How does repression influence backlash (i.e., challenges against political authorities that follow acts of government coercion)? This study argues that to adequately study backlash, it is necessary to analytically open up a social movement and examine why specific individuals in the same movement organization increase their participation following repression while other members drop out. The study uses original panel data on organizational behavior and individual participation in a black-nationalist insurgency group called the Republic of New Africa. Results show that the effects of repression are more complex than previously imagined. At the organizational level, repression leads to backlash challenges. At the individual level, however, repression has mixed effects. Challengers who personally experience repression become more likely to participate in post-repression challenging activities. At the same time, those within the organization who did not directly experience repression withdraw.

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