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Activism is a multi-faceted approach covering numerous methods designed to promote change. Activism can be used to promote social, environmental, political or economic change and can be as simple as writing a letter or as involved as campaigning.
Activism can consist of many things. Civil disobedience, for example, is the refusal to obey certain laws, frequently seen as unjust. Gandhi's campaign of nonviolence in India was a form of sustained and prolonged civil disobedience that eventually led to India's independence. Many of Gandhi's tactics were adopted by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s in America.
Economic activism can occur as a boycott. A boycott is the voluntary abstinence of a certain product or organization. For example, certain groups will organize a boycott of a corporation such as Walmart, urging people to not shop there due to the low wages that the company pays its workers. One famous boycott was the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which followed in the wake of the Rosa Parks incident in 1964, when African Americans refused to use the public transportation system due to racist policies.
Protest is another form of activism, and may include demonstrations, such as the Million Man March, or even protest songs, such as the work of Bob Dylan and others in the 1960s.