This book examines the phenomenon of paramilitarism across Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia, offering a nuanced perspective while identifying key patterns in the way paramilitary violence is implicated in processes of capital accumulation, state-building, and the reproduction of social power.
Paramilitary violence, a key modality of coercion in the era of globalization, has been pursued by states and dominant classes in the Global South, to reproduce or extend their power over subaltern groups. Paramilitary groups are responsible for atrocities, including extrajudicial executions, disappearances, torture, rape, and forced displacement. The book integrates empirically rich investigations into an emergent theory of political violence, capturing the relationship between parastatal armed actors, capital, and the state.
The analysis sheds light on globally relevant phenomena such as the end of the Cold War, the shifting role of US hegemony, and evolving nature of the nation-state. The book is suitable for academics, graduate and upper-year undergraduate students, and policy-makers in development, human rights, and violence prevention. Given its interdisciplinary subject, it appeals to scholars from a wide range of disciplines, including political science, sociology, political anthropology, development, peace and conflict, security and terrorism, international relations, and global studies.
Table of Contents
Jasmin Hristov, Laila Bushra, Jeb Sprague, and Aaron Tauss
1. Theorizing Non-State Armed Actors in the Era of Economic Globalization: Beyond the Criminal and the Terrorist
Jasmin Hristov and Laila Bushra
Part One: Paramilitaries and Capital Accumulation
2. The Pro-Business Effects of Paramilitary Terror in Colombia: Appreciating Different Types of Political Violence and Their Economic Impacts
3. Paramilitarism in Progress: The War against Social Movements from Below in Honduras
Jasmin Hristov and Karen Spring
4. Institutionalized Terror: Paramilitaries and the Guatemalan State
5. Enforcing Accumulation in a Geo-Strategic Region: Paramilitaries in Oaxaca, Mexico
Part Two: The Struggle for the State: Paramilitarism as a Strategy of Movements from Above
6. Transnational Paramilitary Connections: Right-wing Violence in Venezuela as a Strategy to Restore Political Hegemony
Eva Golinger, Jasmin Hristov, and Aaron Tauss
7. Conquering the Local Level: Connections and Frictions Between Local Governments and Paramilitaries in Uganda, Zimbabwe and Colombia
8. Shifts in Coercion under Globalization: Lessons from Haiti's Restructuring in the Global Era
9. Landowners, Politicians, and the Threat from Below: Emergence and Evolution of Paramilitary Groups in Chiapas, Mexico
Part Three: Paramilitary Actors and State-Building
10. US Support for "Civilian Defence" Paramilitaries in Iraq and Afghanistan
11. Non-State Armed Actors and State-building: The Symbiotic Relationship between Paramilitary Forces and the State in Post-Soviet Georgia (1991-2012)
12. The Violent Roots of the New Elite: Serbian Paramilitaries in the Transition from Socialism to Capitalism
Part Four: Variations in Paramilitary Structure and Purpose
13. Disturbing the Peace: Paramilitarism across Southeast Asia
Shane J. Barter
14. Paramilitary Groups and Civilian Self-Defense Force Mobilization in Peru
Steven T. Zech
15. God’s Vigilantes: Islamist Paramilitarism in Modern Pakistan
Laila Bushra and Ali Khan
Laila Bushra, Jasmin Hristov, Jeb Sprague, and Aaron Tauss
Jasmin Hristov, PhD, is an assistant professor of sociology and development studies at the University of Guelph, Canada. Jasmin is the author of: Paramilitarism and Neoliberalism: Violent Systems of Capital Accumulation in Colombia and Beyond (2014) and Blood and Capital: the Paramilitarization of Colombia (2009). Her work includes refereed articles featured in Sociology of Development, Canadian Review of Sociology, Journal of Peasant Studies, Latin American Perspectives, Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, Labour, Capital and Society, Islamic Perspective: Journal of Islamic Studies and Humanities and Social Justice as well as chapters in Gender and Development: the Economic Basis of Women’s Power (2019), Gendering Globalization, Globalizing Gender: Post-Colonial Perspectives (2020), and The Routledge Handbook of Transformative Global Studies (2020). Jasmin is also the recipient of the Early Investigator Award (2019) from the Canadian Sociological Association.
Jeb Sprague, PhD, is a lecturer at the University of California Los Angeles. Sprague is the author of Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti (2012) and Globalizing the Caribbean: Political Economy, Social Change, and the Transnational Capitalist Class (2019). He is also the editor of Globalization and Transnational Capitalism in Asia and Oceania (2016). His work includes refereed articles featured in Third World Quarterly, Journal of World-Systems Research, Research in Political Economy, Caribbean Studies, Monthly Review, and Current Perspectives in Social Theory. Jeb is a founding member of the Network for Critical Studies of Global Capitalism.
Aaron Tauss, PhD, is an associate professor of international relations at the National University of Colombia, Medellin. Aaron is the editor of Sozial-ökologische Transformationen - Das Ende des Kapitalismus denken, VSA and a co-editor of ¿Pensar el fin del capitalismo? Escenarios y estrategias de transformación socioecológica, and Andere mögliche Welten? – Krise, Linksregierungen, populare Bewegungen: Eine lateinamerikanische-europäische Debatte. His publications are featured in Columbia Internacional, NACLA Report on the Americas, Prokla, Desafíos and Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik.