Dissenters fostering changes across the world are often perceived as troublemakers and often pay a high price for their behavior – even when formally protected by legal rules. I want to tell a story of dissenters as important catalysts of societal changes. Societies require consensus as well as dissent, but the concept and characteristics of the latter are under-investigated. My overall aim is to illuminate the attributes, dynamics, and reactions to dissent. The theme has gained relevance in times of polarization due to new digital technologies, which are changing dissent, people’s interactions, and governance. The investigation examines exemplary cases in the light of one another, literature, and includes the treatment of cases under diverse regulatory models. Future works will be able to compare how institutions stifle or protect dissent, and secure or deny access to justice to dissenters.
Joan of Arc was born in 1412 in Lorraine, France during the Hundred Year’s War. She led an army at 17, supporting the French side and broke the occupation of Orléans by the English. After a long legal process, she was burned as a heretic in 1431, mainly because she claimed to have received her orders directly from heaven, thus challenging the authority of the Catholic Church. 25 years later the judgment for heresy was overruled. In 1920, she was canonized as a saint. During the long and dry summer of 2018, Sweden experienced a number of wild fires. In August 2018, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg started her climate strike at the Swedish Parliament before upcoming elections. In December 2018 she spoke at the COP24 meeting on climate change in Poland and said, “we can no longer save the world by plying by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.” 2019 became a year of unprecedented mobilization in general and particularly of teenagers without voting rights around the world.
This paper aims to offer the prophetic vision to the construction of an alternative world based on cognitive transformation and mutual cognitive liberation. Specifically, the Original Nation Approaches to Inter-“National” Law (ONAIL) scholarship urges the construction of the system of law which ennobles the rights of people and the natural world, i.e., organic and biological entities that exist in an objective reality, over and above the rights of the state and the corporation, i.e., legally-constructed, fictional entities. ONAIL exposes the fictional and ephemeral nature of the state and corporation, delegitimize their existence, and promote the construction of an alternative system of law. Further, the ONAIL scholarship promotes the federated, global network of the close collaborative relationship of organically-composed, free association of communities that have to be constructed on the basis of preserving the dignity and autonomy of people through mutual support and mutual aid.
Hong Kong was described as a “city of protests”, long before the 2019 Protests, by its Special Administrative Region Government, in dialogues with international interlocutors, in part to promote a positive image of difference from Mainland China and in part to address criticisms against its public order legislation. This paper considers how expressions of dissent in Hong Kong since the resumption of exercise of Chinese sovereignty in 1997 have morphed from peaceful, symbolic and occasional to well beyond the point that the crowd “doth protest too much, methinks”. This is followed by a discussion of the factors that contribute to and sustain the current formless, multi-plicated and apparently leaderless but self-conscious resistance of the governing regime in Hong Kong and of the inspirations and possible legacies this “#bewater” approach of dissent/resistance/revolution first described in Hong Kong in 2019 may have on the Global Unsettlement currently underway.