Resistance Wise and Foolish


There are good and bad ways to resist authority one deems illegitimate. Take Norway during World War II. Faced with invasion by a disciplined, well-equipped Nazi war machine, The Norwegian government

was unwilling to capitulate to the ultimatum timed to coincide with the arrival of German troops [invading Norway] and delivered by Curt Bräuer, the German minister in Oslo. The German demand that Norway accept the “protection of the Reich” was rebuffed by [Norwegian Foreign Minister]Koht and the Norwegian government before dawn had even broken on the morning of invasion. “Vi gir oss ikke frivillig, kampen er allerede i gang“, replied Koht. “We will not submit voluntarily; the struggle is already under way.”

Norwegian Resistance Fighters in 1945
Norwegian Resistance Fighters in 1945

[During the resistance of Nazi Occupation] Norwegian spotters aided in the destruction of numerous German warships, such as Bismarck and Tirpitz. The Norwegian resistance also smuggled people in and out of Norway during the war, through Sweden or by fishing boats to Shetland (referred to as the “Shetland bus”). A number of saboteurs (most notably Max Manus and Gunnar Sønsteby) destroyed ships and supplies. Perhaps its most famous achievements were a series of operations to destroy Norsk Hydro’s heavy water plant and stockpile of heavy water at Vemork, crippling the German nuclear program.

The Norwegian people also practiced civil disobedience to resist the occupiers; they maintained what was called the “Ice Front” against the Nazis, which involved

never speaking to a German if it could be avoided (many pretended to speak no German, though it was then almost as prevalent as English is now) and refusing to sit beside a German on public transportation. The latter was so annoying to the occupying German authorities that it became illegal to stand on a bus if seats were available.

Fast forward 64 years later, and Western resistance movements ain’t what they used to be. Take the recent embarrassingly bad example of student civil annoyance disobedience at NYU. Over the past week, several students at New York University

barricaded themselves inside of [the]student union cafeteria to demand increased transparency of the school’s finances.
The protest began about 10 p.m. Wednesday when students from various city universities gathered inside the cafeteria of the Helen & Martin Kimmel Center for University Life. Members of the coalition called Take Back NYU! pushed tables and chairs against the doors. A supporter said about 60 students were involved. In a list of demands posted on a Web site, the students called for the university to release information on staff salaries and financial aid.

Take Back NYU! Hangin on a Balcony
Take Back NYU! Hangin on a Balcony

One overprivileged student wrote on the Take Back NYU! Website:

We are now occupying the halls of NYU alongside their students. With our bodies and barricades, we continue to manifest ourselves as a force of interruption against the enforced passivity of the university.    .   .From the insurrection in Greece to the revolts of Eastern Europe, from the university occupations across England to the general uprising in Oakland, something is in air. We can’t name it, but we can all feel it. Uncompromising, our power is growing. What has started as a singular strike against the structure of NYU’s form of domination will become a strike against the general logic of domination [emph added].

I’m not kidding, someone with access to the Take Back NYU! website really posted that. Did the NYU establishment pay a hired gun to hack their site and post that drivel in order to discredit Take Back NYU!? I thought it might be possible, until I saw this video of Take Back NYU! in its final, pathetic moments.

If only the U.S. had faced “resistance”such as this in Afghanistan and Iraq! We could have carpet bombed the two countries with “corporate water”, and bought off local sheiks with Apple products. Both countries might have been fielding NFL teams by now.

In any case, the “interruption” is over, and the remaining protesters were suspended. Perhaps, after their suspensions are over and they return to class, the students should study historic examples of successful resistance and civil disobedience movements; of course, one has to wonder if any of the “interrupters”  from the above YouTube clip will be willing to publicly show their faces again.

Post Script: The Norwegian Resistance had the satisfaction of seeing the collaborators in the Nazi-backed puppet government  answer for their crimes. The Norwegian who served as Prime Minister under Nazi rule, Vidkun Quisling, was arrested for treason and war crimes, tried, and later executed by firing squad. Today the word quisling is synonymous with traitor.

UPDATE: Here is some background on the career grifters involved in the ACORN “occupation” of foreclosed houses in Baltimore. This is third world quality behavior here, no? Hopefully the word gets out on this garbage and the authorities clamp down quick.


8 thoughts on “Resistance Wise and Foolish

  1. wow it’s a good thing you spent all of this time to discredit and insult the work of these people, however flawed, in a highly charged time of emergency.

    this looks remarkably like a group of people with privilege doing exactly what such people should do, which is leverage their privilege for important change, rather than sit around hating on their blog and doing shit all for the world.

    as some one who has been in such a situation, where there is a physical threat of violence to myself and my colleagues in struggle, you sound awfully like a total poser who doesn’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

  2. Phyre,

    thanks for reading as always, and thanks for the thoughtful comment. Yes, the ‘struggle’ against the ‘interruption’ was quite harrowing in the Kimmel building. Luckily, it was documented on video, so nascent civil disobedience movements around the world can view it (again and again and again, hopefully), and inoculate themselves with the courage and wisdom of those brave souls on the balcony. I hope that Take Back NYU! inspires a new standard for civil disobedience in all walks of life. The world would no doubt be a much more peaceful place if all resistance movements were organized and executed like Take Back NYU!

    Please excuse me, I have grown thirsty crafting this comment, I am going to go drink some diet coca-cola; oops, I’m out, it looks like it is corporate water for me tonight.


  3. I agree thoroughly, wilsonrofishing — we need more resistance groups like TBNYU! Why, the video you posted, in which a student who turns out to attend Muhlenberg (not NYU) bravely rallies his fellows to use democracy in the face of brutal cafeteria repression, stirred my heart. I’m sure somewhere in Gaza, oppressed Palestinians are viewing that video and rallying with glee, eagerly awaiting their acceptance letters from NYU. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to stake out a sleeping spot in Bobst Library since it should be open to the common rabble like me any day now.


  4. “as some one who has been in such a situation, where there is a physical threat of violence to myself and my colleagues in struggle”

    Are you serious? You guys are the ones who chose to use violence in the first place. Why should anyone care if you get your head bashed in after you pull the first punch.

    You don’t get to just do whatever the hell you want because somewhere in your retarded brain you actually think you are righteous.

  5. I saw some of it go down. It was pathetic, rich kids complaining about how bad NYU is (best school library in the world IMHO) and how they wanted to hurt NYU. How to really hurt them? Go to CUNY.

  6. Josh/NYU, thanks for dropping by, and thanks for the personal narrative from Ground ZERO of the actual “interruption”!

    By the way, I may change the name of this blog to Acre of Independence!


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