A good government cannot think of everything - to provide a good service for the citizens, a good government must depend on input and feedback from the citizens.

It cannot act on every suggestion for improvement - resources do not allow this - and so any citizen wanting to make changes can strengthen the process by getting the support of others i.e. starting a campaign.

A campaign (in the non-military sense) is defined in the OED [1] as
an organized course of action to achieve a particular goal: e.g. an election campaign

The kind of campaign will obviously depend upon the goal, one factor being whether the goal is (a) something optional e.g. new flower beds in a local park, or construction of a skateboard park, which those in authority have no obligation to provide, or (b) something guarenteed in some way e.g. as a human right

Campaigning using the democratic process

  • Write to councillors, officers or MPs (letters or emails)

  • Write to newspapers

  • Take part in consultations

  • Sign or start petitions

Non-violent direct action

If the democratic process is failing and there is some kind of misconduct or malpractice e.g.
  • information is being withheld
  • false information is being provided
  • there is no genuine consultation
  • human rights are not being respected
  • decisions are not based on evidence
then non-violent direct action is justified or even an obligation to ensure that the correct decisions are taken. [2]
See here


  • Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (Martin Luther King)

  • All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men and women do nothing. (paraphrasing Edmund Burke)

  • A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle. (Nelson Mandela) [3]

  • Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived. (Abraham Lincoln)

  • Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends? (Abraham Lincoln)

  • Relentless optimism is what moves the world forward. (Apple video)

  • Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead) [4]


[1] The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) Oxford University Press

[2] Direct action for social justice (2012) Peter Tatchell

[3] Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom (The full text is "A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle, and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor")