Resistance movement

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A resistance movement is an organized effort by some portion of the civil population of a country to resist the legally established government or an occupying power and to disrupt civil order and stability. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance (sometimes called civil resistance) or the use of armed force.


  • I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old Revolutionary maxim. “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”
  • Resistance is feasible even for those who are not heroes by nature, and it is an obligation, I believe, for those who fear the consequences and detest the reality of the attempt to impose American hegemony.
    • Noam Chomsky, In American Power and the New Mandarins (1969).
  • Resistance to tyranny is man’s highest ideal.
    • Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays, 3rd rev. ed., ch. 3 (1917).
  • We must remember: what is beautiful is the resistance, and that people can-and must-resist from their own authentic place in the world…It is from this solid, self-knowing place that we can work towards peace and justice
    • Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz To Be a Radical Jew in the Late 20th Century in The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology (1986)
  • You may either win your peace or buy it: win it, by resistance to evil; buy it, by compromise with evil.
  • Blinded by their own racial theories and driven by the increasing demands of the war to extract whatever they could from occupied territories, the Axis powers in both Europe and Asia drove civilians into active opposition. Forced labour, punitive taxes, indiscriminate killing and deliberate genocide gave people a stark choice of resisting or probably dying in any case. As armed resistance grew across Asia, from the Philippines to China, and throughout Europe, the Axis powers cracked down ever more severely, the Japanese with such policies as the Three Alls in China and the Nazis with collective punishment for any locality where there were resistance activities. As one German diplomat in occupied Greece said after German forces massacred Greek villagers, ‘The wonderful result of this heroic deed is that babies are dead; but the partisans continue to live.’ Ukrainians who had welcomed Nazi troops with the traditional gifts of salt and bread as their deliverers from Soviet rule formed partisan groups as the Nazis started their killings and mass deportations of slave labour to the West.
  • Resistance in the Second World War was picking up a gun or blowing up railways, but it was also listening to the nightly news bulletins on the BBC, as thousands did all over Europe even though that was punishable by death. Resistance was also printing and distributing information about the occupations and the state of the war. In Belgium around 12,000 people were engaged in putting out and distributing some 300 underground papers. In occupied France audiences clapped British soldiers when they appeared in newsreels and moved if a German sat next to them. In Poland a German officer complained that Polish children were always rude to him. In occupied Denmark citizens gathered in large numbers in the open air to sing Danish folksongs. The Dutch planted flowerbeds in their national colours. The streets in Prague were empty on the anniversaries of the Munich Agreement, which had destroyed Czechoslovakia. Such gestures may have seemed futile but they helped to keep hope alive.
  • The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.
    • Woodrow Wilson, Address to the New York Press Club, New York City (September 9, 1912).

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