For starters, let us define our terms:
civil - pertaining to citizens; humane, considerate, kind.
disobedience - refusing or failing to obey orders.
nonviolent - not using physical force or strength to cause injury.
resistance - the act of opposing or refusing to comply.
State - supreme ruling power of a country.
Putting these definitions together, our topic may be defined as the gentle, but firm, refusal of the inhabitants of a community to follow the political laws promulgated by its government.
Why is this an important subject to readers of Strike The Root? It is significant because, as Gene Sharp has stated:
No government can exist for a single moment without the cooperation of the people, willing or forced, and if the people withdraw their cooperation, the government will come to a standstill . . . . Even the most powerful government cannot rule without the cooperation of the ruled.
When people refuse their cooperation, withhold their help, persist in their disobedience and defiance, they are denying their opponent the basic assistance and cooperation which any government or hierarchical system requires. If they do this in sufficient numbers and for long enough, that government or hierarchical system will no longer have power. This is the basic political assumption of nonviolent action.