Late last year there were a couple variations on the strike theme being used as forms of protest and/or to apply pressure on opponents. I was not entirely sure how to classify the actions because they involved different approaches that overlapped types, as Sharp himself noted:
The broad categories which must be used in classifying the many methods of nonviolent action are too rigid to suit the reality...Consequently, in every general class and subclass--such as the strike--there are some methods which also have one or more characteristics of another class (or do so under certain conditions) or which differ in at least one respect from the general characteristics of this class.
This is especially true in the case of the strike. Normally, the strike is a temporary withdrawal of labor, but there are methods in which the withdrawal is, or at least intended to be, permanent. Also, some methods are combinations of boycotts and strikes. Other methods operate by withdrawing labor but do so only symbolically, so that they might also be included within the class of nonviolent protest and persuasion.
"Calling in Gay" seemed to cut across boundaries in that people were encouraged to take personal or sick or other time away from work, boycott non-gay friendly businesses and/or patronize pro-gay businesses, attend vigils and/or engage in other visible volunteer activity. Mostly it was a symbolic action, though taking a day off from work still could have entailed some economic impact and even sacrifice by the participants (i.e., sick time is not something to just toss away without some consideration of future need).
Last year I tended to be genuinely sick quite a bit, which led to the legend of Pritsky classes never meeting, and this year I'm hoping to start a new trend. However, given my usual sick thought process I figured today's Method should be 112. Reporting "sick" (sick-in). This is a form of restricted strike (i.e., not a total or general work stoppage):
Where strikes are prohibited by law, decree, or contract, or are not feasible for other reasons, workers may achieve anything from a slowdown of production to the equivalent of a full strike by falsely claiming to be sick. This is an especially useful method when sick leave has been granted in the contract or law but strikes have been prohibited.
A great deal of feigned illness was reported among African slaves in the southern United States, sufficient to have had considerable economic impact. Sometimes the illness ratio was nearly one sick to seven well. Slaves were frequently sick on Saturday but rarely on Sunday, which was not a normal workday; more sickness occurred when the most work was required.
Although there was a great deal of genuine illness among the slave population, it is also clear that much of it was feigned in order to get out of work, to avoid being sold to an undesirable master, or to get revenge on a master (by feigning a disability while on the auction block and hence fetch a lower price). Women pretending pregnancy received lighter work and increased food. The Bauers write:
Of the extend to which illness was feigned there can...be little doubt. Some of the feigning was quite obvious, and one might wonder why such flagrant abuses were tolerated. The important thing to remember is that a slave was an important economic investment. Most slave owners sooner or later found out that it was more profitable to give the slave the benefit of the doubt. A sick slave driven to work might very well die.
So that's one lower-impact way to withdraw labor and consent. It didn't bring an end to slavery, but it was one method of resistance slaves themselves had and did help make the slavery system economically untenable in the long run, and we can use it in a variety of ways today.
I will cover more, though likely not all, of the cluster of strike-related methods in the coming weeks.
THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT PROTEST AND PERSUASION
1. Public Speeches
2. Letters of opposition or support
5. Declarations of indictment and intention
8. Banners, posters, and displayed communications
9. Leaflets, pamphlets, and books
10. Newspapers and journals
11. Records, radio, and television
14. Mock awards
15. Group lobbying
18. Displays of flags and symbolic colors
19. Wearing of symbols
21. Delivering symbolic objects
22. Protest disrobings
23. Destruction of own property
26. Paint as protest
30. Rude gestures
31. "Haunting" officials
32. Taunting officials
35. Humorous skits and pranks
44. Mock funerals
45. Demonstrative funerals.
53. Renouncing honors
54. Turning one's back.
55. Social boycott
THE METHODS OF SOCIAL NONCOOPERATION
57. Lysistratic nonaction
61. Boycott of social affairs
66. Total personal noncooperation
THE METHODS OF ECONOMIC NONCOOPERATION
71. Consumers' boycott
86. Withdrawal of bank deposits
88. Refusal to pay debts or interest
90. Revenue refusal
91. Refusal of a government's money
97. Protest strike
117. General strike
THE METHODS OF POLITICAL NONCOOPERATION
120. Withholding or withdrawal of allegiance
122. Literature and speeches advocating resistance
124. Boycott of elections
135. Popular nonobedience
137. Refusal of an assemblage or meeting to disperse
140. Hiding, escape, and false identities
147. Deliberate inefficiency and selective noncooperation by enforcement agents
150. Noncooperation by constituent governmental units
THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT INTERVENTION
158. Self-exposure to the elements
159. The fast: a) Fast of moral pressure; b) Hunger strike; c) Satyagrahic fast
160. Reverse trial
170. Nonviolent invasion
171. Nonviolent interjection
174. Establishing new social patterns
178. Guerrilla theater
179. Alternative social institutions
180. Alternative communication system
189. Selective patronage
193. Overloading of administrative systems
195. Seeking imprisonment
196. Civil disobedience of "neutral" laws
198: Dual sovereignty and parallel government.