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 part in the political life of a 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. 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
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."
- Amnesty International
- Death squad
- Forced disappearance
- Human rights abuse
- National Committee Against Repressive Legislation
- National security
- Photography is Not a Crime
- Police state
- Political killing
- Preventive repression
- PRISM (surveillance program)
- Restrictions on political parties
- Secret police
- Worldwide Governance Indicators
- 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.
- Kittrie, Nicholas N. 1995. The War Against Authority: From the Crisis of Legitimacy to a New Social Contract. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Serge, Victor, 1979, What Everyone Should Know About State Repression, London: New Park Publications.
- 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
- Haas, Jeffrey. The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther. Chicago, Ill.: Lawrence Hill /Chicago Review, 2010.
- COINTELPRO: The FBI's Covert Action Programs Against American Citizens, Final Report of the Senate Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities.
- Cunningham, D. 2004. There’s something happening here: The New Left, the Klan, and FBI counterintelligence. Berkeley: Univ. of California.
- Understanding Covert Repressive Action: The Case of the U.S. Government against the Republic of New Africa (186kb PDF file) by Christian Davenport, Professor, University of Maryland.
- State Repression and Political Order by Christian Davenport, Professor, University of Maryland.
- Special issue of Interface: a journal for and about social movements on repression and social movements.
- Goldstein, Robert Justin, Political Repression in Modern America (University of Illinois Press, 1978, 2001) 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. University of Minnesota Press, 1999.