Markets, States, and Democracy: The Political Economy of Post-Communist Transformation

By Beverly Crawford | Go to book overview
the United States, similarly, nineteenth-century policies that persecuted Blacks and Chinese helped improve the lives of working-class whites, thus turning them into supporters of democracy. It was, of course, a "democracy" that still excluded most of the population, but the principles then accepted by white workers would, much later, be used to empower those still left on the outside. These examples, therefore, suggest that racist policies can facilitate the improvement of working-class conditions, and the inclusions of workers into a formally democratic system, if there are numerous enough and politically powerless enough minorities that can be plundered. Obviously, it is no longer so acceptable, in the late-twentieth century, to disenfranchise and openly exploit internal minorities. But Eastern Europe could not resolve class animosities this way even if some political leaders were brazen enough to withstand international condemnation and try it anyway. For there is simply no minority in Eastern Europe whose oppression or expropriation could improve the conditions of anyone else. There is no minority--ethnic, religious, or political (e.g., "communists")--either large enough or rich enough to subsidize the larger society. That is why the various schemes of Eastern Europe's would-be authoritarians could not work even if their proponents did come to power. Class inequalities will have to be worked out the way they were worked out in post-war Western Europe: through the political inclusion of labor and economic redistribution.

Readings on these points include Alistair Sparks, The Mind of South Africa ( New York: Ballantine Books, 1991), esp. chapter 7; and Michael Shafter, "Trade Unions and Political Machines: The Organization and Disorganization of the American Working Class in the Late 19th Century," in Ira Katznelson and Aristede Zolberg, Working-Class Formation ( Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986); also Katznelson's Introduction in the same.

5.
"What Happened in Eastern Europe in 1989?" In Daniel Chirot, ed., The Crisis of Leninism and the Decline of the Left ( Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991), p. 5.
6.
Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Evelyne Huber Stephens, and John D. Stephens, Capitalist Development and Democracy ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), p. 8.
7.
In June 1993, Walesa announced the creation of a presidential party for the September 1993 parliamentary elections, using the same acronym, BBWR, that Marshal Pilsudski used for his presidential party in the 1930s.
8.
Juliusz Gardawski, Robotnicy 1991 ( Warsaw: Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 1992), pp. 43-45 and 58.
9.
Gardawski, Robotnicy, p. 28. The exact wording differs slightly in each survey. In 1991 workers were asked whether they agreed that "employee participation in firm governance will definitely improve the situation of the firm." In 1983 the statement read, "the more employee participation in firm governance, the better."
10.
Ibid. Again, there was some difference in the exact wording of the statements. In 1991: "Regular workers should not in general get involved in management, since that can only make the situation worse." In 1983: "Enterprise management is the business of the managers, and workers should not interfere in such matters."
11.
Workplace surveys conducted by Artur Czynczyk and Andrzej Chelminski, and summarized by Marc Weinstein, untitled manuscript, November 1992.
12.
Gardawski, Robotnicy, p. 51.
14.
"Jak krzyk dziecka," interview with Lena Kolarska-Bobinska, head of the Center for Public Opinion Research, in Zycie Gospodarcze, June 27, 1993, p. 3.

-201-

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