Time for Outrage



By Stéphane Hessel

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This controversial, impassioned call-to-arms for a return to the ideals that fueled the French Resistance has sold millions of copies worldwide since its publication in France in October 2010. Rejecting the dictatorship of world financial markets and defending the social values of modern democracy, 93-old Stéphane Hessel — Resistance leader, concentration camp survivor, and former UN speechwriter — reminds us that life and liberty must still be fought for, and urges us to reclaim those essential rights we have permitted our governments to erode since the end of World War II.


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Table of Contents

Copyright Page

Time for Outrage

Ninety-three years old. The last leg of my journey. The end is in sight. I'm lucky to be able to seize the time I have left to reflect on the events that laid the foundation for my lifelong commitment to politics: the Resistance, and the program devised sixty-six years ago by the National Council of the Resistance. For this, we owe a debt of gratitude to Jean Moulin, who rallied together the scattered forces that opposed the German occupation of France—resistance movements, political parties, trade unions—to unite them in their defense of France and their pledge of allegiance to its only true leader: General Charles de Gaulle. I had joined de Gaulle in London in March 1941. And it was there, on March 15, 1944, that I learned the council had drawn up and adopted a declaration of its policy, putting forward a set of values and principles upon which to ground our nation's modern democracy once it was freed from occupation.1

Today, more than ever, we need these principles and values. It is the duty of us all to ensure that our society remain one of which we are proud, not a society wary of immigrants and intent on their expulsion or a society that disputes the welfare state or a society in which the media are controlled by the wealthy. We would oppose such things were we the true heirs to the National Council of the Resistance.

The year 1945 marked the end of a horrific tragedy. It also marked the beginning of an ambitious plan for the renewal of society, driven by the forces that made up the council. Let us not forget that this was when French Social Security came into being, just as the Resistance had stipulated in its program: "a far-reaching Social Security system, guaranteeing that no citizen would go without the basic means to survive should he or she be unable to work"; "a pension allowing workers to end their days in dignity."


On Sale
Sep 20, 2011
Page Count
48 pages

Stéphane Hessel

About the Author

Stéphane Hessel was born in Germany in 1917, emigrated with his Jewish writer father and mother to France in 1924, and fought in the French Army in 1940. After being captured by German forces, he escaped from a prisoner of war camp and joined General Charles de Gaulle’s Free French in London. On his clandestine return to organise the Resistance in France, he was caught, arrested, tortured and sent to concentration camps. He escaped death to work after the war on drafting the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose ideals he defends passionately to this day.

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