article, the various injustices experienced by women in relation to class, race, and gender are discussed.

The first injustice we are introduced is where abolitionist Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Stanton were barred from the Abolitionist London Conference by the men. In retaliation, a women’s rights movement was inaugurated in dealing with the many aspects of patriarchy. Another injustice that is first brought to light by Elizabeth Stanton is the women’s suffrage where women were not allowed to vote. An important note is that the proposition of a resolution of women’s suffrage by Elizabeth Stanton was opposed by Lucretia Mott as she thought it was way too radical.

There are many ways people resist oppression; these include strikes, threats of violence or down outright violence, and having a variety of forms of resistances to fight different types of oppression. The most conspicuous similarity seen between the resistor’s approaches to fighting oppression in the film and the chapter are protests, strikes, and rallies. In the film, due to the closing of the 20 coal mines under an oppressive administration, coal miners resorted to protests, rallies, and strikes, fighting against the injustices imposed on them.

The use of strikes, rallies, and protests are also mentioned in Angela Davis’s chapter as female mill workers in the 1820s protested the oppression they suffered as women and as industrial workers. In my opinion, the percentage of successfulness of protests, rallies and strikes are 50/50 because while many times at first they prove to be unsuccessful, they still get the attention of the oppressors and leads to changes in the long run. This is the only similarity between these two approaches as the other approaches seen can be said to be very distinct.

Going back to the form of resistance where different oppressed groups come together in fighting oppression, this is where the approaches in the film and the Davis’s chapter are distinct. While oppression is fought in the film by two different oppressed groups (LGBT community and coal miners) coming together, an idea of solidarity between different groups coming together in fighting oppression is seen opposed throughout Davis’s chapter.

This is evident where the conditions that were being opposed in the Seneca Falls convention didn’t take into account the conditions of white working class women, and also the conditions of black women in the North and South. In light of the difference I pinpointed between the approaches to resistances in the film and Davis’s chapter, I reiterate my statement earlier that the most effective way of dealing with oppression is having different oppressed groups come together in fighting oppression and pushing for a change. As shown throughout history, individual forms of resistance cannot change many things.

By having more than one forms of resistance come together, economic, political, and moral pressure can be imposed upon the oppressor in bringing about a change to current conditions that oppress the resistors. With courage and self-respect in defending their rights, the oppressed can curb injustices imposed in them by oppressors. Although oppressed groups endure injustices from the imposed power of the oppressors, one could say that oppressed groups have ways increasing their relative power in fighting these injustices.

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