Labor, Class, and Democracy: Shaping Political Antagonisms in Post-Communist Society
One of the key questions in this volume, and in discussions of post-communist transition in general, concerns the timing and sequencing of political and economic reform in post-communist society. As usually put, the question is: How quickly and in what sequence should reforms be introduced in order to end up with a liberal market economy?
I should say that I do not particularly like this dependent variable. In this chapter, I am more concerned with the consolidation of a liberal polity, in which full citizenship rights are guaranteed for all, than with a liberal economy. I focus this way not only because it reflects my personal predilections, but because I see good theoretical grounds for believing (even before Vladimir Zhirinovsky began demonstrating it in practice) that the pursuit of a liberal economy may jeopardize the consolidation of a liberal polity. This does not, of course, mean that I think market reforms are unnecessary. But I do question the kinds of market reforms that are needed, and my concern for the integration of labor also means that I oppose what is commonly referred to as "shock therapy" (see Berend's discussion in Chapter 6).
In her introduction, therefore, Beverly Crawford presents me as a gradualist. Insofar as the kind of inclusiveness I urge is anathema to those who desire a liberal market economy precisely because it undermines the influence of labor, my differences with the "radicals" concern more than just timing. Nevertheless, timing divides us too. I argue that the focus on rapid marketization is a sure way to destroy the broad political consensus supporting reform that constitutes the liberalizers' most valuable asset. The radicals say "push full-steam ahead and don't