Poll: Two-Thirds Of Activists Believe Breaking The Law For Their Cause Is Justified

Poll: Two-Thirds Of Activists Believe Breaking The Law For Their Cause Is Justified

That number is more than twice what it was two years ago.

Two-thirds of activists believe it’s justified to break the law to create “systemic change,” according to a new poll released Wednesday by the Altruist League. This number has more than doubled since 2018.

Despite believing crime is justified for their cause, over sixty percent of respondents said they are not prepared to spend a year in prison for their organization’s objectives to succeed. Still, 70 percent believe that “systemic problems” will not be solved peacefully in the next decade.

The survey polled 1193 people from just over 1000 activist organizations in 23 countries around the world. About a fifth of responses came from the United States, with 24 percent from Asia, 14 percent from Europe, 19 percent from Africa, and the remaining responses from South America, Australia and the Pacific, and the rest of North America. The average age of respondents was 34 years.

The Altruist League sent the poll to the activist groups it supports to gather a representative sample. The survey was anonymous and groups could choose whether or not to respond. Organizations supported by the League include Extinction Rebellion, a climate activism group that pledges to use “non-violent civil disobedience” to fight climate change and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Almost a third of respondents represented an organization for climate action, and a fifth represented racial justice groups. Other areas of activism included women’s empowerment, economic equality, and improving democracy. Harvard University and branches of Black Lives Matter in Minneapolis and New York also assisted with the survey.

UPDATE 7/1/2020: After publication, Vote.org, previously listed among the Altruist League’s groups, revealed they did not participate in the survey. Language was updated to reflect that groups could decline to participate. 

Elle Reynolds is an intern at the Federalist, and a senior at Patrick Henry College studying government and journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.
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