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Asia's Unknown Uprisings Asia's Unknown Uprisings

Asia's Unknown Uprisings

by George Katsiaficas

This 2-volume book, the result of over ten years of research, uncovers an Asian wave of uprisings from 1986 to 1992, during which nine dictatorships were overthrown in 8 places. Despite its similarity to the Arab Spring, the Asian wave is unknown.

Volume 1 is about South Korean Social Movements in the 20th Century. Volume 2 discusses People Power in the Philippines, Burma, Tibet, China, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand and Indonesia, 1947-2009.

The Gwangju People's Uprising of 1980 is understood here as the critical turning point and center of this insurrectionary wave. A 20th century Paris Commune, the daring fortitude of Gwangju's people forged the contours of subsequent uprisings. (See the PowerPoint comparing these two historic events by using the PowerPoints link on this web site's home page.)

As social movements around the world increasingly resemble each other, erupting with increasing synchronicity from the grassroots, People Power indicates the popular turn to newly defined cultural and political values.


“This book about people's power movements in Asia over the last sixty years makes the case, convincingly, that they should be seen as part of the worldwide new left. Reading it will broaden the perspective of activists and analysts in North America and Europe, a very important task.”
--Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University

“George Katsiaficas is America’s leading practitioner of the method of ‘participant-observation,’ acting with and observing the movements that he is studying. This study of People Power is a brilliant narrative of the present as history from below. It is a detailed account of the struggle for freedom and social justice, encompassing the different currents, both reformist and revolutionary, in a balanced study that combines objectivity and commitment. Above all, he presents the beauty of popular movements in the process of self-emancipation.” --James Petras

Review in Turning the Tide