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What makes some challengers willing and able to embrace a strategy of civil resistance and others not? This chapter shows how social ties–direct interpersonal connections that link members of a challenger organization to other actors in the society–are central to each of these processes. Two types of relationships, what I term “grassroots ties” and “regime ties,” are especially important. Each has distinct implications for different dynamics of challenger-state contention. I develop a typology of challenger networks based on different combinations of these ties, and make predictions about each type of challenger’s likelihood of initiating a campaign to overthrow the regime using a strategy of civil resistance. An attention to challengers’ social ties holds the potential to explain cases that other theories struggle with, such as variation within regional “waves,” within states, or even within movements over time. It can also improve our understanding of how other theoretical mechanisms work by suggesting why some movements might be more vulnerable to repression or fragmentation than others, or how tactical repertoires can evolve.
The early months of 2011 saw a wave of upheavals across the Middle East and North Africa that became known as the Arab Spring. But despite the spread of resistance campaigns against aging dictators across the Arab-speaking world, not all campaigns employed the same strategy. This chapter reveals how the social ties that underpin challenger groups can explain variation we see across cases in the Middle East as well as the tragic trajectory from civil resistance to repression to civil war within Syria. I begin with a brief discussion of Egypt and Libya, both to provide background context as well as to illustrate their consistency with the theory. I then turn to the case of Syria’s uprising to show how practices of selective social exclusion from the state resulted in a challenger coalition that had substantial grassroots ties to various social groups throughout the country, but limited ties to the regime. This produced a campaign that was initially able to attempt civil resistance, but eventually fractured into violence in the face of extreme state repression.
In 1996, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist launched an insurgency that lasted 10 years and killed an estimated 16,000 people. But the case of Nepal's Maoists is particularly fascinating for the way in which the conflict ended: with their decision to put down their arms and join with other political parties in a campaign civil resistance. Drawing on original field research, this chapter will make the argument that the Maoist change in strategy was the result of changes in their social ties that came about as a result of territorial gain through war and coalition with other political parties. These changes caused the Maoists to reassess the relative viability of armed and unarmed strategies of rebellion.
This chapter turns to cases from South Africa and India to highlight the challenges inherent in trying to launch and sustain a civil resistance campaign within a highly divided society. In both contexts, movements refrained from even attempting national campaigns with maximalist goals when they had only insular networks, preferring instead to either try to work for reforms within the system or to pursue more limited goals during these periods. When they had established grassroots ties and were able to engage in massive nonviolent mobilizations, they encountered massive repression from the regime and struggled to constrain violence within their own ranks. But in the end, both movements were successful in achieving their goals. The cases therefore offer valuable lessons for how challengers, especially those from excluded groups, may be able to overcome some of the social barriers to civil resistance that have presented in this book.
Chapter 2 sets out the theoretical framework for the book. It suggests that there are four main drivers of backlash politics. The first is the tribunals’ abiding dependence on states. No matter how independent international courts are on paper, they still rely on state cooperation to hear cases, hold perpetrators to account, and garner compliance. Moreover, the tribunals depend on states for their operating budgets, staff, and normative legitimacy. The second driving factor of backlash is normative discontent. High rates of ratification mask underlying and significant normative divides about which human rights and accountability norms matter and why. The chapter then goes on to consider two additional drivers of backlash politics: the domestic consequences of international adjudication and the likelihood of future repression. The chapter concludes with an overview of the courts examined throughout the book and a discussion of Saving the International Justice Regime’s empirical approach.
Mailer engages provocatively with themes of sexuality in a number of his novels, in a variety of ways – from the overt and somewhat shocking sex scenes in An American Dream to the exploration of sex and mysticism in Ancient Evenings to the subplot focusing in on closeted homosexuality in Harlot’s Ghost. Many of the theories of sexuality posited in these works are grounded in previous essays and nonfiction, and reflect not only the culture in which Mailer lived but provide insight into his ongoing attempt to represent sexuality in language. For example, the exploration of homosexuality in Ancient Evenings can be traced back to The Prisoner of Sex, where he was also interested in the way sex is used to enforce hierarchies of power within the prison system, and then back as early 1955, where, in “The Homosexual Villain,” Mailer was still working to flesh out “the edges of the rich theme of homosexuality,” struggling to find a place for it in his construction of contemporary masculinity.
This chapter examines the causes of initial mobilization against the Syrian regime. Contention in the first weeks of the Syrian uprising followed multiple logics. Urban activists organized demonstrations in central public squares, making demands focused overwhelmingly on how power is exercised in the center and on establishing a new citizenship contract. At the same time, challenge broke out in smaller localities, independent of that occurring in other sites, and focused primarily on the grievances of local populations. The emergence of citizenship-focused challenge was the result of activists’ utilization of public spaces, with initial demonstrations encouraging the formation of new networks in the early weeks of contention. Parochial challenge, by contrast, developed on the basis of preexisting dense networks within local communities. Demands were articulated largely in a local idiom and went primarily through preexisting channels of state–society communication; when state agents violated shared understandings of the terms of these interactions by using violence against community members, challengers often responded with violence of their own.
This chapter presents the book’s research question, central argument, and structure. It begins with an empirical puzzle that challenges the conventional wisdom of how violent conflict on ethnic lines breaks out. Residents of the Syrian city of Dayr al-Zur fit the profile of an “ethnically excluded” population – Sunni Arabs who get few public goods from the state – but they did not rise up uniformly against the regime. Rather, a patchwork of linkages between the state and local leaders made mobilization uneven and generated state–society negotiation across the Sunni–ʿAlawi ethnic boundary. This puzzle motivates the book’s broader question: what “ethnicizes” revolutionary situations faced by ethnically dominated regimes? The chapter then characterizes the diverse forms of contention found in the Syrian uprising and demonstrates that initial contestation was primarily focused at the sub- and supra-ethnic levels, only later coming to revolve around ethnic claims. It then previews the mechanisms pushing challenger–incumbent interaction toward ethnic violence and discusses the research design and methods employed in the book.
This chapter examines the mechanisms through which revolutionary contention turned increasingly ethnic and violent during the second half of 2011 and early 2012. It argues that ethnicization of challenge was the indirect result of regime violence, used primarily to confront exigencies it could not address through its informal social linkages rather than as a tool to rend the social fabric. The chapter begins with a quantitative analysis of Syrian regime violence, demonstrating that the regime attempted to avoid harming many of its clients. Then it takes a deeper look into how and why the regime used violence when it did, inductively theorizing the exigencies the regime faced and how it dealt with them. The remainder of the chapter examines the second-order effects of this repression, using in-depth studies of localities that exemplify each of the types identified earlier in the chapter. State violence changed the composition of the challenger group and the content of its claims, making the challenger group more ethnically homogeneous, pushing claims to focus on ethnic demands and employ ethnic symbols.
This chapter narrates the events of the first year of the Syrian uprising, drawing on an original newspaper event catalog, activist-generated databases of non-state actor fatalities, and numerous town-specific reports composed by Syrian and other Arab research organizations. In doing so, it describes the outcome to be explained in subsequent chapters: variation in forms of challenge to the Syrian regime over time and space. The picture of contention in Syria presented in this chapter suggests that there was no lockstep progression from nonviolent, urban civic protests to ethnic insurgency in the countryside during the first year of the Syrian uprising. Rather, violence erupted almost immediately following the onset of challenge at some sites, while remaining absent at others throughout the entire first year of the uprising. Claims advanced by challengers varied similarly; they remained focused on civic demands throughout the first year in some areas, while quickly jumping from local to ethnic grievances in others.
How does protest advancing diverse claims turn into violent conflict occurring primarily along ethnic lines? This book examines that question in the context of Syria, drawing insight from the evolution of conflict at the local level. Kevin Mazur shows that the challenge to the Syrian regime did not erupt neatly along ethnic boundaries, and that lines of access to state-controlled resources played a critical structuring role; the ethnicization of conflict resulted from failed incumbent efforts to shore up network ties and the violence that the Asad regime used to crush dissent by challengers excluded from those networks. Mazur uses variation in the political and demographic characteristics of locales to explain regime strategies, the roles played by local intermediaries, the choice between non-violent and violent resistance, and the salience of ethnicity. By drawing attention to cross-ethnic ties, the book suggests new strategies for understanding ostensibly ethnic conflicts beyond Syria.
Chapter four looks at the development of the violent struggle and details the options the actors have available to deal with violent challenges. The causal mechanisms leading to escalation here focuses on a different set of shifts in saliency for the belligerents. The chapter shows that important escalatory potential can be found in the response of the state towards the sometimes only peaceful expression of opposition. The cases that are brought forward here are Northern Ireland and the Philippines in the 1970s, where escalation was triggered by the specific responses from the government.
In this paper, we examine how the Chinese state controls social media. While social media companies are responsible for censoring their platforms, they also selectively report certain users to the government. This article focuses on understanding the logic behind media platforms’ decisions to report users or content to the government. We find that content is less relevant than commonly thought. Information control efforts often focus on who is posting rather than on what they are posting. The state permits open discussion and debate on social media while controlling and managing influential social forces that may challenge the party-state's hegemonic position. We build on Schurmann's “ideology and organization,” emphasizing the Party's goals of embedding itself in all social structures and limiting the ability of non-Party individuals, networks or groups to carve out a separate space for leadership and social status. In the virtual public sphere, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to apply these principles to co-opt, repress and limit the reach of influential non-Party “thought leaders.” We find evidence to support this logic through qualitative and quantitative analysis of leaked censorship documents from a social media company and government documents on information control.
The literature on autocracies has argued that repression of protest is either a result of the political environment in which protest occurs, or depends on particular characteristics of the protest events themselves. We argue that the interaction of both matters. Authoritarian regimes vary in how they legitimize their rule, and they should be particularly thin-skinned if protesters challenge the basis of their legitimacy. Using event-level data on mass mobilization in autocracies between 2003 and 2015, we use text classification methods to extract protest issues from newspaper reports. Our analysis shows that dictators are more likely to repress protest against incumbents when they claim legitimacy based on the person of the leader. Overall, our study shows that protest issues are not universal in triggering repression; rather, they need to be considered together with the political context in which they are raised.
The present paper aims to provide a comprehensive yet critical overview of current Brazilian legislation on money-laundering prevention and control. Given that stripping criminals of their illegal profits has for a long time been considered one of the most important measures in the fight against international and organized crime, a part of this paper explores the legal mechanisms that allow for this to take place as a consequence of crime and, especially, in connection with money laundering in the context of the Brazilian criminal justice system.
There were escalating sources of unhappiness and frustration during the 1980s in China, including anti-crime campaigns, crackdowns on student protests, the one-child policy, corruption, inflation, and an ossified political system characterized by old-man politics. These problems added up to a volatile situation in 1989.
All governments engage in covert political activity, but it is often in the public’s interest to expose these actions and subject them to informed discourse. Experiments provide a way for social scientists to make more general and reliable inferences about hidden political activity, which may in turn shed light on key political processes with implications for theory and for public welfare. This chapter describes experiments that have exposed the hidden actions of government, including censorship, propaganda, surveillance, and repression, to ground a discussion of two particular challenges related to the design and execution of these experiments: validity and ethics. Experiments to expose hidden political activity usually entail creating proxies for the ultimate object of study rather than manipulation of the object itself. As a result, experimentalists need to take special care in assessing the validity of the intervention and of observed outcomes. Experiments to expose hidden political actions also often have broader impacts beyond research participants, and require consideration of ethics beyond human subjects. Using experiments to uncover covert political activity is applicable in non-democratic and democratic contexts, as well as to in the study of other powerful organizations whose activities have political ramifications.
It is widely assumed that authoritarian states tend to use repression to suffocate social conflicts that threaten regime stability. Focusing on the Chinese state's responses to resource conflict, a particular type of social conflict triggered by mineral resource extraction, this research argues that authoritarian regimes may prefer to use redistributive policies to defuse social unrest under certain circumstances. Through mixed methods combining qualitative research and statistical analysis, I find that local governments in resource-rich regions do not spend heavily on coercive state apparatus. Instead, they generously hand out social security benefits to appease aggrieved citizens. Furthermore, the Chinese state actively involves mining companies in the redistribution process and requires them to share the financial costs of relief policies. Therefore, when conflicts arise between specific social groups with conflicting interests, redistribution may be a more effective strategy to preserve regime stability.
How will advances in digital technology affect the future of human rights and authoritarian rule? Media figures, public intellectuals, and scholars have debated this relationship for decades, with some arguing that new technologies facilitate mobilization against the state and others countering that the same technologies allow authoritarians to strengthen their grip on power. We address this issue by analyzing the first game-theoretic model that accounts for the dual effects of technology within the strategic context of preventive repression. Our game-theoretical analysis suggests that technological developments may not be detrimental to authoritarian control and may, in fact, strengthen authoritarian control by facilitating a wide range of human rights abuses. We show that technological innovation leads to greater levels of abuses to prevent opposition groups from mobilizing and increases the likelihood that authoritarians will succeed in preventing such mobilization. These results have broad implications for the human rights regime, democratization efforts, and the interpretation of recent declines in violent human rights abuses.
This chapter explores the 4,000 conscientious objectors (COs) who refused to kill during World War I. It examines the Selective Service Act of 1917 and the religious and secular principles that led men to become COs. By refusing military combat service and resisting the military rules in army camps and military prisons that violated their conscience, COs demonstrated courage, sacrifice, and commitment to principle. Although most COs accepted noncombatant military service or alternative civilian service, 450 absolutists, who refused to cooperate with military authorities and rejected all service under military control, were court-martialed and imprisoned. In camps and prisons, COs defied military rules, regulations, and policies. Their resistance included refusal to obey orders, work strikes, hunger strikes, general strikes, noncooperation, and nonviolent revolts. Furthermore, COs were often severely abused, which led to a wartime civil liberties movement that defended (and which included) COs and that evolved into the postwar American Civil Liberties Union. Finally, this chapter shows how COs contributed to peace and freedom by advancing civil liberties, inspiring future COs, liberalizing World War II conscription legislation, secularizing the peace movement, and pioneering the nonviolent direct action that infused post-1945 peace and justice movements.