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counter-revolutionary definition, counter-revolutionary meaning
A counter-revolutionary is anyone who opposes a revolution, particularly those who act after a revolution to try to overturn or reverse it, in full or in part The adjective, "counter-revolutionary", pertains to movements that would restore the state of affairs, or the principles, that prevailed during a prerevolutionary era

A counter-revolution can be positive or negative in its consequences; depending, in part, on the beneficent or pernicious character of the revolution that gets reversed, and the nature of those affected For example, the transitory success of Agis and Cleomenes of ancient Sparta in restoring the constitution of Lycurgus was considered by Plutarch to be counter-revolutionary in a positive sense During the French Revolution the Jacobins saw the Counter-revolution in the Vendée as distinctly negative, whilst it was strongly supported by the exiled Royalists, the Catholic Church, and the people of the provinces


  • 1 England, France and other counter-revolutionaries
  • 2 China
  • 3 Usage of the term
  • 4 Footnotes and references
  • 5 Further reading
  • 6 External links

England, France and other counter-revolutionariesedit

Part of the Politics series on

In some ways, the supporters of Jacobitism may be placed in this category The Jacobites were supporters of the Stuart house's claim to the English throne since 1688 The Jacobites survive to this day in their support for the Stuart family's claim to the English throne

The word "counter-revolutionary" originally referred to thinkers who opposed themselves to the 1789 French Revolution, such as Joseph de Maistre, Louis de Bonald or, later, Charles Maurras, the founder of the Action française monarchist movement More recently, it has been used in France to describe political movements that reject the legacy of the 1789 Revolution, which historian René Rémond has referred to as légitimistes Thus, monarchist supporters of the Ancien Régime following the French Revolution were counter-revolutionaries, for example supporters of the Revolt in the Vendée and of the monarchies that put down the various Revolutions of 1848 The royalist legitimist counter-revolutionary French movement survives to this day, albeit marginally It was active during the purported "Révolution nationale" enacted by Vichy France, though, which has been considered by René Rémond not as a fascist regime but as a counter-revolutionary regime, whose motto was Travail, Famille, Patrie "Work, Family, Fatherland", which replaced the Republican motto Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

After the French Revolution, anti-clerical policies and the execution of King Louis XVI led to the Revolt in the Vendee This counter-revolution produced what is debated to be the first modern genocide Monarchists and Catholics took up arms against the revolutionaries' French Republic in 1793 after the government asked that 300,000 Vendeans be conscripted into the Republican military The Vendeans would also rise up against Napoleon's attempt to conscript them in 1815

In Italy, after the conquer of the Napoleon's army in the late 18th century, there was a counter-revolution in all the French client republics The most well-known was the Sanfedismo, reactionary movement led by the cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo, which overthrew the Parthenopean Republic and allowed the Bourbon dynasty to return to the throne of the Kingdom of Naples A resurgence of the phenomenon happened during the Napoleon's second Italian campaign in the early 19th century Another example of counter-revolution was the peasants rebellion in Southern Italy after the national unification, fomented by the Bourbon government in exile and the Papal States The revolt, labelled as brigandage, resulted in a bloody civil war that lasted almost ten years

The supporters of Carlism during the 19th century to the present day are perhaps the oldest surviving counter-revolutionary group in Spain Supporters uphold the legitimist view of royal succession, as well as regional autonomy under the monarchy, tradition and Catholicism The Carlist cause began with the First Carlist War in 1833 and continues to the present

Red Army troops attack Kronstadt sailors in March 1921

The White Army and its supporters who tried to defeat the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution, as well as the German politicians, police, soldiers and Freikorps who crushed the German Revolution of 1918–1919, were also counter-revolutionaries General Victoriano Huerta, and later the Felicistas, attempted to thwart the Mexican Revolution in the 1910s

Bolshevik propaganda poster: At the grave of the counter-revolution

In the late 1920s, Mexican Catholics took up arms against the Mexican Federal Government in what became known as the Cristero War The President of Mexico, Plutarco Elias Calles, was elected in 1924 Calles began carrying out anti-Catholic policies which caused peaceful resistance from Catholics in 1926 The counter-revolution began as a movement of peaceful resistance against the anti-clerical laws In the Summer of 1926, fighting broke out The fighters known as Cristeros fought the government due to its suppression of the Church, jailing and execution of priests, formation of a nationalist schismatic church, state atheism, Socialism, Freemasonry and other harsh anti-Catholic policies

The Spanish Civil War was in some respects, a counter-revolution Supporters of Carlism, monarchy, and nationalism see Falange joined forces against the Second Spanish Republic in 1936 The counter-revolutionaries saw the Spanish Constitution of 1931 as a revolutionary document that defied Spanish culture, tradition and religion On the Republican side, the acts of the Communist Party of Spain against the rural collectives can also be considered counter-revolutionary

More recently, the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion into Cuba was conducted by counter-revolutionaries who hoped to overthrow the revolutionary government of Fidel Castro In the 1980s, the Contra-Revolución rebels fighting to overthrow the revolutionary Sandinista government in Nicaragua In fact, the Contras received their name precisely because they were counter-revolutionaries

The Black Eagles, the AUC, and other paramilitary movements of Colombia can also be seen as counter-revolutionary These right-wing groups are opposition to the FARC, and other left-wing guerrilla movements

Some counter-revolutionaries are former revolutionaries who supported the initial overthrow of the previous regime, but came to differ with those who ultimately came to power after the revolution For example, some of the Contras originally fought with the Sandinistas to overthrow Anastasio Somoza, and some of those who oppose Castro also opposed Batista

Plinio Correa de Oliveira has by far expanded on the idea of Revolution and Counter-Revolution


The anti-communist Kuomintang party in China used the term "counter-revolutionary" to disparage the communists and other opponents of its regime Chiang Kai-shek, the Kuomintang party leader, was the chief user of this term

The Kuomintang had several influences left upon its ideology by revolutionary thinking The Kuomintang, and Chiang Kai-shek used the words "feudal" and "counter-revolutionary" as synonyms for evil, and backwardness, and proudly proclaimed themselves to be revolutionary1 Chiang called the warlords feudalists, and called for feudalism and counter-revolutionaries to be stamped out by the Kuomintang2345 Chiang showed extreme rage when he was called a warlord, because of its negative, feudal connotations6

Chiang also crushed and dominated the merchants of Shanghai in 1927, seizing loans from them, with the threats of death or exile Rich merchants, industrialists, and entrepreneurs were arrested by Chiang, who accused them of being "counter-revolutionary", and Chiang held them until they gave money to the Kuomintang Chiang's arrests targeted rich millionaires, accusing them of communism and counter-revolutionary activities Chiang also enforced an anti-Japanese boycott, sending his agents to sack the shops of those who sold Japanese made items and fining them He also disregarded the internationally protected International Settlement, putting cages on its borders in which he threatened to place the merchants The Kuomintang's alliance with the Green Gang allowed it to ignore the borders of the foreign concessions7

A similar term also existed in the People's Republic of China, which includes charges such collaborating with foreign forces and inciting revolts against the government According to Article 28 of the Chinese constitution, The state maintains public order and suppresses treasonable and other counter-revolutionary activities; It penalizes actions that endanger public security and disrupt the socialist economy and other criminal activities, and punishes and reforms criminals8

The term received wide usage during the Cultural Revolution, in which thousands of intellectuals and government officials were denounced as "counter-revolutionaries" by the Red Guards Following the end of the Cultural Revolution, the term was also used to label Lin Biao and the Gang of Four

Usage of the termedit

The word counter-revolutionary is often used interchangeably with reactionary; however, some reactionary people use the term counter-revolutionary to describe their opponents, even if those opponents were advocates of a revolution In general, the word "reactionary" is used to describe those who oppose a more long-term trend of social change, while "counter-revolutionaries" are those who oppose a very recent and sudden change

The clerics who took power following the Iranian Revolution became counter-revolutionaries; after the revolution the Marxists were driven out of power by the mullahs Thousands of political prisoners who opposed the Islamist regime were killed especially during the 1988 Massacre of Iranian Prisoners

Sometimes it is unclear who represents the revolution and who represents the counter-revolution In Hungary, the 1956 uprising was condemned as a counter-revolution by the ruling Communist authorities who claimed to be revolutionary themselves However, thirty years later, the events of 1956 were more widely known as a revolution

In Moscow May Day, 1932, dawned clear and bright Hour after hour they marched by in the May Day Parade When not otherwise occupied I have a subconscious habit of counting It had not been difficult to estimate the number of the military because of the regularity of their formations I arrived at an approximate total of the paraders That evening, I dined with friends at the Metropol Hotel Among them was a new acquaintance, a Communist official Quite innocently, I asked how many people they estimated had marched in the day's demonstration Three of the party guessed Each said a million I was surprised at such unanimity "Do you know that three hundred thousand would be a fairly close estimate" I asked The atmosphere of the room changed instantly There was a dead silence of extreme tension Then, like a whiplash, came the voice of the Communist official "That's counter-revolutionary mathematics!" bolding added

Startled for an instant, I laughed "Mathematics," I said, "is independent of social orders It is vital to know the truth"

"Truth," sneered the Communist "You do not understand truth as we do With you it is only a bourgeois concept With us it has a different meaning 'Three hundred thousand' means nothing When we go before the world and say a million workers marched in Red Square today, that means something People understand the word 'million' That is truth, from our point of view!" An American Engineer in Stalin's Russia: The Memoirs of Zara Witkin, 1932-1934 Witkin, Zara 1900-1940

Footnotes and referencesedit

  1. ^ Jieru Chen, Lloyd E Eastman 1993 Chiang Kai-shek's secret past: the memoir of his second wife, Chʻen Chieh-ju Westview Press p 19 ISBN 0-8133-1825-4 Retrieved 2010-06-28 
  2. ^ Kai-shek Chiang 1947 Philip Jacob Jaffe, ed China's destiny & Chinese economic theory Roy Publishers p 225 Retrieved 2010-06-28 
  3. ^ Simei Qing 2007 From allies to enemies: visions of modernity, identity, and US-China diplomacy, 1945-1960 Harvard University Press p 65 ISBN 0-674-02344-7 Retrieved 2010-06-28 
  4. ^ Kai Shew Chiang Kai Shew 2007 China's Destiny and Chinese Economic Theory READ BOOKS p 225 ISBN 1-4067-5838-8 Retrieved 2010-06-28 
  5. ^ Hongshan Li, Zhaohui Hong 1998 Image, perception, and the making of US-China relations University Press of America p 268 ISBN 0-7618-1158-3 Retrieved 2010-06-28 
  6. ^ Jieru Chen, Lloyd E Eastman 1993 Chiang Kai-shek's secret past: the memoir of his second wife, Chʻen Chieh-ju Westview Press p 226 ISBN 0-8133-1825-4 Retrieved 2010-06-28 
  7. ^ Hannah Pakula 2009 The last empress: Madame Chiang Kai-Shek and the birth of modern China Simon and Schuster p 160 ISBN 1-4391-4893-7 Retrieved 2010-06-28 
  8. ^ "Constitution of the People's Republic Of China Adopted on December 4, 1982" wwwpeoplecomcn Retrieved 2009-05-09 

Further readingedit

  • conservatism portal
  • Blum, Christopher Olaf, editor and translator, 2004 Critics of the Enlightenment: Readings in the French Counter-Revolutionary Tradition Wilmington DE: ISI Books
  • Edmund Burke, 2006 1790 Reflections on the Revolution in France Pearson Longmans
  • Ghervas, Stella, Réinventer la tradition Alexandre Stourdza et l'Europe de la Sainte-Alliance Paris, Honoré Champion, 2008 ISBN 978-2-7453-1669-1
  • Thomas Molnar, 1969 The Counter-Revolution Funk & Wagnalls Co ISBN 0-308-70424-X
  • Schapiro, J Salwyn, 1949 Liberalism and the Challenge of Fascism: Social Forces in England and France, 1815-1870 McGraw-Hill: p 364
  • Norbert Wójtowicz, Counterrevolution by Adrian Nikiel Helsinki 8-12 IV 1998

External linksedit

  • altrevolutioncounter resource list

counter-revolutionary, counter-revolutionary cap of russia, counter-revolutionary definition, counter-revolutionary meaning, counter-revolutionary terrorism, counter-revolutionary warfare

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