Publication Details

Martin, B, Varney, W & Vickers, A, Political jiu-jitsu against Indonesian repression: studying lower-profile nonviolent resistance, Pacifica Review, 2001, 13(2), 143-156. This journal is available online here.


Most case studies of nonviolent action have focussed on prominent instances of open resistance to repression, especially successful resistance. Additional insight into the dynamics of nonviolent action can be gained by studying cases when resistance has been less widespread, less visible or less effective. The value of looking at such cases is illustrated by an examination of the toppling of Indonesian President Suharto in 1998 -- a prominent and successful exercise of nonviolent action -- and, for comparison, the Indonesian anticommunist massacres from 1965-1966 and repression in East Timor in the decade from 1975, two cases where nonviolent resistance was less visible and less effective. These cases reaffirm the crucial role of political jiu-jitsu, namely the process by which repression can stimulate greater support for the resistance.



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