The Marcos Dictatorship, Historical Remembrances, and Collective Memory

Mobilizing Ideas

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos and his authoritarian regime in the Philippines. From February 22-25, 1986, over two million Filipinos held demonstrations in the capital of Manila. The struggle against the two-decade authoritarian rule transpired for years and Filipinos expected a protracted and bloody revolution to bring down an entrenched dictatorship. Yet, unlike other sultanistic or neopatrimonial regimes that were defeated by a revolutionary movement or ousted by a coup d’état, Marcos was dethroned by nonviolent protesters, largely from the middle class, who were held together not by a common political ideology but by moral indignation founded on basic distrust of the government (see David 1985, Thompson 1995).

thumbnailNamed after the urban space in Manila where this historical watershed occurred, the EDSA “People Power” Revolution was the first democratic transition in Asia during the so-called “third wave of democratization” (Huntington 1991

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Territorial Disputes and “State-Encouraged” Protests

Mobilizing Ideas

Anti-China Protest in Vietnam PhotoLast month, a series of protests erupted across Vietnam against the Chinese deployment of an oil rig in the Paracel Islands, a disputed territory of the South China Sea. Three nations—China, Taiwan, and Vietnam—have claimed sovereignty over the archipelago since the 20th century. In a surprise turn, the Vietnamese government, which generally forbids demonstrations, allowed protests at the beginning, enabling them to spread from the capital Hanoi to Ho Chi Minch City and increase in size and intensity. The protests led to violence as protestors targeted Chinese and Taiwanese nationals and their businesses. Looting, arson, vandalism, injuries, and death forced China and Taiwan to order the evacuation of their citizens.[1]

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