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An uprising , sometimes also called popular uprising , rebellion or (outdated) insurrection , is in the narrower sense an open, violent resistance of several people against a state authority . In some cases this means armed resistance against an existing government ; Street battles in government and population centers are often a precursor to an uprising . Insurgents are also called rebels , especially on the part of the party sympathizing with them, for example abroad. An outdated term is insurgent .

In today's political debate, the term is often used in a figurative sense for non- violent events. It then describes a time-limited criticism or political movement against a previously established point of view pursued by a higher number of votes or participants.

Violent uprising

Intervention prohibition

Insurgents who are in the fight against their established government are not allowed to provide any assistance from third countries in accordance with the international law prohibition of intervention in the UN Charter (Article 2, Item 7), neither in the form of financing, weapons, training nor logistics. Only humanitarian aid may be provided, i.e. to supply the population, the wounded and prisoners.

Status under international law

If the insurgents have formed their own government, they can be recognized as belligerents ; this gives them partial international legal personality . The aim is to apply the ius in bello , which is expected to alleviate the horrors of civil war . When the fighting is over and the new government effectively controls part of the national territory, recognition as a belligerent is no longer an option. It can now be a de facto regime .


Hannah Arendt makes a strict distinction between a rebellion and a revolution : "The goal of a rebellion [is] only liberation [...], while the goal of the revolution is the establishment of freedom ".

Friedrich Engels defines insurrection as an art that is "subject to certain rules, just like war or any other art". The rules are “logical conclusions from the nature of the parties and the circumstances with which one has to do in such a case. First of all, you should never play with the insurrection unless you are determined to take on all the consequences of the game. The uprising is a calculation of extremely indefinite quantities, the values ​​of which can change every day; the forces of the adversary have all the advantages of organization, discipline, and traditional authority on their side; if one cannot face them with great superiority, one is defeated and destroyed. Second, once you have taken the path of insurrection, act with the greatest determination and take the offensive. The defensive is the death of every armed insurrection ... Surprise your opponent, as long as his forces are dispersed, ensure new, however small, successes every day; preserve the moral preponderance that the initial success of the survey gave you; draw the fluctuating elements to your side ...; force your enemies to retreat before they can muster their strength against you; to use the words of Danton , the greatest known master of revolutionary tactics to date: de l'audace, de l'audace, encore de l'audace! “(Boldness, boldness, and again boldness!) In 1895 Engels commented on the changed conditions of an uprising, especially because of the modern bourgeois army, whose political disintegration is defined as a prerequisite for a successful uprising. He also goes into the defensive aspects of the uprising (barricade fight) and defines the meaning of the street fight as more "moral" than "material".

Lenin orients himself strongly to Engel's considerations, whereby he was particularly interested in the aspect of the "offensive" and the connection between the revolutionary army and the revolutionary government. Shortly before the October Revolution, Lenin wrote that successful uprisings were firstly “not based on a conspiracy, not on a party”, but on “the most advanced class”. Second, an uprising must also be “based on the revolutionary upswing of the people”. Third, an insurrection must be based “on such a turning point in the history of the growing revolution, where the activity of the front ranks of the people is greatest, where the fluctuations in the ranks of the enemy and in the ranks of the weak, half, indecisive friends of the people Revolution are strongest. "


Web links

Wiktionary: Aufstand  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  5. Stephan Hobe: Introduction to International Law , Tübingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-8252-4146-9 , p. 175, p. 292.
  6. Stephan Hobe: Introduction to International Law , Tübingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-8252-4146-9 , pp. 76f.
  7. Hannah Arendt: About the revolution. ( On Revolution New York 1963). 4th edition. Piper, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-49-221746-X , p. 184.
  8. ^ Friedrich Engels: Revolution and Counterrevolution in Germany , MEW 8, p. 95.
  9. ^ Friedrich Engels: Introduction [to Karl Marx ' class struggles in France from 1848 to 1850. (1895)], MEW 22, pp. 509-527.
  10. See LW 26, pp. 117, 166f .; LW 11, p. 165; LW 8, p. 566
  11. LW 26, 4f.