Political evolution or political unrest? (Was: Delong beleives fascism leads to democracy)

NM nillo at tao.agoron.com
Sun Mar 28 13:07:09 PST 1999

>>A Bulgarian/Greece comparison is very different than a US/USSR comparison,
>>Canada/Albania comparison or an anywhere/anywhere comparison. Very
>>obnoxious of you, and very dishonest. I can see why you spend your time
>>on-line rather than in RL where twisting people's words like that would
>>your teeth knocked out of your head.
>Point--that you want to restrict your claim of equivalence to Greece and
>Bulgaria since WWII, not to make a more general claim of West Bloc-East
>Bloc equivalence--taken.

It is worth pointing out that you were the one that made the initial suggestion of a Bulgaria/Greece comparison, so if you somehow needed two reminders before taking the point like you finally did here, you should read more carefully before posting anything.

>I cannot, however, see why you want to place such stress on it. Life in
>Greece--especially under the colonels--was a lot more unpleasant than life
>elsewhere in Europe-NATO in the years since WWII. But Bulgaria is no poster
>child for the advantages of really existing socialism either.

I'm not placing any stress on it. You *asked* the question and developed the Bulgarian/Greece comparison.

And I have never made a claim that Bulgaria was actually existing socialism or anything I would want to see. Indeed, Greece under the colonels with nothing I wanted to see either. You asked if two very awful positions were equivalent, and I answered that there probably wasn't much, if any difference.

>It seems to me that the Greece-Bulgaria comparison is about the same as the
Europe-NATO Soviet-satellite comparison.

Hey, if England and Germany were overrun by fascists, military juntas and constitutional monarchies installed by their so-called allies, you might have a point.

>>Your snipping of my comments to you, and changing the subject thread even
>>though we are no longer talking about Kaza or HUAC are two more signs of
>>intellectual dishonesty.
>Right. I'm supposed to use the subject "DeLong thinks fascism leads to
>democracy." Tell you what: you start using the subject: "Nick Mamatas is a
>stooge desperately searching for a Stalin."

Well I asked you, and other people have asked you, three times now, to either retract or prove the claim that Churchill's meddeling in Greek politics and the installation of a fascist-inspired and backed government is what led to PASOK and Greece's current crazy little parliamentary democracy. Frankly, that *WAS* your claim.

Nowhere have I ever claimed any sort of warm feelings for the Eastern Bloc, Stalin or the Soviet Union. Thus, your subject head has nothing to do with my statements, but my subject head had quite a bit to do with yours. However, I do realize that there was little difference between Greece under the colonels and Bulgaria right after WWII, as far as personal happiness or livelihoods.

Your last missive on this subject insisted that I somehow thought that life was better on one side of the Iron Curtain than it was on the other. I say, depends where you were. I'd much rather live in the US than the USSR, but I'd rather live in the USSR than in Haiti. Your stretching of a very specific example to a general example and to intimate that I'm a stooge looking for a Stalin is your problem and not one I have any problem calling you out on.

>The real question is why in the years from 1945 to 1989 the non- or
>semi-democratic regimes in the West Bloc--Greece, Turkey, Italy, Spain,
>Portugal, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, and
>Malaysia--have evolved, slowly and haltingly, toward political democracy,
>human liberty, and economic prosperity, while their counterpart
>non-democratic regimes in the East Bloc--Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China,
>North Korea, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia,
>Poland, E. Grermany, and the USSR itself--did not until the revolutions of

Evolved what and where? South Korea's, Portugal's, Spain's, Greece's "evolution" for example, was as torn up and as violent as Hungary's Czechoslovakia's, Poland's etc.

If you ignore the sometimes enormous unrest that engulfed the "democratic" countries, like ignoring the fact that South Korea didn't even have a free election until 1987and only after massive unrest (and even them Kim Young Sam was dictatorial including looking opposition parties out of the National Assembly), and even today, there are tons of repression under the "left" government of Kim Dae Jung, then you can make a comment like yours and have it taken seriously. People who actually looked have a different point of view.

UNABASHED PLUG AND ASIDE: A book I translated, updated and wrote new material for, _Kwangju Diary: Beyond Death, Beyond The Darkness Of The Age_ will be published at the end of May. it is a first hand account of South Korea's 1980 military coup and the urban rebellion in the city of Kwangju, and the Carter administration's support of the coup over the democratic movement. I hope you all pick it up. DeLong would especially need to read it, it seems. Check out the publisher blurb at http://www.isop.ucla.edu/pacrim/Publications/Monographs/Monographs.htm I just got the galleys and the cover art today, so I'm bubbly.

>It's not because of any general greater openness to reform on the
>part of "authoritarian" than "totalitarian" regimes: none of the East Bloc
>regimes were "totalitarian" in any sense after Stalin's death...

I don't find "totalitarian" a useful category.

>The difficulty of this historical problem is amplified once one notes that
>for almost the entire post-WWII period this democratizing trend did not
>hold for South Asia, Africa, or Latin America (although we hope it holds

It didn't hold in Europe either, not as the kindly evolutionary trend you are describing. Unrest, political violence, and suppression was significant in all the countries you named.

> Moreover this democratizing trend did not hold before WWII in
>Europe--then it was democratic regimes that evolved into non-democratic
>ones, not the reverse. Fascism in the sense of Mussolini, or Hitler, or
>their many interwar imitators in Europe and post-war imitators outside
>Europe, is a powerful enemy of political democracy.

But in post WWII Greece it was just the ticket?

>(In fact, let Lord Halifax rather than Winston Churchill become Prime
>Minister of Great Britain in 1940, and fascism would probably have won its
>struggle against political democracy in Europe in 1940--in which case the
>only political democracies in the world in the 1950s would have been
>Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, with the U.S.
>prohibiting about 15% of its adult population from voting.)

And if the German Revolution of 1918 had succeeded, Stalin never would have come to power and working class revolution and socialist democracies would have swept Europe. Anyone can play an alternate history game.

>I don't think that I have all of the answers.

Boy, I sure hope not

>I have been impressed by Charles Maier's analyses of the "politics of
>productivity" after World War II in western Europe. I have scattered
>thoughts about how the success of western European social democracy in
>Bonn, Paris, London, Benelux, and Scandinavia exercised a powerful magnetic
>attraction on non-democratic countries in southern Europe (and the failure
>of really existing socialism exercised an equally powerful magnetic
>repulsion). I have scattered thoughts about how interwar fascism--of the
>classic Action Francaise-Mussolini-Nazi variety--is a very different animal
>from post-WWII non-democratic regimes, and how the use of "fascism" as an
>all-purpose term of abuse or even as a term descriptive of all regimes that
>do not hold free and fair elections.

For the most part I described Greece's government as a junta or as royalists, or fascist backed. if a "fascist" slipped in there, it was probably just in responding to someone else and using their terminology.

>But most of all I think that the increasing cultural and economic
>integration of western Europe played the most powerful role: it got Greeks
>used to thinking that they should have the same kind of rights to control
>their government as Italians, and Spaniard thinking that they should have
>the same kind of rights protecting them against their government as

It strikes me that you are still holding the universe upside down. The Greek situation was just nothing like you described. I don't buy the politics of productivity argument, especially since the best post War production has come out of the grumbling chaebols of South Korea and the crony capitalism of the rest of the Pacific Rim. To the extent that there were geopolitical factors in the democratization of southern Europe, I'd suggest looking at the large scale unrest in 1968 and its aftermath for the real answers. '

>This is, I think, the reason to be in favor of policies of economic
>engagement, which these days automatically carries with it enormous
>cultural integration as well. There is a chance that we can get people in
>Shanghai and Canton thinking that their next government should run much
>more along the lines of government in Tokyo or Taipei or Washington, just
>as post-WWII economic and cultural European integration provided strong
>support for democratization in Madrid and Athens.

Who on earth wants a government run like Washington, Tokyo or Taipei? That, as an end result, is not a matter of a vague nation-wide notion of efficacy, but emerges from conflict. In Southern Europe, this conflict is played out all the more sharply in parliaments where soft fascists and former Stalinists play musical chairs, where countries like Cyprus and Macedonia become bait for junior league imperialists, and where the democracies you speak of, far from bringing US or even British style productivity, has seen some of the largest general strikes of the century in the past ten years.

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