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Political repression

Political repression is the persecution of an individual or group for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take political life of society.

Political repression is sometimes used synonymously with the term political discrimination (also known as politicism). It often is manifested through discriminatory 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.

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. In such regimes, acts of political repression may be carried out by secret police forces, army, paramilitary groups or death squads. Relevant activities have also been found within democratic contexts as well.

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.

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."

See also

Further reading




  • Davenport, Christian (2007). ''State Repression and the Domestic Democratic Peace'' New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Davenport, Christian, Johnston, Hank and Mueller, Carol (2004). ''Repression and Mobilization'' Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Donner, Frank J. (1980). The Age of Surveillance: The Aims and Methods of America s Political Intelligence System. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-40298-7
  • Donner, Frank J. (1990). Protectors of Privilege: Red Squads and Police Repression in Urban America. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-05951-4
  • Goldstein, Robert Justin. (1978). Political Repression in Modern America, From 1870 to Present. Boston, G. K. Hall, Cambridge, MA: Schenkman. ISBN 0-8467-0301-7
  • Jensen, Joan M. Army Surveillance in America, 1775 - 1980. New Haven. Yale University Press. 1991. ISBN 0-300-04668-5. Book review retrieved April 3, 2006.
  • Talbert, Jr. Roy. Negative Intelligence: The Army and the American Left, 1917 - 1941. Jackson. University Press of Mississippi, 1991. ISBN 0-87805-495-2. Book review retrieved April 3, 2006.
  • Irvin, Cynthia L. "Militant Nationalism between movement and party in Ireland and the Basque Country

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