Why do some dissident groups survive government repression while others get eliminated? This paper argues that a group's ideology conditions its organizational structure and underground organizing capacity, in turn affecting survival. Extreme groups tend to develop a compartmentalized structure and have militants skilled in underground organizing. Compartmentalization and underground organizing decrease the probability of capture, as well as mitigate the downstream effects of captures. Using a novel dataset of individuals on Pinochet's wanted lists and the victims of the dictatorship in Chile, this paper demonstrates that the rate of victimization of ultraleftists is significantly lower than that of more moderate but similarly targeted groups. Archival and interview data show that differences in survival are due to organizational structure and skills, and that these characteristics flow from ideology. In contrast to other research on repression, this study compares the intended-to-repress and repressed populations to better understand the heterogeneous effects of violence.
Consuelo Amat is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) at Stanford University. Her research interests include state repression, armed and unarmed resistance, political violence, and the development of civil society in authoritarian regimes, with a focus on Latin America. Consuelo received her Ph.D. in Political Science with distinction from Yale University. She also holds an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University. During the 2017-2018 academic year Consuelo was a United States Institute of Peace Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar. Before starting graduate school she worked at the Brookings Institution, the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Peace Action West, and Human Rights Watch.