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POLI 211 (29)
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Why Democracy Survives (doc.).doc

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLI 211
Professor
Fillippo Sabetti
Semester
Fall

Description
Why Democracy Survives -Under democracy, poverty, widespread illiteracy and a deeply hierarchical social struc- ture are unacceptable conditions. -India has always maintained its democratic institutions since its independence (except 1975-77) -Peaceful transition of power between different parties happened 7 times. -Since 1967, the party that ruled at the central level (New Delhi) hasn’t ruled in half of the states. -Free and critical press. -Independent judiciary. -High turnout in the elections. -1975, with the state of emergency, there was a threat to democracy. -Near-breakdown of the caste hierarchy. -Lower casts and minorities are benefitting from their democratic rights and are involved in the political life. -Political democracy without industrial revolution. A”Post-Postcolonial Reconstruction” -British-style democratic institutions while French, Dutch and Belgian colonie didn’t leave that behind. -One of the reasons behind the success of the post-colonial democracy: the indigenous leaders had gained some political participation under the last phase of colonialism; the characteristics of the INC; the independent movement (Gandhi/Nehru) turned from be- ing a cultural unit only (“Indian civilization”) into a cultural-political unit. There has to be a political unit before democracy. -The British applied self-government at the local level in the 1880s which turned over provincial governance entirely to indigenous politicians in 1935. 1937,1939,1946 self-governance at the state-level. -Gandhi transformed the party into a mass party which laid the groundwork for a strong political party. No other parties with a nationwide mass base. -Distinction between a civilization (cultural unit) and a nation (cultural and political.) “Nation-building means putting a political roof over one’s cultural head.” -This happened under Gandhi’s mass-mobilization. Civil disobedience across the whole nation. The idea to build a strong unified nation. -The independence movement was also a nation-building movement, turning everyone into Indians. Why Democracy Survives -Even if the 1947 separation was a dramatic one, it helped bringing into discussion some important concepts of democracy with the Muslim League’s demands for seperate electorates, communal quotas in representation and administration, a one-community, one-party arrangement. (Clash between consociationalism and majoritarianism) -Even if the British rule facilitated the establishment of democracy through a framework of parliamentary institutions, the notion that democracy is a British legacy is wrong. Pak- istan was under the same conditions, and yet has been under military dictatorship for quite some time. The leaders of the Indian national movement were the key players in politics. “They were not acting out a British script, but writing their own.” -The British weren’t ruthless out of generosity but rather as a consequence of the In- dian’s non-violent movement which made it unacceptable to use force against them. -The Indians’ recognition of the greatness of the British political institutions made it im- possible for the British to deny self-government. (it would have been a paradox) Smart strategy from the Indians. Industrialization, Agriculture and Democracy -2 arguments: 1)Correlation between wealth and democracy. 2)Discover the processes that generated democracies through the study of the econom- ic history. -Modern democracies have been formed as a consequence of industrialization which transformed rural societies. Moore: “No bourgeois, no democracy”; “Yes peasants, no democracy.” However, bourgeoisie brings industrialization but cannot alone secure democratization. It also depends on the transformation of rural societies (whether agriculture or commer- cialized or not) -Why is commercialization of agriculture necessary? In a rural society, the surplus necessary for industrialization must come from the coun- tryside. A commercialized agricultural creates the surplus. It means the liquidations of the peasantry. “The elimination of the peasant question through the transformation of the peasantry through into some other kind of social for- mation appears to augur best for democracy.”-Moore. Why Democracy Survives In Britain, transformation from peasantry to urba
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