East Meets West in Civil Disobedience Theory and Beyond: Lessons from Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
East Meets West in Civil Disobedience Theory and Beyond: Lessons from Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., in THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW & JURISPRUDENCE 2015, at 125 (Giuliana Ziccardi Capaldo ed., Oxford Univ. Press 2016)
Posted: 12 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 1, 2015
Mohandas K. Gandhi merged Eastern and Western legal, religious, and philosophical thought to create a basis for a theory of civil disobedience — “satyagraha” — that he applied with great efficacy in fighting against racial and social injustice in India. Martin Luther King, Jr., subsequently based one of his principal strategies for pursuing racial and social justice in the United States on Gandhi’s theory. In this Comment, I argue that the fusion of Eastern and Western thought underlying satyagraha is a significant reason for its consistent and increasing salience in national and international policy debates. I then examine the actions of Edward Snowden in light of this theory. I conclude with the suggestion that the power of this merger of disciplines and cultural norms should be extended beyond theories of civil disobedience to realize the potential power of law as a tool for advancing human health, safety, and dignity, and environmental protections.
Keywords: civil disobedience, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., satyagraha, Edward Snowden
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