terça-feira, 4 de fevereiro de 2014

Reavaliando a teoria da "transição democrática"

Durante o Fórum Internacional de Estudos Democráticos (IFDE), evento organizado pelo think tank norte-americano National Endowment for Democracy,  alguns dos teóricos políticos mais influentes  dos EUA reuniram-se em uma mesa redonda para avaliar a "primavera árabe" do ponto de vista da bibliografia sobre transições democráticas. Entre os participantes estavam Larry Diamond, Francis Fukuyama, Donald Horowitz e Marc Plattner. O debate "Reconsidering the Transitional Paradigm" foi condensado e publicado na edição de janeiro do Journal of Democracy


Francis Fukuyama: Actually, I think that most of the transitions over the last decade are not very much like the third-wave transitions, and therefore that this literature is not all that helpful. I think the recent transitions are more like those of the first wave, which began with the French Revolution and continued up until the victory of universal suf- frage in most of Europe. Unlike the late twentieth-century transitions in Latin America and Eastern Europe, which were primarily elite-driven, top-down affairs, the transitions in nineteenth-century Europe were

driven by popular mobilization, especially the pressures created by the revolutions of 1848, which were suppressed but then created the ground for the expansion of the franchise throughout Europe in the succeeding decades.

There’s a literature on what I think is a really important question: Is democracy conquered or granted? Adam Przeworski actually has an article with that question in the title; he does a statistical analysis, and I think he shows pretty clearly that the bulk of the transitions in the first wave were conquered rather than granted. But the Eastern European and the Latin American ones of the third wave all took place in countries that had prior experience of democracy, and in a sense the imposition of either military rule or communism was seen by a lot of those populations as an aberration from what should have been their normal path of development. Therefore there was much more elite willingness to negotiate their way out of that particular form of authoritarianism; that’s why you get all this pact-mak- ing, because the big problem is how do you get these elites to agree with one another and come to some peaceful path toward democracy? In some cases, such as Romania and the Czech Republic, there was popular mobi- lization once the thing got going, but the initial impetus came from Gor- bachev and from within the elite. Similarly, the militaries in Latin America just got tired of ruling, so they were willing to give power back to civilians. 

The Arab Spring was very different, and so were the color revolutions, because those were all based on popular mobilizations. That is something we should not lose sight of. You cannot have democracy unless you have the political mobilization of important social groups. This has happened throughout the Arab world, contradicting all the cultural stereotypes about Arab passivity. Of course, it’s not going to lead to anything like Western liberal democracy anytime soon, but this is really how democ- racy happened in Europe in the nineteenth century: People just couldn’t take it anymore; they got really mad, they went out on the streets, they risked their lives, and they overthrew regimes. That’s something that by and large didn’t happen in a lot of the early third-wave transitions.

And by the way, Larry, the only pacted, elite-driven transition among the recent cases is Burma, which is why you saw so many resonances there with that earlier transitions literature. The transitions in Libya, in Egypt, and in Tunisia didn’t begin with cracks in the elites. They were really the result of very, very heavy pressure from people in the street, and that just didn’t happen in Latin America or Eastern Europe.

Larry Diamond: I don’t think your last sentence is true. There’s a reason that the military got tired of ruling in Brazil and some other places. There was actually much more popular protest than some accounts of these transitions recognize, and I think that it’s hard to make this kind of black-and-white distinction between the earlier transitions of the post-1974 period and the later ones. Clearly, the color revolutions and the Arab Spring cases were based on popular upsurges, but in the Philippines in 1986 there was a “people power” revolution, and in South Korea and in some of the Latin American transitions there was a lot of popular mobilization as well.