Civil Disobedience

Editor: The recent discussion of “Civil Disobedience and Resistance” in DISSENT magazine was provocative and helpful. I think however that there was a sense of the academic about the discussion and a tendency to define civil disobedience in terms that are so pristine as to be removed from the contemporary situation.

When I was a kid at UCLA in the early 1950’s we were living in a period where there was so little resistance of any kind and to anything that to challenge the government by refusing to obey orders (primarily on the matter of miliary service) took a great deal of thought and analysis and was carried through with profound responsibility. The same applied to the early experiments of CORE where their civil disobedience actions were characterized again by the kind of responsible behavior that would meet the definitions laid down by Bob Pickus.