Lancelot: This is going to be a very meticulous job. Even worse than embroidering. We have to kill the dragon in each one of them.
Evgeny Schwartz. The Dragon.
There is plenty of material written on how to topple dictatorships, generate revolutions, and so on. However, it is worth to note that post-revolution societies often live in violent and unstable social environment. Sometimes even more violent and unstable compared to the past times of the deposed dictatorship. The outcome of a regime change is often from a dictatorship to anarchy to another dictatorship at best and to a bloody war and genocide at worth (e.g., French revolution, Chinese revolution). Some intermediary steps of some sort of democracy may show up after regime change while the common people on the ground feel that they have less means to feed themselves and they are less secure than they were prior to a revolution. This book is dedicated to explain on how to transition from a dictatorship to a democracy without having millions killed, enslaved, and tortured. In addition, this book describes the entire spector of democratization of a society and not limiting itself to discuss solely the initial transition from dictatorship to some preliminary democratic state. Meaning, the transition to democracy is viewed as a constant and potentially never ending change of improvements to how society works on many levels. A transition that isn't viewed as black vs white, but rather as a sequence of changes of all shades of colors. We try to base this book less on our opinions and more on historical events that shaped successful long term transition to ever improving democratic state. Hence, the book tries to reference relevant statistics, facts, and scientific knowledge. However, this book can’t be viewed as a scientific paper. Lastly, we feel that democracy starts and being maintained by every individual of a society. Consequently, the book explains democratization ideas on a high level and then drills down to suggest strategic actions that are centred on an individual and not a society. Meaning, in this book we concentrate more on the activities that a common person from the street could do to promote the democratization of his/her society.
In this sense we are closer to the following statements:
You must be the change you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi
"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." By John F Kennedy
What is Democracy and how it starts ?
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free 'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
These days if you ask what democracy is, people would start talking to you about elections, the principle of separation of powers, freedom of speech/religion/assembly/work and so on. However, these topics do not describe the day-to-day life of a person in a democratic society. A person that lives in a democratic society is rarely concerned about these topics, not only because they are given to him, but also because people just don’t think this way in their daily lives. When we breath we don’t analyze how much oxygen gets into our lungs, we don’t count particles of contamination, and we don’t think about how many liters of blood are being pumped through our hearts. We just breath. Same about democracy. People just live in it. Even though the above-listed democratic principles are important, they can’t be achieved without individuals in society understanding what democracy is and supporting it. Democracy is a true rule of people (comparing to the lies of Communism). If people do not want the society to be democratic, it just won’t be, no matter if the government tries to be democratic (e.g., treatment of black people in southern US states during the beginning and mid of 20th century). Democracy starts from individuals. People in democratic societies feel free, because they are mainly not restricted by their neighbours to do whatever they would like to as long as they don’t bother their neighbours. To create a democratic society one should start from the population itself and its perception of what freedom is. There are plenty of examples when democracy is proclaimed into existence on a country/federal level, but in effect its democratic ideas do not exist and do not work on a local level. That’s because local people may decide to not cherish democracy. For example, it is not rare in democratic countries to see slums controlled by mafia instead of police where people live under tyranny of drug dealers or terror groups. Even large geographic parts of democratic countries are controlled by tyranny. For example, drug lords in Columbia and Naxalite movement in India.
The vicious cycle of violent society under dictatorship, feudal system, or anarchy
Dictators and party members around them tend to be sociopaths. They drive the country to violence which in terms brings destruction to business and agriculture In a country with no jobs and no food people survive by being more violent: fighting for jobs and food, stealing, looting Good to review examples of what happened in China after the fall of the empire. For example, many peasants joined the ranks of the communistic army of Mao Tse Tung because they needed food and protection from a brutal violence of warlords. (need citations of how the Rred Army under Mao increased from several thousands to become huge army). Similar thing happened in Cambodia when peasants joined Khmer Ruge army to Young men tend to join military/police to be in charge of resource distribution In poor countries no money spent on family planning and hence many young kids are born Concentration of many young men with low unemployment leads to violence on the street
Anarchy and vacuum in power
In physics when the air is taken out of a volume a new air will come in from the surrounding. Similar to that there is no vacuum in organized power. There are always people energetic-enough who are organized on street-level, neighbourhood level, city-level, province-level and so on. There are always multiple groups of organizations: based on profession, sex, personal interests, politics, sports, religion, and even just pure hate. There are always some kind of organizations that unite people. And the people at the top of these organization are hungry for power. Sometimes because they have antisocial disorder, but sometimes because they feel a need to solve their own problems, in rare cases some of them want to do something good. In cases where central regime fallen, these organizations will start to unite people around them. Eventually several of these organizations will form dominant parties/powers. If these parties are strong enough, they will form a new regime. If one of them particularly strong enough, it will form a dictatorial regime. If non of these parties are strong enough to form a strong federal state control, don’t worry. There are always similar groups from neighboring countries that are willing to invade. And lastl;y if the invasion isn’t implemented, the parties collide against each other into civil unrest and war.
Example: destabilization of regimes in Iraq and Siriya, and a consequent rise of Islamic State (ISIS). When Sadam’s regime was removed by the invasion of United States and Western Allies and when the allied armies started to exit Iraq, a vacuum of power arose in remote geographical areas in Iraq which allied forces had trouble to control. Conflicts between religious groups resulted in establishment of terror-like organizations that one of them would be come ISIS. Further destabilization of power in the neighbouring Siria allowed ISIS to spread into larger territory and hence control larger population, larger area, and larger income to the organization.
Example: China after the removal of the imperial regime in 1911: China was very unstable during the times of the last emperor. Foreign powers took control of large chunks of the Chinese land and even if the rest of the land was not controlled by foreign countries, they still influenced the rest of the country economically and through the sale of drugs. The Chinese army was too weak to protect itself from foreign control. Internally, many people were poor; some wanted to modernize the country. Revolts erupted all over the country. In addition, at the beginning of the 20s century China still dealt with widespread opium cultivation and addiction cultivated by UK on China during the 19s century . Large parts of society including educated and reach people consumed the drug; peasants cultivated poppies; merchants used opium as currency; and some local governments used opium for taxation. Large effort by the central government to stop poppy cultivation raised anger among the Chinese public.
What can an individual do to avoid anarchy and consequent violence? Enlist in organizations that influence local politics. Don’t count on someone else to be a politician. Resist violent organizations and promote democratic rule on all levels of government and society.
Stages of Democratization (Evolution of Democracy)
Democracy comes in stages. Given the long list of requirements from the declaration of human rights and other requirements related to how the government is formed, it is not surprising that democratization takes years or sometimes decades in working. Moreover, the level of freedom will go up and down while the society tries to establish a set of new norms and laws for these norms. Such up and downs will take years: a more conservative group of people will try to revert the clock of history, while a more liberal group willtry to push for changes. The ideal of democracy and how it is perceived is being changed along with our civilization: e.g., ideas, beliefs, science, technology, standards of living, population numbers, climate, etc. Consequently the “Ideal Democracy” is an evolving concept. If we suppose that democracy is a constantly improving idea, then the democratization is an oscillating function around it. Sometimes a society would go below the ideal to become less free and sometime it will go above to become more free and democratic. One should be careful however from assuming that once a country is democratic for a long period of time, then it can’t be reverted to become a dictatorship. With years a crisis may arise where public discontent and social chaos would lead to a slide to a dictatorship. While people from democratic societies that have democracy for decades may have a hard time believing that democracy can disappear, an authoritarian regime needs to raise just one generation of kids with adjusted school program to ensure that democracy is forgotten. A society doesn’t need to be 100% compliant with certain democratic “checklist” to progress to democracy. Democratization process starts from any new freedom, separation of power, and a better governmental organization. For example, if a communist government allows free business, then it is a step towards democratization (e.g., Perestroika in USSR, capitalistic reforms in China and Vietnam ). If there is more tolerance of a society to a non-average way of life, if people can speak freely, if the prosperity of the society increases, then it is a way to democratization. Here are several points that help to lead to democratization Increased freedom in business activity and trade Increase in education of all forms of sciences, engineering, arts, philosophy, etc. Increase of personal freedoms
For initial relatively bloodless transition from dictatorship to democracy the following conditions may need to be applied
Broad agreement within different parts of a society that a democratization change is needed. Or at least tiredness from an existing state of affairs Willingness of large portion of the population to support and maintain democracy on a personal level. E.g., respect other people, protect democratization, spend effort and budget on politics, …. Liberally oriented people that are part of the existing governing structure and that are willing to let go some of their power in exchange for a slightly more free society Structure of local governments and some sort of elections on the local level Freedom in business opportunities where new types of leaders can grow and where businesses bring economic stability to the society in terms of employment, goods, services, and income Willingness of the freedom movement to acknowledge that the existing ruling class has rights to exist and potentially be let go of legal liability for their wrongdoings to keep the country united and to avoid bloodshed of struggle for power. Alternatively, the freedom movement can attempt a revolution. Having sufficient institutes that help democracy to grow. E.g., education, businesses, local officials that are elected.
The bloodshed paradox: The initial transition from tyranny to a democracy may require violence to suppress supporters of the dictatorship. However, direct civil war requires organization of the rebelling society around rebel army leaders. These leaders may become candidates for a next generation of tyranny. Case study: putsches and revolutions in Africa
Examples of stages of democratization
The dictatorship is losing power, because of economical or social strain: e.g., after a large war, economic collapse, environmental crisis (e.g., drought). As a consequence, large parts of society become more discontent. Discontented society is usually not a problem for the dictatorial regime, if there are sufficient people that can suppress the rest with enough violence. However, with enough strain the percentage of population that can suppress the rest is losing power and can’t suppress all the revolt efforts or potentially doesn’t want to, because such suppression will result in bloodshed that involve family ties. Then the governing regime loses power due to either revolution or just because nobody wants to continue enforcing its rule. At this stage chaos usually brakes loose. Dictatorship maintain order on the streets. Without it, criminals are free to take over to loot and establish their own, usually neighborhood based strongholds. At that time no proper policing is done, because the police are not being paid and also because the police are unsure what sides to take in this conflict. The country can break at this stage to separate entities where landlords/parties control some parts of the land. At a certain point in time people organize into new parties that take control over the land. Once control is established, economic growth comes from either money landing from other nations, sales of assets, or slow establishment of new businesses. Power that was once centralized is now distributed. If the new parties in power are willing to share it, then democratic institutions can grow.
Dictatorship -> crisis - >instability/chaos-> shift in power to temporary government -> sharing power? elections? -> newly elected government -> power stability -> constitution -> establishment of democratic principles -> political stability -> economic growth -> will of people to support democracy -> more freedoms are introduced over time -> more power sharing with the population -> more economic opportunities -> stable and evolving democracy
Destruction of democracy
Way 1: Destabilization of political power and economic stability -> people become discontent -> radical political power suggests to fix the situation: by taking possessions from certain groups of people in the society: let’s robe the rich, let’s kill minorities. (e.g., Fascists in Italy and then Germany) By promoting ideals that resonate with the public: communism, fascism, life under certain religious set of beliefs. Empty promises of populism Way 2: A foreign power takes control over the country as it becomes weak. Way 3: Large wave of immigration changes the democratic perceptions where a country can become less free. Usually happens on a local level in a part of the country where the concentration of immigrants that don’t agree with the democratic rule is influential enough to destabilize the democratic rule of that particular geographical region.
Step aside: What prosperity in science and economics has to do with Democracy ?
Science is a search for truth to explain how our world works: creation of theories based on real-world experiments and application of these theories on real-world problems. Further on this topic is expanded by a philosopher Karl Popper Scientific research cannot be properly done if people aren’t allowed to spread information freely and if scientists are lying. For example in USSR during 1920-1964 Lysenko suppressed scientists that didn’t agree with his falsified biological theories. Thousands of academics were silenced, sent to concentration camps, and were executed. As a consequence genetics studies in USSR were stagnated with false ideas for decades and didn’t progress till political persecution of geneticists stopped. Presently the scientific process in democratic countries is free. However, the access to scientific articles to the general public requires payment even though most of the scientific research is funded by the public via taxation.
Capitalism does not have to be associated with Democracy. In fact there are good examples of dictatorial countries where capitalism prosperes, such as China and Singapore. However, Capitalism does prosper in democratic countries due to freedom. When one spends time learning how technical startups become prosperous companies, one clear pattern is seen, innovation is related to freedom of economic activity. If a young company cannot iterate on business ideas and test them in practise, then such company can’t grow.
Economic base of democratization
Worth to mention the state of post USSR life described by Soljenitsin in his book “”
Why communism doesn’t work
It is funny to see that Marx himself explained why communism can’t work. In his “Manifesto of the Communist Party” he writes the following:
It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property, all work will cease and universal laziness will overtake us. According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those of its members who work, acquire nothing, and those who acquire anything, do not work. The whole of this objection is but another expression of the tautology: that there can no longer be any wage-labour when there is no longer any capital
It is important to notice that when Marx wrote his books, there were no communistic societies. Large amount of educated people believed in his dream, because it seemed logical enough. Yet, in science theories must be supported by real life experiments. At our age we have vast historical knowledge and experience of entire countries becoming communistic. So called “social experiments” provided statistics on the outcomes of a communistic regime. In communistic countries production and innovation has decreased significantly.
Such downgrade happened for the following reasons: To transform a society to a communistic regime one should employ dictatorship. From that point, sociopaths climb the ladder of power and the most violent of them stay at the top. Hence, a communistic society becomes yet again another dictatorship. Under the disguise of equality communists create a ruling class of communistic party leaders that can rape and enslave while the rest should be equal. In fact, communistic society is still full of classes: the regular people that are enslaved by the dictatorship, party members that cooperate with the party and that are paying additional taxes to the party to enjoy slightly better life under the sun, party leaders that are untouchable and can be as violent as they please, and finally the psychopathic leader that is a god-like creature. Inability to own a business kills any ability to innovate. No technological startup can be initiated. Most modern inventions were promoted by capitalism: the process to take an idea, assemble a capital from others, create a product, and sell it to the masses so that with time such product becomes cheap and widely available; such process is not available in communistic societies. Equality in the society provides no incentive to more talented people among us to act. Yes, they can become a scientist or engineer, but they can’t progress on their dreams due to governmental bureaucracy that owns everything and because they can’t amass some capital to prove that their ideas are worth something.
In fact, the proponents of Karl Marx could argue endlessly with the proponents of Adam Smith if we couldn’t measure the state of societies in a real world. After decades of communistic rule where communistic countries struggled to provide basic necessities to their subjects, after these countries were transformed to capitalism, modern goods and services became quickly available and population became wealthy. Post-USSR countries, China, and the rest of communistic countries in Asia are good examples. We even have historic examples of societies that were split in half where a population with same cultural, ethnic, and initial economic state was split in half: one part of the country became communistic and the other continued to be capitalistic (not even democratic right away). West and East Germany, North and South Korea, China and Taiwan. The economy of the capitalistic “tween country” prevailed in the long run, while the economy of the communistic “tween country” collapsed.
But what is the core reason communism didn’t work? The same way why a capitalism that ruled over people within dictatorial countries didn’t work well. When freedoms are taken from people, they can’t work well and they can’t innovate. There is however a balance: where freedoms can be given up to a certain point and by doing so add productivity to the society. E.g, China, Vietnam. However, the reader didn’t stay to hear a lecture about GDP growth. People choose democracy to be able to live without fear and be free to do whatever they want with their life.
Role of large cities in democracy
Many times regime changes start from large cities, particularly from political capitals and business capitals.
Psychology behind democratization
To understand why large societies tend to be dictatorships in nature and why it is so hard to transition to democracy, it is important to consider the human psychology. Let’s start from reviewing human behavior on individual level and then understand how it affects society on a large scale.
Antisocial personality disorder is a condition of a brain when a person can’t feel empathy and love towards other living creatures (including humans). Empathy and love are complex feelings. For example, to feel empathy, there is a need to process much information to understand what the other person feels, whether he is distressed, to project such feeling on yourself and figure out if that is indeed painful. Such complex analysis is apparently not available to all the population. Between 1-4% of humans are incapable to feel empathy. This is a pretty small percentage, but the people that don’t feel empathy are capable to affect the rest of the society on a large scale. In a non-scientific day-to-day life such people are called sociopaths and psychopaths. For simplicity we can say that some sociopaths don’t feel empathy due to some social condition in their life that affected their brain development or suppressed it, whereas other sociopaths have their brain physically damaged in some way (e.g., accident, drugs, birth defect, a brain-affecting decease).
Humans with antisocial personality disorder tend to violate the law. They may lie, behave violently or impulsively. They just don’t feel a need to care about other people. As they become smarter and learn about the outcomes of their lifestyle, they may become law abiding to avoid being punished and to find loving mates. However, deep inside they are the same.
As they don’t feel such emotions, they tend to disregard the feelings of others. Such person doesn’t feel remorse when stealing or cheating, because the only thing such a person cares about is himself.
Suppose tyrants are mainly sociopaths, but the rest of the population, more than 95%, is not sociopathic. So why does the rest of the population follows the lead of tyranny ?
There are two aspects to discuss here:
How many men are needed to suppress an existing population into obedience ? How long it takes to educate the young generation to get used to the idea that tyranny is the normal way of life
How many men are needed to suppress an existing population into obedience ?
The answer to this question depends on the technology used and some psychological factor. For example, during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, entire city populations were forcefully driven out to rural areas. The army that enforced the movement compromised under 10% of the population. In addition, people were lied into believing that they are being moved for a short period of time to reorganize the city. Un-armed population was forced to evacuate, because it didn’t have means to resist. People that refused were executed on spot which in term created further psychological factor for everyone that saw an execution. During its maximum expansion ISIS had 50,000-100,000 soldiers, while it controlled a territory where 8-12 million people lived. A ratio of 1:120.
Effects on children
Kids grown up in bad conditions tend to have high percentage of sociopathic … Link: https://www.livescience.com/21778-early-neglect-alters-kids-brains.htmlStages of Democratization (Evolution of Democracy)
How orphans are susceptible to become sociopathic: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3720131/ https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medicine/article/early-maternal-and-paternal-bonding-childhood-physical-abuse-and-adult-psychopathic-personality/29DD19050E6BFE6A5021985A2F992F38
Dictatorship regimes tend to spend much effort to brainwash the younger generation. What’s better than young hearts that believe in your false ideology without asking questions and executing your most dirty orders without a second thought ? It may sound strange, but democratic actions (and science) start from when children pause to disprove their teachers; when children start to understand that morality does not necessarily follow country’s code of law and that some laws even in democratic country can be unethical. The more the young generation pause to think about the society in which they live, the more democratic the country may become. When these children grow up, they may join the army or the police. In these roles young adults should be able to choose to refuse unethical commands by their commanders. Blind followers can build only yet another dictatorship.
Women vs Men
Statistic of incarceration in US shows one clear trend about women vs men: there are ten times more men in jail than women. Men are more prone to violence and biologically are built with larger muscle tissue than women. Historically it is males that fight wars, engage in masacares, torture, systematic rape, and fighting as child soldiers. What does it mean to democracy ? To create a tolerant and peaceful society, one should appease the male part of the population. To fight a large war, there is a need for a large population of young men. To enforce a dictatorship, there is a need for a large amount of young and strong men. And to topple a dictatorship the same young men should be supporting a democrastic society. To sustain a democracy one should convert the energy of young men to efforts such as business, family planning, pleasure.
Age-Sex population pyramid and Youth Bulge Theory
An excess in young adult male population predictably leads to social unrest, crime, war and terrorism. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/28469/1/WP72.2.pdf
Based on the above, a large population of young males often leads to violence. Not only because men are more violent than women, but because these men compete for the same jobs, economic opportunities, and wifes. Without an ability to simply satisfy their sexual needs, start a family , get a decent income, live in a separate space and so on, men turn to violence in order to change the “rules of the game”. They sometimes don’t have a choice. For example, young men may be drafted to compulsory army service under dictatorship regimes that like to promote conflicts with neighbouring countries. Alternatively, young men will be used to subdue opposition as part of a militia or other military/police body.
Overpopulation impacts democracy
Every sperm is sacred Every sperm is great If a sperm is wasted God gets quite irate
The rights of people are dependent on abundance of living spaces, resources, and economic opportunities among the population. An increase in population density automatically impacts these abundances.
Family planning and democracy
Democracy starts from jail ?
Another important difference between democracies and dictatorships is: what types of people are jailed and prosecuted. In dictatorships people with antisocial personality disorders are allowed to participate in damaging activities with little consequences for them, if they play by the bureaucracy rules of the dictatorship. Meaning: dictatorship may punish a crime like beating people for fun to maintain order on the streets, but allow the same people to beat and torture political dissidents in jails. In Democracy there is an inversion: there is a set of bureaucratic rules to protect individuals. Whoever steps over them may be prosecuted and jailed. As a consequence people with antisocial personality disorders are more careful to not intimidate the law in democratic regime. They try to abuse people behind the scenes in methods that are hard to prove. Free press gives people the opportunity to speak up against influential people that have antisocial personality disorders and provides an opportunity to bring them to trial. It is hard for a peaceful society to exist when people with antisocial personality disorder are allowed to behave as they like. Often such people crave for power and create systems, such as working conditions, that are intolerable. In democracy such people can be punished. In dictatorship, there are no mechanisms for such punishment. There are many examples in history when societies went into a state of total anarchy. When there is no rule of a police on the street and when whoever is strong physically and is organized wins over the weak. We can start from an example on a small scale when during a 2017 police strike in Brazil in state of Espírito Santo, crime rates spiked. With no police in the area criminals had a card blanch to steal and murder on unprecedented levels. As a result the state government had to ask the army to step in until the dispute with the police payroll could be negotiated. On a larger scale, Somalia was torn apart by a fifteen-years-long civil war. Consequently, Somalia became a so called “Failed State” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Failed_state
Police force should receive adequate salary to be able to enforce the law. Police officers put their lives in danger on a daily basis. Low salary leads to police corruption and inability to fight gangsters. With inadequate salary one can expect that the police first would curb to organized crime, can be infiltrated by crime organization, and can also become the prime crime organization by itself. With low salary police officers can start collecting protection money to increase their budget or start running their own underground businesses. A good example would be: corruption of local police in Mexico and in Russia.
History of revolutions/rebellions and their outcome History records are full with violent conflicts. The table below deals only with revolutions that tried to establish a more democratic society. Please take into account that other conflicts during these same historic period are not part of this table. The goal of this table is to establish statistics about how violent rebellion may lead to one of the three following: A more democratic state A more violent state No change
year country goals casualties outcome 1765-1783 USA To establish a democratic society
Land owners got voting rights, separation from UK monarchy. Afro-americans were left as slaves and women didn’t get voting rights. However, such freedom rights were among the most progressive in the world.
Latinn American wars for independence
1850-1864 Taiping Rebellion in China To create a new state where people subverted to a christian cult. In reality, the leader was a typical dictator 20-70 million people It was typical for both parties: the rebels and the supporters of the emperor to slaughter civilians in mass murder attacks. Emperor supporters took over the country 1911-1912 Chinese revolution To remove the emperial rule and transfer Chinese society to a more modern state
The immediate outcome has transformed China into a feudal net of small states controlled by war lords. Long term outcome: the wars between the warlords and the corruption created a condition for communistic groups to rise and eventually take control over the country. 1916-1917 Russian revolution In first the revolution removed the tzar fro power and established a democratic, capitalistic government. However, the second part of the revolution was done by Bolsheviks that promoted communism. 8 million. Most of them civilians that starved without food Communistic USSR government that was quickly converted to brutal dictatorship. Under communism millions perished
A country that reach rebelion is already an unhealthy country where food is scarce and where many people don’t have a stable future. Under such circumstances there will be many rebellious groups with different agendas. If there is no opportunity to reach a compromise between the parties, a bloody civil war will erupt.
On importance to resist putsches
How often putsches happen after a regime change? In a very high frequency. In Spain in 1936 and in 1978, in Russia in 1917, Germany Kapp Putsch of 1920 and Beer Hall Putsch 1923 , 1948 in Venezuela, 1991 in USSR/Russia against Gorbachev's reforms. It is worth to note that putsches happen not only against a democratic rule, but can happen against any government when this government is weak. To keep the democracy intact it is important to protect democratic bodies against assassination and violence. Body guarding the democratically-elected politicians is important. So is important the ability to work remotely and distribute the power among officials. So that if some officials are getting hit, there is a smooth power transition to yet another democratic representative to be able to resist putsch attempt. Even though the power of the dictatorship governmental bodies should be dismantled, it is important to keep balance in their dismantling. Democracy is based on balance of power. Making too many people that have powerful positions angry will lead to an attempt to remove the democratic governance. The first years of Democracy are unstable due to economic instability and violence inside the population. It is hence advisable to avoid destabilizing the country even further by destroying too many governmental bodies at once. Such a move probably won’t accelerate democracy but instead will result in full blown civil war. Coups can also be initiated by foreign countries trying to block democratization. Such countries will invest money or even deploy their own soldiers to try to overthrow the new democratic government. Not surprisingly such foreign countries can be democratic themselves. Politicians may prefer to deal with a stable dictator than with unstable democracy There are peaceful ways to block coups: the general population can resist by not providing services to the newly emerged government (see discussion in the book “From dictatorship to democracy”, chapter “Blocking coups”). However, a small portion of the population with weapons can control vast amount of civilians. Hence, if the coup leaders are violent enough, a peaceful resistance is not feasible. For example, in Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge movement forcibly evacuated an entire city of Phnom Penh that had several millions of civilians after taking it over from the Cambodian government. Civilians were forced to a death march where a large percentage of them perished and whoever survived was forced to live in forceful labour camps for years. Based on the above example, when the coup is done by a violent group, the civilians don’t have a choice for peaceful resistance by disobeying the new government and by boycotting its activities. Sometimes there is a need to be organized into active military units that can resist the government. E.g., What Spanish people did during the Spanish civil war.
Election of Dictators
It was for the sake of this day that he had first decided to run for the Presidency, a decision which had sent waves of astonishment throughout the Imperial Galaxy --- Zaphod Beeblebrox? President? Not the Zaphod Beeblebrox? Not the President? Many had seen it as a clinching proof that the whole of known creation had finally gone bananas. ……..
Zaphod Beeblebrox, adventurer, ex-hippy, good timer, (crook? quite possibly), manic self-publicist, terribly bad at personal relationships, often thought to be completely out to lunch.
No one had gone bananas, not in that way at least.
Only six people in the entire Galaxy understood the principle on which the Galaxy was governed, and they knew that once Zaphod Beeblebrox had announced his intention to run as President it was more or less a fait accompli: he was the ideal Presidency fodder.
After putsches the next danger to democracy is to elect a future dictator in a democratic election. Slowly the elected official gains power, promotes regulation to remove authority of other politicians and eventually starts to control the entire country …. Present Democracies are based on the idea of equal voting rights. Meaning that each individual will get the same voting strength, no matter how smart or dumb the individual is. Future dictators use this weakness of democracy by promising impossible-to-provide benefits to the not so smart population (populism). In turn, such population turns out to be the core electorate that provides support to the future dictator. Don’t be naive to think that population with higher educational standards is resistant to dumb political decisions. Having a university degree does not indicate that a person understands in psychology, economics, and history. Consequently, it is theoretically possible that a majority of educated population may vote for a leader with antisocial personality disorder.
Case study: turkey. Election of Arduan and his continuous drive to undermine Turkish democracy
Participate and infiltrate
It is worth to note that many regimes fall when insiders that gained much influence decide to reform the regime. For example both Gobachev and Yeltsin were insiders to the Communist party. Hence, their knowledge of the party, its political processes and people helped them to reform USSR and subsequently Russia. Please note that as individuals regime supporters are not always united, they may decide to follow reformists if they feel the old regime approach is dead. Another example would be to examine how Nikita Khrushchev reformed USSR after Stalin’s death. After Stalin’s death Khrushchev and his close circle of allied politicians quickly jailed or killed politicians that were closely allied to Stalin and his way of government. Only because Khrushchev knew how the political regime worked he was able to reform it (albeit not to a democracy, but to a way less violent regime)
Keeping the government stable
For democracy to survive it is important to keep economic prosperity among the population. In fact, that's a key factor for the survival of any regime. During transition times from dictatorship to democracy the population needs to adjust to new rules that potentially can quickly change. Instability is not healthy for business. In addition, many times dictatorships collapse after acquiring much debt and this debt is falling on the shoulders of a new democratic country. During dictatorship many working places and resources may be owned by the government and will go through a privatization process leading to job losses and instability. Investing in environment where entrepreneurship can thrive and where it is protected will help establishing the democratic rule. Otherwise, discontent people will try to bring back the old times where they at least could have a bread on their table.
The useful idiots
The danger of the useful idiots grow as more people stay poor and uneducated about democracy. While violence and chaos may be on the rise, while employment and economy stay low, many people don't have much choice but to potentially help and support anti-democratic organizations that supply them protection and food. Consequently, stability of police, rule of law, food availability, and employment are important cornerstones of democratic rule. Case study: the growth of the participants in red army in China after the famous Long march
How people act in non-democratic regimes
It is important to note that oppressed people will lie to stay alive. Consequently, in oppressive regimes individuals rarely speak the truth about what they support and what they object. Natan Sharansky in his book “The case for democracy” gives a nice overview of such behaviour. Given this logic, it is counter-productive to assume that large percentage of country population supports an oppressive regime, even if individuals do openly say so and even if they participate in activities to support such regimes. The true set of mind of individuals can only be known when they are free to say what they like without being oppressed. During a transition to democracy more people may decide to support such transition. However! It is also important to note that many individuals do support an oppressive regime even if they are given freedom, because such people benefit from the oppression. Such individuals will continue to support the old regime and fight the democracy. In addition, the new so-called democratic government may not be that democratic or may be repressive against certain people. Such activity of the government may in turn bring more support to the old regime.
The initial government may not be democratic for all
If we go through the history of the old democracies, they didn’t start right away from equal rights to all. Meaning equal rights to all men, women, ethnic minority groups, religious minority groups, sexual minority groups, rights for children, etc. Democracy is an evolving state of ideas that the society agrees to cherish. With time minorities (e.g., slaves in US) gain their rights. When a new democracy is established in a society that is not ready to give full rights to all its members it is still a pretty good advance. Establishment of democratic institutions and legacy will result in future rights of society members that are not yet liberated.
What to do with the supporters of the old regime ?
Many times the initial democratic movement has to cooperate with the previous regime. Even if some high rank officials in the dictatorship regime were removed, there are hundreds of thousands of mid-level management positions occupied by supporters of the previous regime. Starting from the army, to police, to other governmental organizations. It is hard to dismantle these supporters of the previous regime from their power. Do it too quickly and the economy or security of the country will collapse. Do it too slow and the supporters will organize a coup to restore them to power. Let these supporters linger in the background and they will form a party, get democratically elected and then take the ownership of the country again while potentially transitioning back to dictatorship. There are no easy answers on how to deal with such supporters. Civil wars against them generally proved too bloody and destabilizing for a young country. In countries where democrats were able to negotiate deals with old regime supporters democracy could prevail.
Case studies: Chile and Pinochete’s rule (and his supporters) The peace pact between newly established US and the monarchy ruling regime in UK How Khruschev got rid of Stalin’s supporters
On the importance of being united
Liberals and Democrats can have many political views that not necessarily agree with each other. This indeed how democracy works: people have opinions, they debate and vote on them. However, it is important to show a united front against dictatorship supporters. Dictatorship supporters will create their own parties or infiltrate democratic onse. It is important then to make sure that intense political disagreements between Democrats won't split the already shaken support of the public. Otherwise, election of suppressive party or leader is inevitable. While Democrats splitting themselves into smaller parties that have a slightly different view, the supporters of authoritarian regime get united under large parties that win the majority in the parliament and hence get an option to promote laws that limit democratic freedom. Alternatively, supporters of authoritarian regime can get much influence in the government, lock out access of democrats from broadcasting platforms, restrict control of jobs and funds by the government and so on.
Even though most of the democratic countries have constitution that does not mean that the constitution has to be written right away. In young democracy people may not be sure what they want as they never lived under a democratic regime. In addition, a young democracy can split into several countries (e.g., post-soviet split of USSR). As a consequence, it may be better to draft a set of laws that will evolve with time. After several years when the country is economically and socially stabilized it is possible to decide to move on to a constitution or continue governing without it as being done in UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Israel (all these countries have a common historical connection to the UK governing law). Remark: the idea of constitution was invented when life and technology didn’t change as rapidly as today. In present days the social processes change pretty quickly and hence the idea of a static set of laws that is too hard to change may not be wise anymore.
Meanwhile, what do the bad guys do?
To protect the democracy it is wise to spend some time thinking about the opposite side of the “fence”. The people that enjoyed the benefits of authoritarian regime, had high income while confiscating resources of the suppressed population, used to high style of life while others are in dirt, and some potentially enjoyed making others suffer. These people didn't disappear after the fall of the dictatorship. Many of them remain in power. For example, it is not easy to put different governmental employees in charge of a jail. So same people that potentially tortured political dissidents now take care of criminals and arrested supporters of the previous regime. What a convenient mix for networking. Jokes aside, these people are concerned about the following main issues: Avoidance of persecution. Keeping the status, money, etc People with anti-social personality use the chaos to enjoy acts of violence
What can an individual do to promote democracy?
Join some democratic party. Not necessarily on a federal level. Participate in parties on a city level as well. Participate in demonstrations and other social activities that are linked to democracy Educate yourself and others about democracy: what it means and how to sustain it When you see injustice, act. Submit info to the press, distribute on social networks, complain to authorities, demonstrate. Join country's democratic bodies: e.g., army, police, government, parliament, work for government, work for non-profits that participate in activities, join parties, work in municipalities, volunteer Personal security and security of your family and friends is important to protect. In chaotic times of change the police may not get sufficient resources to suppress criminal activity. Being part of voluntary body that keeps peace on the streets may help Be part of the Free press. Write articles and create videos about important issues in your region. You don't have to be part of an official news paper staff. Running a blog or a group via social network also helps. Check out how Bassem Yusuf started.