[lbo-talk] Gorbachev: I Should Have Left the Communist Party Earlier

John Gulick john_gulick at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 18 12:40:53 PDT 2011

DR says:

>In fairness to China, the place has experienced enormous
democratization since 1979. Yes, the one-party state still exists, but civil society is

>flourishing, there's a vast mass media, quite open
dissent and debate in the digital commons, etc. It's not even in the same universe as North


JG replies:

Hey, I am well aware of and would not deny much of what you have written here. Free-wheeling internet discussion and social media use have

facilitated lots of mass organizing and protests against land grabs, labor abuses, polluting factories, party corruption, and so on. These protests get

results, which is more than can be said about what puny collective action occurs here. But it's not the full story. And by this I am NOT bemoaning

the lack of sufficient liberal democratic progress because I don't have any illusions about liberal democracy. (At the same time I would not scoff at

liberal democratic achievements either.) Rather, I am suggesting that there are some institutional domains in China that were MORE democratic

before the Dengist period began. I don't think one has to be a naive, starry-eyed Maoist to recognize that between 1949 and 1978 there were some

partial and temporary successes in popular democracy launched in China. Yes, these experiments were compromised and manipulated, but the story

of democratization in China is not an entirely unilinear one.

My last post on this topic; I cannot afford to get drawn into it further.

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