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Lecture 5

POL215Y1 Lecture 5: Laos

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Political Science
Vic Falkenheim

POL215 – Lecture 5 Laos • Continuity and Change in Laos • Since 1975, regime continuity and little political change why? o International factors • Vietnam • Laos is a product of the cold war, and of changes that occurs in result of the Vietnam war o Economic factors o Cultural factors o Elites • Colonialism and Independence o French colonial rule o Provisional constitutional monarchy, Lao Issara (Free Laos) and France’s return (1946) • French was capable of reasserting their dominance of the region o Resistance and independence (1954) • The French were feeling an amount of resistant in Vietnam and think about relinquishing their control in China • Allows Laos to start discussing independence o By 1954, a conference to organize new power, there was two competing forces to organize this government • Souphanouvong and Pathet Lao • Pathet Lao was to identify the communist party in Lao • Cooperation in Vietnamese communist [this was a year after the PRC] • Laos at this point remained agrarian base of society • There was an agreement to form a royal Lao government • But in coalition with the Pathet Lao • The Royal Lao Government o The cold war influence: • The CDNI and the US • The U.S didn’t like the idea so they rigged the elections with the help of CIA, and help confirm a seizer of power in 1960 with an organization called CDNI • They did not like communism • Seizer of power means the Pathet Lao was retreated by into the rural areas and allow to control those areas • This period is a history of deep division by Vietnam and the royalist, and neither of which is able to overtake the other • No resolution during this time period • Lao People’s democratic Republic (1975-) o Abolishment of the monarchy by Pathet Lao In December 1975 o Establishment of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) • Role of the Lao’s People’s Revolutionary Party and party structures o Economic restricting and problems • Collectivization of agriculture (1978) • Government party was reorganize into collective, and people would farm the land as labours in those collective • Never worked well • Effort to collectivize didn’t last very long • They were starting to reform to allow private ownership of smaller plots of lands rather than larger collectives • Economic crisis and migration • New method of production and reforming production that would put into place • Political and economic reforms (1980s) o 1979-Abandonment of collectivization and economic policies, limited return to private production o By early 1980s, production levels are not as high as hoped, decline of agricultural production 1986 – deepening of economic reforms, introduction of market economy and liberalization of region investment laws o 1991 constitution • LPRP was still in power but the constitution was redesigned to allow a little more debate to happen within the parliament • Explaining continuity and change • The LPDR continues as dominance o Socio-economic factors • The period of collectivization led to decline or productivity rather than increase, industrialization increase after reforms in the 1980s • Development of the middle class is not on the scale we see, its slow and growing more but still a country where majority of people are in the agricultural sector • You need to see a much more significant growth of middle class that would lead to resistant of communist party o International factors  role of Vietnam BUT: elite factionalism • Vietnam role in advising communist in Laos • Prior to 1975 to the cold war context in which the U.S played a key role in preventing the coalition government of Lao and the Royal Lao government • Elite factionalism; inability to established a government or compromise • There was no resolution to the elite division • In 1975, the Pathet Lao with Vietnamese support is able to gain power of royal with unity • Strong stable of intuition can maintain authoritarian rule because of stability for regime • Military is embedded within the party as well • As a result, this kind of unity in purpose in the regime has allow for them to be in power for a very long time Thailand • We have chronic stability in Thailand • There’s always change in Thailand • Until the 1980s, Thailand was essentially authoritarian • Although we see an authoritarian regime, post 1977 things were different • There’s something that’s changing overtime In Thailand • Ironically, by early 1990s, people writing about Thailand were saying “this is where democracy is flourishing the most” , and “democracy is stable and consolidating” • Except a coup in 2006: the military was in power and aftermath • There were terms of democracy, but then military was in power again • South of Thailand was Malays and Muslims, and they have been resistant to idea of Thailand as a Buddhist nation with unity of king of the monarchy • Therefore there have been a fair amount of violence in the south by nations of military forces • Thailand’s political context o Until 1980s, mainly authoritarian • How can we explain change? o Factors of change: • Economic development • Thailand is a good case illustrating the role of the middle classes pushing for democratic and political reform • Middle class and business elites • Supportive a military regime • You had business forming outside of Bangkok and had business, and people gain wealth from business activities but was not included in the rural elites, so they start to rise and had a political system so they can enter politics a well • Civil society • Does civil society lead to democratic change? • Masses rarely are able to remove a regime from power • Mass globalization was key in 1973, placed a role in 1991 but the idea was organize civil soci
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