Czech Environmental Direct Action in an International Context

  • Arnošt Novák
Keywords: environmental movement, direct action, civil disobedience, repertoire of actions, political protest, activism


Direct action constitutes an important repertoire of action for environmental movements. Direct action is a way to bring attention to problems but it is also a goal and a value in itself. The paper deals with two different concepts of direct action: the liberal concept, which views direct action in instrumental terms, and the anarchist concept, which rather understands direct action in terms of values and as a preferred way of acting. The article particularly pays attention to environmental direct action, which further develops the anarchist concept of direct action as a preferred way of doing things. On the basis of an empirical research that was carried out, it answers the questions of how Czech environmental organisations have employed these different concepts of direct action, why their use of the liberal concept is very limited and why direct action as a preferred way of doing things has not yet become a part of the repertoire of collective action. The article finds an explanation for this in the very specific historical experience of the Czech environmental movement, which has tended to dialogue with power rather than confrontations with it, the political ostracism of the movement in the 1990s, and the different developments of the environmental and anarchist milieus, which did not allow for an overlapping of these milieus that would serve as the basis for the development of the practice of environmental direct action.

Author Biography

Arnošt Novák