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POLS 550 Comparative Politics

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Democracy: Roman and Arregui: Mexico in the Crucible ... periods, and that Mexico's dual ... The unconditional opening up of Mexico to foreign capital ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: POLS 550 Comparative Politics


1
POLS 550 Comparative Politics
  • Democracy Structural Perspectives
  • October 27, 2005

2
Democracy Structural Perspectives
  • Lets start off with some questions
  • What makes the arguments assigned for today
    structural?
  • Do the arguments correspond to or contradict the
    argument made by Huber, Ruschemeyer and Stephens?

3
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • What is the starting point of Roman and Arreguis
    analysis?
  • They begin with an historical perspective
    specifically, they use the historical experiences
    of Western Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries
    as a counterpoint to the current situation of
    Mexico.

4
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • What do they say about the Western European
    Experience?
  • They acknowledge that the Western European
    experience, particularly its experience with
    capitalist industrialization, played a key role
    in a political transformation as welli.e., the
    transformation toward citizenship rights and
    democracy.

5
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • How does their analysis of the Western European
    experience compare with the argument by HRS?
  • They suggest that a key element of this
    transformation was the creation of a working
    class, which emerged as a new type of exploited
    labor, but a type with an unprecedented
    potential for collective action to change both
    its own condition and that of society (p. 318).
  • In this regard, the authors argue that Western
    Europe experienced a dual revolution.

6
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • How does their analysis of the Western European
    experience compare with other arguments we have
    read?
  • On the surface, one would expect that other
    countries might experience the same type of dual
    revolution, and, in fact, there seems to be a lot
    of evidence for this, as weve discovered from
    our readings thus far.

7
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • The authors dont agree (that the dual revolution
    in Western Europe necessarily tells us what will
    happen in Mexico).
  • Their basic argument, instead, is that there is a
    fundamental difference between the two historical
    periods, and that Mexicos dual transformation is
    likely to proceed along a very different and far
    less progressive path than the transformation of
    Western Europe.

8
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • To understand why (at the most general level) it
    is important to see Mexicos current
    political/economic development in the broader
    transnational context of today, a context which
    is premised on
  • the global expansion of neoliberalism.

9
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • On this point, it is useful to note, there does
    seem to be strong overlap with the argument by
    HRS.
  • What did HRS have to say about neoliberalism?
    (Discuss)

10
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • With all this in mind, lets take a deeper look
    at the authors argument. They begin with an
    analysis of the new industrial transformation
    and the working class

11
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • A Note Their argument here very clearly
    corresponds to the argument made by HRS in that
    they begin with the assumption that democracy and
    citizen rights is primarily a function of class
    relations this, in large part, is what makes
    their argument structural.
  • Unlike HRS, though, these two authors arent
    explicit about the role of class. They seem to
    take it for granted that their readers know what
    it is theyre talking about. Is this acceptable?

12
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • What is their basic point about the new
    industrial transformation and the working class?
  • Answer Global and national processes are
    transforming Mexican economy and society, and
    that this transformation is making the working
    class in Mexico weaker, rather than stronger.

13
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • The transformation is based on an integrated
    package of policies
  • The unconditional opening up of Mexico to foreign
    capital
  • Austerity measures to service foreign debt
  • Neoliberal reforms that break the old social
    contract
  • These policies are all reflected in NAFTA, but
    NAFTA did not create the policies instead, NAFTA
    deepened them and gave them international
    guarantees.

14
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • Still, NAFTA is not unimportant.
  • For one thing, NAFTA deepened the integration of
    the northern border of Mexico by making it into a
    sector of U.S. industrial production.

15
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • NAFTA also proved to be a tremendous source of
    employment for Mexican laborers, which helped the
    industrial Mexican working class grow
    considerably.
  • Indeed, according to the authors, Mexico has
    undergone a remarkable urbanization process over
    the last two decades it has experienced an
    expansion of the workers employed in industry
    from 7 to 10 million (during the 1990s), and an
    expansion of industrial workers specifically from
    2.4 to 6.2 million.
  • In certain areas, industrial workers make up
    almost one-quarter of the entire population.

16
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • But if NAFTA resulted in dramatic increase in the
    urban working class, we are presented with
    conundrum (at least in relation to the argument
    put forward by HRS).
  • Whats the conundrum?

17
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • Well, according to HRS, the unprecedented growth
    of the industrial working class in
    Mexicoespecially one that is subject to all
    sorts of abuse and hyper-exploitationshould
    produce the seeds for dramatic political
    transformation
  • after all, with more industrial workers, the
    capacity for self-organization and collective
    action should increase, with greater capacity
    self-organization and collective action should
    come power? Why hasnt the balance of class power
    shifted? Do AR even recognize this as an issue?

18
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • The answer to the last question is, at least to
    some extent, yes.
  • On p. 226, the authors note that globalization
    has produced a second industrial revolution in
    Mexico .and has simultaneously created a new
    seedbed for fostering an oppositional movement.

19
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • But, the problem is that neoliberalism and the
    other policies the authors focus on have combined
    to create much more vulnerability among Mexicos
    working class these policies, for example,
    create a much higher rate of turnover in
    employment, which makes the tasks of organizing
    unions and collective resistance very difficult
    to achieve.

20
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • The authors (AR) provide additional discussion on
    the challenges faced by the working class in
    Mexico, but one might respond The working class
    always faces challenges. The working class has
    always been vulnerable and subject to
    intimidation and coercion by the dominant
    classes. So by themselves, these factors cannot
    fully explain why the prospects for democracy
    seem to dim in Mexico.

21
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • Question How are the authors defining democracy?
    What seems to be their working or operational
    definition?
  • More concretely Do the authors believe that
    Mexico is, today, a democracy?

22
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • If we define democracy in strictly formal terms,
    it would be appropriate to call Mexico a
    democracy, but the authors are implicitly using a
    more substantive definition of democracy
  • and its on this point that the democracy is
    clearly lacking in Mexico.

23
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • Ironically, the next part of the authors
    argument hinges on the fact that Mexico is, at
    least formally, a democratic country.
  • That is, by making a claim that Mexico is
    democratic, the ruling elite are able to
    legitimize the status quo to assert that it
    doesnt just reflect their interests, but that it
    reflects the interests of all Mexican citizens.

24
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • As the authors put it, Part of the ideological
    triumph of the right in Mexico as well as in the
    world more generally is its ability to package
    its power, the triumph of unbridled capitalism,
    as the triumph of civil society and democracy.
    This conflation of capitalist power, free market,
    and democracy is part of the ideological
    chicanery of the offensive of capital (under the
    name of globalization) against all alternatives
    (democratic or otherwise) (p. 235).

25
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • The foregoing statement reflects a particular
    type of argument within contemporary Marxism, an
    argument that sees ideas as causally important.
  • Any guess as to what type of Marxist argument I
    am referring?

26
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • Answer A Gramscian argument.
  • Who is Gramsci? What did he say? What important
    concept did he develop and articulate?

27
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • Answer A Gramscian argument.
  • Who is Gramsci? What did he say? What important
    concept did he develop and articulate?

28
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • Key concept is
  • H E G E M O N Y

29
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • What is hegemony?
  • Ability of dominant class to create and enforce
    rules, not through coercion per se, but through
    consent

30
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • The key question that motivated Gramscis work
    was this Why had it proven so difficult to
    promote revolution in Western Europe, where the
    ills of capitalism were so clearly damaging to
    the ordinary worker? In other words, why was the
    working class seemingly so passive, even
    accepting of capitalism?

31
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • To Gramsci, these questions seemed even more
    perplexing since, according to classical Marxist
    theory, revolution was supposed to start in the
    most advanced capitalist societies.
  • Yet, in his lifetime, it was the comparatively
    backward Russia that had made the first
    breakthrough. This was a riddle, but one to
    which Gramsci developed a fairly simple answer

32
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • Gramscis answer to this question revolved around
    the idea of hegemony.
  • To Gramsci, hegemony had a very specific meaning.
    On the one hand, he understood it like many other
    thinkers of the time did, i.e., hegemony referred
    to the most dominant military, economic, policy
    actor in the world.

33
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • This version of hegemony, however, implicitly
    understood power as being based primarily on
    coercion. And, this was certainly the view of
    most other Marxists of the time. Typically,
    Marxists assumed that capitalism was held
    together primarily by the coercive practices and
    capabilities of the state.

34
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • Thus, for example, when workers went on strike,
    the state would send in the military or the
    police to break up the strike. Workers would be
    beaten, imprisoned, and even killed.
  • The state also used coercion and violence to
    protect private property rights and to otherwise
    keep the system intact. Eventually, workers would
    simply be too afraid to rise up.

35
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • To Gramsci, this was only half the equation.
    After all, in many of the more advanced
    capitalist societies, it wasnt only fear that
    kept workers from challenging the system, but it
    was also their willing acquiescence. More simply,
    it was consent that kept the system together.
  • Indeed, in Gramscis view, one of the key tasks
    for the ruling stratum in any society is to
    inculcate a moral, political, and cultural system
    that naturalizes or legitimizes their continued
    rule.

36
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • This moral, political, and cultural system must
    not only reflect the values of the dominant
    group, but must also be accepted by subordinate
    groups and classes as their own.
  • Once this is done, all of the injustices,
    inequality, oppression, and exploitation of the
    system is simply accepted as the way things are
    supposed to be .and even the way things have
    to be. In short, the victims of the system
    become its greatest advocates and supporters.
    This is what Gramsci means by consent, this is
    what he meant by hegemony.

37
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • But this is the big question, how is consent
    achieved?
  • According to Gramsci, it is an unremitting and
    pervasive process, which takes place through the
    institutions of civil society the media, the
    educational system, churches, voluntary
    organizations, even in the workplace itself.

38
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • Two key implications of this argument
  • First, unlike traditional Marxists, Gramscis
    analysis tells us that the system we live in
    today is held together as much be
    ideological/non-material forces as it is by
    material/economic forces
  • Second, it tells us that challenges to the
    current system must take place primarily in the
    ideological realm in other words, society can
    only be transformed if the consensual element of
    hegemony is successfully undermined.

39
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • In the case of Mexico, the hegemonic process has
    not been straightforward after all, the old
    ruling elite came to power through a populist
    revolution.
  • The authors provides a general overview of this
    process in their section Right-wing hegemony as
    the result of a protracted exclusion process.

40
Democracy Roman and Arregui Mexico in the
Crucible
  • Key point Mexico, as with many other states, has
    gone through a period of hegemonic reconstruction
    --- the end result was the emergence of new power
    bloc that has embraced global neoliberalism with
    both arms.
  • The new power bloc is not without its weaknesses,
    of course, but it has proven to be a formidable
    force. The authors, moreover, believe that its
    main objective today is to destroy what little
    democracy still exists in Mexico.
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