Transitions and Non-Transitions from Communism: Regime Survival in China, Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam

Transitions and Non-Transitions from Communism: Regime Survival in China, Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam

Language: English

Pages: 364

ISBN: 1107023882

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, many scholars have sought to explain the collapse of communism. Yet, more than two decades on, communist regimes continue to rule in a diverse set of countries including China, Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam. In a unique study of fourteen countries, Steven Saxonberg explores the reasons for the survival of some communist regimes while others fell. He also shows why the process of collapse differed among communist-led regimes in Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Based on the analysis of the different processes of collapse that has already taken place, and taking into account the special characteristics of the remaining communist regimes, 'Transitions and Non-Transitions from Communism' discusses the future prospects for the survival of the regimes in China, Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam.

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potential 15 about the erosion of institutions (i.e., the communist party) that could conceivably remove the leader from power and provide alternative leaders. Consequently, non-violent paths to regime transition are virtually eliminated. The regime type approach is highly fruitful, but certain problems emerge in its typology. First, the categories could be more dynamic (after all, the regimes are in constant flux). Frozen regimes, for example, might better be seen as in a process of “freezing,”

the Kremlin. However, similar revolts against homegrown regimes may lead, in theory, to successful revisionist revolutions if reformers get the upper hand. For example, a revolutionary situation emerged in China in 1989, but the reformers lost the internal power struggle, and the moderate hardliners decided to shoot. In the late post-totalitarian stage, the revolutionary potential of society is more likely to bring about a revolutionary outcome. By that point, the regime has lost its ideological

freezing regime in some ways, as when the hardliners made their coup attempt. Like the freezing regimes 106 Communist regime types in Czechoslovakia and East Germany, which were paralyzed and could not fully implement repressive measures, the coup leaders in the USSR quickly give up when confronted with the mobilization of society around the White House parliament building in Moscow. Besides changes in the terminology for these two types of late posttotalitarianism, this book introduces the

who thought they were building a classless society. Through his efficient political skills and impressive propagandistic abilities, this ruthless leader was able to create a highly charismatic aura around himself, allowing him to rise above the Party-state bureaucracy. At first he seemed an unlikely candidate for becoming a charismatic leader, as he had always been considered a faceless bureaucrat charged with administering the Party bureaucracy (in his role as general secretary of the Party),

wants something else; and the author herself has trouble expressing 45 46 John Young, Peasant Revolution in Ethiopia: The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, 1975–1991 (Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 27. For a discussion of socialist realism, see John Clark and Aaron Wildavsky, The Moral Collapse of Communism: Poland as a Cautionary Tale (San Francisco: ICS Press, 1990), p. 71. Institutional incentives and political actors 165 herself in the socialist realist manner, and for artistic

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