A dissident, broadly defined, is a person who actively challenges an established doctrine, policy, or institution. When dissidents unite for a common cause they often effect a dissident movement
Political movement
A political movement is a social movement in the area of politics. A political movement may be organized around a single issue or set of issues, or around a set of shared concerns of a social group...


The noun was first used in the political sense in 1940, with the rise of such authoritarian systems as the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....


Eastern bloc dissidents

The term dissident was used in the Eastern bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

, particularly in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, in the period following Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's death until the fall of communism. It was attached to citizens who criticized the practices or the authority of the Communist Party. The people who used to write and distribute non-censored, non-conformist samizdat
Samizdat was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet bloc in which individuals reproduced censored publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader...

literature were criticized in the official newspapers. Soon, many of those who were dissatisfied with the Soviet Bloc began to self-identify as dissidents. This radically changed the meaning of the term: instead of being used in reference to an individual who opposes society, it came to refer to an individual whose non-conformism was perceived to be for the good of a society. An important element of dissident activity in Soviet Russia was informing society (both inside the Soviet Union and in foreign countries) about violation of laws and human rights: see Chronicle of Current Events (samizdat) and Moscow Helsinki Group
Moscow Helsinki Group
The Moscow Helsinki Group is an influential human rights monitoring non-governmental organization, originally established in what was then the Soviet Union; it still operates in Russia....


Republican dissidents in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland

The term dissident has become the primary term to describe Irish republicans who politically continue to oppose Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and reject the outcome of the referendums on it. These political parties also have paramilitary wings which espouse violent methods to achieve a United Ireland
United Ireland
A united Ireland is the term used to refer to the idea of a sovereign state which covers all of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland. The island of Ireland includes the territory of two independent sovereign states: the Republic of Ireland, which covers 26 counties of the island, and the...


Irish republican dissident groups include the Irish Republican Socialist Party
Irish Republican Socialist Party
The Irish Republican Socialist Party or IRSP is a republican socialist party active in Ireland. It claims the legacy of socialist revolutionary James Connolly, who founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party in 1896 and was executed after the Easter Rising of 1916.- History :The Irish Republican...

 (founded in 1974 – its currently-inactive paramilitary wing is the Irish National Liberation Army
Irish National Liberation Army
The Irish National Liberation Army or INLA is an Irish republican socialist paramilitary group that was formed on 8 December 1974. Its goal is to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and create a socialist united Ireland....

), Republican Sinn Féin
Republican Sinn Féin
Republican Sinn Féin or RSF is an unregisteredAlthough an active movement, RSF is not registered as a political party in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. minor political party operating in Ireland. It emerged in 1986 as a result of a split in Sinn Féin...

 (founded in 1986 – its paramilitary wing is the Continuity IRA
Continuity Irish Republican Army
The Continuity Irish Republican Army, otherwise known as the Continuity IRA and styling itself as Óglaigh na hÉireann, is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation that aims to bring about a united Ireland. It emerged from a split in the Provisional IRA in 1986 but did not become active until...

), and the 32 County Sovereignty Movement
32 County Sovereignty Movement
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement, often abbreviated to 32CSM or 32csm, is an Irish republican political organisation.The 32CSM's objectives are:* "The restoration of Irish national sovereignty"....

 (founded in 1997 – its paramilitary wing is the Real IRA
Real Irish Republican Army
The Real Irish Republican Army, otherwise known as the Real IRA , and styling itself as Óglaigh na hÉireann , is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation which aims to bring about a united Ireland...

). In 2006 the Óglaigh na hÉireann
Óglaigh na hÉireann (CIRA splinter group)
Óglaigh na hÉireann was the title taken by a small dissident republican paramilitary group that formed in 2006 as a splinter group from the Continuity IRA. According to Martyn Frampton this faction has ceased operations since 2009...

 emerged, which is a splinter group of the Continuity IRA.

See also

  • List of Chinese dissidents
  • List of Singaporean dissidents
  • Dissent
    Dissent is a sentiment or philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to a prevailing idea or an entity...

  • Political dissent
    Political dissent
    Political dissent refers to any expression designed to convey dissatisfaction with or opposition to the policies of a governing body. Such expression may take forms from vocal disagreement to civil disobedience to the use of violence. Historically, repressive governments have sought to punish...

External links

  • Free dictionary, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dissident
  • Dissident Movement. Russian History Encyclopedia, http://www.answers.com/topic/dissident-movement
  • Canadian Dissidents. http://www.cbc.ca/news/citizenbytes/2010/06/g20-protesters-police-and-civil-rights.html
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