States, Ideologies, and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of Iran, Nicaragua, and the Philippines

By Misagh Parsa | Go to book overview

7
Capitalists: reluctant rebels

Recent structural theories have underlined the significance of schisms and divisions between the capitalist class and the state in revolutions. Indeed, the defection of capitalists from the state has been crucial to revolutions in contemporary developing countries. Yet, as will be argued, the mere existence of Conflict between the capitalist class and the state and the former's defection from the state is not sufficient for revolutions to occur. The capitalist class must take an active role in the conflicts, pursue disruptive tactics, and join other classes and challengers to offerthrow the government. But, despite their conflicts with the state, capitalists may not play an active role in its offerthrow because of organizational weaknesses or more importantly because of the existence of radical threats. In particular, capitalists may not join the struggles against the government if rising class Conflict and strong revolutionary challengers threaten the entire capitalist system. In such conditions, capitalists may become increasingly dependent on the state to contain the radicals and may thus attempt to steer the outcome of the Conflicts in nonrevolutionary directions.

In general, the nature of capitalist politics in developing countries has been affected by the relations of this class, or its fractions, with the state, and the politics of the working classes and revolutionary challengers. Capitalist access to the polity and economic advantages or disadvantages have strongly affected the politics of this class. The nature of the relationship between capitalists and interventionist states in developing countries has often sharply divided this class between those who supported and those who opposed the government. A small segment of the capitalist class will have been allied with and dependent on the state for resources, and protection from the vagaries of the market and competition. Because it benefited from government intervention, this segment of the capitalist class will not have mobilized against the state during political Conflicts. In contrast, another fraction, the majority, will have been excluded from the polity and lacked access to decision-makers who affected the economy and thus their interests. These capitalists have been excluded from the

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