Why Communism Did Not Collapse: Understanding Authoritarian Regime Resilience in Asia and Europe

Why Communism Did Not Collapse: Understanding Authoritarian Regime Resilience in Asia and Europe

Language: English

Pages: 390

ISBN: 1107651131

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This volume brings together a distinguished group of scholars working to address the puzzling durability of communist autocracies in Eastern Europe and Asia, which are the longest-lasting type of nondemocratic regime to emerge after World War I. The volume conceptualizes the communist universe as consisting of the ten regimes in Eastern Europe and Mongolia that eventually collapsed in 1989-91, and the five regimes that survived the fall of the Berlin Wall: China, Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, and Cuba. Taken together, the essays offer a theoretical argument that emphasizes the importance of institutional adaptations as a foundation of communist resilience. In particular, the contributors focus on four adaptations: of the economy, of ideology, of the mechanisms for inclusion of potential rivals, and of the institutions of vertical and horizontal accountability. The volume argues that when regimes are no longer able to implement adaptive change, contingent leadership choices and contagion dynamics make collapse more likely. By conducting systematic paired comparisons of the European and Asian cases and by developing arguments that encompass both collapse and resilience, the volume offers a new methodological approach for studying communist autocracies.

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farming, private enterprise, the hiring of labor, foreign investment, and stock markets were in due course legalized, the justification being that these innovations contributed to the growth of the “productive forces” and were therefore ipso facto socialist. By the turn of the century, this line justified admission of progressive capitalists into the CCP. The CCP’s continued monopoly of power included maintenance of the basic institutions of party dominance such as appointment of key officials

Press, 1997) and Leonardo R. Arriola, “Patronage and Political Stability in Africa,” Comparative Political Studies 42:10 (2009), 1339–1362. On post-Soviet Eurasia, see Pauline Jones Luong, Institutional Change and Political Continuity in Post-Soviet Central Asia: Power, Perceptions, and Pacts (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Kathleen Collins, Clan Politics and Regime Transition in Central Asia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006); and Scott Radnitz, Weapons of the Wealthy:

crush efforts to divide the motherland. The prospect that minorities would take advantage of freedom to mobilize is the greatest single obstacle to liberalization and democratization in China. It is noteworthy that after the dissolution of the USSR, China hardened its nationality policies by strengthening the unitary elements in the governance of the “autonomous” regions. China now defines itself as a Chinese nation with ethnic diversity (duoyuan yiti) rather than a state with multiple national

on which reform was relying wanted to take a step further and carve an autonomous public space. Thus, following X. L. Ding’s argument, a “counterelite” that emphasized science, democracy, cosmopolitanism, and the leading role for intellectuals as societal conscience came about.15 In China, during the period from the stabilization of 13 14 15 See Stanley Pierson’s chapter on Leszek Kołakowski’s intellectual journey from revisionism to dissent in Stanley Pierson, Leaving Marxism: Studies in the

Poland demonstrated that a tiny nucleus of committed intellectuals could fundamentally change the posttotalitarian political equation.92 KOR contributed to the creation of a climate of cooperation between the radical core of the intelligentsia and the militant activists of the working class. Neither a political party nor a traditional trade union, Solidarnosc prefigured a synthesis of nonutopian language for a rational polis and an emancipated community. The pace of reforms in the Soviet Union did

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