- Capitalism and Alternatives -

African Democracy

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on October 08, 1999 at 13:20:55:

In Reply to: dictatorship. posted by Kweassa on October 08, 1999 at 11:01:37:

: Virtually all the countries under the equator in Africa, that has a history of continuous civil war, is under dictatorship. While the major cities are under the rule of dictators, the outskirts are ruled by rebellious warlords who are just as bad.

Actually, most of Africa today is democratic. Senegal, Botswana, Zambia, Cape Verde and Zimbabwe are some of teh most longstanding examples, other mroe recent ones include Benin, Mali, Namibia, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Sao Tome, Burkina Faso, and others. In point of fact, though, even during teh epriod when many African states were one-party or no-party states, they were not dictatorships, because they had broad-based coalition governments that allowed for lost of individual participation. Burkina Faso during its revolutionary period (1983-87) and Eritrea since 1993, both socialist states, as well as sao Tome during its communist period, are good examples of thsi kind of benevolent one-party rule. I don't buy the criticism of one-party states on general principle, because teh US was a one-party democracy for a good part of its history, between the dissolution of teh whigs and the fromation fo teh Free-Soil and Republican parties. Some one-party states like Uganda were tyrannical dicttaorships, others were benevolent and fairly democratic. One-party democracy is not an oxymroon, it';s just difficult.

Also, dictatorships of teh pathological mode (Iraq, North korea, Nazi Germany, Maoism) have been rare in Africa.

: Latin America has a history of long long dictatorships, but they do seem to be getting better.

yes, although there are still plenty of ''soft authoritarian' statres (Peru, Grenada), death squad states (Brazil, Colombia), etcetera. Colombia has been called teh most tyrannous state in teh Americas; coincidentally, it's the biggest recipient of US aid in the world after Israel and Egypt.

: Of course, the recently busted Suharto, through a US-sponsored military coup, ruled for about 30 years in Indonesia. Though Suharto kissed the throne good-bye, the military leader Wiranto(Uiranto, Wuiranto.. damn, what's his name?) still has enough political power, backed by military might, to threaten Habibie. Indonesia's still unstable, under the long influence of dictatorship.

Indonesia historically has been one of the most tyrannical and evil dictatorships in the world. See the post below entitled 'Suharto vs. Ho Chi Minh' for a laundry list of teh crimes committed by Indonesia.

: Singapore is virtually a dictatorship.

: I'm not sure about Milosevic and the Balkan countries.

Milosevic is an authoritarian, as was the former president of czechoslovakia. Belarus is run by a somewhat authoritarian leader, but I like his economic policies, so you won't hear me criticize him.

: Oh yes, lat but not the least, the ever infamous Kim Jung-il of North Korea.
The Middle East seems to be teh biggets hotebed of authoritarian government right now. Lastly don't forget teh possibility of benevolent authoritarianism.

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