Political Sociology: A Reader

By S. N. Eisenstadt | Go to book overview
leadership in the 1920s. In the measure that the Kuomintang in later years de-emphasized ideology and political organization it dug, so to speak, its own political grave by yielding supremacy to the Chinese communists who excelled in combining military striking power with organizational and ideological strength.
18.
Burma and Pakistan are not, strictly speaking, identical cases. The civilian régime displaced in Pakistan was not a régime of intellectuals so much as of landowners. Schematically, Pakistan's case is thus comparable to that of Iraq rather than that of Burma.
19.
Cf. Guy J. Pauker, "The Role of Political Organizations in Indonesia," Far Eastern Survey, XXVII (1958), 141-142.
20.
Cf. Richard L. Park, "Problems of Political Development," in Philip W. Thayer, ed., Nationalism and Prospects in Free Asia (Baltimore, Md., 1956), pp. 103-104, and Vera M. Dean and others, The Nature of the Non-Western World (New York, 1958), pp. 212-213.
21.
On charismatic leadership see also George McT. Kahin, Guy J. Pauker, and Lucian W. Pye, "Comparative Politics in Non-Western Countries," American Political Science Review, XLIX (1955), 1025, and Gabriel L. Almond, "Comparative Political Systems," Journal of Politics, XVIII (1956), 401.
22.
Charismatic leadership is, nonetheless, not a sine qua non of political modernization as witness its absence in Meiji Japan, republican China and in communist countries. Stalin's "cult of the individual" or Mao's all-pervading presence is by no means synonymous with charisma.
23.
The assassination of Aung San in Burma was followed by gradual dissolution of the party headed by him, until the civilian intelligentsia surrendered power voluntarily to the military.
24.
Their political influence appears to be stronger in formerly Hispanic lands than elsewhere. Moreover, it is very likely that in Latin America they have been able to obtain aid from abroad, as witness the short-lived régime of Col. Arbenz in Guatemala.
25.
See also the illuminating essay by Lucian W. Pye, "The Non-Western Political Process," Journal of Politics, XX (1958), 469-486.

69
Congress Party Elites 1

Myron Weiner

Modernizing societies typically create conditions which encourage individuals who have not previously participated in politics to do so. Both mass media and mass public education create a new public awareness, and as the state itself takes on new functions more and more individuals seek to influence what the state will do. Peasants may press for more irrigation works or resist new taxes, a linguistic minority may feel threatened by a government's language policy in the schools, tenants may agitate for security of tenure, and the educated unemployed may clamor for jobs. These demands become strains upon a political system not simply because a stray individual here or there becomes interested in political matters, but because whole social groups and whole communities now want something out of the political system.

Not all governmental elites welcome the demands of new groups, nor are they willing to share power. Indeed, European history is replete with accounts of governmental elites who refused to share power and who used repressive means to maintain their monopoly of authority. In the developing areas

today few governing elites have been willing to share power or to admit the legitimacy of opposition parties. Though many elites utilize a populist, nationalist, and socialist rhetoric, they repress the opposition and in practice restrict the admission of new elites into the government. Needless to say, some systems have been more open than others, the varieties and reasons for restricting entrance into the elite are complex and varied, and a policy of sharing power has not necessarily ensured stability or rapid modernization.

Nonetheless, there is reason to believe that governments which institutionalize channels of political participation are likely to create a population which is loyal to both the political system and the nation. In the developing areas today India has thus far been one of the few successful political systems in the handling of new political participants. Considering the extraordinary ethnic diversity, the vast gaps in income, and the hierarchical character of the social system, it is remarkable that the country has been plunged neither into civil war nor revolution and that insurgency movements have been confined to a few tribal areas. Surely the reason is not public apathy or the absence of social conflict, for social tensions have been great and political participation,

____________________
From Myron Weiner, Congress Party Elites (Bloomington: Carnegie Seminar on Political and Administrative Development, University of Indiana, 1966), pp. 1-19. Reprinted by permission of the author and the Carnegie Seminar.

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