There are multiple ways in which corruption is linked to violent conflict, some direct and some indirect. For ordinary citizens, the experience of this nexus is the denial of basic freedoms and rights. In spite of such bleak circumstances, people can move from being victims and bystanders to becoming a force for transforming their societies. Citizens are engaging in civil resistance to curb corruption and win accountability and justice. This article: explores the linkages between corruption and violence; identifies the conceptual and practical limitations of top-down, technical approaches to combating corruption; articulates a bottom-up approach in which the civic realm is included in the anti-corruption equation; and presents case studies of civic action campaigns and movements under conditions of violence, post-conflict transformation or state capture by violent crime syndicates. From these, general lessons learned are distilled.