The Post-war Rise and Decline of the Left

  • Nathan Gilbert QuimpoEmail author
Part of the Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy book series (PEPP)


This chapter explains why leftist movements and parties, which were major actors in Southeast Asian politics before, during and immediately after World War II, subsequently faded and have not significantly recovered. It argues that most of these groups, except in Vietnam and Laos, followed Maoist tenets, which proved unsuitable to their countries’ conditions, while authoritarian repression and developmentalism further undercut their appeal. Leftists’ inflexibility precluded a successful shift from armed struggle to electoral politics, leaving them mostly marginalised in new democratic dispensations. The few social democratic and non-party formations are constrained by oligarchic domination of political life, entrenched patronage and corruption, and political institutions that limit effective political contestation.


Revolutionary left Social democracy Civil society Authoritarianism Southeast Asia 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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