direct action


direct action
   Direct action is the deliberate challenge to authority, usually the government, over a policy or policies, in a manner outside the conventional channels of parliamentary politics. It may be legal and institutionalized as with strikes, or extend to civil disobedience and violence. In the 1990s, direct action was associated with environmentalists, new age travellers, and political fringe groups. Mass demonstrations against the poll tax from 1989 were instrumental in its abandonment. Legislation such as the Public Order Act 1985 and the Criminal Justice Act 1994 were criticized as authoritarian attempts to stifle dissent. Nevertheless, prominent instances of direct action continued in the 1990s, including protests by the Green movement against live animal exports, the arms trade and nuclear weapons, and against environmental destruction.
   COLIN WILLIAMS

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.