Political repression is the act of a state entity controlling a citizenry by force for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take part in the political life of a society thereby reducing their standing among their fellow citizens.
Politics refers to a set of activities associated with the governance of a country, or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to members of a group.
A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent of members. In the social sciences, a larger society often exhibits stratification or dominance patterns in subgroups.
It often is manifested through vicious policies, such as human rights violations, surveillance abuse, police brutality, imprisonment, involuntary settlement, stripping of citizen's rights, lustration and violent action or terror such as the murder, summary executions, torture, forced disappearance and other extrajudicial punishment of political activists, dissidents, or general population.Political repression can also be reinforced by means outside of written policy, such as by public and private media ownership and by self-censorship within the public.
Human rights are moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected as natural and legal rights in municipal and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable, fundamental rights "to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being" and which are "inherent in all human beings", regardless of their nation, location, language, religion, ethnic origin or any other status. They are applicable everywhere and at every time in the sense of being universal, and they are egalitarian in the sense of being the same for everyone. They are regarded as requiring empathy and the rule of law and imposing an obligation on persons to respect the human rights of others, and it is generally considered that they should not be taken away except as a result of due process based on specific circumstances; for example, human rights may include freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture and execution.
Surveillance abuse is the use of surveillance methods or technology to monitor the activity of an individual or group of individuals in a way which violates the social norms or laws of a society.
Police brutality is one of several forms of police misconduct which involves undue violence by police members. Widespread police brutality exists in many countries and territories, even those that prosecute it. Although illegal, it can be performed under the color of law.
Where political repression is sanctioned and organised by the state, it may constitute state terrorism, genocide, politicide or crimes against humanity. Systemic and violent political repression is a typical feature of dictatorships, totalitarian states and similar regimes.Acts of political repression may be carried out by secret police forces, army, paramilitary groups or death squads. Repressive activities have also been found within democratic contexts as well. This can even include setting up situations where the death of the target of repression is the end result.
State terrorism refers to acts of terrorism conducted by a state, whether against foreign targets or against its own citizens. There is some disagreement about how to exactly define what is and what is not state terrorism, see "Definition" section below for details.
Genocide is intentional action to destroy a group of people in whole or in part. The hybrid word "genocide" is a combination of the Greek word γένος and the Latin suffix -caedo. The term genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe;
Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population. The first prosecution for crimes against humanity took place at the Nuremberg trials. Crimes against humanity have since been prosecuted by other international courts as well as in domestic prosecutions. The law of crimes against humanity has primarily developed through the evolution of customary international law. Crimes against humanity are not codified in an international convention, although there is currently an international effort to establish such a treaty, led by the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative.
If political repression is not carried out with the approval of the state, a section of government may still be responsible. An example is the FBI COINTELPRO operations in the United States between 1956 and 1971.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes.
COINTELPRO (1956–1971) was a series of covert, and at times illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations. FBI records show that COINTELPRO resources targeted groups and individuals that the FBI deemed subversive, including feminist organizations, the Communist Party USA, anti–Vietnam War organizers, activists of the civil rights movement or Black Power movement, environmentalist and animal rights organizations, the American Indian Movement (AIM), independence movements, and a variety of organizations that were part of the broader New Left. The program also targeted the Ku Klux Klan in 1964.
In some states, "repression" can be an official term used in legislation or the names of government institutions. For example, the Soviet Union had a legal policy of repression of political opposition defined in the penal code and Cuba under Fulgencio Batista had a secret police agency officially named the "Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities".
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
Article 58 of the Russian SFSR Penal Code was put in force on 25 February 1927 to arrest those suspected of counter-revolutionary activities. It was revised several times. In particular, its Article 58-1 was updated by the listed sub-articles and put in force on 8 June 1934.
Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometers (42,800 sq mi). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometers (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.
Political conflict strongly increases the likelihood of state repression. This is arguably the most robust finding in social science research on political repression – civil wars are a strong predictor of repressive activity, as are other forms of challenges from non-government actors.States so often engage in repressive behaviors in times of civil conflict that the relationship between these two phenomena has been termed the "Law of Coercive Responsiveness". When their authority or legitimacy is threatened, regimes respond by overtly or covertly suppressing dissidents to eliminate the behavioral threat. State repression subsequently affects dissident mobilization, though the direction of this effect is still an open question. Some strong evidence suggests that repression suppresses dissident mobilization by reducing the capacity of challengers to organize, yet it is also feasible that challengers can leverage state repressive behavior to spur mobilization among sympathizers by framing repression as a new grievance against the state.
A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region or to change government policies. The term is a calque of the Latin bellum civile which was used to refer to the various civil wars of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC.
Political repression is often accompanied by violence, which might be legal or illegal according to domestic law.Violence can both eliminate political opposition directly by killing opposition members, or indirectly by instilling fear.
Political repression is sometimes accompanied with intolerance. This intolerance is manifested through discriminatory policies, human rights violations, police brutality, imprisonment, extermination, exile, extortion, terrorism, extrajudicial killing, summary execution, torture, forced disappearance and other punishments against political activists, dissidents, and population in general.
When political repression is sanctioned and organized by the state, situations of state terrorism, genocide and crimes against humanity can be reached. Systematic and violent political repression is a typical feature of dictatorships, totalitarianisms and similar regimes. In these regimes, acts of political repression can be carried out by the police and secret police, the army, paramilitary groups and death squads. Sometimes regimes considered democratic exercise political repression and state terrorism to other states as part of their security policy.
Democide is a term proposed by R. J. Rummel since at least 1994 who defined it as "the intentional killing of an unarmed or disarmed person by government agents acting in their authoritative capacity and pursuant to government policy or high command". According to him, this definition covers a wide range of deaths, including forced labor and concentration camp victims; killings by "unofficial" private groups; extrajudicial summary killings; and mass deaths due to the governmental acts of criminal omission and neglect, such as in deliberate famines, as well as killings by de facto governments, i.e. civil war killings. This definition covers any murder of any number of persons by any government.
The term secret police refers to intelligence, security or police agencies that engage in covert operations against a government's political opponents and dissidents. Secret police organizations are characteristic of totalitarian regimes. Used to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian regime, secret police often, but not always, operate outside the law and are used to repress dissidents and weaken the political opposition, frequently with violence, assassinations, and torture.
Extrajudicial punishment is punishment for an alleged crime or offense carried out without legal process or supervision from a court or tribunal through a legal proceeding. Such actions are carried out by state actors.
Rex 84, short for Readiness Exercise 1984, was a classified scenario and drill developed by the United States federal government to detain large numbers of United States citizens deemed to be "national security threats", in the event that the President declared a National Emergency. The plan was first revealed in detail in a major daily newspaper by reporter Alfonso Chardy in the July 5, 1987 edition of the Miami Herald. Possible reasons for such a roundup were reported to be widespread opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad, such as if the United States were to directly invade Central America. To combat what the government perceived as "subversive activities", the plan also authorized the military to direct ordered movements of civilian populations at state and regional levels, according to Professor Diana Reynolds.
The PIDE or International and State Defense Police was a Portuguese security agency that existed during the Estado Novo regime of António de Oliveira Salazar. Formally, the main roles of the PIDE were the border, immigration and emigration control and internal and external State security. However, it became more known by its secret police activities.
Brigadier General Óscar Humberto Mejía Víctores was the 27th President of Guatemala from 8 August 1983 to 14 January 1986. A member of the military, he was president during the apex of repression and death squad activity in the Central American nation. When he was minister of defense, he rallied a coup against José Efraín Ríos Montt, then president of Guatemala, which he justified by declaring that the government was being abused by religious fanatics. He allowed for a return to democracy, with elections for a constituent assembly in 1984 followed by general elections in 1985.
Carlos Manuel Arana Osorio was President of Guatemala from 1970 to 1974. His government enforced torture, disappearances and killings against political and military adversaries, as well as common criminals.
The Republic of New Afrika (RNA), founded in 1968 as the Republic of New Africa (RNA), is a black nationalist organization and black separatist movement popularized by black freedom fighters groups in the United States. The larger New Afrika movement in particular has three goals:
In the United States, Red Squads were police intelligence units that specialized in infiltrating, conducting counter-measures and gathering intelligence on political and social groups during the 20th century. Dating as far back as the Haymarket Riot in 1886, Red Squads became common in larger cities such as Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles during the First Red Scare of the 1920s. They were set up as specialized units of city police departments, as a weapon against labor unions, communists, anarchists, and other dissidents.
The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States is a book by Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, first published in 1990. It is a history of the FBI's COINTELPRO efforts to disrupt dissident political organizations within the United States, and reproduces many original FBI memos.
The National Reorganization Process was the name used by its leaders for the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. In Argentina it is often known simply as última junta militar, última dictadura militar or última dictadura cívico-militar, because there have been several in the country's history.
Operation CHAOS or Operation MHCHAOS was the code name of a United States Central Intelligence Agency domestic espionage project targeting the American people from 1967 to 1974, established by President Johnson and expanded under President Nixon, whose mission was to uncover possible foreign influence on domestic race, anti-war and other protest movements. The operation was launched under Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Richard Helms by chief of counter-intelligence James Jesus Angleton, and headed by Richard Ober. The "MH" designation is to signify the program had a worldwide area of operations.
The Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI was an activist group operational in the US during the early 1970s. Their only known action was breaking into a two-man Media, Pennsylvania office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and stealing over 1,000 classified documents. They then mailed these documents anonymously to several US newspapers to expose numerous illegal FBI operations which were infringing on the First Amendment rights of American civilians. Most news outlets initially refused to publish the information, saying it related to ongoing operations and that disclosure might have threatened the lives of agents or informants. However, The Washington Post, after affirming the veracity of the files which the Commission sent them, ran a front-page story on March 24, 1971.
An extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities or individuals without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. Extrajudicial punishments are mostly seen by humanity to be unethical, since they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur. Extrajudicial killings often target leading political, trade union, dissident, religious, and social figures and are only those carried out by the state government or other state authorities like the armed forces or police, as extra-legal fulfillment of their prescribed role.
Political violence is violence perpetrated by people or governments to achieve political goals. It can describe violence used by a state against other states (war) or against non-state actors. It can also describe politically-motivated violence by non-state actors against a state or against other non-state actors. Non-action on the part of a government can also be characterized as a form of political violence, such as refusing to alleviate famine or otherwise denying resources to politically identifiable groups within their territory.
Human rights violations in Pinochet's Chile were the crimes against humanity, persecution of opponents, political repression and state terrorism committed by the Chilean Armed Forces, members of Carabineros de Chile and civil repressive agents members of a secret police, during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile from September 11, 1973, until March 11, 1990.
Black Identity Extremists (BIE) is a designation coined by the FBI. It appeared in an internal FBI counterterrorism report dated 3 August 2017. The document describes police safety concerns from allegedly violent African-American activists in the United States. It was sent to thousands of police departments across America.