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Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenges, Seventh Edition by Charles Hauss Chapter 8: Current and Former Communist Regimes.

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Presentation on theme: "Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenges, Seventh Edition by Charles Hauss Chapter 8: Current and Former Communist Regimes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenges, Seventh Edition by Charles Hauss Chapter 8: Current and Former Communist Regimes


3 Learning Objectives After studying this chapter, students should be able to: identify the basic characteristics of Marxist-Leninist states. describe the creation and evolution of Marxist nation-states. explain briefly the socialist critique of capitalism. explain briefly the Marxist critique of liberal democracy. identify the primary factors that brought an end to most Marxist states. identify the reforms initiated by former President Gorbachev and explain why they failed to save the Soviet Union.


5 Crisis? What Crisis? In former communist states, few people want to return to communist rule People miss the security of the party Some former communist states joined EU and NATO; turning economic corner Few protest new regimes where democracy has taken root Poverty and ethnic conflict in some states Eurasian countries are in midst of transition for which there is no real precedent

6 Thinking about the Current and Former Communist Regimes Weaknesses of communist regimes appeared by 1980s –States relaxed repressive policies –Factional disputes divided Chinese rulers –Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of USSR

7 Thinking about the Current and Former Communist Regimes Former communist states declared themselves democracies –Transitions very difficult –Countries that have joined EU and NATO have made progress politically and economically China, Vietnam, North Korea, and Cuba remain communist regimes

8 Thinking about Communism Marxist-Leninist regimes: –Former USSR in 1917 –Eastern Europe—“Satellite States” after WWII –Asia—China 1949 –Cuba 1959 –Several Marxist-like regimes in North Africa, Arabia, and South America

9 Thinking about Communism The Leninist state –Communist Party controlled all political life –Democratic centralism was regime paradigm –Until 1950s, USSR controlled “Communist World” –China and USSR split in late ‘50s offered an alternative model

10 Thinking about Communism Command economies –Government owned and controlled nearly all industrial and retail activity –State planning committees determined output and consumption goals –Benefits of command economies began diminishing in late ‘80s, planning and coercion could not stimulate innovation


12 Thinking about Communism Key questions –What contemporary and historical, domestic and international forces shaped their development? –How are decisions made in these countries? –What role do average citizens play in policy making? –What are the public policies? –How is political life affected by global forces? –How could regimes that seemed so strong collapse so quickly? –What have some communist systems survived? What are the political implications of economic reform in countries that have kept communism and in those that have abandoned it? –Why are they all facing much more serious domestic and global challenges than any of the countries covered in Part 2?

13 Socialism, Marxism, Leninism Socialism –Capitalism leads to inequality –Equality of outcome necessary –Public ownership of means of production –Freedoms are vital, but democracy should be expanded –Capitalism does not allow humans to realize their potential –Public ownership would improve human relations

14 Socialism, Marxism, Leninism Marxism –Dialectic—evolution of society when basic values are challenged –Historical materialism—distribution of economic power –Contradictions—people will not accept being exploited and will revolt –Bourgeoisie vs. Proletariat –Alienation of the proletariat –Revolution—but not long because the proletariat overwhelms the capitalists –Dictatorship of the proletariat –Communism

15 Figure 8.1: Base, Superstructure, and Contradictions, According to Marx

16 Figure 8.2: The Role of Money in Feudalism and Capitalism

17 Socialism, Marxism, Leninism Marxism-Leninism –Democratic centralism –Revolutions did not occur in advanced industrialized societies Expansion –Third International (Comintern) –Eastern Europe –Asia Stalinism—totalitarianism


19 Socialism, Marxism, Leninism De-Stalinization –Khrushchev’s “secret speech” (1956) –Slight loosening of intellectual controls –Khrushchev replaced by a series of hardline leaders who resisted change after Cuban Missile Crisis –Brezhnev era of more control and economic stagnation No longer a unified communist movement Need to change grew at a time leaders were trying to prevent change

20 The Marxist-Leninist State The party state –Secretariat –Politburo and General Secretary –Nomenklatura –All groups were communist groups –Communism was about the party leaders, not Marx’s intention –Control not as absolute in Eastern Europe

21 The Marxist-Leninist State The party state in China –Mao objected to de-Stalinization –Cultural revolution 1965 –After Mao’s death in 1976, moderates led economic change but not political

22 The Marxist-Leninist State The graying of communism: “thumbs” and “fingers” –Leaders found it difficult to continue to control societies, especially with media, Western tourists, and a better educated public –“Lack of fingers” resulted in a poor standard of living –Even military lagged –Communist countries in an even deeper economic bind with a globalizing economy

23 The Crisis of Communism: Suicide by Public Policy Reform: Too Little, Too Late Gorbachev reforms to “revitalize” communism –Glasnost: Openness in a political system –Democratization of the party –Perestroika: Economic restructuring –New thinking in foreign policy Change and resistance in Eastern Europe: cultural change occurred more rapidly


25 The Crisis of Communism: Suicide by Public Policy 1989: The Year That Changed the World –Solidarity in Poland –Opening the Iron Curtain in Hungary –Emigration and protest in East Germany, fall of Berlin Wall in 1989 –Czechoslovakia’s “Velvet Revolution” –Violent revolution in Romania –Massive protest in Tiananmen Square –1991—fall of communism in former USSR, Boris Yeltsin

26 The Crisis of Communism: Suicide by Public Policy The remnants of the communist world –A few parties and governments are willing to continue to use force –Countries too poor and too closed to outside influences –Most had been outside Soviet Union’s sphere of influence for some time

27 Transitions Economies hit rock bottom and began to recover by the middle or late 1990’s Only a handful have made major progress toward democracy or capitalism


29 Transitions Relative Success: Eastern and Central Europe –Hungary as an example: Relative ethnic homogeneity Economic progress with reform Communist leaders made common cause with opposition (pacting)

30 Transitions Troubled transitions: The former Soviet Union –No real shift of power to new leaders –Great problems with corruption Ethnic conflict –The former Yugoslavia –Russian war with rebels in Chechnya

31 Transitions What's Left of Marxism? North Korea and Cuba have maintained Marxist-Leninist systems –Countries are among the poorest in the world China and Vietnam have reformed economies –Monopoly power of Communist Parties remains –Countries are among the poorest in the world

32 Feedback Marxist-Leninist regimes controlled all media –Authorities kept Western media out Loosening of controls in 1980s Russian state still controls the media, but the press is relatively open Radio, satellite television, cell phones, and the Internet have made controls much more difficult

33 Conclusion: The End of the Cold War important because Cold War determined the evolution of communist and non-communist states Communist past vital to understanding present of communist and former communist states today

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