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Lecture 5

Pols241 week 5 reading notes part 1 Ch7.docx

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Political Studies
POLS 241
Dru Lauzon

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 authoritarian regimes.  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. Eroding Authoritarianism  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 active opposition. 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 opposition. 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 from authoritarianism. 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
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