Gaines has a Master of Science in Education with a focus in counseling.
Resistance to Bullying
Jake went to school scared. Every day, as he walked down the street about two blocks from the school, an older boy met him, took his backpack, then took Jake's lunch. He didn't tell his parents because he was embarrassed and because the older boy told him not to. Jake wasn't the only victim though. Other kids in his class were harassed also.
Then one day, the smallest boy in the class told the bully no. He was beaten up, but he told the class it wasn't that bad. He also told a teacher why he had a bloody nose. The older boy got mad because he got in trouble, but he didn't stop. He did finally stop intimidating the younger children when they started walking together and refusing to give him anything. He hit a couple of them, but he stopped because he was worried they would gang up on him. The younger children learned that resistance can be an effective tool.
The History of Resistance
Resistance, a social construct (a mechanism that is defined by society), is defined as a group of people who in some way disrupt the accepted authority, whether that be the legal authority or an occupying force, in order to upset stability. Examples of resistance have occurred throughout history.
- Rome experienced a slave revolt with Spartacus as the leader. Roman authority eventually quelled the resistance and crucified many of the principle actors.
- Martin Luther, a Catholic monk, disagreed with the way the Roman Catholic church was leading. He famously nailed 95 statements (or theses) to the door or the Catholic Church in Wittenberg, Germany. His resistance to authority led to the Christian Protestant Reformation.
- John Brown, an abolitionist (opponent of slavery) from Kansas, led a group of people to take control of an armory in what is now West Virginia. His purpose was not to personally use the arms to revolt but to keep what he believed was a corrupt government from using them. His action, along with others, helped bring about the American Civil War.
- During the 1960s many groups staged sit-ins, marches and other acts of resistance against what they saw as the injustice of the US federal government. These actions led to civil rights legislation being signed by President Johnson.
There are much more examples of resistance in societies around the world. Sometimes that resistance was successful in its goal and many times it was not. However, resistance has often been used by societies to cause change.
Types of Resistance
When there needs to be a change or an adjustment in the power structure, groups within society determine how it is best to respond. Sometimes peaceful protest is the best way to exact change, but sometimes force is needed. Groups have used many different forms of resistance to gain power, such as:
- Armed rebellion - forming an army and going to war against the people in power is sometimes the only way to make a change. Cromwell in England and the rebels in America during the Revolutionary War used this method successfully.
- Overwhelming numbers - France had long been under the power of a king, but the people saw that they were kept poor by the policies of the ruling aristocracy. Because there were many more poor citizens than people in the ruling class, the people were able to overwhelm the royals. This was also the case, to a large extent, during the Bolshevik takeover in Russia.
- Political change - many countries have resisted a corrupt system and gained power by changing the political group who has power either by voting them out or overthrowing them. Mexico did this effectively in the late 1990s.
- Peaceful transfer - Gandhi, Desmond Tutu and others have used peace to exact change and gain power. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi was the originator of peaceful protest as a means of gaining power by using sit-ins, peaceful marches and diplomacy.
Many times these means of gaining power through resistance are used together (for example the overwhelming number of peaceful Indians under Gandhi), but the goal is always the same.
Resistance is a group of people who in some way disrupt the accepted authority, whether that be the legal authority or an occupying force, in order to upset stability. Resistance can be peaceful or violent in nature. People have used the concept throughout history to gain power when they are feeling underappreciated or marginalized. Recently, people have used peaceful resistance (sit-ins, walkouts, etc.) as a means of resistance. Resistance can come as armed conflict, the use of overwhelming numbers, political change or peaceful protest.
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