Political resistance to structural injustice
This panel aims to stimulate dialogue concerning the nature of resistance to democratic institutions of power, particularly in light of deep and widespread structural injustice.
Resistance to the democratic states, both civil and violent, has attracted public attention and achieved varying levels of success in recent years (including the Yellow Shirts movement, Black Lives Matter, Fees Must Fall). Despite their democratic structures, the countries in which many of these movements occur are beset by structural injustice that has led to deep socio-economic inequalities and deprivations. These movements thus reveal a critical conundrum: when are citizens of democracies obligated to support state institutions and when does structural injustice require them to resist? Mainstream literature on resistance offers limited help in making sense of this conundrum. Most theorists, particularly in the Rawlsian tradition, emphasise the importance of ‘civility’ despite disagreement on what exactly civility refers to. In her latest book, Candice Delmas challenges the traditional understanding of resistance and reflects on the emphasis on civility. Her arguments invite us to think about the justification and even moral necessity of uncivil resistance.
- Why is the traditional Rawlsian account of civil disobedience insufficient in making sense of contemporary resistance?
- What is civility and is it necessary for a justified resistance?
- Do we have a duty to resist injustice? If so, what grounds such a duty?
- Can Just War Theory inform our discussion on resistance? If so, when can violence be necessary and proportionate?