Ganguly on Structural Sources of Authoritarianism in Pakistan

In Intro to Comparative Politics, we devote a considerable amount of time to understanding regime types–what factors contribute to differences amongst authoritarian regimes, why democracies find it difficult to build deep roots in some places, what are the sources of authoritarianism and democracy.

Sumit Ganguly, an expert on nationalism, and south Asian nationalism in particular, recently gave a talk at a round table organized by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (which is based in New Delhi) on the sources of authoritarianism in Pakistan.  The recent decision by embattled Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to step down draws further attention to the nature of the political regime in Pakistan.

Ganguly evaluates, then dismisses, three standard arguments about the structural sources of authoritarianism, then proceeds to offer an alternative, which he believes more successfully accounts for the persistence of authoritarianism in Pakistan.  Ganguly argues that the most compelling structural explanation can be found in an analysis of three main components of the national movement in Pakistan–its structure, ideology and organization,

“The Pakistan movement stood in sharp contrast to its Indian counterpart which, under the towering influence of Gandhi and Nehru, had been democratized and came to represent a cross section of the populace. The Congress had also cultivated ideas of democracy through debate and compromise which were not alien to its leadership at the time of independence. On the other hand, the Pakistan movement under the tutelage of the Muslim League suffered from an extremely limited base confined geographically to what broadly constitutes the modern day state of Uttar Pradesh (UP). The socio-economic profile of its leadership was confined to the ranks of UP notables who largely hailed from feudal backgrounds. Against such a setting, M.A Jinnah successfully built up the Muslim League centered on his personality and the idea that the Congress would not guarantee the rights of Muslims.”

Political Terror Scale

Authoritarian regimes use both “carrots” and “sticks” in order to control their citizens. The “sticks” approach encompasses everything from surveillance to outright physical brutality.  While the use of physical terror to undermine the bodily integrity of their citizens by authoritarian regimes is fairly well known, it is also evident that democracies are not immune to using this form of control over their populations.  Almost by definition, authoritarian regimes terror-prone, but how much more so than democracies. You can fine the answers to this at the Political Terror Scale website, where they have a set of interesting interactive maps.

How is “political terror” defined?  Well, they have created a scale (from 1-5) which is an indicator of the level of political terror citizens in a country face in any given year. The definitions for each of the categories is below.

El Salvador during the 1980s was ruled by a military regime, which used to death squads to “disappear” its internal opponents.  U2 took note:

rating scale Political Terror Scale Levels
Level 5 : Terror has expanded to the whole population. The leaders of these societies place no limits on the means or thoroughness with which they pursue personal or ideological goals.
Level 4 : Civil and political rights violations have expanded to large numbers of the population. Murders, disappearances, and torture are a common part of life. In spite of its generality, on this level terror affects those who interest themselves in politics or ideas.
Level 3 : There is extensive political imprisonment, or a recent history of such imprisonment. Execution or other political murders and brutality may be common. Unlimited detention, with or without a trial, for political views is accepted.
Level 2 : There is a limited amount of imprisonment for nonviolent political activity. However, few persons are affected, torture and beatings are exceptional. Political murder is rare.
Level 1 : Countries under a secure rule of law, people are not imprisoned for their view, and torture is rare or exceptional. Political murders are extremely rare.

Totalitarianism and 1984

This week we are addressing authoritarianism and totalitarianism.  As mentioned in the textbook, totalitarian regimes are extremely odious, but fortunately are also relatively rare.  There are a couple of regimes today than can safely be characterized as totalitarian–North Korea and Burma.

Totalitarian regimes are characterized by the desire on the part of rulers for complete control of all of the state, civil society and economy.  There is much overt violence and other forms of both cooptation and coercive control.  Take a look at these two video clips of the film adaptation of George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984, and see if you can think of how many characteristics of a totalitarian regime you notice.

Introduction to Comparative Politics–Second Paper

Here is the second paper, whose theme is “culture” (or not) and democracy.*”

Introduction to Comparative Politics Paper–Culture and Democracy

“In Islam, God is Caesar,in [Confucianism], Caesar is God; In [Eastern Christian] Orthodoxy, God is Caesar’s junior partner.”

“The underlying problem for the West in not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam.”

“Contemporary China’s Confucian heritage, with its emphasis on authority, order, hierarchy, and supremacy of the collectivity over the individual, creates obstacles to democratization.”

The quotes above will serve as the inspiration for your second paper this semester. I would like you to argue in favor or against the claims made by Huntington quoted above. You can argue that they are basically true, essentially false, or some combination thereof2. Regardless, your task is to provide a reasoned, well researched response to the declarative statements above, using Chapters 5 and 6 in O’Neil, and the articles by Fish, Stepan, Perry, Zakaria, and any others we have read, as your starting points.

Assess the arguments in light of what you know about the requirements (institutional, cultural, structural) of democracy and the nature of authoritarianism. Your outside research will most likely focus on understanding more about Islam, “Asian values,” and/or Christian Orthodoxy (as it is practiced in Eastern Europe).

While the main focus of your paper will be in setting up an argument for or against the claims above, I would like you to then use two states–one “predominantly Muslim”, and one Asian (or Eastern Orthodox)–to illustrate your main arguments and to act as supporting evidence for your claims. Please use chapters 5 and 6 of the Essentials and of Readings as the main source for the paper. For information related to your specific states, you will have to consult at least 4 other academically reputable sources. Note that this means Google is not your friend here!! This will entail a trip down to the library by foot, or a virtual trip to the library’s electronic resources.

Your paper should be 4-5 pages long, double-spaced on 8:5X11-inch paper, with 1-inch margins on the top, bottom, and the sides. The paper must be written in Times Roman 12pt. font. In addition, please cut and paste the “Paper Evaluation Sheet” from Blackboard to the end of your paper (after the works cited page). The paper is due electronically via Digital Dropbox in Blackboard by the beginning of class on Tuesday, April 15th.

Good luck, you kings and queens of comparative!!

*Note: See the version of this assignment posted to Blackboard as it has informative (and helpful) footnotes.

Nicolae Ceausescu and the Cult of Personality

Today in introduction to comparative we discussed various coercive tactics available and generally used by authoritarian and dictatorial leaders.  One of them is the cultivation of a “cult of personality.”  Nobody was better at it than the late (executed) Romanian Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.  This clip from youtube is a treasure as it shows the dictator’s last public speech; within hours both he and his equally loathsome spouse, Elena, had been executed.

Note a couple of things; first, the dramatic banners, huge photographs of the ruling couple, and other similar accoutrements of the public celebrations of a totalitarian regime.  Note also the massive crowds. In totalitarian systems (as opposed to authoritarian ones), every thing is politicized and one’s presence at events such as this would be expected.  Apathy is not allowed, and it is considered reactionary.

The second fascinating phenomenon is when the crowd (or portions thereof) begins to whistle and jeer its disapproval while Ceausescu is speaking.  The voice on his face as he realizes that he has lost the crowd is absolutely fascinating.  Rarely in history is an event like this captured for posterity.

It’s Spring, so how is your Bracket Doing?

pakistan_gilani.jpg
Well, it’s that time of year again. Has your bracket been busted? How many of you can honestly claim that you predicted the upset of Yousaf Raza Gilani becoming Pakistan’s new Prime Minister? Now I realize that most of you were predicting a victory for Ma Ying-jeou in Taiwan’s recent presidential elections. But did you honestly think that he would win by 15! (He won 57.5% of the vote.) Mr. Gilani almost busted my bracket, but I think that I may be able to redeem myself with my pick for the winner of the upcoming Serbian Parliamentary elections (given that the Balkan Conference is a mid-major, that group of countries has not been followed very closely and I have a little bit of an advantage in prognosticating the outcome there).
taiwan_ying_jeou.jpg
Current Prime Minister, Vojislav Koštunica, disbanded his coalition government on March 13 due to tensions within the governing coalition as a result of the declaration of independence by the former Serbian province of Kosovo. New elections are slated to be held on May 11 of this year, with Koštunica’s conservative and nationalistic Democratic Party of Serbia will find its strongest challenge from Serbian President Boris Tadić‘s bloc of pro-democratic and pro-Western parties and the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party. It will be interesting to observe how much the apparent loss of the Kosovo (the “Serbian Jerusalem”) will help the ultra-nationalists and hurt Koštunica.
And finally, my surprise pick to get to the Final Four from the East Region is the tiny Himalayan state of Bhutan, which has been flying under the radar but has been getting its democratic game together. As Agence-France Presse reports, democracy is marching inexorably onward in a fit of Fukuyaman glee:
0324-web-bhutanmap.jpgTHIMPHU, Bhutan (Agence France-Presse) — Bhutan stands poised to become the world’s newest democracy on Monday with elections ordered by its revered royal family to end its absolute rule.
The tiny Buddhist state, wedged in the Himalayas between India and China, will elect members for a lower house, ending the century-long rule of the hugely popular Wangchuck dynasty.Bhutan’s Oxford-educated ruler, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 28, made a forceful last-minute appeal over the weekend to his subjects — some of whom were initially reluctant to bring in democracy — to vote.

“As you approach the duty of voting at the elections that will bring democracy, do so with pride and confidence of a people that have achieved so much,” he said in a statement published in the nation’s newspapers. “First and foremost, you must vote. Every single person must exercise his or her franchise.”

The king is the fifth ruler in the dynasty, in power since 1907. The path to democracy began in 2001, when the former king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, handed over the day-to-day tasks of government to a council of ministers, and finally stepped down in favor of his son in late 2006.

Since then, father and son have traveled the country to explain to its 670,000 people why the nation should embrace democracy.

Wow! I think we have one of those rare instances of enlightened despotism.

Russian Journalist found Murdered

Freedom House, a prominent NGO that monitors and assesses the level of civil and political rights and freedoms in the world, downgraded Russia’s status in 2004 from Partly Free to Not Free.  This is part of the legacy of Vladimir Putin’s rule in Russia.  Another part of the legacy has been the dramatic number of journalists killed in Russia over the last decade.  Most of these journalists had either been working on, or had reported stories about, corruption in the government and business elite.

Here is the report from Euronews about the latest Russian journalist to be killed:

russian_reporter.jpgA Russian journalist has been assassinated in Moscow. Ilias Shurpaiev, who worked for the state-run Channel One, was found dead in his flat. He had apparently being strangled with a belt and suffered stab wounds. Shurpaeiv, a native of the mostly Muslim Dagestan province, was the author of several reports on the Caucusus region.

More than a dozen journalists have been killed in contract-style killings in Russia since 2000.

Resource Dependent Regimes in Sub-Saharan Africa

Jensen and Wantchekon (2000) have created an index of resource dependence and determined the level of the same for the states of sub-Sarahan Africa.  The scores range from 1 (no resource dependence) to 4 (extreme resource dependence).  They use this as an important independent variable in determining democratic transition, consolidation, and government effectiveness.  How much of an effect does resource dependence have on each of these dependent variables?  You’ll have to read the paper to find out, or attend my class in intro to comparative tomorrow.

resource_dependence_scores.jpg

First, Conflict Diamonds; now, Junta Jade?

I know; the j in junta is pronounced like an h. Regardless, The Christian Science Monitor asks “Who’s buying Burma’s gems?: Laura Bush’s campaign for a global boycott is being undone by China’s appetite for Olympic souvenirs made of Burmese jade.” The US First Lady argues that those of you purchasing precious gems from Burma are indirectly supporting the rule of the brutal military dictatorship in that southeast Asian country.

burma_jade.jpgIt’s the last hour of the last day of the gems auction in Rangoon, and tired buyers are fanning themselves with worn auction catalogs, and making their final bids.

Over the past five days, jade, rubies, sapphires, and close to $150 million have passed hands here, according to the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd., the consortium that dominates Burma’s gemstone trade and is owned by the defense ministry and a clutch of military officers.

Who’s buying? China, India, Singapore, and Thailand are scooping up Burma’s stones. US first lady Laura Bush’s efforts at a global boycott of Burma’s gems seem to have done little to reduce China’s appetite for Burmese jade to make trinkets and souvenirs to sell at the Summer Olympics.

At this recent auction, 281 foreigners attended, leaving behind much-needed foreign currency and generally turning the auction into a resounding success, according to the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

Mrs. Bush – and human rights campaigners – would not be pleased.

The first lady has taken on the military regime in Burma (Myanmar), urging jewelers not to buy gems from a country where the undemocratic rulers and their cronies amass fortunes selling off the country’s stones, as well as many of the county’s other natural resources – such as minerals, timber, gold, oil, and gas – but keep Burma’s citizens in abject poverty.

She has urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to act more forcibly on Burma and stood beside President Bush on several occasions recently as he announced the growing list of US sanctions on the country. And, on International Human Right’s Day this past December, Mrs. Bush added her voice to those seeking a global boycott on gems from Burma.

“Consumers throughout the world should consider the implications of their purchase of Burmese gems,” she said in a statement from the White House. “Every Burmese stone bought, cut, polished, and sold sustains an illegitimate, repressive regime.”

Earlier in the semester, we read an article [which he has made available to the general publilc on his web site] by Richard Snyder on the link between “lootable wealth” and political stability. In fact, the final section of his paper deals explicitly with the Burmese tropical timber trade and its role in funding rebel groups. What are the implications of Snyder’s argument for how we–as potential consumers of junta jade–should respond to Laura Bush’s plea? Of course the two phenomena are not exactly the same (Snyder is seeking to understand the link between “lootable wealth” political stability, while Laura Bush is arguing that “lootable wealth” supports dictatorial rule.) Here is the abstract to Snyder’s article:

This article proposes a political economy of extraction framework that explains political order and state collapse as alternative outcomes in the face of lootable wealth. Different types of institutions of extraction can be built around lootable resources – with divergent effects on political stability. If rulers are able to forge institutions of extraction that give them control over revenues generated by lootable resources, then these resources can contribute to political order by providing the income with which to govern. In contrast, the breakdown or absence of such institutions increases the risk of civil war by making it easier for rebels to organize. The framework is used to explain two puzzling cases that experienced sharply contrasting political trajectories in the face of lootable resources: Sierra Leone and Burma. A focus on institutions of extraction provides a stronger understanding of the wide range of political possibilities – from chaos, to dictatorship, to democracy – in resource-rich countries.

Islam Democracy, and Authoritarianism and Paper Assignment

The topic for the next paper assignment in PLSC240  is “Democracy and Culture”.  You will be required to assess the democratic potential of various cultural orientations for democracy, using the Diamond and Morlino volume as a guide.  In Assessing the Quality of Democracy, various essential components of democracy are analyzed, including responsiveness, equality, freedom and accountability.  Your task will be to comparatively assess the quality of democracy in two countries, one of which is “Western” in its cultural orientation, the other of which is “non-Western.”  I’ll have more information for you on the specifics of the assignment when you get back from break on the 18th.

For now, I’ll remind you that on Thursday, those of you who did not leave early for spring break watched a Frontline documentary on Muslims and the democratic potential of Islam. You were shown the diversity in the manner in which Islam is practiced across five different countries–Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, and Turkey, and Nigeria. You were also able to begin to understand the varied roles and treatment of women across all of these predominantly Muslim countries.  This tied in well with the Steven Fish article [you have to be on campus to access the article] that you were assigned to read in advance of viewing the video.  What is Fish’s argument about the link between women in Islamic societies and democracy?  I’ve attached a preview of the documentary below. You can watch the whole documentary online, by clicking here.