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Political Liberalization

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  1. Political Liberalization

  2. Monopoly of the Communist Party • During the reform period, the Party maintains its monopoly • continues to control appointments to important posts • nomenklatura system remains

  3. in some countries, some relaxation of control over parliamentary elections occurs opposing candidates who are not members of the Party get elected Party maintains firm majority government by decree continues no separation of powers Party and bureaucracy continue to operate above the law

  4. Party-state apparatus continues to have absolute control over the military, police, and other security forces lots of examples of the military or police being used to suppress dissent during the reform period Poland in 1981 China in 1989

  5. Easing of Repression • Compared to the classical period, there is noticeably less repression • those who support the system need not fear the purges and persecutions that were so common • excesses of the former period condemned • creates moral crisis in the bureaucracy • feel shamed about having participated • want to turn over a new leaf • important element in the reform process

  6. Official Ideology • Certain elements remain • leading role of the Party • validity of Marxist-Leninist theory • if Stalin or Mao were wrong, it was because they misunderstood Marx and Lenin

  7. superiority of public ownership for certain countries, the leadership position of the Soviet Union While these elements cannot be criticized, it becomes no longer necessary to kowtow to them all the time writers learn to criticize between the lines and readers learn to read between the lines

  8. Dissident underground material appears that do criticize these taboo elements of the ideology When such criticism goes above ground and is heard in the media and at public meetings, the reform process becomes a revolutionary process

  9. Some elements undergo revision superiority over capitalism no longer superior by definition becomes hard to deny that the gap is increasing official media and public discussions begin to consider advantages of market mechanisms

  10. heroic sacrifice replaced by need to provide the people with material incentives sacrifice for the next generation during forced industrialization replaced with focus on improving consumption growth at least until economic turmoil strikes and then focus on consumption is the first to go

  11. state paternalism and socialization of consumption reverses course state responsibility to provide housing, education, public services, subsidized food, etc. replaced by individual responsibility

  12. all this happens as a process of disintegration of ideological discipline control over press and public discourse loosens not a free press, but what gets said and reported would not have been said or reported during the classical period

  13. Beginnings of Pluralism • Sectoral lobbies grow in strength • always part of the system but influence strengthens as center weakens

  14. Regional and ethnic interests grow becomes a particular problem in ethnically diverse countries like Soviet Union power of regional administrative authority grows relative to the center great concern about regional issues such as power relationships, tax sharing, etc. becomes a major power struggle

  15. The power of organized religion grows state repression of religion relaxes moral authority of religion grows as moral authority of the state weakens increasing strength of religion, in turn, becomes a force in opposition to the state Poland

  16. Union begins to act less as a unit of the bureaucracy and more as representative of the workers real workers’ movements appear, either union organized or organized by some informal workers’ group strikes tolerated Donbas coal miners in Ukraine

  17. New associations appear that are not controlled by the center environmental movements tenants’ associations pensioners’ association professional associations the seeds of a civil society never before tolerated

  18. Party factions become more open and more influential seeds of a multi-party system clearly happening in Cuba today old-liners versus reformists Alternative political movements appear rallies petition drives Varela project in Cuba

  19. such dissident activities can always be repressed tolerated because of divisions within the power structure of the state why has Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, organizer of the Varela Project, not been jailed in the current dissident crackdown? in part because it’s too late – the international community watches

  20. Dissident activity accelerates causes panic in the state and Party leadership may react to growing influence of the dissidents by lashing out current crackdown in Cuba is a perfect example Sakharov in the Soviet union Havel in Czechoslovakia

  21. Opening Up to the Capitalist World • Began in China in early ’70s • Nixon travels to China in 1971 • Foreign policy directed at reducing tensions • disarmament

  22. Anti-western propaganda subsides replaced by calls for peaceful coexistence All sorts of communications increase including official travel and even tourism students travel abroad to study and even work China

  23. Opening to the capitalist world does not always go smoothly China in the Hainan Island incident Cuba’s current snit with Europe at the same time it holds trade fairs for American firms Opening comes at great peril to socialist system individuals get to do their own comparative studies

  24. Political Opening • Glasnost was the term Gorbachev used to label this process • Two elements: • less secretiveness • the people are informed of the decisions that affect them and how those decisions are reached • the truth must be told • no more publication of falsehoods

  25. Secretiveness was a virtue in the classical system part of the vigilance required against the enemies from within and without Lying was never officially considered a virtue but specific lies could always be justified on the grounds that the ends justify the means whatever is in the interest of the state can be justified

  26. Falsehood was not necessarily a product of lying ideological brainwashing resulted in denial of reality individuals mentally discard facts not consistent with the ideology or their belief in the infallibility of the leadership “Cuba does not have a drug problem” an obvious falsehood that is firmly believed by the bureaucracy contributes to the moral crisis of the bureaucracy

  27. Secretiveness a tough habit to break the initial reaction after Chernobyl was to deny and lie in spite of glasnost public reaction and international pressure forced the leadership to admit what happened unlike the case when a similar accident occurred in the mid ’50s still have not been completely truthful about impact on Kiev still shipping young cancer victims to Cuba for treatment

  28. Glasnost is a loose tiger creates its own dynamic does nothing to solve the economic ills of the socialist system the shortages the sellers’ market the poor quality of consumption goods repression kept the lid on discontent with repression loosening up, the discontent rises to the surface and turns on the system

  29. thus, liberalization creates the conditions for revolution in the case of East Europe, that revolution spread even to those countries in which there had been no such liberalization East Germany Czechoslovakia Bulgaria Romania once these people there saw what was happening in China, Hungary and Poland, the lid blew off

  30. Limits of Reform • Reform can last a long time • it achieves a sort of equilibrium • but the equilibrium is unstable • the dynamic of reform leads ultimately to its own end • Poland a good example of a lengthy and highly tumultuous reform period

  31. The limit of reform is reached at the point at which the leadership admits the principle of political competition the end of the Party monopoly

  32. China has had an extremely long reform by this definition the Chinese Communist Party still has a monopoly at the national level but free elections have been held at the village level slowly, the end will come when the Part will finally give up its monopoly even at the national level when should we date the end of reform?