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Unarmed Insurrections: People Power Movements in Nondemocracies

Kurt Schock
Volume: 22
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Unarmed Insurrections
    Book Description:

    Kurt Schock compares, along with other examples, the successes of anti-apartheid in South Africa and the people power movement in the Philippines with the failures of the pro-democracy movement in China and the anti-regime challenge in Burma. Unarmed Insurrections looks at how these methods promoted change in some countries but not in others, and provides insight into the power of nonviolent action. Winner of the American Political Science Association’s Comparative Democratization Section’s Best Book Award

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9507-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xxvi)

    Nonviolence is a paradox. Although its promise as a method for challenging oppression is a recurrent theme throughout history, as exemplified by Jesus of Nazareth, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr., contentious politics continues to be characterized by armed rebellion, terrorism, and civil war, especially in less-developed areas of the world. Furthermore, nonviolent action is often viewed in a paradoxical manner. While proponents of nonviolent action claim that it is a panacea for the world’s problems, detractors claim that it is a futile strategy for promoting change in repressive contexts, that violence is the ultimate form of power, or...

  6. 1 From “People’s War” to “People Power”?
    (pp. 1-23)

    On January 7, 1978, exactly one week after Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran, hosted a New Year’s Eve party where the president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, toasted to the shah’s health and long life,Ettelaat,a national newspaper in Iran, published an article critical of Ayotallah Ruhollah Khomeini, accusing him of being connected with a foreign power.¹ Khomeini, a longtime critic of the shah who had lived in exile since 1964, mostly in Iraq, after speaking out against the shah’s Westernization policies, continued to criticize the shah from abroad, thus provoking the government’s attempt to decertify...

  7. 2 Political Process and Nonviolent Action Approaches to Political Contention
    (pp. 24-55)

    Three transnational waves of democratization have occurred over the past few centuries (Huntington 1991; Markoff 1996).¹ The first occurred in Western Europe across the nineteenth century as the deepening of market exchange and the intensification of the industrial revolution gave birth to new class relations and empowered the bourgeoisie relative to the ancien régime. The second wave occurred in the aftermath of the Second World War, when the North Atlantic Allies implemented democracy in the vanquished Axis countries and the process of decolonization led, at least initially, to the emergence of democratic polities. The third wave began in the mid-1970s,...

  8. 3 People Power Unleashed: South Africa and the Philippines
    (pp. 56-90)

    The movement for racial equality in South Africa was a protracted struggle that lasted most of the twentieth century, with the final push touched off by an incident in Soweto in June 1976, when students demonstrating in protest of the imposition of Afrikaans as the language of instruction were met with lethal force. The murder of students by state forces sparked a nationwide rebellion lasting into 1977 that, while unsuccessful in toppling the apartheid system, catalyzed a groundswell of grassroots activism that sustained unarmed insurgencies in the townships in the 1980s. By the end of the 1980s, bans on political...

  9. 4 People Power Suppressed: Burma and China
    (pp. 91-119)

    During the third wave of democratization, pro-democracy movements in one-party socialist countries emerged in Poland in the early 1980s and spread to other Eastern Bloc countries by the late 1980s. Asian Marxist-Leninist regimes were not unaffected by these events. Following the emergence of the Solidarity movement in Poland but prior to the opening up of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, unarmed insurrections challenged the rule of the military-dominated one-party socialist regime in Burma¹ and the one-party communist regime in China. Unlike the unarmed insurrections in Eastern Europe, however, these failed to contribute to political transitions.

    The unarmed insurrection in...

  10. 5 Challenging Monarchies and Militaries: People Power in Nepal and Thailand
    (pp. 120-141)

    In the early 1990s, two Asian kingdoms that had never been formally colonized by European powers, Nepal and Thailand, experienced unarmed insurrections. In Nepal, a broad-based movement challenged the monarchy and the entrenchedpanchayatsystem of government.¹ The target of the opposition in Thailand was not the monarchy, but rather the military, which was attempting to reassert its control over the polity following a period of gradual political liberalization in the 1980s. The unarmed insurrections in Nepal and Thailand in the early 1990s contrasted with previous political struggles in these countries. In Nepal, communist parties had sporadically engaged in armed...

  11. 6 Trajectories of Unarmed Insurrections
    (pp. 142-172)

    One view of unarmed insurrections is that they are merely epiphenomena of large-scale social change and class relations and that the specific attributes of the challenges are inconsequential with regard to the pace or direction of political change. Another view suggests that the mobilization and outcomes of unarmed insurrections are entirely a function of individual intentions and rational choice calculations. Fortunately, there is plenty of theoretical space in between the extremes of structural determinism and methodological individualism where explanations of the trajectories of unarmed insurrections may be pieced together that consider structural constraints as well as human agency. Political process...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 173-184)
  13. Works Cited
    (pp. 185-210)
  14. Index
    (pp. 211-228)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 229-230)