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Burma gained independence from the British immediately after the Second World War, and after a period of civilian government has been subjected to a series of military regimes. There has been continuing guerrilla warfare by national minorities in Burma since independence, and protests by students, monks, farmers and workers occurred at various stages in the 1960s and 1970s, but opposition was largely driven underground and large open protests were very dangerous (see Boudreau, Resisting Dictatorship: Repression and Protest in Southeast Asia (E. II.2.a. The Long Struggle to Topple Suharto 1988-1998) , below – pp. 84-102 ‘Protest in Socialist Burma’.) But in 1988 there was mass unarmed resistance to military dictatorship, which met with brutal repression. Ever since the peaceful opposition has been led and symbolized by Aung San Suu Kyi (daughter of the leader of Burma’s [eventually] armed struggle for independence), who (with qualifications) endorses a Gandhian philosophy of nonviolence. Her party, the National League for Democracy, was elected by a clear majority in elections held in 1990, despite harassment by the military, but the junta then refused to recognize the results, and placed Suu Kyi under house arrest. She remained under house arrest for long periods – and when released she tested the regime’s willingness for her to contact the people, and soon lost her liberty again.

A new wave of popular protests, sparked by severe economic problems for ordinary people and led by Buddhist monks, occurred in 2007. This movement was again severely crushed, but the regime did concede a new constitution and the holding of elections, which took place in 2010. Suu Kyi and her party boycotted the elections because she was unable to contest them – but some opposition candidates did stand. Since then there have been signs that the regime now headed by President Thein Sein might be willing to contemplate some reforms – perhaps to escape economic sanctions and reduce its reliance on China. A number of political prisoners were freed, Suu Kyi herself was also released from house arrest in 2010 and allowed to stand in parliamentary by-elections in April 2012, when she and members of her Party (the NLD) won 143 out of the 145 seats up for election. Although the regime still holds a bloc of seats in the Parliament, which in any case has limited powers, this has been seen as a significant move towards normalization and genuine civilian government.

After the military crackdown and bypassing of the 1990 election, Suu Kyi called for an economic and tourist boycott of Burma (officially Myanmar), and there was an international campaign in support of democracy in Burma. North American students in the 1990s spearheaded a campaign for disinvestment, persuading a significant number of major corporations to withdraw by using consumer boycotts and other forms of protest. Continuing boycott campaigns in the West also encouraged companies attracted to Burma by low wages, to pull out. Some individuals also entered Burma to demonstrate and hand out leaflets. (On this transnational campaign see Klein, Naomi , No Logo London, Flamingo, , 2000, pp. 512 , pp. 402-4 and pp. 410-16). Suu Kyi maintained her call for an international boycott until 2010 – despite divisions within the Burmese diaspora about this policy. But after her release in 2010 decided in the light of signs of political change to call instead for qualified international engagement with Burma, a message which other governments have responded to, particularly since the 2012 by-elections.

The Burmese military appear to have been influenced by the scale of Western economic boycotts, diplomatic isolation and a desire to avoid over-dependence on China, to move forward a degree of liberalisation. Rigged elections in 2010 (the first since the military nullified the vicotry of the NDL in 1990) resulted in a nominally civilian governement under the military approved Union Solidarity and Development Party. The new government began to release some political prisoners, allowed the formation of trade unions, and promoted ceasefires with some of the ethnic minorities engaged in armed resistance. The 2012 by-elecyions to parliament allowed Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the NLD party to win 43 out of 44 seats, and Western governments and the EU engaged in negotiations with the regime. Human rights observers highlighted continuing forms of repression, and the 2008 Constitution ensured that not only are quarter of parlamentary deputies members of the armed forces, but that the Head of the Army appoints key cabinet posts such as Defence, the Interior, Border Control and the Police. But the military accepted the results of the general election in November 2015, which gave a landslide victory to the NLD. Suu Kyi is constitutionally debarred from Presidency because she married a foreigner, but vowed she would exercise de facto power and seek to amend the Constitution. The new NLD parliament met on 1 February 2016 and a new goverment took over in March 2016.

The election also, however, reflected the nationalistic religious intolerance fostered by the Ma Ba Tha movement. No Muslims were elected to parliament (the NLD failed to run any Muslim candidates) and the persecuted Muslim Rohingya in Western Rakhine state (attacked in race riots in 2012) were treated as non-citizens and denied the vote. Suu Kyi has been critized for failing to defend the rights of the Rohingya and Muslims more generally althought she suggested a NLD government would show tolerance. However, evidence of this in 2016 and 2017 has been poor.

The position of the mainly Muslim population of Rohingya in Burma's Rakhine state became catastrophic after the end of August 2017. Following decades of discrimination and persecution, including being denied citizenship under the 1982 Myanmar Nationality Act, Rohingya militants began to stage attacks against the authorities in 2016-17, and launched concerted attacks on security targets in late August. In response, the Burmese military undertook a campaign of systematic destruction, rape and murder of local villagers (described by the UN Human Rights Commissioner as ethnic cleansing), which drove out over 650,000 Rohingya by the end of the year, mostly into Bangladesh. Under the Burmese constitution, Aung San Suu Kyi and the civilian government have no control over the actions of the security forces, but she has been bitterly criticised for her failure to condemn the military actions publicly.

Sources on post-2010 developments are still limited. But see:

See also the updated version of Benedict Rogers, Burma (no. 589), published in paperback in 2015, which provides a historical overview including good coverage of the ethnic minorities and also explains recent developments, with a nuanced assessment of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Popham, Peter, The Lady and the Generals: Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's Struggle for Freedom, London, Rider, 2017, pp. 480

This follows-up to his eralier book The Lady and the Peacock and covers thew 2015 lanslide election and the expressions of intolerance against minorities, especially the Muslim Rohingya.

Andrieux, Aurelié ; Sarosi, Diana ; Moser-Puangsuwan, Yeshua, Speaking Truth to Power: The Methods of Nonviolent Struggle in Burma, Bangkok, Nonviolence International Southeast Asia, 2005, pp. 76

Lintner, Bertil, Outrage: Burma’s Struggle for Democracy, [1989], London and Bangkok, White Lotus, 1990, pp. 208

Covers the 1988 mass unarmed resistance and its suppression.

Oishi, Mikio, Creating a “Ripe moment” in the Burmese conflict through nonviolent action, Social Alternatives, Vol. 21, issue 2, 2002, pp. 52-60

see also  Oishi, Mikio , Nonviolent Struggle of the Burmese People for Democracy Durban, South Africa, , 1998 , a paper submitted to the 1998 International Peace Research Association Conference.

Rogers, Benedict, Burma: A Nation at the Crossroads, London, Rider, 2012, pp. 320

Suu Kyi, Aung SanAris, Michael, Freedom from Fear and Other Writings, ed. Aris, Michael, London, Vintage Books, 1991, pp. 338

See especially Suu Kyi’s writings on the democracy struggle in ‘Part II’, pp. 167-237, and essays by Josef Silverstein. ‘Aung San Suu Kyi: Is she Burma’s woman of destiny?’, pp. 267-83 and Philip Kreager, ‘Aung San Suu Kyi and the peaceful struggle for human rights in Burma’, pp. 284-325.

See also: Aung San Suu Kyi, The Voice of Hope: Conversations with Alan Clements London, Penguin, , 1997, pp. 301 , with contributions by U Kyi Maung and U Tin Oo, London, Penguin, 1997, pp. 301.

Wintle, Justin, Perfect Hostage: A Life of Aung San Suu Kyi, London, Hutchinson, 2007, pp. 480

Part Three ‘Sixteen Months’ pp. 225-326 covers March 1988 to July 1989, the evolution of the protests and the regime clamp down; Part Four, pp. 329-429 covers Suu Kyi’s house arrest, the 1990 elections, subsequent attempts to mobilize international pressure, and her defiance when released from arrest in 1998 and 2003.

Callaghan, Mary, Riddle of the Tatmadaw, New Left Review, issue 60 (Nov/Dec), 2009, pp. 27-64

Stresses economic basis of original 2007 protests.

Fink, Christina, Living Silence: Burma Under Military Rule, [2001], 2nd edition, London, Zed Books, 2009, pp. 320

Comprehensive survey of regime in its internal and international context, covering protests against General Ne Win in the 1970s, the national nonviolent resistance 1988-90, subsequent opposition to military rule and campaigns by transnational bodies. Updated to include the 2007 protests. See also Fink, Christina , The Moment of the Monks: Burma, 2007 In Roberts; Garton Ash, Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements)Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 354-370 .

Moser-Puangsuwan, Yeshua, Burma – Dialogue with the Generals: The Sound of One Hand Clapping, In Clark, People Power: Unarmed Resistance and Global Solidarity (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements), London, Pluto Press, pp. 39-49

Includes comparison with resistance to Tibet.

Popham, Peter, The Lady and the Peacock: The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi, London, Rider, 2011, pp. 438

Biography by British journalist. Covers the major protests of 2007 as well as 1988.

Websites recommended

(New) ALTSEAN Burma (Alternative ASEAN network on Burma) - http://www.altsean.org ,

which includes special materials on the Saffron Revolution and a monthly Burma bulletin.

Indonesia declared independence after Japanese withdrawal in 1945 and in 1949 the Netherlands accepted defeat in their attempt to recolonise the archipelago. At that time, Indonesia took over (Dutch) West Timor, and subsequently expanded by incorporating Aceh (North Sumatra) in 1950 and invading Papua in 1962 and East Timor in 1975. From 1965 onwards, hundreds of thousands of regime opponents have been slaughtered – not only by the military and its special units, but also by vigilantes acting on government instructions. The fall of General Suharto in 1998 offered a window of opportunity for pro-democracy and self-determination movements. The movements for self-determination in Aceh, East Timor, and Papua are all significant examples of rethinking a strategy of armed struggle.

A military coup in 1965 – aimed primarily at destroying the Indonesian Communist Party – effectively ushered in a period of military rule until 1998. General Suharto formally took over as head of state from the independence leader Sukarno in 1967, and the military created a political system dominated by the ruling party, Golkar. In the 1970s demands for a more genuine democracy were spearheaded by university students, who after campaigning against the Communist Party in the mid-1960s enjoyed a somewhat privileged position. Opposition on a broader social front did not develop until the 1980s. Former prominent politicians and generals issued a critical statement in May 1980 and a degree of liberalization in the 1980s prompted wider dissent, especially by intellectuals, but including small scale protests on various economic issues and a growing number of workers strikes from 1988 into the 1990s.

By the 1990s popular dissent spilt over into the ‘official’ opposition parties (especially with widespread support for Sukarno’s daughter Megawati Sukarnoputri as leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party and a symbol of reform after she had been ousted from her post by the government in 1996). Popular discontent was manifested in the election of 1997. However, the government maintained control until 1998, when widespread popular anger sparked by the Asian economic crisis, and a militant role assumed by students coordinating opposition, prompted splits within the regime and defection of many military leaders from Suharto.

Anderson, Benedict R. O'G., Violence and the State in Suharto's Indonesia, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2001, pp. 247

Essays exploring the institutionalised violence under Suharto and its legacy, with studies of the police and the military. (Also essay on East Timor.)

Aspinall, Edward ; Feith, Herb ; van Klinken, Gerry, The Last Days of Suharto, Melbourne, Monash Asia Institute, Monash University, 1999, pp. 171

Boudreau, Vincent, Resisting Dictatorship: Repression and Protest in Southeast Asia, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 290

Compares democracy movements in Indonesia, Burma and the Philippines from a social movement perspective. Charts post-colonial evolution. On Indonesia, examines the Sukarno years, the 1965 coup and anti-communist massacres, initial student protests in the 1970s under Suharto, and the complexities of party politics in the 1980s and 1990s. Ch. 10 ‘Indonesia’s Democracy Protests’ (pp. 215-37) covers the build-up of resistance to Suharto, the role of the student demonstrations and the end of the Suharto regime.

Forrester, Geoff ; May, R.J., The Fall of Soeharto, London, Hurst, 1998, pp. 261

Produced by Australian National University Research Unit. Examines how and why Suharto was forced to step down.

See also Lee, Military Cohesion and Regime Maintenance : Explaining the Role of the Military in 1989 China and 1998 Indonesia (C. II.1.c. Tiananmen, The Mass Protests of 1989) and Lee, The Armed Forces and Transitions from Authoritarian Rule (E. II.8.a. Resisting Marcos, 1983-86) .

In the 1970s, as oil exploitation in the province grew, so did the grievances of the population who they were not receiving their share of the proceeds and against the behaviour of the Indonesian military guarding the oilfields. In 1976, the Free Aceh Movement was founded and took up arms to fight for independence. The next 20 years are largely a story of human rights abuses and repression, but after the fall of Suharto in 1998 Acehnese students involved in the Indonesia-wide student movement began to organise support throughout the villages of Aceh for a referendum on the province’s status. Despite four massacres of unarmed civilians by the Indonesian military, claiming around 200 lives between May and October 1999, and despite internal displacement of more than 140,000 Acehnese, the students succeeded in organising a succession of nonviolent protests. In June, they boycotted the Indonesian elections, in September they organised a province-wide strike, and in November they mobilized hundreds of thousands in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, to demand a referendum. In December 1999 new Indonesian president Wahid reduced the military presence in the province and early in 2000 a ceasefire was agreed between GAM and Indonesia. This did not hold, but talks continued and at the same time international aid agencies became involved in the situation, and local civil society groups began to take root. In May 2002, three years of negotiations concluded with a new peace agreement, but this also broke down, and in May 2003 Indonesia again imposed martial law.

What fundamentally changed the situation then was the otherwise disastrous 2004 tsunami. Following this, the Indonesian government and GAM signed a peace accord, expanding Aceh autonomy and control over natural resources, and authorising a 300-strong European Union monitoring mission to oversee the agreement until elections in 2006.

Aspinall, Edward, Islam and Nation: Separatist Rebellion in Aceh, Stanford CA, Stanford University Press, 2009, pp. 312

Braithwaite, John ; Braithwaite, Valerie ; Cookson, Michael ; Dunn, Leah, Anomie and Violence: Non-truth and reconciliation in Indonesian peacebuilding, Canberra, Australia National University EPress, 2010, pp. 501

Aceh, pp. 343-428, Papua, 49-146.

Drexler, Elizabeth, Aceh, Indonesia: Securing the Insecure State, Philadelphia PA, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008, pp. 296

In December 1975 East Timor was on the point of becoming independent from Portugal when it was invaded by Indonesia. Armed resistance failed to protect the population, with around 60,000 East Timorese slaughtered and Indonesia installing a formidable apparatus of repression. FRETILIN reconsidered its strategy and from 1987 onwards prioritised clandestine urban organising and international work over armed struggle. The initiative passed to a younger generation, with the Catholic Church also playing an active role. Despite UN condemnation of the Indonesian occupation, western governments had effectively acquiesced with Indonesia. Independent journalists could only enter East Timor by subterfuge until the papal visit of 1989, which provided the opportunity for the first large peaceful demonstration to be publicized in the west. On 12 November 1991, Indonesian troops attacked the funeral procession for an activist shot by the military, killing at least 250 people. Western reporters were present, including TV journalist Max Stahl who successfully smuggled his footage out of the country. The Dili massacre became the signal for an intensified movement using nonviolent forms of protest inside East Timor, and also for increased international pressure. There was a lively transnational support campaign by activists in Australia, North America and Britain, while the East Timorese – particularly students – began to make links with the growing opposition to Suharto’s rule inside Indonesia.

Guerrilla forces were not disbanded but were held in reserve. However, in 1999 it was significant that they strategically refrained from engagement when Indonesia militia and soldiers began a campaign of punitive violence against East Timorese (in reaction to the Indonesian and Portuguese agreement to hold a referendum on independence). Consequently there was international military intervention under UN auspices, which paved the way to East Timor gaining independence in 2002.

Cristalis, Irena, Bitter Dawn: East Timor – A People’s History, [2002], London, Zed Books, 2009, pp. 384

Dunn, James, East Timor: A Rough Passage to Independence, Double Bay NSW, Longueville, 2004, pp. 430

Fukuda, Chisako M., Peace through Nonviolent Action: The East Timorese Resistance Movement's Strategy for Engagement, Pacifica Review, Vol. 12, issue 1 (February), 2000, pp. 17-31

Hess, David ; Martin, Brian, Repression, backfire and the theory of transformative events, Mobilization, Vol. 11, issue 1 (June), 2006, pp. 249-267

Martin, Brian ; Varney, Wendy ; Vickers, Adrian, Political Jiu-Jitsu against Indonesian Repression: Studying Lower Profile Nonviolent Resistance, Pacifica Review, Vol. 13, issue 2 (June), 2001, pp. 143-156

Compares the successful protests against Suharto in 1998 with the problems of resisting repression inside Indonesia 1965-66 and in East Timor after 1975. Brian Martin’s articles are online at: http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs

Mason, Chrstine, Women, Violence and Nonviolent Resistance in East Timor, Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 42, issue 6, 2005, pp. 737-749

Montiel, Cristina Jayme, Political Psychology of Nonviolent Democratic transitions in Southeast Asia, Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 62, issue 1 (February), 2006, pp. 173-190

Simpson, Brad, Solidarity in an Age of Globalization: The Transnational Movement for East Timor and US Foreign Policy, Peace and Change, Vol. 29, issue 3 & 4 (July), 2004, pp. 453-482

Stephan, Maria J., Fighting for Statehood: The role of civilian-based resistance in the East Timorese, Palestinian and Kosovo Albanian self-determination movements, Fletcher Forum of World Affairs (Tufts University), Vol. 30, issue 2 (summer), 2006, pp. 57-69

Tanter, Richard ; Selden, Mark ; Shalom, Stephen R., Bitter Flowers, Sweet Flowers: East Timor, Indonesia, and the World Community, Lanham MA, Rowman and Littlefield, 2001, pp. 312

Part I ‘East Timor: Resistance, Repression and the Road to Independence’ focuses particularly on the role of the National Council of the Timorese Resistance, the Catholic Church and the student movement.

See also:

Erica Chenoweth; Maria J. Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, International Security, 2008, which includes a summary of the East Timorese resistance.

Indonesia invaded West Papua in 1961, obliging the Dutch to accept that the territory be placed under UN transitional administration. However, in 1963, it was handed over to Indonesia subject to a consultation with the population. This ‘Act of Free Choice’ took place in 1969, and consisted of 1,022 Papuan men handpicked by the Indonesian military raising their hands to agree that they would rather be Indonesian citizens than have independence. Indonesian forces have been responsible for the death of more than 100,000 Papuans since the 1961 invasion – their lethal violence ranging from aerial bombardment to extra-judicial execution. The guerrilla resistance remains, but lacks coordination and today guerrilla forces are estimated as around 1,000. At the same time, continued Indonesian settlement in Papua means that the proportion of non-Papuans in the population has risen to 48%.

Since the fall of Suharto in 1998, armed struggle has been rather supplanted by civil mobilization. Dissent took the form of raising the Morning Star flag (the banned symbol symbol of national and cultural identity), large demonstrations, and the formation of human rights and pro-independence organisations. In 2001, Indonesia conceded a nominal ‘special autonomy’ (Otsus), which served to protect Indonesian interests in Papua – including access to forests, minerals and offshore natural resources but did not satisfy Papuan grievances. For a period, Papuans mounted campaigns around more limited objectives than full ‘independence’ – for instance, against logging and palm planting, and also against the Freeport McMoran/Rio Tinto gold and copper mine where, in 2006, indigenous workers organised a trade union (and subsequently strikes in 2007 and 2011).

In 2009-10, a popular campaign began against ‘Special Autonomy’ – a symbolic coffin headed one demonstration, and in June 2010 protesters occupied parliament for two days demanding that their representatives open new negotiations and demand a referendum on independence. In October 2011, the third Papuan People’s Congress – a three-day gathering of extra-parliamentary groups – declared independence. Subsequently this declaration has been read at various demonstrations in Papua, while the Indonesian repression has been especially targeted at the KNPB (the West Papua National Committee, a nonviolent pro-independence group) which has been driven underground.

http://www.freewestpapua.org is a campaigning site which lists resources.

Budiardjo, Carmel ; Liong, Liem Soei, West Papua: The obliteration of a people, [1983], Thornton Heath, TAPOL, 1988, pp. 142

TAPOL has campaigned against Indonesian human rights abuses for 40 years, for which in 1995 Budiardjo won the Right Livelihood Award.

Chauvel, Richard, Constructing Papuan Nationalism: History, Ethnicity, and Adaptation, Washington DC, East-West Center, 2005, pp. 140

Farhadian, Charles E., The Testimony Project: Papua – a collection of personal histories in West Papua, Jayapura, Deiyai Press, 2007, pp. 179

Narratives based on interviews with 12 Papuans.

Glazebrook, Diana, Teaching Performance Art is like Sharpening the Blade of a Knife, Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, Vol. 5, issue 1, 2004, pp. 1-14

Describes the cultural project of musician Arnold Ap in the 10 years before he was killed by Indonesian troops, how at first it exploited the limited radio space granted by Indonesia and later became a more open challenge to Indonesian repression.

Hedman, Eva-Lotta E., Dynamics of Conflict and Displacement in Papua, Indonesia, Working Paper No. 42, Oxford, Refugee Studies Paper, 2007, pp. 75

King, Peter, West Papua and Indonesia Since Suharto: Independence, Autonomy or Chaos?, Sydney, University of New South Wales Press, 2004, pp. 240

King, Peter ; Elmslie, Jim ; Webb-Gannon, Camellia, Comprehending West Papua, Sydney, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), 2011, pp. 392

The most substantial publication from CPACS’ ongoing West Papua Project – 25 chapters, including human rights surveys, discussions on strategic possibilities, and other commentaries, plus Katrina Rae’s West Papua 2010: A Literature Survey. All online at http://sydney.edu.au/arts/peace_conflict/practice/west_papua_project.shtml

Kirksey, Eben, Freedom in Entangled Worlds: West Papua and the Architecture of Global Power, Durham NC, Duke University Press, 2012, pp. 344

MacLeod, Jason, The Role of Strategy in Advancing Nonviolent Resistance in West Papua, In Reychler, Luc ; Deckard, Julianne Funk; Villanueva, Kevin H.R., Building Sustainable Futures: Enacting Peace and Development Bilbao, University of Deusto, , 2009, pp. 215-237

MacLeod has a chapter on dialogue in King; Elmslie; Webb-Gannon, Comprehending West Papua (E. II.2.d. West Papua: Civil mobilization supersedes guerrilla struggle) , above, and a historical chapter, ‘West Papua: Civil Resistance, Framing, and Identity, 1910s-2010s’, in Bartkowski, Recovering Nonviolent History: Civil Resistance in Liberation Struggles (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements) , Chapter 12, pp. 217-237. He also contributes on Papua for opendemocracy.net.

Singh, Bilveer, Papua: Geopolitics and the Quest for Nationhood, Brunswick, Transaction Publishers, 2008, pp. 224

Tebay, Neles, West Papua: The Struggle for Peace and Justice, London, Catholic Institute for International Relations, 2005, pp. 32

Tebay has a chapter in King; Elmslie; Webb-Gannon, Comprehending West Papua (E. II.2.d. West Papua: Civil mobilization supersedes guerrilla struggle) .

Jammu and Kashmir have been a source of serious friction between India and Pakistan since independence, because of the predominantly Muslim population, and a cause of war between the two countries in 1947, 1965 and 1971 and have also been the site of long-running armed resistance to Indian rule. In 2008, however, there was a new movement stressing unarmed methods of conflict.

Since the alleged rigging of the 1987 elections, Indian-ruled Jammu and Kashmir has been in a state of simmering conflict, with the Indian security forces enjoying special powers since 1990. The massive protests of August 2008 began in reaction to the transfer of land to the organisers of a Hindu pilgrimage, but quickly widened to embrace the demand for ‘Azadi’ (freedom). On occasions Indian security forces opened fire killing unarmed protesters.

Since 2008 there have been continuing protests. These have not been well publicised either in India or the west, hence the limited literature cited below. The Pakistani press is more inclined to provide coverage – see for example Momin Ifthikar, ‘Kashmir’s New Generation of Resistance’, The Nation, 8 Feb, 2012, which underlines the rejection of armed resistance, but celebrates the role of stone throwing, and makes a comparison with the Arab Spring.

Ali, Tariq ; Bhatt, Hilal ; Chatterji, Angana P. ; Mishra, Pankaj ; Roy, Arundhati, Kashmir: the Case for Freedom, London, Verso, 2011, pp. 192

Includes Roy’s 2008 essay ‘Azadi: the only thing Kashmiris want’, previously published in the Guardian (London), Outlook (New Delhi), and her 2009 book Roy, Arundhati , Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy London, Hamish Hamilton, , 2009, pp. 304 .

Boga, Dilnaz, Curfew in the Vale, New Internationalist, issue October, 2010, pp. 46-47

Indian journalist’s account of the continuing unarmed protests

There was a history of unarmed resistance by the Koreans to Japanese occupation during the first half of the 20th century. After the division of Korea in 1945, the death and destruction of the Korean War 1950-53, and Korea’s continuing role as a front line in the Cold War, with US troops guarding the armistice line, South Korea was subject to the dictatorship of the western-backed Syngman Rhee until 1960. The popular desire for democracy, demonstrated in mass protests in which students were prominent, brought down the dictatorship. However, it was replaced by a new military regime under Park Chung Hee from 1961-1979.

There were renewed student protests in 1979, and a 1980 student revolt in Kwangju was brutally repressed by the army, which killed up to 2,000 people and arrested thousands more. General Chun Doo Hwan won the 1981 elections, and students continued to protest, often resorting to firebombing government buildings and fighting the police. But in 1986 students began to mobilize worker and rural support and a dozen students set fire to themselves (an act of traditional remonstrance to unjust rulers). Widespread opposition persuaded Chun not to stand for a second term in 1987, and led to gradual democratization of the previously authoritarian regime.

Clark, Donald N., The Kwangju Uprising: Shadows over the Regime in South Korea, Boulder CO, Westview Press, 1987, pp. 101

Includes bibliography pp. 95-96.

Cotton, James, Politics and Policy in the New Korean State, New York, St. Martins Press, 1995, pp. 246

Proceedings of conference in Melbourne, 1992.

Jung, Kim Dae, Interview: Democracy and dissidence in South Korea, Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 8, issue 2, 1985, pp. 181-192

Kim Dae Jung had been a leading figure in the Democratic Opposition of South Korea since 1971, when he ran for president against the dictator Park Chung Hee, was imprisoned and then exiled. He gave this interview in November 1984, setting out his policies and hopes, when planning to return to join in the struggle against the dictatorship.

Kluver, Alan R., Student movements in Confucian society, In DeGroot, Gerald J., Student Protest: The Sixties and After London, Addison Wesley, , 1998, pp. 219-231

Discusses role of self-immolation by Korean protesters.

Lim, Kim Chong, Political Participation in Korea: Democracy, Mobilization and Stability, Santa Barbara CA and Oxford, Clio Books, 1980, pp. 238

Includes chapters on student activism in 1960 and 1971.

Shinil, Kim, South Korea, In Altbach, Philip G., Student Political Activism: An International Reference Handbook Westport CT, Greenwood Press, , 1989, pp. 173-178

Shorrock, Tim, The struggle for democracy in South Korea in the 1980s and the rise of anti-Americanism, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 8, issue 4 (October), 1986, pp. 1195-1218

Analyses the Park Chung Hee regime, looks back to the Kwangju massacre and role of the US, and comments on the student and worker demonstrations in the spring of 1986 and US/Korean government attempts to channel unrest from the streets into electoral activity. Refers to his earlier article ‘Korea: Stirrings of resistance’, The Progressive, February 1986.

The 400,000 people of the Maldives islands in the Indian Ocean had been subject to the autocratic and corrupt rule of President Maumoon Gayoom for 30 years, when, in 2008, he was defeated by opposition party leader, Mohamed Nasheed. This was the first multi-party presidential election. The election of Nasheed, representative of the Maldivian Democratic Party founded some years earlier in exile, was the culmination of a movement of resistance which took off in 2004, when the first demonstrations took place. Internal opposition succeeded by 2007 in prompting defections among some members of the government, and was supported transnationally by calls for a selective boycott of tourist resorts where commercial interests were closest to the regime. Nasheed, who started protesting in the 1980s, spent 5 years as a political prisoner, and his election was hailed as a victory for a peaceful campaign of civil resistance.

However, in office Nasheed met with obstruction from sections of the old regime. He was ousted in a coup by military and police in February 2012, when the Vice-President, rumoured to have the support of the former dictator, officially took over. Nasheed has since been indicted on what his supporters claim are trumped-up charges, and was imprisoned after defying a travel ban. There have been public protests and arrests of activists since the coup. New presidential elections are scheduled for 2013 – the outcome remains uncertain.

Kunzru, Hari, Welcome to Paradise, The Guardian, 16/12/2006,

Shaheed, Ahmed, Future Prospects for Islam and Democracy: a view from the Maldives, Arches Quarterly, Vol. 3, issue 4, 2009, pp. 53-60

Then foreign minister addresses the question ‘how did a 100% Muslim country, acting in tandem with the international community, … peacefully turn centuries of autocratic rule into something resembling a functioning liberal democracy?’

Shaheed, Ahmed ; Upton, Jonathan, Maldives: Reform Deferred? Challenges and Lost Opportunities for Democratic Transition, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, 2008

Pre-2008 elections. Includes sections ‘Repression of Peaceful Opposition and New Media 1999-2002’ and on attempted reforms.

The Movement for the Restoration of Democracy in Nepal, inspired by events in Eastern Europe, launched a campaign in 1990, ‘the stir’, to end the panchayat (council) system imposed by the monarchy, restore multi-party democracy and limit the king’s powers. (There had been attempts to curb the power of the monarchy and introduce parliamentary democracy – encouraged by India’s achievement of independence – since the late 1940s, but monarchical control through the nominally democratic panchayat form was reasserted in 1962, and political parties banned.) After mass demonstrations and the calling of two general strikes between February and April 1990, the King lifted the ban on political parties in April and approved a new draft constitution in September.

Brown, Louise T., The Challenge to Democracy in Nepal, New York, Routledge, 1996, pp. 239

Covers historical background, earlier attempts at democratization and the evolution of political parties. It draws on extensive interviews. See especially chapter 5 for the resistance movement.

Koirala, Niranjan, Nepal in 1990: End of an Era, Asian Survey, Vol. 31, issue (February), 1991, pp. 134-139

See also Hutt, Michael , Drafting the Nepal Constitution, 1990 Asian Survey, 1991, pp. 1020-1039 .

Parajulee, Ramjee P., The Democratic Transition in Nepal, Lanham MD, Rowman and Littlefield, 2000, pp. 382

Assessment drawing on survey data and giving weight to analysis of impact of external factors on internal forces. See Chapter 2 for the people power movement.

Raeper, William ; Hoftun, Martin, Spring Awakening: An Account of the 1990 Revolution in Nepal, New Delhi, Viking, 1992, pp. 242

Routledge, Paul, A spatiality of resistances: theory and practice in Nepal’s revolution in 1990, In Keith, Michael ; Pile, Steven , Geographies of Resistance London, Routledge, , 1997, pp. 68-86

See also:

Kurt Schock, Unarmed Insurrections: People Power Movements in Nondemocracies, (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements), describes developments in Nepal 1990 as an example of varied and imaginative unarmed resistance, and assesses how the challenge was sustained and the role of external factors (making comparisons with Thailand in the early 1990s), see pp. 121-25 and 130-41.

Despite the apparent achievements of the 1990 movement, successive elected governments in the 1990s failed to deliver any material difference to the people, and the politicians themselves became increasingly corrupt. In 1996 the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) declared a ‘People’s War’. This did not receive international attention until after November 2001, but was extremely successful, and by 2003 the Maoists controlled the majority of rural Nepal.

In June 2001 King Gyanendra had succeeded to the throne after a palace massacre in which the King, his brother, was murdered. Gyanendra proved ambitious for power and, using the civil war as a pretext, dissolved Parliament in October 2003. Subsequently he dismissed the Prime Minister, taking absolute monarchical power in February 2005.

In April 2006 a mass movement, in which democrats and Maoists (with the guerrillas laying aside their guns) cooperated, launched prolonged strikes and demonstrations which forced the king to reinstate parliament and to agree to elections to a constituent assembly to redraft the constitution. The newly elected parliament entered into negotiations with the Maoists, culminating in an agreed peace deal in November 2006. Despite continuing difficulties over the existence and role of the guerrilla army, in general Nepal appears to be an encouraging example of guerrillas switching to an unarmed struggle to achieve a peaceful outcome.

Daly, Tom, Unarmed resistance in Nepal, Peace News, issue 2478, 2006, pp. 5-5

Fair, Christine ; Levitas, Kerem ; Rauch, Collette, Nepal: Rule of Law and Human Rights Challenges, Briefing, Washington DC, US Institute of Peace, 2005

Brief analysis of gaps in 1990 Constitution and of the King’s February 2005 coup removing the Prime Minister

Navin, Mishra, Nepal: Democracy in Transition, Delhi, Authorspress, 2006, pp. 295

Discusses historical background since 1951, the evolution of parliamentary democracy from 1991-2001 and examines in detail the royal takeover and war with the Maoists.

Ogura, Kiyoko, Seeking State Power – The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Transitions Series No. 3, Berlin, Berghof Foundation, 2008, pp. 55

Chapter 4, ‘Transition to Peace and Nonviolent Politics in a Democratic State’, pp. 31-44.

Pratek, Pradhan, Nepal’s unfinished democratic revolution, South Asian Journal, issue 13 (July-September), 2006, pp. 14-23

Vanaik, Achin, The New Himalayan Republic, New Left Review, issue 49 (Jan/Feb), 2008, pp. 47-72

Analyses the ‘Second Democratic Revolution’ of April 2006, which led to the end of the Nepali Monarchy in December 2007, and the historical background to the revolution, with a particular focus on the role of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

Vishwakarma, R.K., People’s Power in Nepal, New Delhi, Manak Publications, 2006, pp. 298

Prominent Maoist contributors.

Pakistan was created out of the partition of the Indian sub-continent in 1947, which led to mass migration and terrible massacres of both Muslims and Hindus. Pakistan suffered a further partition when East Pakistan broke away in 1971 and claimed independence. The secession met with harsh repression by the Pakistan army, thousands of refugees fled to India, and the Indian army invaded Pakistan, ensuring recognition of an independent Bangladesh. Pakistani politics have also been marked by long period of military rule.

There have nevertheless been campaigns of predominantly nonviolent resistance to the military, using strikes, boycotts, demonstrations and hunger strikes,, although protests often turned into riots, and there was also fighting between factions, often in the universities. (Factional strife became more bloody in the 1980s when guns were widely available, as Pakistan became enmeshed in guerrilla warfare in Afghanistan.)

The first campaign of popular resistance took place in 1968-69, when workers and students, supported by peasants, women and school children, brought to an end the government of General Ayub Khan in March 1969. Although he handed over rule to the commander-in-chief General Yahya Khan, who immediately imposed martial law, this was a significant example of people power. The resistance, in which Zulfikar Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, played a prominent role, involved remarkable solidarity between West and East Pakistan, and continued after the imposition of martial law.

Bhutto headed a civilian government from the end of 1971 to 1977, when he was ousted by General Zia and executed, after a sham trial, in 1979. The second campaign of national resistance to military rule began in April 1981, the anniversary of Bhutto’s execution, with a pilgrimage to his grave. In 1981 the opposition parties came together to form the Movement to Restore Democracy – the Bhutto family, held under arrest, were a focal point for much of the opposition. Students took the initiative in demonstrating, supported openly by academics, doctors and lawyers, and less openly by many others. When the regime arrested leaders of the Movement to Restore Democracy, the Movement called for mass strikes and political non-cooperation across Pakistan.

In 1983 the Movement again launched mass protests, courting arrest. Popular protests in Sindh spread to other provinces, with the Bar Association demanding immediate elections. This campaign was not quelled until October 1983, after hundreds had been killed by the army, crops burned and villages destroyed. However, the Movement called on supporters to boycott Zia’s referendum to impose Islamic law and subsequent sham elections to the National Assembly.

Martial law was formally lifted at the end of 1985, and political campaigning by political parties, especially the PPP, increased, but genuine elections were not granted until after the death of Zia in an air crash in August 1988. Although Benazir Bhutto (daughter of Zulfikar) was elected as prime minister in December 1988, and held office from 1988-90 and 1993-96, the military has continued to intervene in Pakistani politics. General Musharraf seized power in a coup in 1999 and did not stand down as President until 2008. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December 2007, when she returned from exile to contest elections. The impact of the crises in Afghanistan has also made Pakistani politics and society more violent and open to extremism.

In such adverse conditions there has been little space for further civil resistance. Yet the ‘Lawyers Movement’, launched in March 2007 to contest the unconstitutional ousting of the Chief Justice, gained his reinstatement after a campaign of protest lawyers and lawyers across Pakistan boycotting courts. The lawyers have continued to campaign for respect for the rule of law, the constitution, and civil rights. For example in January 2009 the Lahore High Court Bar Association launched a campaign for 20 million signatures and in March called for a ‘Long March’ in which many political groups participated. This movement has been covered in the daily press and other media, but is not yet very well documented – two references are included here with the literature on earlier protests.

The earlier campaigns against military rule in 1968-69 and the 1980s have also received little attention in the west; books on Pakistan tend to focus entirely on government actions and political leaders, but a few relevant sources are listed below.

Abbas, Azmat ; Jasam, Saima, A Ray of Hope: The Case of the Lawyers’ Movement in Pakistan, In Heinrich Böll Foundation, Pakistan: Reality, Denial and the Complexity of its State Berlin, Heinrich Böll Foundation, , 2009, pp. 140-170

Ali, Tariq, Pakistan: Military Rule or People’s Power, London, Jonathan Cape, 1970, pp. 272

The first four chapters cover the period 1947-1968. Chapters 5-7 (pp. 156-216) discuss the mass revolt from November 1968 to March 1969, which the author compares to the May 1968 Events in France.

Bhutto, Benazir, Daughter of the East: An Autobiography, London, Mandarin, 1989, pp. 402

A memoir by Bhutto’s daughter, who was a central figure in the campaign for democracy in the 1980s, which takes her story almost up to the November 1988 elections and her becoming Prime Minister. Although the focus is personal, includes material on the wider political context and the growing popular resistance.

Bin Sayeed, Khalid, Pakistan in 1983: Internal stress more serious than external problems, Asian Survey, Vol. 24, issue 2, 1984, pp. 219-228

Butt, Iqbal Haider, Revisiting Student Politics in Pakistan, Bargad, Gujranwala, 2009, pp. 178

Analyses ‘patterns of key student movements in Pakistan’, using historical information and interviews with 24 student leaders, plus a chronology.

Duncan, Emma, Breaking the Curfew: A Political Journey through Pakistan, London, Arrow Books, 1990, pp. 312

A journalist (now deputy editor of the Economist) provides her perspective on Pakistan in the 1980s.

Feldman, Herbert, From Crisis to Crisis: Pakistan 1962-1969, London, Oxford University Press, 1972, pp. 344

The main emphasis of this book is on Ayub Khan’s government, but chapter 9 ‘The last phase’ (pp. 237-71) covers the ‘132 days of uninterrupted disturbances’. Stresses the rioting and factionalised violence, but notes the importance of the urban working classes and the students.

Review, Harvard Law, The Pakistani Lawyers’ Movement and the popular currency of judicial power, Notes, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 123, issue 7 (May), 2010, pp. 1705-1726

Wolpert, Stanley, Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan: His Life and Times, Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 1993, pp. 378

The emphasis is on Bhutto’s political role and leadership and there is only very brief mention of popular agitation in chapter 7 ‘Winters of his discontent’ (1965-69), pp. 100-34.

The resistance in the Philippines in 1986 popularised the term ‘people power’. The Marcos regime ruled by martial law from 1972 to 1981, and subsequently remained highly authoritarian and also corrupt. It faced significant popular challenge in the 1980s. (There were also longer term campaigns of guerrilla resistance by an Islamic and a communist movement.) In the mid-1980s leftist political forces, including the Communist Party, loosely allied themselves in unarmed protest with other social and political groups, so that by 1986 a broad sector of the population was involved, from poor farmers, workers and shanty town dwellers to students, professionals and businessmen. Women were especially active in opposing Marcos.

The assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino in 1983 evoked outrage, and the fraudulent parliamentary elections of 1984 prompted mass demonstrations of protest. When presidential elections were called in February 1986, Cory Aquino (Benigno’s widow) stood against Marcos. The regime’s rigging of the election to deny her victory led to a nonviolent uprising – Aquino called for mass civil disobedience and a general strike, and Marcos was persuaded to step down after a mass popular demonstration which defied the regime’s tanks. The role of the armed forces – the Defence Minister Juan Enrile led a military breakaway and then appealed to the army and people to support Aquino – has been much debated. The Catholic Church played a central role in the evolving protests, and in backing Aquino for the presidency. When Marcos called on units of the army to attack Enrile’s headquarters, Cardinal Sin broadcast an appeal for popular intervention, and nuns and priests were at the forefront of the thousands who prevented the troops advancing.

The people power movement has been well covered by the literature on civil resistance – partly because it provided an impressive example of unarmed mobilization, which influenced many later people power protests, and also because the Aquino family and the Catholic resisters consciously adhered to nonviolent principles and took part in training sessions on nonviolent action organised, including some organised by an affiliate of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. The events of 1986 have also been described and analysed in the broader literature on politics and rebellion.

Arillo, Cecilio T., Breakaway: The Inside Story of the Four Day Revolution in the Philippines, February 22-25 1986, Manila, CTA and Associates, 1986, pp. 288

Account focusing primarily on role of military and using extensive military sources, but also discusses the role of people power.

Bello, Walden, Aquino’s elite populism: Initial reflections, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 8, issue 3 (July), 1986, pp. 1020-1030

Observes that Cory Aquino’s movement seen as a third force by the US, though author rebuts US claims to have supported her before the fall of Marcos. Describes movement as ‘a genuine populist phenomenon’ with base in urban middle class, bringing onto the streets the lower middle class, unemployed workers and shanty town residents. Aquino avoided ties to the left, and did not need them to win the election, though – Bello claims – the left had paved the way for her ultimate success.

Bello, Walden, From the ashes: The rebirth of the Philippine revolution – a review essay, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 8, issue 1 (January), 1986, pp. 258-276

Leftist academic discusses sympathetically the role of the left and armed revolution in the countryside, but also explores the ‘legal, semi-legal and clandestine mass struggles in the cities’. Notes the creation by 1975 of a militant workers’ movement and the 1975 year-long wave of over 400 strikes, as well as networks among Catholics, professionals and students.

Cortright, David ; Watts, Max, Left Face: Soldier Unions and Resistance Movements in Modern Armies, Westport CT, Greenwood Press, 1991, pp. 296

The chapter ‘The Philippines: another Portugal?’, pp. 220-28, challenges the view that the Reformed Armed Forces Movement was ever a revolutionary movement, concluding ‘The primary thrust for the overthrow of Marcos and the installation of Cory Aquino came from the people themselves, notably the church and the middle classes’.

Ellwood, Douglas J., Philippines Revolution 1986: Model of Nonviolent Change, Quezon City, Philippines, New Day Publishers, 1986, pp. 60

Includes material on role of local peace movement, nonviolence training and a 1983 statement on ‘creative nonviolence’.

Fenton, James, The snap revolution, Granta, issue 18, 1986, pp. 33-155

Johnson, Bryant, The Four Days of Courage: The Untold Story of the People Who Brought Marcos Down, New York, Free Press, 1987, pp. 290

Emphasis on role of military and Catholic Church.

Komisar, Lucy, Corazon Aquino: The Story of a Revolution, New York, George Brazillier, 1987, pp. 290

Discusses role of Benigno Aquino and Corazon Aquino’s involvement in politics; pp. 105-23 focus on mutiny and popular protests.

Lee, Terence, The Armed Forces and Transitions from Authoritarian Rule, Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 42, issue 5 (May), 2009, pp. 640-669

Mendoza Jr., Amado Jr., ”People Power” in the Philippines, 1983-86, In Roberts; Garton Ash, Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements), Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 179-190

Discusses if the role of civil resistance from 1983 onwards ‘derived from a principled rejection of violence, or from particular strategic, moral, and cultural considerations’. Suggests all relevant to the moderate coalition against Marcos. Also discusses crucial role of US government – though divided – and notes the continuing problems facing Philippine democracy.

Mercado, Monina Allarey, People Power: An Eyewitness History: The Philippine Revolution of 1986, Preface and scenarios by Francisco S. Tatad, Manila and New York, J.B. Reuter and Writers and Readers Publishing, 1987, pp. 320

Pascual, Dette, Organizing “People Power” in the Philippines, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 1, issue 1 (winter), 1990, pp. 102-109

Brief but illuminating account, by the founder and chair of the National Women’s Movement for the Nurturance of Democracy in the Philippines, of the role played by her organization and two related civil society groups between 1983 and 1986.

Schwenk, Richard L., Onward Christians! Protestants in the Philippines Revolution, Quezon City, Philippines, New Day Publishers, 1986, pp. 102

Examines role of various Protestant groups and stresses Christian basis of nonviolence.

Thompson, Mark R., The Anti-Marcos Struggle: Personalistic Rule and Democratic Transition in the Philippines, New Haven CT, Yale University Press, 1995, pp. 225

The success of 1986 prompted a renewed, though much more contestable, expression of people power in January 2001. When President Estrada was impeached by the House of Representatives for major corruption and the Senate hearing narrowly failed to pursue the charges rigorously, tens of thousands took to the streets. drawing on the forces that overthrew Marcos. The demonstrations took place at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) – the site of the major 1986 protests: hence the naming of 2001 ‘EDSA II’.

Estrada offered a new election (an offer turned down by his opponents), but then, in the absence of military support, rapidly resigned and was replaced by Gloria Arroyo. Estrada, a former film star, had however been elected on a programme of poverty reduction in a populist election, and retained substantial support. When Estrada was arrested, in April 2001 thousands demonstrated over several days, culminating in an estimated 300,000, demanding Estrada’s release and the resignation of Aroyo. This counter-demonstration of ‘people power’, which did not succeed, drew mainly on the urban poor.

Labrador, M.C., The Philippines in 2001: High drama, a new president and setting the stage for recovery, Asian Survey, Vol. 42, issue 1 (January/February), 2002, pp. 141-149

Lande, Carl H., The return of “people power” to the Philippines, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 12, issue April, 2001, pp. 88-102

Discusses the constitutional problems of Philippine democracy and the role of an elite above the law.

Liwag-Kotte, Emmalya, People Power in the Philippines: Civil Society between Protest and Participation, D + C: Development and Cooperation, issue 6 (Nov/Dec), 2001, pp. 21-22

Macpagal, Maria Elizabeth ; Galace, Jasmin Nario, Social psychology of People Power II in the Philippines, Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, Vol. 9, issue 3, 2003, pp. 219-233

Includes assessment of nonviolence.

Reid, Ben, The Philippine democratic uprising and the contradictions of neoliberalism: EDSA II, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 22, issue 5, 2001, pp. 777-793

Analysis of Estrada regime and the protests that led to his overthrow and replacement by Aroyo. The article is also a critique of western commentators who deplore the popular uprising, and an attack on a neoliberal conception of democracy. The author concludes that the 2001 rebellion was ultimately an elite controlled process, transferring power to a different faction of the elite, but also a model of popular mobilization and empowerment.

Tilly, Charles, Social Movements, 1768-2004, Boulder CO, Paradigm Publishers, 2004, pp. 204

Chapter 5, pp. 95-122, ‘Social Movements enter the Twenty-First Century’, takes as its starting point the January 2001 text message in Manila, ‘Go EDSA, Wear black’ and goes on to discuss the relationship between social movements and communications technology with further details on unrest in Manila.

As Chiang Kai-shek was driven out of mainland China by the Communists in the late 1940s, he consolidated Kuomintang (KMT) rule over Taiwan (Formosa), whilst looking to the future reunification of China on KMT terms. From the end of 1949 until the mid-1980s Taiwan was effectively ruled by a one-party dictatorship with the help of martial law. It was also the rule of mainland Chinese over native Taiwanese. In 1987, after a year’s discussion, martial law was lifted and the regime under Chiang Kai-shek’s son, Chiang Ching-kuo, began to take steps towards liberalization: e.g. easing restrictions on the press, freeing many imprisoned dissidents and allowing opposition parties. The ossified structure of the Leninist-style KMT and the legislature also underwent reform. Democratization could be seen in part as an adjustment to an increasingly prosperous capitalist economy, a response to US pressure and as enlightened reform from above. But it also reflected strong pressure from below, and the regime discussed reforms with leaders of the opposition.

In the early 1970s the changing international context and US recognition of Communist China sparked a major debate among intellectuals and students. After Chiang Kai-shek’s death in 1975 there was renewed intellectual ferment, and dissent intensified after the KMT tried in 1977 to rig the election of a local magistrate against an independent candidate, prompting 10,000 people to attack the local police station. National opposition, centred on new dissident periodicals, included moderate and Marxist groups, but was spearheaded by the radical ‘Formosa’ group. This wave ended in 1979, when a mass rally in Kaohsiung on December 10, Human Rights Day, was bloodily suppressed, and leaders of ‘Formosa’ jailed.

During the 1980s, however, a moderate opposition regrouped and used the loophole of independent individual candidacies for elections to gain electoral support, won seats for the wives of jailed dissidents and other independents, and laid the basis for an opposition party. Growing liberalization after 1986 encouraged marches, demonstrations, strikes and boycotts on a range of political, economic and environmental issues, and between July1987 and July 1988 there were over 1,400 reported protests, many by students, workers and farmers.

Kaplan, John, The Court Martial of the Kaohsiung Defendants, Berkeley CA, Berkeley University Press, 1981, pp. 79

Long, Simon, Taiwan: China’s Last Frontier, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1991, pp. 264

After sketching in Taiwan’s earlier history and the evolution of the KMT, chapter 3 describes Taiwan’s political development up to 1986, including a brief summary of the birth of opposition (pp. 66-72). Chapter 8 looks at political reform in 1986-89, the founding of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party and the rise in protest.

Rigger, Shelley, Taiwan’s best-case democratization, Orbis, Vol. 48, issue 2 (spring), 2004, pp. 285-292

Discusses factors promoting relatively smooth and successful transition, including democratic elements, such as local elections, even under KMT rule, and international pressure to democratize after the US and international recognition of the People’s Republic of China. Examines how ‘evolutionary, peaceful, and protracted’ transition also resulted in compromises that created problems for future. Latter part of article examines obstacles to a fully satisfactory democratic system.

Roy, Denny, Taiwan: A Political History, Ithaca NT, Cornell University Press, 2003, pp. 255

Chapter 6 examines the opposition’s struggle and breakthrough.

Tun-jen, Cheng ; Haggard, Stephen, Taiwan in transition, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 1, issue 2 (spring), 1990, pp. 62-74

Discusses models of democratization, opting for an emphasis on processes rather than preconditions. Examines rather dismissively role of protest in 1970s, but notes evolution in the 1980s, and concludes that although 1986 did not mark a Philippine-style people power transition, it was a ‘tacit negotiation’ between the regime and the opposition. Cheng Tun-jen provides a similar analysis in Cheng Tun-jen, Democratizing the quasi-Leninist regime in Taiwan World Politics, 1989, pp. 471-489 .

Yangsun, Chou ; Nathan, Andrew J., Democratizing transition in Taiwan, Asian Survey, Vol. 27, issue 3 (March), 1987, pp. 277-299

Thailand has suffered frequent intervention by the military in politics since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932. This history has been marked by a series of coups. Popular opposition began to contest this pattern: mass protests led by students in 1973 led to the fall of the existing military dictatorship. But military influence in politics was not at an end.

After a military-dominated government seized power in February 1991, a renewed popular campaign for democracy began in early 1992, which crystallised round the demand that General Suchinda, the Prime Minister, should resign. Nonviolent resistance began in April with a hunger strike by a prominent politician and continued with weeks of demonstrations and public assemblies demanding democracy. When moves to resolve the crisis within parliament failed, hundreds of thousands gathered to protest on May 15. The government violently suppressed the demonstration, killing a minimum of 52 protesters, but General Suchinda was forced to resign and new elections were held in September 1992, leading to a coalition government headed by a civilian.

Boonyarattanasoontorn, Jaturang ; Chutima, Gawin, Thai NGOs: The Continuing Struggle for Democracy, Bangkok, Thai NGO Support Project, 1995, pp. 188

Callahan, William A., Imagining Democracy: Reading ‘The Events of May’ in Thailand, Singapore and London, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1998, pp. 199

Hewison, Kevin, Political Change in Thailand: Democracy and Participation, London, Routledge, 1997, pp. 301

An overview of society and politics in Thailand. The Introduction briefly discusses the background to May 1992. Andrew Brown, ‘Locating Working Class Power’ (pp. 163-78), challenges the mainstream interpretation of May 1992 as an expression of the increased power of the middle class and civil society groups, which demonstrated the absence of working class power, suggesting commentators have an over-simplified model of united working class action.

Paisal, Sridharadhanya, Catalyst for Change: Uprising in May, Bangkok, Post Publishing, 1992, pp. 116

Paribhatra, Sukhumbhand, State and society in Thailand: How fragile the democracy?, Asian Survey, Vol. 33, issue (September), 1993, pp. 879-893

Samudavanija, Chai-Anan, Thailand, In Altbach, Philip G., Student Political Activism: An International Reference Handbook Westport CT, Greenwood Press, , 1989, pp. 185-196

Covers student activism in the 1960s and 1970s.

Sivaraksa, Sulak, Loyalty Demands Dissent: Autobiography of a Socially Engaged Buddhist, Berkeley CA, Parallax Press, 1998, pp. 248

Sivaraska (an ‘engaged’ Buddhist) is a prominent social critic, who dared to compare the military to ‘termites’. Edits the journal Seeds of Peace, which comments on problems in the region.

After 1992 many hoped that the era of military coups had come to an end. But the military did intervene again in September 2006 to overthrow the government of Thaksin Shinawatra. The coup had the backing of the king, who is popular and exerts extraordinary moral authority in Thailand, and was tacitly supported by residents of Bangkok, though there was some student protest.

The lack of urban resistance to the military takeover was due to the growing opposition to Thaksin, a former telecom tycoon who, as prime minister after 2000, won loyalty among the poor in the countryside through his health reforms, but was increasingly distrusted by the urban middle class for his authoritarian style, corruption, cronyism and human rights violations (for example use of martial law to crush Muslim resistance in the south, and later declaration of a state of emergency). When he called an unexpected election in April 2006 to bolster his authority, the opposition parties boycotted it and it was annulled. The army stepped in to prevent Thaksin being returned to power again by the rural vote in a re-run election.

The anti-Thaksin movement was launched in September 2005, and in the Spring of 2006 hundreds of thousands protested in Bangkok. However, Thaksin retained the support of many of the rural population and urban poor, who form the majority, and there were a succession of opposed mass protests by pro-Thaksin forces (for example ‘the Caravan of the Poor and Democracy Loving Village People’) and also by his opponents. From exile, Thaksin continued to be active in politics and mobilize his supporters. After a pro-Thaksin government was elected in December 2007, the opposition coalition besieged parliament and then Bangkok airport in late 2008 to demand the resignation of the prime minister, which they achieved through the intervention of the Constitutional Court. Pro-Thaksin demonstrators responded in both 2009 and in 2010, when serious violence was narrowly averted and the demonstrators were persuaded to disperse.

Kasian, Tejapira, Toppling Thaksin, New Left Review, issue 39 (May/June), 2006, pp. 5-37

Analyses social and political context and mounting opposition up to April 2006.

Pongsudhirak, Thitinan, Thailand since the Coup, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 19, issue 4 (October), 2008, pp. 140-153

See also:

April Carter, People Power and Political Change: Key Issues and Concepts, (A. 1.a.ii. Theories of Civil Disobedience, Power and Revolution), pp. 110-12, for very brief summary up to 2010, including newspaper references.