An underground movement is an oppositional, conspiratorial , political movement that works in illegality to weaken existing political conditions such as a ruling socio-political order, legal state rule , a dictatorship or an occupying power . It arises, among other things, when no political opposition is allowed, when minority rights are restricted or suppressed or when political groups consciously rely on conspiratorial activities instead of possible legal activity. Depending on the degree of organization and scope, one speaks of the underground activities of individuals, an underground movement or an underground organization . Underground organizations have organizational and often leadership structures. They are often organized in cells that are independent of one another, that is, numerically small, locally or regionally organized groups that know little or nothing about one another. This is to prevent larger parts or the whole organization from getting into jeopardy if a single member is captured.
Boundaries and political evaluation
The political evaluation of an underground movement often depends on the respective political system. Especially in totalitarian or authoritarian, dictatorial systems, political opposition is neither legally nor politically legitimized and prohibited. Open or public opposition efforts, but also partly intra-party opposition groups, are ideologically fought as illegitimate and politically or criminally suppressed. As a result, the opposition often organizes itself through extra-institutional channels such as an underground movement or an opposition in exile.
During the Second World War, underground work was considered a form of resistance struggle against the dictatorship of National Socialism . Anti-fascist movements such as For example, the Resistance in France, the Italian Resistance or the Red Orchestra in Germany as well as anti-colonial liberation movements are also considered resistance movements . Likewise, the work of the KPD and SPD continued underground after their ban in the Third Reich (see resistance groups in Germany ) and in the occupied territories .
Underground groups are often associated with terrorism in both totalitarian and democratic states . In particular, nationalist and extremist underground movements use terrorist means. Radical , extremist , militant and / or non-governmental underground paramilitary organizations - for example ETA , IRA , RAF and Al-Qaeda - are often considered terrorist groups , especially when they try to achieve their goals through criminal acts.
In authoritarian and totalitarian states in particular , such as dictatorships and military dictatorships , underground movements or any form of political resistance that is illegal there are sometimes referred to as terrorists - even though the organization in question only offers legitimate or justified and often non-violent resistance to an injustice regime .
- Underground movement on Wissen.de , accessed on December 6, 2011
- Dtv-Lexikon, Volume 19 Tris - Walo, June 1977, Beck'sche Buchdruckerei Nördlingen, ISBN 3423030690 , page 94
- "Underground Movement" ( Memento from June 5, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) in Meyers Lexikon , accessed on December 9, 2014
- Protection of the political opposition under international law (PDF; 1.3 MB), dissertation by Katharina Freytag at the Law Faculty of the University of Regensburg 2004, p. 10
- "Underground Movement" on DWDS , accessed on December 6, 2011