Pols241 week 5 reading notes part 1 Ch.7 in text (On the Tasks of a Democratic Opposition)
Active democratic opposition movements play an important role in countries where they have
already had experiences with democracy and where what is at stake is not the original
establishment of popular government but its restoration as a successor to nontraditional
The task of the democratic opposition is to change the relations among all the component parts
of the authoritarian system in such a way as to weaken authoritarianism while simultaneously
improving the conditions for democratization.
In the regime erosion situation, the core supporters, military and security officials, the active
opposition and the passive supporters are found to think and act differently.
o With the fear that holds the regime together subsiding, the core groups of regime
supporters will start to fragment as doubts arise concerning the wisdom and expediency
of authoritarian policies. Some core supporters will decide that the perpetuation of
authoritarianism is not in their interest and will go over to passive or sometimes even
o Given the division among core supporters, direct physical coercion will become even
more important for the maintenance of the regime. But unless the military officers who
command the means of coercion perceive severe domestic threats to the military itself,
their resolve too may weaken.
o At theses signs of weakening among the forces of authoritarianism, most of the passive
supporters will quietly shift to passive opposition. Key groups such as the clergy, the
press and intellectual classes may also place themselves under the banner of active
o The active regime opponents will be able to undertake a broad array of activities to
pressure the regime and publicly state their case for change. The passive opposition will
grow much larger as people no longer need to constantly fear savage repression.
Under the right conditions the passive and active opposition will coalesce and
grow to the point where the idea of redemocratization wrests hegemony away
Priorities for the Opposition
Five key opposition functions
o 1) resistance to integration
If the active opposition maintains some independent ideological, cultural and
above all institutional existence it will remain able to carry out its other tasks. If
the active opposition can remain independent its next task is to encourage the