Locke believes that the relationship between the state and its citizens took the form of a 'contract,' whereby the governed agreed to surrender certain freedoms they enjoyed under the state of nature in exchange for the order and protection provided by a state, exercised according to the rule of law.
However, if the state oversteps its limits and begins to exercise arbitrary power, it forfeits its 'side' of the contract and thus, the contract becomes void; the citizens not only have the right to overthrow the state, but are indeed morally compelled to revolt and replace it.
Locke believes that the citizens are compelled to revolt because absolute power is never a remedy for the state of nature; however, Locke makes great effort to point out that if the citizens are going to revolt they must be on the right side of the issue.
Old Holborn has a good post on The Methods of Nonviolent Protest and Persuasion - all 198 of them - courtesy of Captain Ranty. This was reproduced from Sessecion Net
- Creating a worldwide Secession Network promoting the Right to Secede - Community-Based Secession - Libertarian/Decentralist Political Processes - Nonviolent Secession and Institutions.
That made me think. The phenomenon of disobedience and resistance deserves academic research.
In the contemporary climate this is based around libertarian blogging, single-issue campaigns such as No2ID, and various individual demonstrations of disenchantment with the State. My own theory is that this is a legitimate reaction to an increasingly illiberal and repressive government and State.
Back in the 1960s and 197os, there was a wider academic tradition of studies surrounding peace, conflict, gender and race, citizen participation and resistance. This was underpinned by the radical agenda of the time and the context of the Vietnam War and acceptance of Marxism as a political theory (Marxism is still cited by historians as a valid theoretical framework...not without reason). Many of our own Leaders admit to a fondness for posters of Che Guevara and a residual admiration for Fidel Castro and Cuba.
Since then, the focus has been on media studies and politics studies. Everyone wants to be something off the West Wing, a spin-doctor or policy wonk, subservient to the System.
Is it time to look afresh at the social theories of citizen participation, peace and conflict, and resistance? In the context of the modern State? The starting point I would suggest is opposition to the Iraq War and the repressive "anti-terror" policies that followed, along with the creeping agenda of the database and surveillance state. The "resistance blogs" and wider campaigns are an evolving phenomenon tied to dissatisfaction with the State and this deserves study.
Any universities out there fancy chasing a research grant? We could even get money from the State to fund this resistance...appears to be the way ahead nowadays!