MCGILL JOURNAL OF POLITICAL STUDIES 2011
Agent of Democracy? Questioning the Media’s Role in the Democratization of Post-Communist States – Olga Redko – 43 Synergizing Reserves and Resources: Foundations of the New Aboriginal Economy– Christian Arseneault – 59 The Social Network – Gabriel Devlin – 71 The Tigers’ Collapse: The LTTE’s Strategic Shift and the End of the Sri Lankan Civil War – James Gilman – 88
Introducing the 2011 Editorial Board and Contributors - 4 In Search of Justice: A Critical Assessment of Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Canadian Judicial Process –Tim Apedaile – 8 The Guardsmen: Iran’s Sepāh-e Pāsdārān-e Enqelāb-e Eslāmi as Domestic Political Actor – Oliver Conroy – 18 Anarchism and Liberal Democracy: Critique and Paths to Explore – John-Erik Hansson – 29 3
Greenpeace and the Media: Symbiosis or Constraint? – Stephanie Duchesneau – 98 Machiavelli: The Teacher of Evil? – Ariana Keyman – 111 The Cause: Individual and Organizational Motivations for Suicide Missions – Kartiga Thavaraj – 117 The Dilemma of Statebuilding in Areas of Areas of Ethnic Violence: How International Efforts to Bolster Georgia’s Statebuilding May Have Contributed to the resurgence of Ethnic Violence Since 2003 -Majd al Khaldi - 129
EDITORIAL BOARD 2011 EDITOR IN CHIEF Glenn Gibson is in her fourth year as an Honours Political Science student with minors in Economics and International Development Studies. She is originally from Toronto, and spent the summer of 2010 working on a FINCA microfinance project in Kampala, Uganda. She is interested in African and Middle Eastern politics, and is currently doing research on counterinsurgency and peacebuilding operations in Kandahar. She hopes to pursue a career in international law and diplomacy.
EDITORS Christopher Bangs is a first year at McGill. He is studying Honours Economics and Mathematics, with a particular interest in public policy. He is an intern at Economists for Peace and Security, and will be working modeling regional foreclosures in his hometown, Pittsburgh, over the summer. Andrew Faisman is a third year McGill student pursuing an Honours degree in Political Science and a Major in Mathematics. His research interests include comparative political economy, the political economy of development and inequality, and Russian politics. Jake Stromberg is in his final year, completing an Honours B.A. in Political Science and a minor in African Studies. His areas of interest include federalism, electoral systems, and East African politics. Lydia Zemko dedication for editing and journalism was first sparked during her internship as an investigative journalist at the United Nations in New York, and further emphasized as the Political Science research assistant of Professor Stolle. She has focused her university courses on international relations in the developing world, particularly regarding questions of security and international crises. Lydia is currently writing her thesis and seminar papers on policy approaches towards rebel groups in Eastern and Central Africa and the implementation of female empowerment policies in post-conflict reconstruction, respectively.
CONTRIBUTORS Tim Apedaile is in his final year at McGill, pursuing an Honours degree in Political Science with a Minor in Philosophy. His areas of interest include political theory, questions of sovereignty, and Canadian politics. Chris Arseneault is a graduating student in Honours Political Science with a Minor in Philosophy. He considers himself a policy dork and often procrastinates with his school work by reading Foreign Affairs and The Economist. When not at school or dodging homework, Christian is involved in Liberal McGill, his provincial riding association, and the constituency office in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. During extended breaks from work, Christian becomes an adrenaline junkie, with his activity of choice being whitewater canoeing. Oliver Conroy is a an American citizen originally from New Jersey, J. Oliver Conroy is a U2 student pursuing a Joint Honours BA in History and Political Science. His academic interests include British and Irish history, the Middle East, and nationalism. In his rare spare time, Oliver enjoys reading novels, working as an associate editor for the Prince Arthur Herald student newspaper, and avoiding eating foods requiring more than three minutes of preparation time. Stephanie Duchesneau is a fourth year student hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, who is currently finishing up the last semester of her Honours BA in Political Science. Stephanie currently serves as the Vice President Academic of McGill’s Political Science Students’ Association and as the head of the Arts Undergraduate Society’s Essay Center. Outside of McGill, she holds a part-time job with MRCNR Strategy Advisors, a Montreal-based Public, Institutional, and Government Relations firm. Gabriel Devlin is a U3 B.A. & Sc. student majoring in Biology, with minors in Political Science and Social Studies of Medicine (i.e. your typical confused collegian). Although he likes to think he is legitimately hispanic, he was just born in Chile, which totally does not count. To compensate, he devotes much attention writing about Latin America, of which his submission “The Social Network” is but one example. Apart from his studies, he also gives out awesome high fives. James Gilman is a a U2 student doing a Joint Honours in Political Science and Middle East Studies, with a minor in Economic. I’m particularly interesting in the politics of South Asia and in the politics of the Middle East.
John-Erik Hansson is a U3 Honours in political science with a minor in German language. I’d love to be a university professor (being in the real world is out of the question) and I’m interested in radical political theories (mostly left wing) and the relationship between culture and political activism. I also have a new-born interest for Plato ! The whole point of my German minor is for me to be able to read some of my favourite philosophers in the original language (Walter Benjamin, you’re next on my list!). Ariana Keyman is in her third year, double majoring in Political Science and Economics. Her main interests within the two fields include international relations theory and economic development, and she hopes to continue her research and studies in pursuit of a career in public and economic policy. Majd al Khaldi i s a U3 Honours Political Science & Economics student. When not balancing budgets as the Arts Undergraduate Society’s Vice President Finance, he may be caught taking photos around Montreal or playing drop-in soccer. Majd was born in pre-war Abkhazia and became familiar with how informal institutions work while interning in Syria this past summer. He once broke both wrists on the same day! Olga Redko is completing her BA in Honours Political Science. Her research interests include political participation, voter behaviour, and the effects of media on politics. After finishing her undergraduate degree she intends to study law. Kartgia Thavaraj is a U2 student at McGill, pursuing an Honours in Political Science with a double minor in International Development Studies and French. She is particularly interested in issues of nationalism and state-formation, foreign policy, security studies, and Canadian and South Asian politics.
PHOTOGRAPHERS Glenn Gibson - cover Majd al Khaldi - cover and table of contents Victor Szuper - cover
In Search of Justice: A Critical Assessment of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in the Canadian Judicial Process Tim Apedaile
Disagreements are an inherent aspect of human interaction and mechanisms for their resolution have therefore proven universally indispensible. Indeed, institutional frameworks for dispute resolution are undoubtedly one of the cornerstones of any society. In the Canadian context, this has manifest itself in an adjudicative court system modelled off that of the United Kingdom, and a legal system that finds its origins in both the British common law and French civil law systems. However, recent developments in this field have given rise to alternative methods of dispute resolution, the study of which will provide the focus for this paper. This paper will argue that, despite certain weaknesses, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) fulfils a crucial role in Canada’s judicial process. To support this claim, this paper will first provide an overview of the two most prevalent methods of ADR, mediation and arbitration, emphasizing the manner in which they differ both from the traditional adjudicative model of dispute resolution, litigation, and from each other. Second, this paper will critically assess both these methods, and ADR in general, through an examination of their various strengths and weaknesses. Finally, this paper will relate the preceding discussion to the broader context of the Canadian judicial process, demonstrating the integral role that ADR has undertaken, and highlighting the need for ongoing political oversight to improve the provision of justice into the future Definition of Terms: Litigation, Mediation, Arbitration To discuss the burgeoning “ADR movement,”1 one must necessarily understand the extent to which it differs from the traditional adjudicative model of litigation. According to Hausegger, Hennigar, and Riddell, the latter is characterized by the application of “laws to the facts surrounding [a] dispute to determine an outcome.”2 In practice, it is a rigid, adversarial process in which strict rules are in place to help navigate between necessarily competitive, and conflicting, claims. The ultimate ruling in a case is reached by judges who are 1 Andrew J. Pirie, Alternative Dispute Resolution: Skills, Science, and the Law (Toronto, ON: Irwin Law Inc., 2000), 1. 2 Lori Hausegger, Matthew Hennigar, and Troy Riddell, Canadian Courts: Law, Politics, and Process (Toronto: ON: Oxford University Press, 2009), 19.
appointed, and whose binding decisions are enforced by the coercive power of the state.3 However, a judge is not the only type of third party that resolves disputes in Canada’s judicial system, and the adjudicative model is consequently not the only type of “triadic” system of dispute resolution.4 Indeed, certain types of disputes, such as those that arise between parties who are likely to maintain their interactions (business or otherwise) following the resolution of the dispute in question, call for a less competitive, more conciliatory, process of dispute resolution.5 Thus, there are various distinct ADR processes; the two most prominent of these – mediation and arbitration – will form the focus of this paper.6 If litigation were to be viewed on one end of a dispute resolution spectrum, mediation would assume the other extreme.7 This is because the parties to a mediated dispute may themselves choose the mediator that will preside over their case and, significantly, he or she “has no authority to impose a settlement.”8 Rather, the mediator must work with both parties in an attempt to find the most mutually desirable outcome, so that the latter are, in effect, the authors of the eventual decision in their case. Finally, where this proves unattainable, the parties may turn to other forms of dispute resolution, such as arbitration or litigation, to settle their case.9 While mediation and litigation take up the extremes of the dispute resolution spectrum, arbitration lies somewhere in the middle. Like with mediation, the parties to an arbitrated dispute have greater power when it comes to choosing their third party arbitrator(s)10 than they would in an adjudicative system. However, the arbitration panel, unlike the mediator, is bound by a rigid process that, in many ways, mirrors the adjudicative system by requiring the passive role of listening to witnesses and weighing evidence so as to apply laws and regulations to the facts of the case.11 A further, crucial difference between 3 Hausegger, Hennigar, and Riddell, Canadian Courts, 19.
4 Hausegger, Hennigar, and Riddell, Canadian Courts, 19. 5 John R. McGinley, Jr., “Arbitration or Litigation: Five Factors to Consider When Making the Choice,” The National Public Accountant, June 2002, 28. 6 Hausegger, Hennigar, and Riddell, Canadian Courts, 89. For a discussion of other, less common forms of ADR in Canada, see George W. Adams and Naomi L. Bussin, “Alternative Dispute Resolution and Canadian Courts: A Time for Change,” Advocates’ Quarterly 17, no. 2 (May 1995), 136-141. 7 Hausegger, Hennigar, and Riddell, Canadian Courts, 19. 8 Canada, ADR Institute of Canada, Inc., “National Mediation Rules,” 2, 4. 9 Daniel Urbas, “Arbitration vs. court litigation?” The Gazette, 18 August 2010, http://www. montrealgazette.com/news/Arbitration%20court%20litigation/3334483/story.html (accessed 12 Nov. 2010). 10 The possibility of the plural with regard to make up of the neutral third party in arbitration is due to the fact that there can either be one person who acts as arbitrator, or a “tripartite panel” that together reach a decision in the case. The distinction depends on the circumstances of the case, especially the stipulations of the relevant contract. See Adams and Bussin, “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” 141. 11 John W. Cooley, “Arbitration vs. Mediation – Explaining the Differences,” Judicature 69, no.
mediation and arbitration is that, unless previously specified in the contract between the parties, the arbitrated decision rendered is binding, with no possibility for appeal. The Benefits of ADR: A Critical Assessment Having provided a brief overview of the mediation and arbitration processes, it is possible to assess them critically in the broader context of the Canadian judicial process. First, the strengths and weaknesses that apply to both mediation and arbitration, as representatives of the broader ADR movement, will be considered. A discussion of the unique aspects of these two respective methods will then follow. The increasing popularity of mediation and arbitration, as alternatives to litigation, is evidence of a void that existed in the Canadian justice system, prior to the ADR movement. As the use of these methods has become more common, and more institutionally entrenched in Canada’s judicial process, this void has started to fill. In particular, the practice of ADR serves to remedy certain practical shortcomings, of which two will be discussed below, that would result from a purely adjudicative Canadian judicial system. First, mediation and arbitration, and the broader ADR movement that they represent, are generally more efficient than their adjudicative conter part. Indeed, while litigation in court is often drawn out over long periods of time, ADR allows for relatively quick resolutions in which decisions are rendered often in months rather than years.12 Such efficiency is the product of a combination of two factors. First, the parties in an arbitrated or mediated dispute effectively “[reserve] their own decision-maker … [who] will give precedence to the dispute resolution” in question so as to achieve a settlement “earlier [rather] than later.”13 That is, unlike litigation, parties engaging in ADR “are privately paying to jump the courthouse queue” by paying a third party to preside over their case.14 Payment allows them to require certain guarantees from their mediator or arbitrator(s), such as the rendering of a timely resolution.15 Second, and perhaps more importantly, ADR is more effcient than litigation because it does not have the same cumbersome procedural regulations as the latter. Indeed, despite the fact that the arbitrative process mirrors litigation more closely than does mediation, they both nevertheless benefit from a more informal process that places a lesser premium on “rigorously testing facts, witness credibility and legal propositions” than does litigation.16 Although this can raise concerns from a due process perspective, 5 (February-March 1986), 265. ���������������������������������������������������������� Adams and Bussin, “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” 144. ��������������������������������������������������� Daniel Urbas, “Arbitration vs. court litigation?” ��������������������������������������������� Pirie, Alternative Dispute Resolution, 219. ��������������������������������������������������� Daniel Urbas, “Arbitration vs. court litigation?” �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Adams and Bussin, “Alternative Dispute Resolution,”142. See also Canada, ADR Institute of Canada, Inc., “National Arbitration Rules,” 11-12.
Canada has developed rules for both methods, which provide a framework that ensures fairness for both parties, and they can only be waived in instances in which both parties agree to do so, as stipulated in their contract.17 Thus, ADR provides an efficient alternative to the already backlogged route of court litigation, and seeks to remedy the concern that “justice delayed is justice denied.”18 The second advantage of ADR,intimately linked to the first, is its cost effectiveness relative to litigation. In 1993, when ADR in Canada was still in its infancy, it was estimated that “the total legal bills to all parties in an average General Divi“Indeed, while sion lawsuit … may easily amount to between litigation in court $40,000 and $50,000.”19 Given this significant amount, it was possible to conclude at the time is often drawn out that “only the very poor or the very wealthy have over long periods meaningful access to [Canada’s] courts,” the forof time, ADR almer due to government assistance.20 In this light, the need for a solution to Canada’s “prohibitive” lows for relatively adjudicative system was evident. quick resolutions
in which decisions
ADR has provided, at least in part, this are rendered often solution. It is true, as has been seen, that ADR can incur additional costs; as John McGinley in months rather points out, while a claimant who pursues her than years.” case through litigation need not pay for the judge that will hear her case, nor the courtroom in which it will be heard, ADR often requires the parties jointly to cover not only the costs of the third party, but also those of the facility, and any other expenses associated with the process, in addition to the lawyer’s fees that come with litigation and ADR alike.21 Nevertheless, the relative speed with which a case can be decided through ADR can – and often does – compensate, both financially and in time saved, for these larger overhead costs, and therefore provide a competitive alternative to the traditional adjudicative model of dispute resolution.22 In summary, ADR in general, and arbitration and mediation in particular, can benefit Canada’s judicial process by providing a cheaper and more efficient alternative to traditional court litigation, in those instances in which ADR is an appropriate option. In addition to these general advantages of ADR, both ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Cf. Canada, ADR Institute of Canada, Inc., “National Arbitration Rules”; Canada, ADR Institute of Canada, Inc., “National Mediation Rules.” ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� D. Paul Edmond qtd. in Adams and Bussin, “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” 142. ���������������������������������������������������������� Adams and Bussin, “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” 143. ���������������������������������������������������������� Adams and Bussin, “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” 142. �������������������������������������������� McGinley, “Arbitration or Litigation,” 29. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Adams and Bussin, “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” 142-143; Daniel Urbas, “Arbitration vs. court litigation?”
mediation and arbitration entail benefits unique to their methodology. Mediation addresses two important shortcomings inherent to a purely adjudicative system that are not resolved by arbitration. First, the traditional adjudicative method of resolving disputes is, by definition, one-sided to the extent that a judge, or panel of judges, renders a verdict that is imposed, coercively if necessary, on the parties to the dispute. While such tactics can be necessary in certain circumstances, such as in criminal law trials,23 advocates of mediation argue that, for some cases, greater justice can be achieved if the parties themselves negotiate a settlement for their case.24 In this manner, the parties become a part of the solution; the “people who must live with the outcome” engage in “direct participation” rather than remaining passive recipients who feel no ownership over the decision and might harbour resentment toward it.25 This change in the dynamic of dispute resolution allows for greater affinity on the part of Canadians with the nation’s overall judicial process and addresses one limitation of a purely adjudicative process as a result.26 Second, the adjudicative process is limited in the solutions it can impose with regard to the cases in which it is used. That is, a judge, or panel of judges, can decide to rule in favour of, or against, a specific claimant and may enjoy some discretion in matters such as sentencing; however, the adjudicating third party cannot stray from the prescriptions of the law as they apply to the facts of the case. While this may seem universally desirable, in the right circumstances creativity when designing a solution may serve the mutual advantage of the claimants, without bringing the judicial system into disrepute.27 For example, in a contract dispute in which a former employee argues that her employer owes her money, the mediator may point out that possible solutions could include not only payment of the disputed amount, but also the re-hiring of the employee at a different salary or under an improved contract.28 Equally unconventional solutions may easily be imagined for analogous family law cases such as divorce settlements.29 Thus, while the settlement in a mediated case could mirror that of a conventional adjudicated verdict, the very possibility of unconventional solutions is beneficial because it widens the potential area in ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� It is true that the use of mediation in criminal law cases is rare; however, as Hausegger, Hennigar, and Riddell point out, it can be used in some instances. See Hausegger, Hennigar, and Riddell, Canadian Courts, 91 for one example regarding a juvenile delinquent in Saskatchewan. See also Pirie, Alternative Dispute Resolution, 258-264 for a discussion of various methods of ADR designed specifically for criminal cases. ��������������������������������������������� Pirie, Alternative Dispute Resolution, 151. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Joseph Weiler qtd. in Canadian Bar Association, Report of the Canadian Bar Association Task Force on Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Canadian Perspective (Ottawa, ON: The Canadian Bar Foundation, 1989), 11. ���������������������������������������������������������� Adams and Bussin, “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” 141. ���������������������������������������������������������� Adams and Bussin, “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” 140. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� The premise of this example is inspired by a settlement conference that the author attended on 8 October 2010 at the Palais de Justice de Montréal. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Cf. Canadian Bar Association, Report … on Alternative Dispute Resolution, 12-15.
which conflicting parties may find common ground. To the extent, therefore, that mediation broadens the pool of possible solutions, it fills a void in the adjudicative process of dispute resolution. However, the benefits of mediation in no way support the conclusion that Canada’s adjudicative process should be abandoned. Indeed, both improvements highlighted above are premised on the fact that they only apply in certain circumstances – namely, disputes arising out of a contractual relationship. Thus, alternate processes, adjudicative or otherwise, are necessary for those cases in which mediation is inappropriate. Further, because mediation is nonbinding, it can happen that the parties prove unable to reach an agreement. In these instances, the mediator may draft a “written recommendation for terms of settlement” based on what he or she deems reasonable in light of the facts of the particular case as a final effort to reconcile the parties’ differences and resolve the dispute.30 Yet, should this also fail, the parties may be required to resort to other forms of dispute resolution, such as arbitration or litigation, to settle their case. In summary, not only does mediation entail those benefits inherent to ADR in general, it further contributes to the Canadian judicial process by providing a framework by which conflicting parties are able to claim ownership over their settlement agreement and by allowing for creative solutions that encourage compromise in an unconventional, yet effective manner. Thus, despite its limitations in scope and authority, mediation is an invaluable mechanism for dispute resolution in Canada, and therefore an integral part of its judicial process. Like mediation, arbitration offers unique benefits to Canada’s judicial system. In particular, arbitration provides a compromise between strict litigation and mediation by allowing for binding decisions while forsaking neither the efficiency nor the cost effectiveness of ADR. In this manner, arbitration can be a valued option for those disputes that cannot be successfully resolved through mediation, either initially, or in principle. In the case of the former, rather than incur the costs of taking a dispute that failed mediation to court, the parties can enter into a second attempt to resolve their dispute in which they both agree that the decision of the arbitrator(s) will be final. Given the frequency with which the resort to arbitration is mandated in contracts, and indeed used in practice, it is evident that there is a significant demand for non-adjudicative, binding dispute resolution in Canada.31 As the mechanism by which to meet this demand, arbitration should therefore be valued for its contribution to the Canadian judicial process. Like with mediation, the unique benefit of arbitration must be understood within the greater framework of Canada’s judicial system. Certainly, arbi����������������������������������������������������������������������� Canada, ADR Institute of Canada, Inc., “National Mediation Rules,” 4. ������������������������������������������������� Pirie, Alternative Dispute Resolution, 238-281.
tration is not appropriate for the resolution of all disputes. Rather, the fact that its use is limited speaks to its specialization and its resulting ability to provide greater justice in specific cases. ADR in the Canadian Judicial Process Having discussed both the advantages and limitations of mediation and arbitration, and the broader ADR movement they represent, it is possible to draw some conclusions regarding their place within Canada’s judicial process. As has been shown, ADR processes can be both cheaper and more efficient than traditional litigation. In addition, mediation provides the support necessary for parties to claim ownership over the justice process by resolving their own disputes, and allows for the introduction of previously unforeseen creative resolutions that can be mutually beneficial. For its part, arbitration synthesizes the benefits of ADR with those of litigation to provide the possibility of a binding resolution that is attractive to many parties bound by contract. However, these benefits of ADR must be carefully fostered by the appropriate regulatory bodies, making the success of ADR a necessarily political question. Given the increasing popularity of ADR in Canada, a lack of institutional administration would seriously undermine the quality of justice provided by the nation’s judicial process. With this in mind, the 1989 Canadian Bar Association Task Force Report on Alternative Dispute Resolution recommended the implementation of “standards of good practice and ethical limitations” that would serve “to ensure quality ADR services in the dispute resolution field.”32 According to the task force, such goals require that “the Canadian Bar Association at national and provincial levels, the governments of Canada at all levels, [and the] Canadian Law Reform agencies … respond openly and positively to requests for assistance [by ADR organizations and programs] … in the form of financial support, allocation of human resources, creative policy development and necessary legislative action.”33 In short, Canada’s legislative and executive branches must actively support the implementation of ADR in the judiciary for it to be successful. In light of the need for the institutional safeguarding of ADR, and to combat judicial backlogs, some have proposed to make methods such as mediation and arbitration mandatory. For example, Rule 24.1 of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure under the Courts of Justice Act “provides for mandatory mediation in specified actions, in order to reduce cost and delay in litigation and facilitate the early and fair resolution of disputes.”34 However, as both Patricia Hughes and Andrew Pirie have argued, legislation that makes arbitration and mediation mandatory, regardless of whether it is contractually mandated, can ��������������������������������������������������������������������������� Canadian Bar Association, Report … on Alternative Dispute Resolution, 59. �������������������������������������������������������������������������� Canadian Bar Association, Report … on Alternative Dispute Resolution, 74 ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Ontario, Courts of Justice Act: Regulation 194, Rules of Civil Procedure, 1 July 2010, http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_900194_e.htm#s24p1p 01 (accessed 14 Nov. 2010).
have negative consequences. For Hughes, the essential nature of mediation is that it allows for self-determination; however, this would be “subverted by the potential coercion” of forcing parties to mediate.35 That is, the benefit of providing the parties with a sense of ownership over the resolution of their dispute, and therefore the judicial process in general, would be lost were the practice premised on an initial coercive act. For Pirie, though mandatory arbitration clauses may be beneficial in some instances, they raise concerns with regard to fairness to the extent that “experienced repeat player[s],” such as businesses, stand to gain a significant advantage over individuals less familiar with the process.36 According to this logic, mandatory arbitration would unfairly benefit those that are party to numerous contracts and therefore numerous disputes over those who are only concerned with one contract – namely their own – because of a lack of ADR procedural experience. In summary, institutional regulation plays an integral role in the contribution that ADR makes to the provision of a “justice” that is compatible with the fundamental aims of Canada’s judicial system. However, as has been seen, legislators in this field must take into account both the potentially undesirable practical outcomes of a proposed regulation, and the fundamental nature of the ADR methods themselves, to determine whether the benefits of the regulation in question outweigh its burdens. As a result of the important role that legislation must therefore play, the manner in which ADR is included in, and reconciled with Canada’s existing judicial process speaks to the fundamentally political nature of this issue. Conclusion This paper has argued that, despite certain weaknesses, alternative dispute resolution fulfils a crucial role in Canada’s judicial process. Indeed, through their relative cost effectiveness and efficiency, techniques such as mediation and arbitration address important shortcomings of a purely adjudicative dispute resolution process. Further, both techniques have their own unique advantages. Mediation provides a method by which the parties themselves can resolve their dispute, thereby gaining a sense of ownership over the judicial process; and it gives rise to the possibility of creative settlements that are mutually advantageous, if unconventional. As for arbitration, it provides an alternative to litigation that enjoys the above-listed benefits of ADR, without forsaking the ability to render binding decisions that is often necessary, yet unavailable to mediation. Despite these significant benefits, ADR has its disadvantages. In cases of intractable dispute, mediation is powerless to enforce a resolution, and if it is nevertheless undertaken, may serve only to further delay an already long process that will eventually require arbitration or litigation. Further, both media ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Patricia Hughes, “Mandatory Mediation: Opportunity or Subversion?” Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 19 (2001), 200. ��������������������������������������������� Pirie, Alternative Dispute Resolution, 233. ����
tion and arbitration are limited in their appropriateness as methods of dispute resolution; in instances in which no contract has been signed, or no analogous responsibilities have been assumed, neither technique may be appropriate, giving rise to the continued need for litigation. As a result of these shortcomings, a dynamic legislative process is necessary, the aim of which should be to triage, with increasing accuracy, the disputes for which resolution is sought according to the technique that will best fit each case. This kind of recommendation calls for a level of nuance that is missed by blanket legislation such as that which would require mandatory ADR, more or less indiscriminately. Thus, as the use of alternative methods of dispute resolution continues to increase, so too will the need for evolution in its legislative support structure. To the extent that this is achieved, Canada will continue to improve its judicial process, with the ultimate goal of providing its citizens with the most just forms of dispute resolution possible.
Adams, George W., and Naomi L. Bussin. “Alternative Dispute Resolution and Canadian Courts: A Time for Change.” Advocates’ Quarterly 17, no. 2 (May 1995): 133-157. Canada, ADR Institute of Canada, Inc. National Arbitration Rules. Amended October 2008. ———. National Mediation Rules. 13 June 2005. Canadian Bar Association. Report of the Canadian Bar Association Task Force on Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Canadian Perspective. Ottawa, ON: The Canadian Bar Foundation, 1989. Cooley, John W. “Arbitration vs. Mediation – Explaining the Differences.” Judicature 69, no. 5 (February-March 1986): 263-269. Hausegger, Lori, Matthew Hennigar, and Troy Riddell. Canadian Courts: Law, Politics, and Process. Toronto: ON: Oxford University Press, 2009. Hughes, Patricia. “Mandatory Mediation: Opportunity or Subversion?” Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 19 (2001): 161-202. McGinley, John R., Jr. “Arbitration or Litigation: Five Factors to Consider When Making the Choice.” The National Public Accountant. June 2002: 28-29. Ontario. Courts of Justice Act: Regulation 194, Rules of Civil Procedure. 1 July 2010. http:// www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_900194_e.htm#s24p1p 01 (last accessed 18 Nov. 2010). Pirie, Andrew J. Alternative Dispute Resolution: Skills, Science, and the Law. Toronto, ON: Irwin Law Inc., 2000. Urbas, Daniel. “Arbitration vs. court litigation?” The Gazette, 18 August 2010, http://www. montrealgazette.com/news/Arbitration%20court%20litigation/3334483/story.html (last accessed 18 Nov. 2010).
The Guardsmen: Iran’s Sepāh-e Pāsdārān-e Enqelāb-e Eslāmi as Domestic Political Actor John Oliver Conroy Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will guard the guards themselves?) – Juvenal, The Satires The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (or Pasdaran)1 – the secretive military organization tasked with Iran’s state security and postRevolutionary consolidation – is an organization with a role even larger than its ambitious portfolio would suggest. Established by Ayatollah Khomeini to safeguard the 1979 Islamic Revolution, it answers directly to the clerical branch of the Iranian government and is a parallel military organization rivaling the regular military (the Artesh). As a loyalist military unit it is superficially similar to other post-revolutionary or anti-coup forces across history, from the Soviet Union’s Cheka secret police to Iraq’s Republican Guard under Saddam Hussein. Yet the Pasdaran is an organization that has grown to take on a variety of missions, roles, and capacities beyond mere state security; recent research has suggested suggests that the Pasdaran has deeply infiltrated society (via its ideological outreach programs and militias), the state (some 34 current senior posts are occupied by current or former Pasdars),3 and the economy (one estimate has the Pasdaran netting $12 billion a year through black market activities).2 So what is the Pasdaran? Is it an oppressive secret police? an asymmetric military force? a terrorist organization, as the US government considers it? an ideological weapon of the clerical government? an economic institution, a quasi-mafia that illegally imports decidedly un-Islamic goods like tobacco and alcohol? Is it all of these things, or none of them? Defining the shadowy Pasdaran is inherently difficult, but if that makes anything clear it is that the organization cannot be considered in simple terms. The contemporary Pasdaran is frequently analyzed in terms of its foreign policy implications or military capacity, overlooking its importance as a domestic actor. Indeed, some have argued that the Pasdaran may be “more profitably viewed as a deeply entrenched 1The full name of the organization in Persian is Sepāh-e Pāsdārān-e Enqelāb-e Eslāmi, or “the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution.” Among Iranians, it is often referred to as the Pasdaran (guards) or Sepah (army, but contrasted to the regular army, the Artesh). In Englishlanguage international media it is called the Iranian or Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). In this paper I refer to it as the Pasdaran for consistency and concision. 2“Showing Who’s Boss: Iran’s Hard Men Purge Opponents and Line Their Pockets” in The Economist, August 27, 2009, http://www.economist.com/node/14327633?story_id=14327633 (accessed November 25, 2010).
domestic institution. Arguably, this internal role overshadows its significance as a purely military force.”3 A brief history of the Pasdaran and an analysis of its recent activities will suggest that the Pasdaran is one of the most important domestic institutions in Iranian politics and one that, although hypothetically accountable to the clerical government, is an increasingly autonomous statewithin-a-state that acts aggressively to promote its own interests. The 1979 Iranian Revolution was the Pasdaran’s genesis. The street-bystreet fighting that toppled the Iranian monarchy was conducted by informal revolutionary militias and defected military units. Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini sought to consolidate the Revolution and consequently needed a more disciplined and, even more importantly, loyal military force. In May 1979 he decreed the creation of the inchoate Pasdaran. Aside from securing the streets, Khomeini’s two main intents for this new revolutionary guard were, first, to co-opt potential rival militias and, second, to balance the existing, Western-trained military (Artesh), which had largely remained neutral during the Revolution and was considered unreliable. The purposes for and manner in which the Pasdaran was created are essential to bear in mind when analyzing the organization. Its forming membership were zealous Islamist street fighters whose “first loyalty was to the clerics and not the new government.”4 Thus the Pasdaran was from the start distinguished from a regular armed force, and its members were impressed with not just elitism but a belief that they were to some extent above the law. Khomeini took a personal interest in the establishment of the Pasdaran. He assigned it the broad mandate to “protect the revolution from destructive forces and counterrevolutionaries,’ ” and “from their inception the Guards were given a wide degree of independence – including their own budget – and soon acquired supreme administrative and legislative authority.”5 The Pasdaran’s constitutional role as “guardians of the Revolution”6 made intervention in politics practically a duty. Indeed,from the start the Pasdaran was a political force in Iran, involved in regime in-fighting and confronting political divisions within its own ranks. Its mission to defend the purity of the Islamic Revolution, later enshrined in Iran’s constitution, allowed for participation in politics. Guard leaders considered themselves free from civilian political authority other than the Supreme Leader and fought against [secular interim Prime Minister] Bazargan’s attempts to control them.7 3 Frederic Wehrey, et al., xii. 4 Steven R. Ward, Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2009), 226. 5 Con Coughlin, Khomeini’s Ghost: The Iranian Revolution and the Rise of Militant Islam (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 158. The direct quote is not cited by Coughlin but is presumably Khomeini himself or a founding document related to the Pasdaran. 6 Specifically, the Constitution stipulates that the Pasdaran, “organized in the early days of the triumph of the Revolution, is to be maintained so that it may continue in its role of guarding the Revolution and its achievements” (chapter IX, article 150). 7 Ward, 227.
The combination of generous budgetary and administrative consideration and a para-political responsibility was a potent mix that made possible the Padaran’s transformation into one of the most important domestic actors in Iranian politics. After the establishment of the Pasdaran, the Pasdars were employed diligently consolidating the Revolution, a task which required the quelling of various ethnic uprisings and secular leftist revolutionaries, and further cemented their role as an internal military force. Intelligence branches were soon established. Similarly the Basij-e Mostazafan (Basij) was established in the chaos of revolutionary consolidation to act as an Iranian paramilitary reserve. The Basij militia system was organized more loosely and recruited poorer Iranians; it combined the Islamist fanaticism of the Pasdaran with none of the professionalism. The Basij was not fully incorporated into the Pasdaran’s organizational structure until 2007 but was closely affiliated with the Pasdaran for its whole history and will be treated here as a corollary of the Pasdaran.9 The Basij can be compared somewhat to the “workers’ militias” of Communist states or the Brownshirts of Fascism: ideological rather than professional, answering directly to the Party (in this case, to the clerics), and somewhat outside of the official state apparatus. As much as the Revolution itself, the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War was a defining moment in the evolution of the Pasdaran and forms a major part of its institutional mythology. The war was initiated when Saddam Hussein, sensing opportunity in the weak post-revolutionary Iran and fearing Shiite uprising in his own country, launched an attack with the superior Iraqi military. Iran’s response was uncoordinated (especially given initial separate deployment of the Pasdaran and the regular Artesh) and Iran’s military forces badly lacked ammunition and other supplies. What they did not lack, however, was morale. The Pasdaran in particular fought fiercely, spearheading several offensives that the conventional military leaders thought were unnecessarily risky. The auxiliary Basij were used as cannon fodder in human wave attacks, including the notorious use of child soldiers as mine sweepers. Tactics like those, horrifying even to the opposing Iraqi soldiers, were nonetheless very effective as asymmetric tactics that exploited the one strategic advantage that Iran had: population. Differences of strategy between the radical Pasdaran and the more secular and conservative Artesh leadership further underscore the difference between the two organizations. The Pasdaran military leaders preferred to rely upon close control infantry assault and, until 1985, human-wave tactics, whereas the armed forces favoured selected strikes using the element of surprise and close air and artillery support. The former believed Iran should use its manpower superiority and fanatical dedication of its troops, particularly the Baseej, as often as necessary. The latter felt combat plans should avoid suicidal assaults and disproportionate losses.8 8 Sepehr Zabih, The Iranian Military in Revolution and War (New York: Routledge, 1988), 213.
Collective memory of the Pasdaran’s role in the Iran-Iraq War is not monolithic. Some Iranians associate ineptitude and misguided fervor with the Pasdaran’s conduct more than heroism.9 Yet the Pasdaran and its clerical patrons recall a “sacred defense” of Iran reminiscent of the classical Shiite Ashura themes of sacrifice and martyrdom.10 The (in)famous use of child jihadis was not concealed by the regime but actually emphasized and mythologized since it proved the ideological unity of the Iranian population (if children were willing to act as minesweepers) and showed the desperation of Iran in the face of a seemingly existential threat. It also made internal Iranian dissent more difficult because criticizing the war would mean insulting the sacrifice of those that had died. In 1986 the minister of the Pasdaran declared that 57 percent of military forces at the Kheybar offensive were school children (some 10,000 of which were killed, maimed, or taken prisoner).11 The Pasdaran’s role in the Iran-Iraq War is highlighted here because of ongoing relevance: the Pasdaran’s credibility and ethical appeal are grounded in the Iran-Iraq War, and its continuing role as a domestic actor would be impossible without it. The Pasdaranis a thoroughly politicised institution whose claim to a role in the future of the Islamic Republic is based on its protecting the Republic against domestic foes and participating in the war against Iraq. Even its foes must acknowledge the credibility of these two claims, supported as they are by the heavy casualties that the [Pasdaran] .and its affiliate Baseej have sustained since 1979 12 Indeed, some have even suggested that the Pasdaran deliberately prolonged the war in order to glorify itself, marginalize the Artesh to lessen the risk of a military coup, and further consolidate the Revolution,13 though this is doubtful as the war ended due to a shifting military balance. Nonetheless, it speaks to the astounding institutional influence of the Pasdaran that it is at least conceivable that the institution could – alone or with the cooperation of the clerical branch of government – unnecessarily prolong a war out of domestic self-interest. Propelled by the spiritual and martial legacy of the Iran-Iraq War, the Pasdaran entered the 1990s and 2000s with ever-increasing strength, both in political and military spheres. The Pasdaran “had developed far beyond the motley collection of Islamic fanatics that had originally been brought together to defend Khomeini’s 1979 Revolution. The three decades following the Iranian revolution had seen the Guards become almost a state within a state, an organization that rivaled the official government in terms of the day-to -day power and influence it exerted throughout the country.”14 The Pasdaran increased 9 Wehrey et al., 24. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Michael Axworthy, Empire of the Mind: A History of Iran (New York: Basic Books, 2008), 267-8. ������������� Zabih, 220. ������������� Zabih, 223. ���������������������� Wehrey et al., 24-5. ����������������� Coughlin, 329.
its intelligence and internal security capacities, further integrated the Basij into its command structure, and, notably, expanded into public works and financial activities. Its public works activities in the periphery made and continue to make the Pasdaran/Basij extremely popular in rural areas, in marked contrast to urban areas such as Tehran where it is associated with political repression.15 Despite, or perhaps because of, its increasing bureaucratic and corporate interests, the Pasdaran has remained true to its role as Praetorian Guard of Khomeinism. Indeed, as time has passed, its willingness to intervene in politics has only increased. In one incident in 1999, twenty-four senior Pasdaran officers appeared to threaten a coup if the moderate prime minister did not act more assertively in dealing with dissent; the Artesh, in contrast, remained apolitical.16 New “Ashura brigades” were established to combat antiregime protests. Chapters of the Basij have been attached to every Iranian university: their purpose is not only to recruit potential members but to serve as a counterforce against student reform movements, and the Basijis have not hesitated to enact violent reprisals against student activists.17 The ability of the Pasdaran to mobilize street thugs is exemplary of wider trends in the Pasdaran’s power as a domestic institution. The Pasdaran’s penetration of society is not limited to its own professional intimidators; rather it controls civil discourse through ideological manipulation and mass mobilization. The Pasdaran’s mission justifies practically limitless intervention in society. Because the loyalist Pasdaran is responsible for ensuring the continued success of the Islamic Revolution, its definition of a “threat” is broad. Historically this has meant traditional coup-proofing and prevention of conspiracy against the regime, but as with the communist states, its definition of “counterrevolutionary forces” can contract and expand unpredictably. The Pasdaran has shown an interesting paranoia against not just conventional threats to the regime but the threat of a “soft coup” – a grassroots reform movement with widespread support in civil society as well as clandestine support from the West. Continuing the communist analogy, the Pasdaran fears a “velvet revolution” of the type that swept Czechoslovakia and the other former Warsaw Pact states.18 The Pasdaran’s impressive tools of repression were most recently implemented during the 2009 Iranian protests following the presidential election. Reformist Iranians flooded the streets to protest the allegedly fraudulent election that reelected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The regime reacted brutally. Basij militias beat protestors, and the Pasdaran’s special “Ashura brigade” riot squads quelled protests using truncheons as well as occasional bullets. Arrested ���������������������� Wehrey et al., 42-3. ������������ Ward, 307. ���������������������� Wehrey et al., 40-1. ��������������������� Wehrey et al., 47.
protestors were tortured and in a few cases killed. A brief survey of the Pasdaran’s history has shown that – despite professionalization and occasional restructurings – time has only increased the Pasdaran’s entrenchment in the Iranian political system and its power as a force that is arguably above the law. Though the Pasdaran’s internal and domestic roles are of chief interest here, any examination of the organization would be remiss if it did not consider the Pasdaran’s external roles, for its internal and external aspects are intrinsically linked. Notably, the Pasdaran is legally vested with “exporting revolution.” The Quds (Jerusalem) Force19 was established by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a special, top-secret unit of the Pasdaran. In contrast to the Basij, dedicated as it is to internal security and the policing of ideological conformity inside Iran, the Quds force “The Pasdaran’s is dedicated to exporting the Islamic revolution. penetration of Even its name underscores this. Jerusalem is one of the holiest cities in Islam, yet it is occupied society is not by the hated Israelis, with Iran’s long-time enemy limited to its Iraq in-between. The implications of crusade tie own professional neatly into the Islamic Republic’s desire to spread its model elsewhere, as well as provide a “way of intimidators; making sure [the Iranian clerics have] a significant rather it controls stake in the long-running Arab-Israeli dispute.”20 civil discourse
Though little is known about the Quds force, it is widely suspected of the use of proxy manipulation and actors worldwide. This includes aid to anti-US mass mobilization.” insurgency groups in Iraq, support for Pakistan in the Kashmir dispute, affiliations with the Saudi and Bahraini Shiite populations, and close work with the Lebanese Hizbullah. The collaboration with Hizbullah included the notorious events in Argentina in 1992 and 1994: In 1992, Hizbullah, “working closely with the Iranian embassy,”21 bombed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. In 1994, Hizbullah bombed a second Argentine target, a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Because hatred enables even the strangest of bedfellows, Hizbullah appeared to have worked with local neo-Nazis as well as Iran. After the 1994 bombing, INTERPOL issued warrants for Iranians including the commander of the Quds force and the commander of the Pasdaran as a whole. 22 The Quds force answers directly to the Supreme Leader. While it is true ���������������������������������������������������� Sometimes also transliterated as Qods or similar. ����������������� Coughlin, 254. ���������������� Coughlin, 269. �������� Ibid.
that the Pasdaran as a whole answers to the clerical branch of government, not the president and his political cabinet, the Quds force in particular seems to operate with such a carte blanche that some have expressed doubt as to whether the Iranian president knows what it does, let alone exercises any control over them. Iranian dissident Mohsen Sazegara, himself an original founder of the Pasdaran, recently elaborated, “Not only the foreign ministry of Iran[,] even the president does not know what the Revolutionary Guards does outside of Iran. They directly report to the [Supreme Leader].”23 With so little oversight on its external or internal activities, it is unsurprising that the Pasdaran is presently one of the most influential forces in Iranian society and grows more so every day. As a domestic actor, its power and influence are legendary among Iranians. Sazegara further characterized the Pasdaran as akin to a “political party” that is simultaneously “an army, a security organization, a secret service, a huge complex of companies.”24 (Though, it should be noted, it is not always as cohesive a “political party” as it might appear: some members of the opposition are ex-Pasdars.) While the Pasdaran is a domestic actor in the broadest sense, particular analysis should be given to its capacities as an economic actor and as a political machine, and the interaction between the two capacities. The Pasdaran’s wealth is unknown, but it is suspected to be highly wealthy thanks to both legal and illegal financial activities. After the culmination of the Iran-Iraq War, the Pasdaran and Basij sought new peacetime roles, both to increase their public image and to justify themselves institutionally. Infrastructure projects in the rural periphery served both interests well; so well, in fact, that the Pasdaran soon established its own private contractor that is now one of the largest in Iran. Peacetime infrastructure improvement activities are hardly unknown for militaries in either the developing or developed world (compare, e.g., the US Army Corp of Engineers), but some of the other economic activities that the Pasdaran has become involved in are decidedly unconventional, including its financial ventures ranging from “laser eye surgery ... to automobile manufacturing and real estate.”25 The rise of the Pasdaran as an economic institution has been enabled by questionable or corrupt practices – no-bid contracts, off-the-books accounting, and insider trading with government officials. Though no one outside the Pasdaran itself knows the full extent of its economic activities, it has been estimated to own more than 100 companies, leading to characterizations of the Pasdaran as a “cartel or trust.”26 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Quoted in Agence France-Press (AFP), “Iranian Dissident Warns of US Actions Against Iran,” archived in Google News, http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5icLzDq4U3AYTKtqSnVWxlFk1CUA (accessed November 26, 2010). �������� Ibid. ��������������������� Wehrey et al., 55. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Renee Montagne, “The Evolution of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard,” National Public Radio (NPR), http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9371072 (accessed November
Moreover, any analysis of the Pasdaran’s economic impact must consider both formal and informal economic influence. The origins of the Pasdaran’s current financial activities apparently lay in social networks of Iran-Iraq veterans .and ex-defense officials 27 The “old guard”28 fashioned a large, informal network of current and ex-Pasdars and that network acts as a sort of Iranian old-boy network, with jobs and favors distributed generously. Thus the Pasdaran’s role as an economic actor might be realized either in, e.g., the operation of a company officially owned by the Pasdaran or its subsidiaries or when, e.g., the most lucrative financial exchanges of the year occur between businessmen who are all incidentally ex-Pasdars. Furthermore the Pasdaran is involved in the black market. Thanks to its control of Iran’s jetties and borders, the Pasdaran is empowered to be the largest smuggler in the country and may well be. Ironically, the organization responsible for enforcing revolutionary Islamism on Iranians also appears to trafficvastquantities of alcohol, cigarettes, satellite dishes, and other un-Islamic goods into Iran. Furthering the irony, the Pasdaran is also responsible for seizing contraband and smuggled imports even though it itself is doing most of that smuggling. Regardless of the various contradictions in place, the Pasdaran makes an astounding amount of money: it is estimated to make a 200-300 percent profit yield on its illegal sales.29 Between its aggressive grabbing of no-bid contracts, its shadowy finances, and its smuggling activities, inevitable comparisons to the mafia have been made by the Pasdaran’s critics.30 The Pasdaran gets away with its corrupt financial behavior because the public (including the bazaari,merchant class) does not realize the (full) extent of the activities, because its public service projects are popular, and because the public is frightened of it. Hypocritical activities such as the importation of contraband alcohol would be damaging to the Pasdaran’s reputation, but little to no concrete proof exists of the Pasdaran’s involvement in those sorts of financial activities. The Pasdaran’s role as an economic actor is closely related to its role as a political one. Those roles especially interact in the Pasdaran’s extensive network of patronage.31 While inherently pro-regime in the sense of being a loyalist security force, the Pasdaran can also choose to throw its weight behind specific politicians and political actors. These are usually members of the sitting government. The Pasdaran has developed an especially close relationship with 28, 2010). ��������������������� Wehrey et al., 56. ������������������� No pun intended. �������������������� Wehrey et al., 65. ����������������������� “Showing Who’s Boss.” ������������������� Wehrey et al., 3.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, himself an ex-member. Foreign relations expert William R. Polk asserts that the Iranian president “built a formidable organization that, while officially charged with running the government, was also able to mobilize political support for him,” and the Pasdaran is an integral part of this apparatus. In the 2005 elections, The 120,000-man Revolutionary Guard, in which Ahmadinejad had served, was already with him and he won over the (at least) three millionman basiji organizations ... The Revolutionary Guard had already become an economic powerhouse and basijis were rewarded in 2008 by the creation for it of the “Basij Construction Organization.” In short, Ahmadinejad did what many American city [political] bosses had done: He created a powerful constituency for his administration by using government funds to subsidize popular programs and place his men where they would do his bidding and at the proper time deliver votes.32 “Ahmadinejad may Some have questioned whether the tail have received the is wagging the dog. Ahmadinejad may support and political have received the support and political mobilization of the Pasdaran, but that is mobilization of the not the same thing as controlling them; Pasdaran, but that is rather their mutual interests interacted not the same thing favorably at that given time. The as controlling them; Pasdaran, after all, answers to the clerical branch of government, not the president. rather their mutual One dissident ex-Pasdar explains that interests interacted “the reason Ahmadinejad is there to favorably at that begin with is because [clerics] Ayatollah given time.” Khamenei, Jannati, and Mesbah-Yazdi want him there.”33 The question of how autonomous the Pasdaran actually is continues to be debated. Some characterize the organization as acting as a virtual state-within-a-state, while others say that, although powerful, the Pasdaran remains a definite tool of the clerics and that the “focus on the [Pasdaran] as a separate entity and a force who will be able to govern on their own ... is wrong.”34 Unfortunately, the lack of information about the shadowy Pasdaran means that it is impossible, at this point, to know ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� William R. Polk, Understanding Iran: Everything You Need to Know, From Persia to the Islamic Republic, From Cyrus to Ahmadinejad (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 159. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Reza Aslan, “An Iranian Secret Agent’s Message to America,” The Daily Beast: World News. http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-04-04/iranian-secret-agentto-america-act-now/full/ (accessed November 28, 2010). An interview with a former Pasdar double agent for the CIA. ������� Ibid.
the true extent of its autonomy. Regardless, it is undoubtedly very powerful and a domestic actor in its own right. Questions also remain over how unified of an actor the Pasdaran is. It would be shallow political science to consider the Pasdaran as a bureaucratic actor that acts as a monolith without internal divisions. Again, unfortunately, lack of information hampers the ability to draw conclusions. The shadowy Pasdaran creates more questions than answers. A survey of the history and current role of the Pasdaran tempts the dueling dilemmas of being too brief – there are many other intriguing facets of the Pasdaran which this paper has not even had the room to address – or too broad – with insufficient information and conflicting existing information, the risk of drawing unsupported conclusions is high. Thus any analysis of the Pasdaran must be seen as only a contribution towards continued study of an elusive subject. With that borne in mind, the preceding assessment of the Pasdaran does yield conclusions that can serve as gentle parameters for future consideration of Iran and the Pasdaran. To start, although the Pasdaran’s military capacities are of understandable interest to tacticians, the Pasdaran is far more unique and relevant as a domestic actor. It is worth noting that in the event that Iran develops a nuclear weapon program, the Pasdaran will be the controlling institution.35 That in of itself speaks to the Pasdaran’s continuing relevancy, through an international relations lens. But it is just as relevant, through a domestic lens, that the Pasdaran as an actor will have tremendous sway on Iran’s intra-regime decision on whether to fully pursue a nuclear program or not in the first place. Given its institutional interests, the Pasdaran is likely lobbying for a nuclear weapons program. As a domestic actor, it is probably the most influential institution in Iran aside from the clerics.36 Furthermore, the Pasdaran must be considered in terms of both formal and informal power. As Margaret Thatcher once remarked, “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” The Pasdaran and its affiliates have penetrated virtually every level of Iranian society and state, and their actions have profound economic and social effects. Any consideration of the Pasdaran must avoid reductionism (e.g. to label it casually as a “security force” would be superficially correct yet still inaccurate). The scope of its activities and influence means that all future discussion of contemporary Iran from a political science perspective must factor the Pasdaran.
��������������������������������� Coughlin, 226-7 and Ward, 321. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� There are even those that would argue that it is more powerful than the clerics, though that conclusion seems premature.
Agence France-Press (AFP). “Iranian Dissident Warns of US Actions Against Iran.” Archived in Google News. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5icLzDq4U3AYTKtqSnVWxlFk1CUA (accessed November 26, 2010). Aslan, Reza. “An Iranian Secret Agent’s Message to America.” The Daily Beast: World News. http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-04-04/iranian-secret-agentto-america-act-now/full/ (accessed November 28, 2010). Axworthy, Michael. A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind. New York: Basic Books, 2008. Coughlin, Con. Khomeini’s Ghost: The Iranian Revolution and the Rise of Militant Islam. New York: HarperCollins, 2009. Montagne, Renee. “The Evolution of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.” National Public Radio (NPR). http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9371072 (accessed November 28, 2010). Polk, William R. Understanding Iran: Everything You Need to Know, From Persia to the Islamic Republic, From Cyrus to Ahmadinejad. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. “Showing Who’s Boss: Iran’s Hard Men Purge Opponents and Line Their Pockets.” The Economist, August 27, 2009. http://www.economist.com/node/14327633?story_ id=14327633 (accessed November 25, 2010). Ward, Steven R. Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2009. Wehrey, Frederic, et al. The Rise of the Pasdaran: Assessing the Domestic Roles of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Santa Monica, Cali.: Rand Corporation, 2009. Zabih, Sepehr. The Iranian Military in Revolution and War. New York: Routledge, 1988. Notes (i) (ii)
All citation according to the Chicago Manual of Style. Persian (Farsi) is written ina different alphabet and has no standard transliteration, though I have attempted to be internally consistent as well as use the most common English transliterations.
Anarchism and Liberal Democracy: Critique and Paths to Explore John-Erik Hansson
The institutions extant in contemporary democracies are by and large forms of liberal democracy, arguably, some being more or less tainted with aspects of social democracy. These institutions seem to be remarkably consensual: political debates, in a democratic country, rarely question the legitimacy, or the power of the State. Of course, some want more State intervention, some want less State intervention, some want higher taxation others do not... But the basic form of liberal democracy, “an institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for people’s vote”1. And yet, however consensual this arrangement, is it not problematic in any way? Is it the best possible political arrangement? This paper will respond to these questions with a negative answer. It will be argued that there are intrinsic problems with Liberal Democracy that provide a basis for scepticism about the legitimacy of such an arrangement. The first part of this essay will be dedicated to the Liberal – classical and more modern – and the Republican perspectives, displaying their mechanisms, and their various conceptions of liberty, leading them to the Liberal Democratic arrangement. The second section will consist of an anarchist critical analysis of this arrangement, drawing mostly on arguments put forward by the classical anarchists. Eventually, the last section of the essay will propose two anarchist alternatives to State power : the classical anarchist idea of Federation, and a contemporary anarchist alternative, Libertarian Municipalism. Liberal Democracy as a Point of Convergence Modern democratic theory has, in a lot of ways, converged toward the institutional structure of Liberal Democracy. Whether theorists come from the liberal tradition or the republican tradition, their analyses – though having different precepts – come to the conclusion that Liberal Democracy is an adequate – if not the best, or the only – institutional arrangement protecting the individual’s freedoms, and promoting the common good. This section will show how these two traditions justify – and legitimize – the State, and how they have come to value the liberal democratic institutional arrangement, first 1 Schumpeter, Joseph, cited in Laborde, Cécile and Maynor, John (eds.), Republicanism and Political Theory, 2008, Blackwell Publishing: Malden, p. 161.
by looking at the arguments developed by liberal thinkers, then by looking at those developed by republicans. The liberal tradition places the idea of the natural rights of the individual at the center of their political thought, and the protection of these rights as the goal to attain. In the Lockean State of Nature, the individual enjoys a maximum amount of freedom, the individual is, in fact, in “a state of perfect freedom”2. The State of Nature is then associated with a “law of nature”3, that is to say, a number of natural rights that should not be infringed, namely “health, liberty “It appears that [and] possessions”4. However, there is an uncertainty in the liberal in the State of Nature due to the fact that it is often linked with the “State of War”5, which is the tradition, the State comes to state two individuals enter whenever one of them tries to forcibly dominate the other, that is to say, exist because whenever a man breaks the natural law. However, it provides that would not be a problem provided that it is possible for the individuals in the State of War to adequate to an agreement of peace, where the offender protection from come repays the offended accordingly. This is not the case an ongoing though, Locke argues, because of the “manifest perverting of justice”6 that may very well happen State of War because each and every individual is the arm of caused by the the law of nature. Then, for Locke, it follows that, ‘wicked’ side of because within the State of Nature lies the risk of mankind.” coming to a continuous State of War, individuals have a good reason to leave the State of Nature, to “put themselves into society”7, and to be governed by a higher form of authority which guarantees that the State of War can come to an end. There lies the incentive for subordinating to the authority of the State. Hence, it would seem that the State is a consequence of the ‘evil’ side of humanity, that government is the result of “our wickedness”8 and that it allows for the “restraining [of] our vices”9. So, it appears that in the liberal tradition, the State comes to exist because it provides adequate protection from an ongoing State of War caused by the ‘wicked’ side of mankind. But if the State is to be, what are its fundamental goals? For Locke, as for many of his followers in the liberal tradition, the goal 2 Locke, John, Second Treatise of Government, 1980, Hackett: Indianapolis, p. 8 3 Ibid. at p. 9 4 Ibid.
5 Ibid. at p. 13 6 Ibid. at p. 16 7 Ibid. 8 Thomas Paine, cited in Bobbio, Norberto, Liberalism and Democracy, 1990, Verso: London, p. 16 9 Ibid.
of a government is the “preservation of [their] property”10, where “property” is understood as “lives, liberties and estates”11, that is to say, basically, that the end of government is the protection and preservation of the constituents’ natural rights. In the same vein, John Stuart Mill argues “that the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others”12. Thus, it seems that government power is to be exercised to protect individuals from “harm”, which can probably be equated with having one’s Lockean “property” taken away by force. If it is to do that, the State should protect individuals from one another, but it should also protect individuals from its own power. Indeed, as Locke points out, some forms of government are not better than the State of Nature, because they do not protect the individual’s natural rights from the “unjust will of another”13. It would therefore seem that, as Isaiah Berlin points out, the early liberals are concerned with protecting the individual’s “negative liberty”14. More modern liberals – like Berlin and Rawls – have another take on the issue of negative liberty, even though they agree that government should ensure the existence of this idea of liberty as non-interference. Berlin argues that negative liberty is valuable because of the pluralism of opinions and because negative liberty acknowledges and protects the extant moral pluralism15. To sum up, one can say that liberalism, ancient and modern, values a certain concept of negative liberty, of liberty as non-interference. Yet how does this lead them to value a certain idea of democracy? Considering that liberal democracy can be understood as “an institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a comPettitive struggle for people’s vote”16, let us see how it relates to the liberal requirements. As far as the protection of property (as defined by Locke) is concerned, democracy seems to be a powerful safeguard against the abuses of power. Indeed, because it is a form of government that promotes a conception of popular sovereignty – governments are elected by the people, there are no incentives for those in power to infringe on the property of individuals: they would not be re-elected. The fact that the people elect their government constitutes a check on State authority17. This conception of popular sovereignty also protects the plurality of opinion because it allows for disagreement through vote choice: if party A’s platform is in conflict with my own beliefs or goals, I can always turn to party B. There, however, lies the potential problem of the possible tyranny of �������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Locke, John, Second Treatise of Government, 1980, Hackett: Indianapolis, p. 66 ������� Ibid. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty and Other Essays, 2008, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 14 Ibid. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Locke, John, Second Treatise of Government, 1980, Hackett: Indianapolis, p. 13 ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Berlin, Isaiah, Four Essays on Liberty, 1969, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 126 ����������������� Ibid. at p. 171 ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Joseph Schumpeter, cited in Laborde, Cécile and Maynor, John (eds.), Republicanism and Political Theory, 2008, Blackwell Publishing: Malden, p. 161. ������������������������������������������������������������������������ Bobbio, Norberto, Liberalism and Democracy, 1990, Verso: London, p. 38
the majority, or, as Mill puts it, the problem “of true and false democracy”18. For him, a democracy should represent not only the voice of the majority, but also the voice of the minority: otherwise it would not protect the liberty of the latter in any way. Even though the majority rule should apply, according to Mill, there should be a possibility for the minority to express its disagreement19. In a similar vein, John Rawls’ idea of the “overlapping consensus” as the basis for building a society20 protects the pluralism of opinion by taking it into account when individuals come together to create the “basic structure of society”21, that is to say, the fundamental organisation of the relationships between individuals and between individuals and the State22. Democracy, by allowing for disagreement and by taking the plurality of opinions as a determining factor, seems to provide an adequate “basic structure of society”. A last point to be made is a point about representation. Liberal democracy, as is implied by Schumpeter’s definition, is a form of representative democracy. How have liberals come to value representative democracy? One possible answer comes from Benjamin Constant’s speech The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns. Constant claims that the liberty of the ancients is concerned with the city, with the public, rather than with the individual, the private23. Moreover, the political participation achieved by the ancients was made possible by slavery: the citizens did not have affairs to attend other than the political24. Representation seems to solve both of these issues: because of representation, a larger part of the individual’s life is kept in the private sphere, and the individual is able to attend his personal duties because the political is not as time consuming as it is in the ancient forms of democracy. Summing up, it can be said that the liberal tradition has come to value democracy because it seems, to them, to be the only truly liberal form of government: it protects the individual’s interest, it protects the plurality of the individuals and it allows him to attend other affairs than the political. The modern republican tradition has another take on the issue because it values liberty in a different light than the liberal tradition. Indeed, republican thinkers view the State’s institutions as liberty-making rather than libertytaking25. It follows that republicans view the State in a more positive way than the liberals: rather than a necessity for the protection of the individual from the uncertainty of the State of Nature, the State becomes constitutive of freedom. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty and Other Essays, 2008, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 302 ����������������� Ibid. at p. 303 �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Rawls, John, Political Liberalism, 1996, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 134 ����������������� Ibid. at p. 135 �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Kukathas, Chandran and Pettit, Phillip, Rawls, 1990, Stanford University Press: Stanford, p. 23 �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Constant, Benjamin, Constant: Political Writings, 1988, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp. 310-311 ����������������� Ibid. at p. 314 ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Pettit, Phillip, Republicanism, A Theory of Freedom and Government, 1997, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 81
This view of the State is a consequence of the republican idea of liberty as non-domination, that republicans claim is distinct from either negative or positive liberty26. The republican idea of non-domination relates to the idea that freedom, rather than merely being the absence of interference – Berlin’s “negative liberty” – is actually the absence of “the possibility of arbitrary interference”27. In other words, for republicans, interference is acceptable so long as it is not arbitrary: this allows for a positive view on government authority. As Pettit puts it, “the parliament or the police officer, then, the judge or the prison warden, may practise non-dominating interference, provided – and it is a big proviso – that a suitably constraining, constitutional arrangement works effectively.”28 Hence, according to Pettit, there is a possibility for authority to be non-dominating as long as there are constraints, checks on that authority that render it non-dominating. Freedom as non-domination can therefore only exist in a framework where there are recourses against an authority that is deemed as dominating, and where the authorities capabilities of domination are checked by the institutional arrangement. It seems, then, that the republican tradition puts a strong emphasis on the idea that political practices should be institutionalised, and that political actors should remain accountable to one another so as to ensure the absence of domination, or rather, as Pettit would put it, the absence of the possibility of domination29. As a consequence, the republican tradition has come to judge the institutions of liberal democracy as adequate, largely for the same reasons the liberals found it adequate. Indeed, democracy, as a form of self-rule promotes equality and provides a safeguard from domination30. Thus, republicans, like liberals, have worried about the tyranny of the majority and their responses have also been relatively similar. Indeed, enshrining the non-dominating institutional arrangement into something unalterable is one way of preventing the tyranny of the majority. This point seems similar to the idea that Rawls’ “overlapping consensus” constitutes the basis of the political arrangement. It is the constitutional “non-manipulability” argument31. Republicans like Pettit then, advocate an “empire of law”: laws should apply to everyone, should be made public, and no one individual should be above the law32. Liberal democracy, with its equality claims, seems to provide this. Another part of Pettit’s argument is concerned with the separation of powers, this, again, is ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Pettit, Phillip, Republicanism, A Theory of Freedom and Government, 1997, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 50 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Laborde, Cécile and Maynor, John (eds.), Republicanism and Political Theory, 2008, Blackwell Publishing: Malden, p. 4 ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Pettit, Phillip, Republicanism, A Theory of Freedom and Government, 1997, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 65 ���������������� Ibid. at p. 69 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Laborde, Cécile and Maynor, John (eds.), Republicanism and Political Theory, 2008, Blackwell Publishing: Malden, p. 159 ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Pettit, Phillip, Republicanism, A Theory of Freedom and Government, 1997, Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 172-173. ������������������ Ibid. at p. 174
provided by liberal democratic institutions as we see today: there is a separation – more or less strict – between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary33. Finally, the republican tradition is concerned with the issue of contestability: it should be possible to question decisions. Put in another way, there should be a check on the decision-making body, this is provided by liberal democracy with elections: they constitute the check on government. To sum up, it seems fair to conclude, with Richard Bellamy, that “democracy as it actually exists today […] offers a republican form of government suited to contemporary conditions”34. Liberal Democracy : An Anarchist Critique It has been shown in the first section that two of the main democratic traditions have come to value liberal democracy as it is observed today. Liberals and republicans, though they have different precepts and different understandings on the individual, liberty and the State, have found liberal democracy an acceptable institutional arrangement. For liberals, it protects natural rights, and prevents interference, whereas republicans view it as preventing domination and therefore promoting freedom. This section, drawing on classical anarchist writings and some more modern anarchist thought will present a critique first of the state, then of the liberal democratic arrangement. Let us begin by defining anarchism. Anarchism has often been portrayed as a political position against all forms of authority, and is very usually linked with the violence of some anarchist movements, believing in the “propaganda by deed” idea. However, this may be an oversimplification. Anarchist theorists do not all agree with the necessity of violent deeds, nor do they agree on the idea that all forms of authority should be abolished. However, it can be said that anarchism is characterized by the idea that all authority should be legitimised, that there is no form of authority that should be above moral justification. Hence, anarchism can be defined “as scepticism towards authority”35. Now turning to its characteristics; anarchism is fundamentally about the individual, and the individual’s autonomy, in other words, about individual self-rule36. In fact, in many ways, anarchists consider autonomy as the “primary obligation of man”37 It would therefore seem that the concept of liberty associated with anarchism would be what Berlin defines as “positive liberty”, that is to say, liberty as self mastery38. As a consequence of this, anarchists, following the enlightenment tradition, value the rule of reason and private judgement. William Godwin, claims that in order to reveal one’s true self, one should seek “natural independence”, a situation where there are no forces interfering with ����������������� Ibid. at p. 178 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Laborde, Cécile and Maynor, John (eds.), Republicanism and Political Theory, 2008, Blackwell Publishing: Malden, p. 161 ��������������������������������������������������������������������������� McLaughlin, Paul, Anarchism and Authority, 2007, Ashgate: Aldershot p. 29 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Wolff, Robert Paul, In Defense of Anarchism, 1998, University of California Press: Berkeley, pp. 13-14 ����������������� Ibid. at p. 18. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Berlin, Isaiah, Four Essays on Liberty, 1969, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 131
the individual’s choices except those of his own reasoning39. Autonomy also implies a condition of equality. For the individual to be truly autonomous, there has to be a fundamental equality, in Proudhon’s words: “liberty is equality”40. Finally, anarchism, far from valuing chaos values voluntary cooperation. Proudhon’s idea of “federalism”, Kropotkin’s idea of “mutual aid” and in some sense, Stirner’s “union of egos” are all based on free, mutual agreements aimed at a cooperative order where there is no illegitimate authority. In essence, anarchism is a form of scepticism directed toward authority, while it values autonomy – or “positive liberty”, reason, and cooperation. Let us now tie this to a criticism of the State. The State, as Max Weber defines it is characterised by its “monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force”41 over a given territory. Hence, the State is intrinsically a coercive and violent force and the sole possessor of the justifiable use of violence. Robert Paul Wolff defines it similarly, adding that the State is a “group of persons” who have the right to use the physical force, or more generally speaking, who have “supreme authority”42. Therefore, there seems to be an link between supreme authority and legitimate violence. This is one of the first criticisms that anarchists make of the State: the State is fundamentally a coercive force that imposes its will, its laws, on the individual, and this coercive force, anarchists claim, is directed toward its own well-being rather than at the well-being of its constituents43. This goes in direct opposition with the republican view that the State is intrinsically liberty-making. Why is State violence problematic though? If we consider, like the liberals, that the State’s power is directed at the protection of natural rights, would its violence not be, as Weber claims, fundamentally justified? Similarly, if the State and freedom arise at the same time, as republicans claim, in what way would State violence be problematic? First, State violence is problematic because it is destructive of self-rule. State violence is coercive rather than convincing: individuals obey the law because they are afraid that non-compliance will imply punishment. They do not usually obey the law because they have themselves come to the conclusion that what the law forbids is morally unacceptable and that the law should, as a consequence, be complied to44. Another concern that anarchists raise about the State is its role as protector of property, The anarchists, in many ways like the socialists, attack the liberal State because it perpetuates economic inequalities. Indeed, ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Crowder, George, Classical Anarchism, 1991, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 45 ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Woodcock, George (ed.), The Anarchist Reader, 1977, The Harvester Press: Hassocks, p. 68 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Weber, Max, cited in McLaughlin, Paul, Anarchism and Authority, 2007, Ashgate: Aldershot p. 75 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Wolff, Robert Paul, In Defense of Anarchism, 1998, University of California Press: Berkeley, p. 3 ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� McLaughlin, Paul, Anarchism and Authority, 2007, Ashgate: Aldershot p. 76. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Crowder, George, Classical Anarchism, 1991, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 56
Proudhon’s famous interjection “property is theft” 45 is perhaps one of the strongest anarchist claims. His attack on property is an attack on the whole economic order developed in the capitalist liberal State: it is immoral because it bolsters economic inequalities, which are themselves immoral because they go against the natural order of things, since nature prefers equilibrium46. Furthermore, because of its intrinsic inequality, the economic order protected by the State causes dependence or alienation and generates a sort of hierarchy between men: the rich versus the poor or, in Marxist terms: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Both of these classes can however be said to be corrupted as a consequence of this hierarchy. As Godwin points out, the rich become arrogant and idle while the poor are exploited47. This corruption, caused by the State, is destructive of moral self-rule. The idleness and the arrogance of the rich cloud their private judgement and prevents them from using their reason while the poor cannot make any use of their private judgement because of their material condition. Hence, the State, by protecting property, is ensuring its own protection – by corrupting the individual – as well as maintaining a fundamentally immoral inequality. This argument stems from the fact that, from an anarchist point of view, property is illegitimate itself. Hence a State that protects property by definition cannot be legitimate. To illustrate this, let us unpack a part of Proudhon’s argument that lead to the famous words: “property is theft”. The classical justifications for property are based on tradition, law, and labour. Now, property as a tradition does not make it legitimate, it rather dismisses the debate about its legitimacy. Similarly, simply making property legal does not legitimise it. Finally, because of the division – and the socialisation – of labour, no one can really make a claim that they have exclusive property over something48. Hence, claiming property on one of those grounds is illegitimate. Moreover, property is the cause of inequalities, hence, the State, as protector of property, is therefore also illegitimate. The anarchist critique of the State contends that the State is illegitimate in two ways. First because it makes use of an illegitimate violence, thus preventing the individual from using his own private judgement. Second, because it protects an illegitimate right: property, which entails inequalities. One must ask, however, if this critique stands against more modern visions of the State. Doesn’t liberal democracy, with its conception of popular sovereignty, and with the – modern – advancement of a strong welfare state creating equality, overcome these critiques? Let us first deal with the welfare state. Does the welfare state actually create the conditions of material, and social equality? It can be argued that the welfare state does nothing but render “the pauper fawning with abject vileness ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Proudhon, Pierre Joseph, cited in Crowder, George, Classical Anarchism, 1991, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 85 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Crowder, George, Classical Anarchism, 1991, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 84 ��������������� Ibid at p. 55 ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� McLaughlin, Paul, Anarchism and Authority, 2007, Ashgate: Aldershot p. 136
upon his rich benefactor, speechless with gratitude, for having received that which he ought to have claimed”49. That is to say that the State reinforces its power with the welfare system thus being in a way more oppressive rather than less oppressive, it also reinforces the dependence of the individuals to the state. However, welfare is in no way fully negative. Indeed, it allows for fewer inequalities between individuals by reducing the dependence of the poor to the rich. As a consequence, it allows for more moral self-rule rather than less. Despite this, it still somehow requires the increase of State violence – in terms of taxation, for example – and State control. It would seem therefore that the development of the welfare state has a great advantage, the decreased dependence of the individuals to one another, but it comes at the cost of an increased State power. Let us turn now to an anarchist critique of democracy itself. Going back to Schumpeter’s definition, democracy implies voting, the delegation of power to representatives and competition. The main point of criticism an anarchist makes about democracy is on the issue of representation and the delegation of power it implies, other than that liberal democracy is acknowledged by anarchists to be in many ways the least oppressive of regimes50. A first critique that one can draw from anarchist thought against representation is the inequality it creates between those who govern, and those who are governed, between the elected representatives and the mass of the people. This inequality has for consequence the estrangement of the interests of the governing and that of the governed, leading to the oppression of the people by the ruling class. Michael Bakunin, who makes that claim, goes as far as to say that the day of the election is the only day of actual popular sovereignty, once the day is over, the inequality between the governing and the governed resumes51. Another take on the issue of representation is taken by some anarchists from Rousseau’s The Social Contract: “the great body of the people in whom the sovereign authority resides can neither delegate nor resign it. The essence of that authority is the general will; and will cannot be represented”52. For Rousseau and those anarchists – like Godwin – who subscribe to this critique of representation, it seems that the concept of representation itself implies the rejection of one’s liberty. It requires leaving one’s liberty, one’s will, to another person, thus effectively renouncing it: this action is, from an anarchist perspective immoral, because of the moral duty of self-rule53. A similar, though perhaps more modern, critique of representation can be drawn with the help of Robert Paul Wolff’s In Defense Of Anarchism, which suggests that because individuals vote for representatives who approximately reflect their own views, there tends to be a considerable gap between the actual preferences of the ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Crowder, George, Classical Anarchism, 1991, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 55 ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� McLaughlin, Paul, Anarchism and Authority, 2007, Ashgate: Aldershot p. 129 ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Woodcock, George (ed.), The Anarchist Reader, 1977, The Harvester Press: Hassocks, p. 110 �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, cited in Crowder, George, Classical Anarchism, 1991, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 53 ��������������� Ibid at p. 54
individuals and the choices the representative will make54. However, because the representatives are elected by the people, the latter are required to obey the laws passed and executed by the former, whatever the preferences of the constituents. As a consequence, can those who elected their representatives really be called autonomous? It is doubtful that they can, as they have not joined the decision making process personally, and according to their actual preferences. As Robert Paul Wolff puts it: “men cannot meaningfully be called free if their representatives vote independently of their wishes, or when laws are passed concerning issues which they are not able to understand. Nor can men be called free who are subject to secret decisions, based on secret data, having unannounced consequences for their well-being and their very lives.55 This conclusion illustrates well that for a government to be representative and legitimate, there has to be perfect transparency, and the representatives should go back to their constituents whenever a decision that was not explicitly part of their political platform is to be made. A last comment to be made on the idea of representation can be drawn from Proudhon’s account of the workings of the national assembly in France, in which he compares it to the Sinai mountain, where Moses got the tablets of law. It seemed to him that once inside the national assembly, there is a clear cut between the people and the legislators, that, though they were the representatives of the people, they were unaware of the situation of the people, as they were “absorbed by [their] legislative work”56. Representation therefore seems to be extremely problematic if individuals are to fulfil their moral duty of autonomy, or self-mastery, especially because representation seems to lead to the disconnection of the legislators and the legislated, thus making representation unrepresentative.
Anarchistic paths It has been seen, throughout the last section, that though modern democratic theory converges toward the institutional framework of liberal democracy, issues arise as to whether the very base of this institutional framework – the State – is legitimate, and other issues arise as to whether the democratic arrangement within the State is itself capable of guaranteeing freedom. Anarchists argue that the State itself is an unacceptable basis for society, as it seems to be illegitimate. Moreover, they argue that, though democracy is probably the best form of government having the State as its basis it seems to be unacceptable itself because of some of its inherent weaknesses, ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Wolff, Robert Paul, In Defense of Anarchism, 1998, University of California Press: Berkeley, pp. 29-30 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Wolff, Robert Paul, In Defense of Anarchism, 1998, University of California Press: Berkeley, p. 31 ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Woodcock, George (ed.), The Anarchist Reader, 1977, The Harvester Press: Hassocks, p. 110-111
its necessity for representation, for example. Thus, it can be argued that both liberal democracy and the State should be shed off the table of possible ways of organizing society. How then, should society be organised? This final section will explore two possible ways of organising society such that the moral autonomy of the individual is guaranteed. First, let us see what classical anarchists propose. In the early anarchist tradition, writers like Kropotkin and Proudhon emphasise the idea of mutualism, of cooperation, and of voluntary association57. This is impersonated in Proudhon’s idea of “federalism”. Proudhon’s concept of “federalism” is a contract based theory. However, it is not a Social Contract theory in the traditional sense, as was devised by Locke or Rousseau. It is a theory based on the idea that the social contract should be a voluntary, mutually empowering equivalent exchange [“synallagmatique et commutatif”], tightly closed within unalterable boundaries58. Those qualities make the contract anarchistic in the sense that, though each individual contractor renounces some of his liberty in agreeing to the contract, he receives an equivalent amount of liberty from the other party: hence there is no room for any form of oppression59. This contrasts with the traditional state-generating Social Contract which, as Proudhon argues, is costly [“onéreux”] on the part of the individual, as it tends not to compensate him equivalently60. However, the federalism Proudhon envisioned is not purely based on the individual – especially at the industrial level, rather, it is based on the individual organised in a “mutualist association”61, that is to say, a workshop constituted by individual workers on a free and voluntary basis. The workshops would then establish contracts with one another, because of their fundamental interdependence in the industrialised world, thus effectively federating. Finally, to prevent the oppression of the liberal – capitalist – system, Proudhon argues that the theory of value based on the law of supply and demand be changed for a theory of value based on labour time62. This, however, seems to leave room for some inequalities: the more productive workshops, would have their productivity – and hence lower costs – to bargain with while making contracts. Still, it can be argued that although this is indeed an inequality, it will not lead to oppression because the federal system, as envisioned by Proudhon, does not allow for accumulation or profit63. A more modern anarchist stance on the organisation of society is one developed in the eco-anarchist movement by Murray Bookchin: “libertarian municipalism”. Rather than basing society on the workshop, or on individual producers – for agriculture – like classical anarchists do, Bookchin’s idea is ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Crowder, George, Classical Anarchism, 1991, Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 102-103 ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Proudhon, Pierre Joseph, Du Principe Fédératif, 1921, Editions Bossard: Paris, p. 103. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Crowder, George, Classical Anarchism, 1991, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 105 ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Proudhon, Pierre Joseph, Du Principe Fédératif, 1921, Editions Bossard: Paris, p. 103 ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Schecter, Darrow, Radical Theories, Paths beyond Marxism and social democracy, 1994, Manchester University Press: Manchester, p. 50 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Crowder, George, Classical Anarchism, 1991, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 106 ��������������������� Ibid at pp. 106-107
based on the municipality and on its capacity to create a political sphere compatible with moral self-rule64. To achieve self-rule means to decentralize the political power – effectively, to disband the State – and grant residents the power over their own municipalities, where decisions should be made by direct democracy, rather than representative democracy65. However, there are points of convergence in Bookchin’s theory and classical anarchism. Decentralisation, for one, but also the idea that interdependence in not only necessary – as a consequence of modern economic and industrial developments – but desirable as a force of constructive cooperation, constructive in the economic sense, but also, especially in Bookchin’s theory, in the ecological sense66. As a consequence of decentralisation and interdependence does Bookchin’s idea of “confederalism” arise. Confederalism, for Bookchin, would be a form of regional cooperation and coordination put in place between municipalities with the help of delegates, though keeping, first, the autonomy of the municipality and second, the autonomy of the individual67. The first aspect relates to the fact that confederalism is distinct from statism: it is based on the free association of municipalities so that they can coordinate their efforts to the benefit of one another. That is to say that it is a bottom up type of relationship rather than a top down type of relationship. The second aspect relates to the previously discussed problem of representation, and deals more specifically with the critique of representation that Wolff proposes: “Men cannot meaningfully be called free if their representatives vote independently of their wishes, or when laws are passed concerning issues which they are not able to understand.”68. With the idea of confederalism comes the idea that the delegates – elected by the municipalities – should not be decision makers, but merely messengers of the municipality: they are “convey the wishes of the municipality at the confederal level”69 rather than make decisions for the constituents “in ways that they imagine to be beneficial to them”70. As a consequence, there should be a very high level of communication between the delegate of the municipality and the individuals within the municipality itself, so that they can remain autonomous and therefore free. In this paper, it has been seen that democratic theorists, ancient and modern have converged toward the institutional arrangement of Statebased liberal democracy, claiming it is the best possible way of protecting or promoting the individual’s rights, freedoms and interests. However it has �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Biehl, Janet, The Politics of Social Ecology, Libertarian Municipalism, Black Rose Books: Montréal, p. 54 �������������������� Ibid. at pp. 55-62 ��������������� Ibid at p. 99 �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Biehl, Janet, The Politics of Social Ecology, Libertarian Municipalism, Black Rose Books: Montréal, p. 101 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Wolff, Robert Paul, In Defense of Anarchism, 1998, University of California Press: Berkeley, p. 31 �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Biehl, Janet, The Politics of Social Ecology, Libertarian Municipalism, Black Rose Books: Montréal, p. 102 ���������������� Ibid at p. 101
been demonstrated that there are intrinsic problems with liberal democracy in its tradition and application. The anarchist tradition, for instance, makes a critique of the State, and of State-based liberal democracy, shedding doubt on the legitimacy of the former and the efficacy of the latter. It has nevertheless acknowledged that, given the State, democracy is the least oppressive way of governing. Finally, anarchism has provided possible alternative paths beyond the State, arrangements based on cooperation rather than coercion, and on decentralisation and federalism â€“ or confederalism â€“ rather than centralisation and unitarianism. Still, the hegemony of the liberal democratic state model forces us to ask some difficult questions about these anarchistic political arrangements: can they really come to be? And if they can, how could we implement them?
Bibliography Berlin, Isaiah, Four Essays on Liberty, 1969, Oxford University Press: Oxford. Biehl, Janet, The Politics of Social Ecology, Libertarian Municipalism, 1998, Black Rose Books: Montréal. Bobbio, Norberto, Liberalism and Democracy, 1990, Verso: London. Constant, Benjamin, Constant: Politcal Writings, 1988, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. Crowder, George, Classical Anarchism, 1991, Oxford University Press, Oxford Kukathas, Chandran & Pettit, Phillip, Rawls, 1990, Stanford University Press: Stanford. Laborde, Cécile & Maynor, John (eds.), Republicanism and Political Theory, 2008, Blackwell Publishing: Malden. Locke, John, Second Treatise of Government, 1980, Hackett: Indianapolis. McLaughlin, Paul, Anarchism and Authority, 2007, Ashgate: Aldershot. Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty and Other Essays, 2008, Oxford University Press: Oxford. Pettit, Phillip, Republicanism, A Theory of Freedom and Government,1997, Oxford University Press: Oxford. Proudhon, Pierre Joseph, Du Principe Fédératif, 1921, Editions Bossard: Paris. Rawls, John, Political Liberalism, 1996, Columbia University Press: New York. Schecter, Darrow, Radical Theories, Paths beyond Marxism and social democracy, 1994, Manchester University Press: Manchester. Wolff, Robert Paul, In Defense of Anarchism, 1998, University of California Press: Berkeley. Woodcock, George (ed.), The Anarchist Reader, 1977, The Harvester Press: Hassocks.
Agent of Democracy? Questioning the Media’s Role in the Democratization of Post-Communist States Olga Redko The early 1990s were a time of turmoil and enormous change for the newly-independent states of Eastern and Central Europe. Following the collapse of their authoritarian communist regimes, these states set upon a lengthy and difficult course towards creating democratic governance within their borders. At the time, many Western scholars of democratization emphasized the importance of the development of Eastern and Central European (ECE) media systems, considering them to be necessary for the consolidation of democracy in the region, working off Kant’s age-old idea that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are “prerequisite for autonomous reasoning in the public realm.”71 As such, it was hoped that the opposition media, which had largely remained underground during the height of communist regimes’ power, but which had begun to emerge as a critical force during the last years of communism, would grow in strength and would provide support for the nascent democracies in the region. However, these hopes were systematically disappointed in most ECE states. A lively and independent media system failed to appear in the majority of the countries in the region; at best, the new media systems attempted to imitate their Western predecessors but managed to become only meagre reproductions of them, with key aspects of Western media—such as efforts at objectivity and independence from most political interests—frequently missing altogether. At the same time, the governments that were being established in those states failed to take on the characteristics of most Western democracies during the early 1990s; although many states became nominally democratic after the collapse of socialism by holding elections, the legitimacy of their democratic systems was questionable. Nonetheless, as will be discussed below, after several years many of these countries achieved the type of Polity IV score (a conceptual measure of states’ qualities of democratic and autocratic authority produced by the Political Instability Task Force) normally associated with democratic governance. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Natan Sachs, “Freedom of the Press, Democracy, and Democratization” (paper presented at the Annual National Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, April 20-22, 2007); Pippa Norris, “The Role of the Free Press in Promoting Democratization, Good Governance, and Human Development” (paper presented at the Annual National Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, April 20-22 2007); Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (New York: Anchor Books, 1999).
As such, it appears that a free press was not instrumental to the development of democracy in former communist states, and that Eastern European media in their current form are not contributing much to the deepening and consolidation of democracy within their respective countries. This paper will examine the reasons for the lack of the development of a successful free press in the region by first defining “free press” and “democracy,” and explaining how the existence of the former is theorized to influence the development of the latter. It will then discuss the extent to which the media in Eastern and Central European states did manage to emulate the Western free press model, as well as the extent to which those states democratized in the 1990s. Finally, the paper will turn to look at the specific factors that inhibited the development of independent media in most Eastern and Central European states: the influence of political parties and different types of ownership, the institutional legacy of communist governments, and the problem of professionalization among journalists.
The Function of the Media in Democratization Terms such as “independent media” and “free press” are often invoked without full explanations of what they entail. This is problematic because in the context of Eastern Europe, it is important to have a more specific understanding of what an ideal independent media system would look like in order to assess how and to what degree the existing systems differ. As such, for the purpose of this paper the term “independent media” is defined as a media system that is not restricted by government censorship due to the way it presents and disseminates information to the public; it is one in which a diversity of views may be exhibited, and journalists are professional in the manner they approach the issues they report on—that is, they strive for objectivity and nonpartisanship.72 This definition is based heavily on the existing media structure in Western European and North American states, particularly because after the fall of communist regimes many nascent Eastern and Central European governments attempted to imitate the Western model, considering it to be the ideal type of system in which media should operate. It is also important to define “democracy” in order to determine how independent media contribute to the development of such a government system. According to Joseph Man Chan, a democracy is simply
[a] political system with a relatively equitable distribution of political power that is marked by government accountability, power checks, and
���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Karol Jakubowicz and Miklós Sükösd, “Twelve Concepts Regarding Media System Evolution and Democratization in Post-Communist Societies,” in Finding the Right Place on the Map: Central and Eastern European Media Change in a Global Perspective, ed. Karol Jakubowicz and Miklós Sükösd (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2009), 15.
balances, and systematic openness to fair political competition Democratization can therefore be viewed as a process by which political contestation opens to fair participation within an institutional framework.73
Again, this definition is based largely on the democratic experience of Western European and North American states, which is pertinent because this was also the initial model provided for burgeoning ECE governments to emulate at the beginning of the 1990s. Using this definition, we may discuss how, in theory, a free press may be necessary for the creation of a consolidated democratic society. Pippa Norris posits that there exist two stages in the development of an independent media system and a democratic society. In the first, which occurs directly after the transition away from an autocratic form of governance, government control of the press diminishes and allows space for a variety of new media owners to emerge. Because government censorship of the media is reduced or dropped altogether, these new owners are able to set up a much wider variety of news outlets than were previously available, thereby exposing the public to a greater range of ideas and cultural products than was possible during the period of autocratic government—particularly as new technologies and forms of communication are introduced.74 This commencement of media liberalization then leads to a second stage of transition to democratization, in which “democratic consolidation and human development are strengthened” as journalists use their watch-dog role to facilitate increased transparency in governance, while different media outlets provide a forum for the public to debate and express its opinions.75 Other scholars provide a variety of additional reasons for which independent media are a necessary condition for effective democratic government. Amartya Sen, for instance, maintains that the free press is the chief agent of accountability of democratic states, preventing regimes from ignoring society’s needs by disseminating information about social and economic problems (to illustrate his point, Sen provides the example of India, where the existence of a free press has prevented the occurrence of famines, as the press is able to inform the electorate of government policies and provides a forum for popular critique of the regime).76 Meanwhile, Gurevitch and Blumler go even further to provide a detailed and specific list of the main functions that media perform for democracy, drawing primarily on the example of Western states.77 These �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Joseph Man Chan, “Media, Democracy and Globalisation: A Comparative Framework,” The Public 8.4 (2001), 104. ������������������������������������������ Norris, “The Role of the Free Press,” 2. ������� Ibid. ����� ����������������������������������� Sen, Development as Freedom, 152. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Michael Gurevitch and Jay G. Blumler, “Political Communication Systems and Democratic Values,” in Democracy and the Mass Media, ed. Judith Lichtenberg (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 25.
authors list the following as key contributions of the media to democracy: the media surveys a state’s socio-political environment and reports on key issues that may affect citizens; it sets the agenda; it functions as a platform for politicians and public figures to make their views known (giving equal coverage and time to all major political players); it holds dialogue on a variety of issues across a wide range of views; it provides incentives for citizens to learn about government policy and potentially question it; and it resists attempts on behalf of the government to subvert its own independence. In short, a great deal of existing literature on the relationship between the media and democracy claims that a free press is crucial to ensuring that democratic governments remain accountable to their public because it incorporates a variety of voices into the formulation of public opinion on government policies, and mediates these voices to support deliberative democracy.78 The claim that independent media and democracy are related is at least partially substantiated by existing empirical research that shows a correlation between level of press freedom and a country’s ranking on the Polity IV scale, which ranks state’s authority characteristics on a range from autocratic to democratic.79 However, in the experience of post-communist states in Eastern and Central Europe, it appears that despite its initial promising steps towards liberalization and independence, the media did not have a particularly forceful hand in propelling democratization forward. The fact that many ECE states managed to achieve meaningful degrees of democratization regardless, without developing free and independent media systems, therefore problematizes the notion of media being crucial to democratic development. Free Press and Democratization: Initial Developments In the first few months after the collapse of communism, it appeared that the media in Eastern and Central European states was moving in the direction of Western media outlets: towards more privatization, more diversity, and more uncensored diffusion of information. Under socialism, the media had generally acted as a “transmission belt” for information “from the party to the people, as an important form of control over information and society.”80 However, as socialist regimes disintegrated, new governments began to allow significantly greater degrees of freedom of ownership of and investment into various media forms. In almost all former communist states, for example, broadcasting laws were established to introduce the private sector into media development and to provide for the demonopolization of media companies.81 Furthermore, in almost ������������������������������������������������������ Man Chan, “Media, Democracy and Globalisation,” 115. ������������������������������������������� Norris, “The Role of the Free Press,” 10. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Patrick H. O’Neil, “Introduction: Media Reform and Democratization in Eastern Europe,” in Post-Communism and the Media in Eastern Europe, ed. Patrick H. O’Neil (London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1997), 1. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Slavko Splichal, “Imitative Revolutions: Changes in the Media and Journalism in East-
all cases the print media were liberalized immediately after socialism’s collapse. These initial steps towards privatization and diversification led to the creation of multiple new publications and radio and television stations in all the ECE countries, which in turn allowed for the entry of large numbers of new professional journalists into all parts of the field. There was certainly more reporting work to be done at the time, as new information was made available (and the press was permitted to report on new issues) when many laws restraining press freedom were stricken. Overt institutional censorship was eradicated in almost all formerly communist ECE states;82 for example, in 1990, new laws allowing freedom of expression and obtaining information created in Czechoslovakia, while parts of the criminal code that called “provocation” and “subversion” by the press criminal were abolished.83 In short, there were initially positive signs that the media in ECE states was transforming into one of open discourse and information provision, one that would “reveal the workings of the state apparatus and its employees” to the public, thereby holding state institutions accountable to society.84 The new media organizations were able, to some degree, to maintain popular legitimacy thanks to the underground media’s increasing criticism of communist regimes before their fall.85 In general, ECE media became considerably more open, democratic, and informative than they had been able to be during the communist period. During this early period, similar successes were seen on the governing front as new democratic regimes were being established. The process of democratization and democratic consolidation continued in most ECE states throughout the 1990s and, despite some failures (Belarus being a notable example) most ECE countries have become increasingly democratic and free in the past two decades. Numerous scholarly assertions of this trend have been backed by measurements of the Polity IV scheme and Freedom House’s Freedom in the World report (in the categories “Polity IV Project,” “Freedom in the World Country Ratings”).86 Furthermore, the 2008 Polity IV State Fragility Index shows most former communist states in the ECE region to be experiencing Central Europe,” The Public 8.4 (2001), 33. ������������ Ibid., 34. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Andrej Školkay, “Journalists, Political Elites and the Post-Communist Public: The Case of Slovakia,” in Post-Communism and the Media in Eastern Europe, ed. Patrick H. O’Neil (London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1997). ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Peter Gross, Entangled Evolutions: Media and Democratization in Eastern Europe (Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2002). ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� András Lánczi and Patrick H. O’Neil, “Pluralization and the Politics of Media Change in Hungary,” in Post-Communism and the Media in Eastern Europe, ed. Patrick H. O’Neil (London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1997), 86. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Michael Bernhard, “Civil Society and Democratic Transition in East Central Europe,” Political Science Quarterly 108.2 (1993), 307-326; Mary Kaldor and Ivan Vejvoda, “Democratization in Central and East European Countries,” International Affairs 73.1 (1997), 59-82; Freedom House, “Freedom in the World Country Ratings, 1973-2009,” http://www. freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=439 (accessed March 18, 2010).
“little or no” fragility, which implies that democratization within those countries has been largely successful, and democracies have become consolidated—that is, populations accept democratic governance as legitimate. However, despite continued political successes in ECE, similar trends of media liberalization and development did not persist after the initial optimistic signs. In 2008, there was a mix of “Free,” “Partly Free,” and “Not Free” media in the region, but even the systems that were judged “Free” had to go through a considerable transition period from being “Not Free” and “Partially Free”.87 Even in the present day, the majority of media systems in the ECE states remain “Partially Free” or “Not Free,” so that their contribution to democratization appears to have been limited, as they were unable to properly fulfill their intended functions for democracy. The following sections will therefore discuss the three main problems that prevented or seriously slowed the development of truly independent and democratized media systems in Eastern and Central European states. Ownership and Investment In discussing the mentality of the ECE media in the early 1990s, Slavko Splichal notes that “[a]fter decades of state-controlled media, it was widely believed that freedom of ownership, and particularly private ownership, is the guarantor of democracy and a free press”.88 As such, immediately after the collapse of communism, many media outlets were disconnected from government ownership, and some governments even set up “media assistance” programmes which were supposed to help media systems develop in a similar way to those of Western countries in terms of demonopolization and the establishment of professional ethics. The idea was that such a move would facilitate greater democratization, as theorized above. However, problems of media ownership persisted in many ECE states, to the point that they considerably thwarted efforts to develop diversified and independent media systems.89 The primary reason that such problems existed was that, despite making initial provisions for freedom of ownership and investment, most newlyestablished ECE governments realized that the media could remain an incredibly valuable tool if it stayed in the hands of the state. Particularly because the late 1980s and the early 1990s were years of considerable political instability and competition, with young political parties vying for control of parliaments and for the mandate to reshape their countries’ entire systems of governance, the media began to be regarded as a “magic wand” that had the power to “mold and reshape public opinion” according to the desires of whoever controlled it.90 On ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Freedom House, “Freedom of the Press: Central and Eastern Europe/Former Soviet Union,” http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=274 (accessed March 18, 2010). ���������������������������������������� Splichal, �������������������������������������� “Imitative Revolutions,” 43. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Monroe Price, “Media Transitions in the Rear-View Mirror: Some Reflections,” International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 22.4 (2009), 485-496. ���������������������������������� Gross, �������������������������������� Entangled Evolutions, 48.
the other hand, independent media outlets were viewed as threats to a regime’s ability to push through legislation; some regimes went so far as to accuse their nascent free press of attempting to undermine the process of democratization by criticizing new policies. As such, newly elected governments in the majority of ECE countries attempted to use either public funds or legislative means to re-exert some form of control over the media and its political orientation. This partial taking back of ownership was facilitated by the fact that, in 1989 and the early 1990s, ECE states lacked a developed civil society that could mount a concerted opposition to governments’ efforts at influencing the media. As such, new regimes were able to consolidate their hold on many of the available media outlets, particularly the press: Gross notes that “in every one of the Eastern European nations, Communist national dailies and weeklies passed into the hands of the new political parties.”91 The same was accomplished, albeit to a lesser degree, with radio and television broadcasting companies. Governments consolidated their control over these companies through a variety of strategies, some of which were less direct than others. In Poland, for example, the National Council of Radio and Television (KRRiT) was set up to be responsible for allocating and supervising airwaves;92 while in theory it was supposed to be an independent body free from governmental interference, the KRRiT’s members had all been appointed by the governing elite and therefore had an interest in maintaining a positive image of those elite in the media. In Slovakia, a similarly abstruse means of asserting control over various media sources was employed; while Slovak broadcasting institutions became “public” under law following the state’s independence, this term was in reality very ambiguous, allowing the Slovakian parliament to amend the law multiple times to allow for the creation of supervisory boards for television and radio.93 Finally, Hungary’s ruling party, the Magyar Demokrata Forum, employed a wider variety of methods to create what it called a “counter-hegemony” against the state’s independent press, which it accused of retaining numerous communist influences. These strategies involved the state seizing certain press assets and reorganizing them into government publications, as well as creating new mass publications which, while not state-owned, were still run by supporters of the ruling coalition.94 In some states, such affiliation of the media with political parties and governing regimes was much greater than in others; in particular, Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania had much closer ties between their print, radio, and broadcasting outlets and their political actors than did Czechoslovakia, Hungary, ������������ Ibid., ���������� 47. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Tomasz Goban-Klas, “Politics versus the Media in Poland: A Game Without Rules,” in PostCommunism and the Media in Eastern Europe, ed. Patrick H. O’Neil (London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1997). ������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Školkay, “Journalists, Political Elites and the Post-Communist Public,” 68. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Lánczi and O’Neil, “Pluralization and the Politics of Media Change in Hungary,” 87.
and Poland.95 However, even the media in the latter set of countries were unable to avoid being used in some way by the new elites. Furthermore, in some ECE countries old elites retained their control over the media, as was the case in Ukraine, Yugoslavia, and Belarus.96 Additionally, a particularly interesting example of old elites’ continued influence over the media transpired in Poland, where the Catholic Church—a strong force in Poland’s democratization movement but also a particularly conservative actor when it came to social issues—established its own television programmes in mid-1989, which it used to promote the Catholic social and political agenda. The Church also attempted to apply pressure on more independent media outlets by pushing for the creation of laws against obscenity and pornography, and it accused journalists of “losing elementary sensitivity to the basic and the most important problems of the nation and the state.”97 Even in the instances where the state was unable to exert direct control over printed or broadcast media, or to indirectly influence media content by creating regulatory agencies over which it had control, other issues prevented the full privatization of the media in ECE countries. The economic condition of post-communist states was often precarious, and while a large number of new printed and broadcast media outlets were established in the early days after the collapse of socialism, many were unable to sustain themselves independently. Governments exacerbated the problems “Even in the instances of financing by imposing additional taxes on new media outlets, often where the state was unable to exert direct control targeting the press in particular, as was the case in Albania, Bulgaria, and over printed or broadcast Slovakia.98 Meanwhile, regimes were media, or to indirectly able to pour funding into the media influence media content by outlets that they controlled—this led to the Slovakian case where four state creating regulatory agenradio channels were funded considerably cies over which it had con- better than any of the numerous other trol, other issues prevented public channels.99
the full privatization of the media in ECE countries.”
In their insecure financial state, many media outlets had two options: to turn to the regime for funding and potentially lose editorial autonomy, or to look to foreign investors for funds. The latter choice was hardly an improvement on the former, however, because the mass media that followed the path of foreign investment often “became dependent on commercial corporations, which limit resources, variety, and ���������������������������������� Gross, �������������������������������� Entangled Evolutions, 37. ���������������������������������������� Splichal, �������������������������������������� “Imitative Revolutions,” 42. �������������������������������������������������������� Goban-Klas, ������������������������������������������������������ “Politics versus the Media in Poland,” 35. ���������������������������������� Gross, �������������������������������� Entangled Evolutions, 66. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������� Školkay, “Journalists, Political Elites and the Post-Communist Public,” 67.
autonomy.”100 Furthermore, because foreign corporations were profit-driven, and to be successful one had to be political, foreign investors often pushed their publications or stations to take decisive positions on political matters.101 This of course undermined the media’s ability to retain an objective stance when it came to reporting on government actions. In short, the obstacles to independent ownership that the emerging media in ECE states faced prevented printed publications, radio stations, and television stations from being able to maintain neutrality in the face of the rampant political competition of the time. In turn, this made it more difficult for the media to question emerging government policies or to provide a meaningful platform for the political opposition to enumerate its concerns. Furthermore, what information the media could provide to the public was often severely biased, which not only impeded the public’s ability to judge its government but also shattered media credibility in many states. Communism’s Institutional Legacies In the course of their transitions from authoritarianism to democracy, most ECE states made at least some effort to construct their media systems to be more like those in the West. Because of the political upheaval of the early 1990s, however, it was difficult for competing political actors to find the consensus necessary to form new media institutions that were unencumbered by the baggage of their communist past. Instead, as Andrew K. Milton explains, governments’ attitudes towards the media were characterized by the idea that “you can’t make institutions from whole cloth,” so regimes allowed aspects of the previous governments’ media institutions to remain in place during and after the transitions to democracy.102 Furthermore, journalists’ approach to reporting was modeled on what they had come to expect from their communist governments, and when governments’ approach to media institutions changed little, journalists similarly tended to continue their behaviour. The result was that although in principle ECE states attempted to follow the trail of the Western media, “the traditional Eastern European media philosophies and behaviour patterns survive and continue to have their influence felt.”103 In part, the survival of communist media institutions contributed to the problems of ownership discussed above. When socialist regimes collapsed, they left behind political structures that were difficult to eradicate or reform immediately. Consequently, most ECE countries still have Ministries of Culture that oversee various media; although this oversight became more benign and less controlling over the years since the end of communist rule, the very existence of ����������������������������������������� Splichal, “Imitative Revolutions,” 34. ����������������������������������� Gross, �������������������������������� Entangled Evolutions, 36. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Andrew K. Milton, “New Media Reform in Eastern Europe: A Cross-National Comparison,” in Post-Communism and the Media in Eastern Europe, ed. Patrick H. O’Neil (London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1997), 17 ������������������������������������������������������� Man Chan, “Media, Democracy and Globalisation,” 111.
these ministries indicated that they were staffed by bureaucrats who required something to do.104 Ironically, the lately open political atmosphere in the region allowed such bureaucrats to lobby newly-established governments for the right to retain their posts and continue to regulate the media, or simply to protest attempts by governments to reform the existing institutions. Their endeavours were aided by the fact that new governments were also struggling to rework old constitutions; the combination of these various efforts led to much political stalling and an inability to implement any genuine reform. This was the case in Czechoslovakia, where the old 1960 constitution stayed in place while new parliamentary negotiations took place, so that the existing political configuration pushed the government to create a new structure which would be not be very different, and which would include comparable media institutions. Similarly, in Hungary, there was a “forced constitutional adjustment to the existing institutions, rather than the other way around.”105 In Poland, new media laws could not be drawn up because of governmental power struggles and the difficulty of consolidating a number of competing bills, with the result that the status of the press and electronic media remained in limbo until 1992, with journalists uncertain of what their new rights and obligations would be or how they should behave for the present time.106 Additionally, old government attitudes towards the media carried over along with institutions and constitutions, as “[m]any officials and public figures [were] unaccustomed to dealing with an inquisitive press, and often refuse[d] to do so.”107 As a result, journalists were hindered in their ability to obtain diversified information, especially about the very new government policies that they intended to critique and disseminate to the public. There were few if any legal tools available for them to access state institutions—or to protect their sources.108 In the Czech Republic, for example, the government nearly approved a 1995 bill that deprived journalists both of the right to protect their sources and to demand information from government institutions.109 Despite its failure, this bill was representative of the general distrustful attitude many ECE governments had towards independent media at the time. When they were able to obtain the information they needed, journalists usually did so by using only official sources, another throwback from the socialist era when governments essentially told journalists what to write or say. In return, governments thought that if official sources continued to be used, ���������������������������������������������������� Milton, “New Media Reform in Eastern Europe,” 15. ������������� Ibid., ���������� 16. ��������������������������������������������������������� Goban-Klas, ������������������������������������������������������ “Politics versus the Media in Poland,” 29. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Steve Kettle, “The Development of the Czech Media since the Fall of Communism,” in Post-Communism and the Media in Eastern Europe, ed. Patrick H. O’Neil (London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1997), 55. ����������������������������������� Gross, �������������������������������� Entangled Evolutions, 70. ���������������������������������������������������� Kettle, ������������������������������������������������� “The Development of the Czech Media,” 55.
the press would support the regime in power.110 As Milton explains, this reliance on official sources meant that not only were journalists unable to obtain objective overviews of the issues they covered, but they also could not delve too deeply into the “how” and “why” of newsworthy events. Information generated from the government was scarce and often insubstantial. Finally, even when journalists managed to obtain access to important information and tried to distribute it, they were often thwarted by the persistence of censorship and anti-defamation laws. While most ECE states rid their constitutions and legal codes of overt forms of censorship, the temptation to censor and restrain the media became considerable for governments when they realized that the region’s new media outlets were attempting to portray them critically, and when “issues of privatization... and of bias inevitably became sources of bitter dispute.”111 As such, when governments could not openly exert control over the media via ownership or regulatory boards, they often attempted to use anti-defamation laws, some of which were newly-created, to punish journalists . who dared to write openly and critically of public officials 112 In Poland, for example, three years after the overthrow of the communist regime, the new government approved a bill that appeared to be a throwback to a 1960 charter that established provisions about government control of television and radio. This bill also required that television and radio stations use “Christian system of values as a basis, while accepting universal ethical principles [and] the Polish state’s vital interests,” without actually explaining what these principles and values were;113 the vagueness of the bill enabled government officials to use it to suppress a variety of broadcast news. Similarly, in the Czech Republic, the criminal code was stricken of certain paragraphs pertaining to journalistic provocation or subversion, but retained other paragraphs which prohibited the defamation of the state or its representatives.114 In short, the institutional structure of communism retained a strong hold on media behaviour in the post-socialist era, thereby preventing the media from serving its information dissemination function adequately. The attempts by many new publishing and broadcasting outlets to imitate a Western media structure were undercut by the compressed time frame in which reforms had to be made; this led to a lack of innovation on the part of regimes, which as a result relied on institutions and legal codes from the past to shape their new systems.115 The persistence of institutions and trends from the communist era was particularly problematic when combined with ownership problems that dogged media outlets, and became even more so when taken in tandem with the lack of professionalism that was prevalent among journalists. ��������������������������������������������������� Milton, “New Media Reform in Eastern Europe,” 7. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Lánczi and O’Neil, “Pluralization and the Politics of Media Change in Hungary,” 83. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Karol Jakubowicz, “Media Within and Without the State: Press Freedom in Eastern Europe,” Journal of Communication 45 (1995), 135. ��������������������������������������������������������� Goban-Klas, ������������������������������������������������������ “Politics versus the Media in Poland,” 30. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Školkay, “Journalists, Political Elites and the Post-Communist Public,” 65. ����������������������������������������������� Jakubowicz and Sükösd, “Twelve Concepts,” 16
The Professionalization of Journalists Even today, people living in ECE countries have significantly less trust in the credibility of their journalists than do Westerners in the credibility of Western journalists. This is in large part due to the behaviours and attitudes of journalists in the initial years following the collapse of communism, as these set the tone for how journalists would perform in later years. Immediately following the end of communist regimes, journalists in the region had considerable difficulty defining what would constitute a free press and how it would be brought about;116 included in such problems of definition was a lack of understanding what a journalist’s role would be under democratic governance. Prior to the fall of communism, journalistic “professionalism” did not exist “in the Western sense of the word” but was instead linked intricately with journalists’ ability to represent the interests of the Communist Party.117 As such, even when the influence of the government was removed or at least lessened in the early 1990s, journalists were still unable to create a professional ethos similar to that held in the West, and as a result the media was incapable of becoming a truly reliable and legitimate source of information for the public. While the number of different media outlets, both print and broadcast, increased dramatically directly upon ECE states’ independence, this was not necessarily a good thing since “[t]he explosive growth in the number of outlets created a plethora of journalistic positions for which no new, trained professional cadres and leaders were available.”118 Although a number of university-level journalism programmes and trade schools were established and began to flourish towards the end of the 1990s, their effectiveness in training new journalists was limited, as these institutions had incredibly varied curricula and nothing resembling a unified approach towards teaching the practice of journalism.119 Furthermore, what professional organizations or cadres did exist were fairly disorganized and also lacked any substantial professional code, shared purpose, role, ethics, ethos, or practices—much unlike their more heterogeneous Western counterparts. Even organizations that did attempt to codify journalistic principles met with little success. Poland’s two journalistic associations, for example, were unable to implement ethical codes or new journalistic principles, at least in part because neither journalists nor members of the public took the associations seriously.120 The result of this lack of training was that journalists had poor reporting skills and were unprepared to tackle difficult questions or go beyond simply presenting an overview of whatever issue they were covering. They often produced stories that were poorly researched, full of personal biases, and unreflective of the reality of what was happening around them. This ���������������������������������������������������� Kettle, ������������������������������������������������� “The Development of the Czech Media,” 42. ����������������������������������� Gross, �������������������������������� Entangled Evolutions, 17. ��������������� Ibid., ������������ 91-92 �������������� Ibid., ����������� 102. ��������������������������������������������������������� Goban-Klas, “Politics versus the Media in Poland,” 33.
problem was compounded by the fact that throughout the ECE states there was no tradition among reporters of pressing politicians for answers to difficult problems, meaning that most of the time journalists were unable to obtain the facts necessary to provide its audience with “the information it [needed] in order to assess developments and government policies.”121 Most articles either accepted official policies at face value or blindly attacked them, whereas comprehensive and in-depth investigative news coverage was rare.122 An ideological divide between “old” journalists—that is, those who had practiced the profession prior to the fall of communism—and “new” journalists exacerbated the polar divide between the two main types of reporting mentioned above. Older journalists were the ones most likely to be fearful of thinking critically or questioning government policies or facts. In contrast, newer and younger journalists did not always accept all the information given to them by government sources, but they tended to see themselves more as commentators, critics, and analysts rather than mere reporters of the news.123 This led to a blurring of the line between “straight” reporting and opinion pieces, which in turn served to weaken the credibility of journalists in the eyes of the public. Additionally, pieces by younger journalists—particularly in Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and its later daughter republics—often used angry and vulgar language, thereby detracting from the credibility of the stories.124 The inclusion of opinions in what should have been objective pieces also gave governments ammunition to use against the media when it painted politicians in an unflattering light. In Hungary, for example, overt journalistic hostilities against the conservative regime in power in the early 1990s gave the government the opportunity to denounce the press as being biased and unreliable.125 The elites in power would often even accuse the media of taking excessively critical and therefore anti-reformist stances in their work.126 Lessthan-professional reporting also left journalists more vulnerable to the threat of libel charges, particularly as states began to reapply anti-defamation laws with increasing strictness. Finally, journalists were not themselves immune to the new political networks and associations forming around them in the tumultuous postcommunist transition period. Journalists who reported extensively on political issues were often drawn into the political sphere themselves, occasionally even taking up political office—as was the case with Václav Havel, Jiri Dienstbier, Václav Klaus, and Rita Klimova in the Czech Republic; Adam Michnik in Poland, and Nikolle Lesi in Albania.127 This list is not exhaustive, of course, and the very ��������������������������������������������������������� Jakubowicz, “Media Within and Without the State,” 136. ���������������������������������������������������� Kettle, ������������������������������������������������� “The Development of the Czech Media,” 54. ������������������������������������ Gross, ��������������������������������� Entangled Evolutions, 104. �������������� Ibid., ����������� 104. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Lánczi and O’Neil, “Pluralization and the Politics of Media Change in Hungary,” 87. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Školkay, “Journalists, Political Elites and the Post-Communist Public,” 72. ����������������������������������� Gross, �������������������������������� Entangled Evolutions, 97.
fact many more names can be mentioned highlights the interdependent nature between the media and the political elite in ECE states. These tight links suggest other existing problems of bias, particularly when taken in tandem with the difficulties of media ownership previously discussed. Ultimately, after the fall of communism ECE journalists were unable to establish a professional framework that could help them to create objective, information-rich, and comprehensive stories about government actions and policies. This lack of professionalism and journalistic ethos made members of the media much less effective in circulating important information to the public, thereby limiting the media’s dialogue-inducing, agenda-setting, and informative functions. When combined with the institutions left over from communism, as well as the objectivity problems posed by different ownership regimes, this crippled the capacity of the ECE’s media to serve the functions of a free press in supporting democratic deliberations. Conclusion Despite their initial efforts, Eastern and Central European media were ultimately unable to follow the Western model of objective and informative journalism that could have upheld democratic principles and aided the region’s transformation to democracy. In first examining what constitutes an independent media system and then determining how this ideal contrasts with the realities of ECE media in the 1990s, I have argued that three major factors contributed to media inefficacy and thwarted initial efforts to create Western-style media in the region. Problems of ownership, the persistence of communist institutions, and the lack of an ethos of professionalism among journalists each played a major role in delegitimizing the region’s media and making it incapable of fulfilling the roles that scholars such as Gurevitch and Blumler believed it must perform for democratization to take place. As a result, although the majority of ECE states eventually developed fairly stable and consolidated democratic regimes, it is clear that there was no free press which could have spurred democratization and the creation of frameworks for good governance. Thus, scholars must look elsewhere to account for the successes of post-communist democratization, and theories claiming that a free press is necessary for democracy should be reassessed.
Bibliography Bernhard, Michael. “Civil Society and Democratic Transition in East Central Europe.” Political Science Quarterly 108.2 (1993): 307-326. Freedom in the World Comparative and Historical Data. “Freedom in the World Country Ratings, 1973-2009.” Freedom House. http://www.freedomhouse.org/template. cfm?page=439 (accessed March 18, 2010). Freedom of the Press Historical Data. “Freedom of the Press: Central and Eastern Europe/ Former Soviet Union.” Freedom House. http://www.freedomhouse.org/template. cfm?page=274 (accessed March 18, 2010). Goban-Klas, Tomasz. “Politics versus the Media in Poland: A Game without Rules.” In PostCommunism and the Media in Eastern Europe, ed. Patrick H. O’Neil, 24-41. London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1997. Gross, Peter. Entangled Evolutions: Media and Democratization in Eastern Europe. Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2002. Gurevitch, Michael and Blumler, Jay G. “Political Communication Systems and Democratic Values.” In Democracy and the Mass Media, ed. Judith Lichtenberg, 269-289. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Jakubowicz, Karol. “Media Within and Without the State: Press Freedom in Eastern Europe.” Journal of Communication 45 (1995): 125-139. Jakubowicz, Karol and Miklós Sükösd. “Twelve Concepts Regarding Media System Evolution and Democratization in Post-Communist Societies.” In Finding the Right Place on the Map: Central and Eastern European Media Change in a Global Perspective, ed. Karol Jakubowicz and Miklós Sükösd, 9-40. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2009 Kaldor, Mary and Ivan Vejvoda. “Democratization in Central and East European Countries.” International Affairs 73.1 (1997): 59-82. Kettle, Steve. “The Development of the Czech Media since the Fall of Communism.” In PostCommunism and the Media in Eastern Europe, ed. Patrick H. O’Neil, 42-60. London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1997. Lánczi, András and Patrick H. O’Neil. “Pluralization and the Politics of Media Change in Hungary.” In Post-Communism and the Media in Eastern Europe, ed. Patrick H. O’Neil, 82-101. London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1997. Man Chan, Joseph. “Media, Democracy and Globalisation: A Comparative Framework.” The Public 8.4 (2001): 103-118. Milton, Andrew K. “New Media Reform in Eastern Europe: A Cross-National Comparison.” In Post-Communism and the Media in Eastern Europe, ed. Patrick H. O’Neil, 7-23. London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1997.
Norris, Pippa. “The role of the free press in promoting democratization, good governance, and human development” (paper presented at the Annual National Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, 20-22 April 2007). O’Neil, Patrick. H. “Introduction: Media Reform and Democratization in Eastern Europe.” In Post-Communism and the Media in Eastern Europe, ed. Patrick H. O’Neil, 1-6. London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1997. Price, Monroe. “Media Transitions in the Rear-View Mirror: Some Reflections.” International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 22:4 (2009): 485-496. Sachs, Natan. “Freedom of the Press, Democracy & Democratization” (paper presented at the Annual National Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, 20-April 22, 2007). Sen, Amartya. Development as Freedom. New York: Anchor Books, 1999. Školkay, Andrej. “Journalists, Political Elites and the Post-Communist Public: The Case of Slovakia.” In Post-Communism and the Media in Eastern Europe, ed. Patrick H. O’Neil, 61-81. London: Frank Cass and Co. Ltd, 1997. Splichal, Slavko. “Imitative Revolutions: Changes in the Media and Journalism in East-Central Europe.” The Public 8.4 (2001): 31-56.
Synergizing Reserves and Resources: Foundations of the New Aboriginal Economy Christian Arseneault
Issues facing urban Aboriginal1,2 communities are generally viewed and treated independently of the problems encountered on reserves (though it should be noted that up to a quarter of all reserves are classified as “urban”).3 In contrast to the complex multi-level framework put forward by the extensive Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) report, a holistic economic development approach can explore both rural and urban opportunities through just two main policy features: urban reserves, combined with resource revenue sharing (RRS) agreements. This strategy promotes diversified Aboriginal economies but requires a significant departure from the traditional belief that urban and rural problems are independent of one another. Accordingly, this essay discusses the structure of urban reserve and RRS negotiation frameworks and defends this approach against possible unintended consequences. On-reserve and urban Aboriginals definitely face similar social problems, including but certainly not limited to: lower educational attainment; lower income levels; higher rates of child poverty and adolescent suicide; and high unemployment. However, the growing number of Aboriginals – almost half the total Aboriginal population as of 1996 – who move to the city in search of better jobs and services run into additional problems. Most importantly, they no longer benefit from reserves’ special status under the Indian Act or federal obligations under the Constitution Act, 1982 (sections 81, 83, 87 and s.91 respectively). This includes financial benefits in the form of tax exemptions on income and property, and service benefits in the form of (however limited) federal health and social assistance. There is, and always has been, a jurisdictional dispute between the federal and provincial governments as regards off-reserve 1 This paper uses “Aboriginal” and “Indian” interchangeably. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� This paper does not dive into trends in Aboriginal mobility or the wide range of socioeconomic problems faced by both urban and rural Aboriginals. It seeks, rather, to illustrate these problems in such a way as to promote holistic policy development that addresses them all. For more on Aboriginal ethnic mobility and urbanization, see the Guimond and Peters articles of the POLI-372 course pack. For a basic summary of the diverse socioeconomic problems faced by First Nations individuals and communities, see Hanselmann’s “Urban Aboriginal People in Western Canada: Realities and Policies”, cited at the end of this paper. 3 Loxley, John, and Fred Wien. «Urban Aboriginal Economic Development.» Urban Aboriginal People in Western Canada: Realities and Policies. Calgary: Canada West Foundation, 2001. Accessed November 26, 2009. JSTOR.
Indians; the federal government sees its responsibilities as only applying to reserves, while the provinces claim that the federal government is responsible for all Indians, regardless of location.4 Consequently, Calvin Hanselmann notes that urban Aboriginals have even more trouble accessing health and social assistance services than similarly disadvantaged non-Aboriginals.5 In addition to financial and social challenges, urban Aboriginals have historically encountered additional cultural difficulties as members of a typi cally tiny Aboriginal minority in large cities.6 As strangers in heavily populated and culturally diverse metropolises, Aboriginals essentially lose, not only their social, but also their cultural and spiritual safety nets. An early response, beginning in 1958, came in the form of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, but these only offered drop-in advice to new arrivals.7 In fact, only since the 1990s have umbrella organizations like Vancouver’s Aboriginal People’s Council and Winnipeg’s Aboriginal Council sought a community-based approach in coordinating and improving the social, cultural, and spiritual responses to city living.8 While urban Aboriginal issues revolve mostly around cultural and socioeconomic challenges, the main reason for moving to the city in the first place has to do with the economic realities faced by reserve communities. While some reserves have been successful in developing businesses like golf courses and casinos, most still rely on natural resources, be it agriculture, forestry, or mining.9 This tends to result in what Russell Banta has coined the “resource paradox”:
From an aboriginal point of view, resource wealth tends to bypass co munities as profits go to outside investors, payments go to outside services and suppliers, wages go to outside labour, public revenues go to central governments, and local people are barred from participation by poor education, social and physical infrastructure.10
As a result, despite having a wide variety of resources at the disposal, either on reserve or throughout their traditional lands, most Canadian First Na4 Hanselmann, Calvin. Uncommon Sense: Promising Practices in Urban Aboriginal PolicyMaking and Programming. Calgary: Canada West Foundation, 2002. Accessed November 26, 2009. JSTOR. 5 Hanselmann, Calvin. Enhanced Urban Aboriginal Programming in Western Canada. Calgary: Canada West Foundation, 2002. Accessed November 26, 2009. JSTOR. 6 Peters, Evelyn J. «Geographies of Urban Aboriginal People in Canada: Implications for Urban Self-Government.» In The State of the Federation 2003: Reconfiguring Aboriginal-State Relations, edited by Michael Murphy, 39-76. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Newhouse, David. «The Invisible Infrastructure: Urban Aboriginal Institutions and Organizations.» Not Strangers in These Parts: Urban Aboriginal Peoples. Policy Research Initiative. Edited by David Newhouse and Evelyn J. Peters, 243-53. Accessed November 28, 2009. JSTOR. 8 Peters 42; also Todd, Roy. «Between The Land And The City: Aboriginal Agency, Culture And Governance In Urban Areas.» London Journal of Canadian Studies 16 (2000/2001): 4967. JSTOR. Web. 26 Nov. 2009. 9 Loxley 219. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Cornish, Christopher. Mapping the Road Ahead: Finding Common Ground on Resource Revenue Sharing. N.p.: Aboriginal Relations Consulting. Accessed November 29, 2009. JSTOR.
tions reserves are characterized by economic conditions more representative of underdeveloped countries than of a wealthy liberal democracy such as Canada. This naturally affects key socioeconomic factors such as income and employment levels, which, in turn, exacerbate existing social issues. It is these harsh socioeconomic realities that drive people “off the land” and to the additional problems supposedly presented by city life. It is based, however, on the faulty notion that First Nations cannot combine the economic benefits of reserves with those of the city, a notion that is being discredited by the over thirty Saskatchewan urban reserves that have been created since 1992.11 These reserves function as competitive grounds for business and maximize the benefits of working on-reserve for employees. Urban Reserves Peters explains how reserves can either be expanded or created through the federal government’s Additions to Reserves (ATR) policy framework.12 This is usually done in combination with provincial “Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreements” (TLEFA) that take precedence over ATR rules.13 The ATR/ TLEFA process was followed in the creation of Saskatchewan’s urban reserves. New reserves can be created for any number of reasons, from treaty obligations to land claims agreements in areas uncovered by existing treaties. Negotiations between First Nations and various levels of government can be protracted – after all, the creation of a reserve involves a huge shift in legal, financial, and social jurisdiction. More importantly, since the jurisdictional shift has an impact on municipalities as well as the federal and provincial governments, a wide range of issues must be negotiated before the transfer that would be irrelevant in the case of most rural reserves, such as municipal service provision and compensation for lost property tax revenue. With such jurisdiction come significant benefits to the First Nations band controlling the new reserve. There are, of course, the traditional legal benefits conferred by the Indian Act (found in sections 81, 83, and 87):
1. The reserve is under the legal jurisdiction of the First Nations band council, so municipal bylaws do not apply;
2. The band council has taxation and licensing powers; 3. First Nations-owned properties are not taxable; 4. Businesses located on reserves have extra access to government assistance programs and First Nations investment capital; and
5. First Nations employees are not charged income tax on on-reserve earnings.
������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Peters, Evelyn J. “Urban Reserves.” N.p.: National Centre for First Nations Governance, 2007. Accessed November 21, 2009. JSTOR. ������������� Peters ����������� 5-6. ����������� Peters 10
Upon quick review, these benefits alone are substantial. The immense tax advantages on income and property, not to mention the ability to levy some taxes and licensing fees on behalf of the band, are second to none. Why, then, are so many reserves still economically underdeveloped? Simply put, they are unable to employ these advantages where they will be most beneficial – near large groupings of relatively affluent people, that is, urban areas. Creating urban reserves allows bands to maximize the comparative advantages of doing business provided by reserve status. The demand for goods and services of all kinds is higher in cities, so entrepreneurial individuals can take advantage of increased availability of capital and government assistance to open successful businesses. There is a greater availability of jobs for Aboriginals of every age and skill level, and they do not have to pay income taxes. The band as a whole can make money from real estate rents and taxes in a way unheard of on rural reserves. The band can even guide development, through zoning and bylaws, in a way that matches Aboriginal values and aspirations. Different bands could even collaborate to pursue otherwise unachievable urban business opportunities.14 There is also the possibility of living on urban reserves, though this is currently possible only in British Columbia.15 Finally, urban reserves are an advantageous location for social and cultural service. They enable the creation of genuinely multifunctional Aboriginal neighbourhoods that can include everything from businesses to housing to schools.16 The wide range of benefits of urban reserves are summarized nicely by Peters: Urban reserves can serve as spaces where Aboriginal culture within the city can be cultivated through daily commercial and service activities if not explicit cultural events. They also serve as a symbolic function, symbolizing Aboriginal empowerment, the will and capacity to retain a distinct place in Canadian society, and the potential for harmonious coexistence between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal society in a shared urban community.17 As can be seen above, urban reserves present an opportunity to solve many of the socioeconomic problems encountered by urban Aboriginals. They also contribute to diversifying a First Nation’s economic base away from overreliance on natural resources. They do not, however, solve Banta’s resource paradox. Current resource income on reserves is limited largely by what little ������������� Loxley 221. ������������ Peters 12. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Richards, John. Neighbors Matter: Poor Neighborhoods and Urban Aboriginal Policy. C.D. Howe Institute Online. C.D. Howe Institute, Nov. 2001. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Peters, ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Evelyn J. «Indigeneity and Marginalisation: Planning For and With Urban Aboriginal Communities in Canada.» In Review of Indigeneity and Marginalisation: Planning For and With Urban Aboriginal Communities in Canada, by Ryan Walker. Progress in Planning 63 (2005): 327-404. Accessed November 23, 2009. JSTOR.Web. 23 Nov. 2009.
Aboriginals can do as individuals and communities. For example, most bands do not have enough money or corporate knowledge to drill for oil themselves. Furthermore, there are much greater areas of traditional land that are exploited by corporations with little to no consideration of or consultation with the relevant First Nations tribes. In order to overcome this problem, resource sharing is by far the best option. Resource revenue sharing agreements solve the resource paradox and further promote Aboriginal economic development by increasing, and more importantly, stabilizing band resource revenue. Resource Revenue Sharing (RRS) Economically speaking, Cornish defines resource revenue as “the total value of the economic rent derived from the extraction and exploitation activities of renewable and non-renewable resources”.18 In layman’s terms, this refers to the financial income of various types derived from resource activities, such as licensing and stumpage fees, taxes, and corporate profits. This can apply either to a First Nations reserve or to a band’s traditional lands. Despite this relatively simple definition, Aboriginals and governments differ significantly on what it includes. For example, the federal and provincial governments include only direct revenues from royalties, mining taxes, and fees; Aboriginal groups, on the other hand, argue that resource activities also generate substantial corporate and personal income tax revenues for both levels of government.19 Furthermore, while industry is indifferent to what is included in the equation, companies are diametrically opposed to any scheme that would raise taxes or licensing fees. The potential result of these conflicting definitions of resource revenue is a huge difference in the amount awarded to First Nations in RRS agreements. For example, a proposal in the 1996 RCAP report to establish a resource revenue fund in Ontario would have seen, according to various schemes, annual income of anywhere from $74 million to $444 million.20 Even if a definition of resource revenue can be agreed by Aboriginal and state actors, a veritable deluge of questions follows. For example, revenue transfers could affect fiscal and horizontal imbalances, and thus equalization payments; more “own-source” (if only nominally) revenue going to First Nations could reduce the fiduciary obligations of the federal government; eligibility for and distribution of funds could be subject to inter-Aboriginal politics; and finally, such a move by the federal and provincial governments could easily be deemed politically unpopular.21 These obstacles, while presented as challenges unique to RRS agreements, are arguably present in most Aboriginal debates, including land claims and especially in discussions of urban reserves. In this case, promoting and developing Aboriginal-industry relationships and aligning interests enables a ������������ Cornish 2. ������������ Cornish 2. ������������ Cornish 3. ����������� Cornish 3.
united front against governments; it is not uncommon to see industry championing the Aboriginal cause when interests are aligned, and doing so can effectuate a more efficient RRS negotiation process. Assuming First Nations bands collaborate with industrial and governmental actors, two options are available: to limit RSS agreements to reserves or to extend them to the “traditional” territories of bands. Peters uses the notion of traditional territory as an option for Aboriginal service provision, but does not consider its use for revenue agreements.22 For example, Quebec’s 2002 Paix des Braves agreement with the James Bay Cree and Inuit took this form, as the hydroelectric projects spanned considerable amounts of territory (interestingly enough, a deal was signed even though both groups signing away their rights to land claims in 1970).23 Indeed, with most reserves being relatively small, and band jurisdiction on reserves being extensive, it seems unreasonable to assume that important RRS agreements would apply only to reserve land. Rather, most would concern traditional aboriginal territories. Signing RRS agreements that cover traditional territories would benefit First Nations in three key ways. First, revenue sources could be further diversified. For example, instead of relying only on agriculture, forestry, or small-scale fishing, bands would receive revenue from a range of industrial activities on their traditional lands. The possibilities include oil and gas mining and refining, pipelines, and the activities mentioned above. Economic diversification leads to economic stability. Second, revenues would undoubtedly increase. Shifting revenues from a local or reserve base to a regional one opens up new opportunities for licensing, exploration, and extraction in both new and existing industries. This further amplifies the benefits of diversification. Finally, RRS agreements would necessarily hold for periods of years or even decades. In other words, though revenue may fluctuate to a degree, the revenue source would be solid and unchanging. This means that economic diversification would be a longterm benefit, further increasing the stability that it provides. These economic benefits synergize with those provided by urban reserves to form a dynamic and vibrant Aboriginal economy. Synergizing Reserves and Resources When considering these two seemingly unrelated policies, it is possible to envision a potent strategy for Aboriginal development resulting from their combination. Like any larger state, First Nations have historically been impeded by largely single-sector reserve economies characterized by relatively small-scale resource exploitation and large distances from urban cores. The answer is to diversify the economic base. This can be achieved in two ways: by maximizing reserves’ advantages near or in urban centres, and significantly increasing rural ������������ Peters 43. ������������ Cornish ���������� 6.
and remote resource revenue. Creating reserves near urban cores allows Aboriginals to take full advantage of jurisdictional capabilities in order to create a favourable business climate. Furthermore, when combined with residential, social, and cultural locations, urban reserves have the potential to greatly increase the sense of community felt by otherwise isolated Aboriginal individuals. By combining economic success with social and cultural cohesion, Aboriginal communities can finally begin to solve the wide range of socioeconomic problems that affect them in much higher proportions than the population at large. ����������������������������������������������������������������������� Of course, this cannot be limited to the urban reserves alone. If problems on rural reserves are to be solved with the same effectiveness, there cannot be a wide income gap between those working in the city and those staying in the country. The solution here is to further diversify First Nations economies by reaching resource revenue agreements with governments and industry. In doing so, the band maximizes non-urban revenue sources, allowing it to improve social problems on rural reserves without having to drain the urban reserves of social and financial capital. The two different revenue streams combine to create a diverse, stable asset base and guarantee long-term income for the band. Such guarantees help in planning and carrying out further social, cultural, and economic developments in both rural and urban areas. Furthermore, such a strategy solves Banta’s resource paradox, as resource revenues go (at least in part) to the communities that own the resources and are most affected by their development. Finally, with greatly increased revenues from urban business and rural RRS agreements, Aboriginal communities can invest substantial sums in quickly eliminating the greatest problems that afflict their communities, such as child poverty and teen suicide. Most importantly, communities would be able to develop social solutions quicker than under alternative plans for Aboriginal governance, of which the RCAP framework is the most influential. Advantages over the RCAP Framework In order to solve the socioeconomic challenges discussed above, the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) formulated a multilevel model for Aboriginal governance that divided responsibilities for education, health and healing, family, arts and heritage, economic development, and capacity-building for self-government among four different tiers of Aboriginal government/association. The most local level is the immediate community, followed by the First Nation. Then there are two multi-nation levels, one being Canada-wide and the other ostensibly being more regional in nature.24 This multi-level approach is designed to combine a “land base” model of governance with the “community of interest” model.25 This is similar to the proposal advanced herein except that it divides responsibility among many orders of ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Institute on Governance. Summary of the Final Report of The Royal Commission on Aborig��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� inal Peoples. [Ottawa]: Institute on Governance, 1997. Accessed November 28, 2009. JSTOR. ���������������������������� Institute on Governance 9.
“government” (for lack of a better word): reserves’ band councils would have distinct responsibilities, but so would regional bodies and national bodies. Furthermore, some aspects of economic development and various social policies would be at either the multi-nation or pan-Canadian levels.26 This approach to Aboriginal development and governance is seriously flawed in two ways. First, it tries to accomplish with two forms of Aboriginal government what the urban reserve/RRS strategy does with one. More specifically, it treats each First Nation as a federation of reserves and non-reserves, and “By combinging ecodivides responsibilities to a regional First Nanomic success with tion authority with the hope of providing desocial and cultural cent services throughout the entire extended cohesion, Aboriginal “community of interest”. As such, it stretches communities can finally already limited human and capital resources begin to solve the wide thin by spreading them over two levels and trying to extend services where numbers may range of socioeconomic not warrant. By comparison, under the urban problems that affect reserve/RRS approach, there would be only one band council governing all reserves and them in much higher traditional lands of the First Nation.
proportions than the population at large.”
Regardless of whether responsibilities are divided among multiple levels, it is difficult to imagine any kind of effective service delivery when there is no funding guarantee. The best way to guarantee funding is to shift from government handouts to own-source revenues. The RCAP framework does not suggest this, in sharp contrast to an urban reserve/RRS strategy. The central tenet of this strategy is to significantly speed autonomous First Nations’ economic development in such a way that enables social and cultural cohesion, and guaranteeing income is much more conducive than promises to increase funding levels. These two flaws are but symptoms of the RCAP’s generally unwieldy model for Aboriginal governance. The urban reserve/RRS strategy, by contrast, solves the most important issue for Aboriginal communities – money – by shifting control of band revenue into the hands of the band council. Most importantly, it does so through simple policies and, in the case of urban reserves, existing frameworks. There is only one level of government per First Nation. Once bands have diversified portfolios, they can decide what resources to pool at regional and pan-Canadian levels, or indeed whether to pool at all. So, by first solving the overarching economic problem that underlies so many Aboriginal social and cultural problems, the urban reserve/RRS strategy is more likely to achieve a noticeable improvement in the general Aboriginal state of affairs. Moreover, it does so more quickly and efficiently than a model relying ������������������������������� Institute on Governance 37-9.
on the creation pan-Canadian institutions could ever do. This efficiency does not, however, immunize this approach from criticism. Disadvantages center on the possibility of urban Aboriginal ghettoization and the apparent exclusion of non-status Aboriginals. Disadvantages of the Urban Reserve/RRS Approach It is commonly assumed that Aboriginals group together and form neighbourhoods, or “ghettos”, similar to migrants of other ethnicities. Peters has sought to debunk this myth: Aboriginals do tend to live in poorer neighbourhoods and represent a disproportionate amount of the poor population, but Aboriginal groups rarely constitute even half of a neighbourhood’s total population, and never make up more than three percent of a city’s total Aboriginal population.27 Traditional ghettos in American cities, by contrast, are characterized by an ethnic group’s making up 80-90% of the population. So, Aboriginal ghettos do not currently exist. But might an unforeseen consequence of the urban reserves/RRS strategy be to encourage Aboriginal ghettoization? A logical, even desired result of successful urban reserves would be increased Aboriginal activity in and around the reserve areas. This would ideally take many forms, ranging from economic and residential to social and cultural. If urban reserves have a residential component, then it would obviously be filled exclusively by Aboriginal families. Regardless, it is safe to assume that urban Aboriginals would prefer to live as close as possible to the economic, social and cultural centre of their urban environment, especially if the reserve had key health and educational institutions like schools. For these reasons, it is only fair to assume that Aboriginal residential patterns will shift toward the urban reserves. Whether this is necessarily a disadvantage also remains to be seen. Negative views of ghettos are based on the assumption, usually correct, that they are poor neighbourhoods. Assuming, however, that urban reserves are as successful at promoting economic and social development as we argue herein, the trend becomes one of “positive” ghettoization – the development of a territorially defined cultural community in the big city. With incomes on the rise and community-wide solutions to socioeconomic problems, urban reserves could, in fact, promote a rich and thriving urban Aboriginal microcosm. Further, the advantage of operating mostly tax-free on reserves would enable Aboriginal entrepreneurs to offer competitive services to non-Aboriginal residents and businesses, which could dull the perceived negative effects of reserves often held by non-Aboriginals. “Positive ghettoization” and increased economic development would be useless if they failed to include the most rapidly growing group of Aboriginals: non-status Indians. Only status Indians can live and work tax-free on reserves; only status Indians benefit directly from band ownership of diverse natural and ������������� Peters ����������� 6-7.
urban resources. Non-status Aboriginals reap none of these benefits, and would appear to be left just as marginalized as under the current situation. However, while non-status urbanites would not gain any legal rights, they would still benefit from a stronger status population, in only somewhat indirectly. Aboriginal organizations catering to urban populations have been generally characterized as “status-blind” because they offer support and services irrespective of legal status. While non-status Indians have benefited from these services and communities, they’d have even more to gain if the financial and social foundations of those institutions were secured and strengthened. There would still be increased opportunities for work and community support, and non-status Aboriginals would probably be just as likely to live near the “ghetto” and send their children to Aboriginal schools as status Indians. Conclusion Issues concerning the plight of urban Aboriginals are typically discussed independently of those concerned with Aboriginal economic development. The former often involve cultural and social challenges faced uniquely by urban Aboriginals, while the latter focus on the economic problems associated exclusively with rural, resource-based reserve economies. This paper offers a solution to both problems by combining two radically different policies that have been employed with surprising degrees of success: urban reserves and revenue resource sharing (RSS) agreements. The underlying approach focuses on economic development as it relates to the entire Aboriginal community, both rural and urban. Its key advantage over other policy alternatives is that, by taking a holistic approach that recognizes both rural and urban opportunities, it promotes diversified economies and correspondingly strong social and cultural institutions. Furthermore, the challenges of an urban reserve/RSS policy are tiny compared to the corresponding problems associated with the influential RCAP proposal for Aboriginal governance. Disadvantages center, first, on the possibility of urban ghettos on or near urban reserves, and second, on the lack of direct support to non-status urban Indians, who constitute the most rapidly growing Aboriginal population. These potential problems can be dealt with through Aboriginal social and cultural policy. Finally, such a policy opens up other avenues for research and debate, including RRS negotiation frameworks, urban reserves in a land claims context, and the nature of new and emerging fiscal relationships between the federal, provincial, municipal, and Aboriginal orders of government. RSS negotiation frameworks are possibly the most important tools for Aboriginal, governmental, and industrial actors alike. By laying out the basic rules for negotiations and new agreements, it promotes efficiency in the same way the TLEFA/ATR frameworks do for new reserves. Second, Aboriginal groups may have greater flexibility in urban reserve creation when such negotiations are precipitated by failure to commit to other land claims. Finally, 68
both urban reserves and RSS agreements challenge fundamental notions of the relationships between Aboriginal bands and the various orders of government. Questions of jurisdiction, autonomy, and sovereignty will be gradually answered through precedent-setting deals and challenged by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups alike.
Bibliography Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (U.K.), 1982, s.91. Cornish, Christopher. Mapping the Road Ahead: Finding Common Ground on Resource Revenue Sharing. N.p.: Aboriginal Relations Consulting. Accessed November 29, 2009. JSTOR. Hanselmann, Calvin. Enhanced Urban Aboriginal Programming in Western Canada. Canada West Foundation, 2002. Accessed Novembe26, 2009. JSTOR.
Hanselmann, Calvin. Uncommon Sense: Promising Practices in Urban Aboriginal Policy-Making and Programming. Calgary: Canada West Foundation, 2002. Accessed November 26, 2009. JSTOR. Indian Act, R.S.C. 1985, s.81, 83, 87. Institute on Governance. Summary of the Final Report of The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. [Ottawa]: Institute on Governance, 1997. Accessed November 28, 2009. JSTOR. Institute on Governance. Summary of the Final Report of The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples: Implications for Canada’s Health Care System. [Ottawa]: Institute on Governance, 1997. Accessed November 28, 2009. JSTOR. Loxley, John, and Fred Wien. “Urban Aboriginal Economic Development.” Urban Aboriginal People in Western Canada: Realities and Policies. Calgary: Canada West Foundation, 2001. Accessed November 26, 2009. JSTOR. Newhouse, David. “The Invisible Infrastructure: Urban Aboriginal Institutions and Organizations.” Not Strangers in These Parts: Urban Aboriginal Peoples. Policy Research Initiative. Edited by David Newhouse and Evelyn J. Peters, 243-53. Accessed November 28, 2009. JSTOR. Not Strangers in These Parts: Urban Aboriginal Peoples. By Policy Research Initiative. Edited by David Newhouse and Evelyn J. Peters, 217-42. Accessed November 28, 2009. JSTOR. Peters, Evelyn J. “Geographies of Urban Aboriginal People in Canada: Implications for Urban Self-Government.” In The State of the Federation 2003: Reconfiguring Aboriginal-State Relations, edited by Mi chael Murphy, 39-76. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005. Peters, Evelyn J. “Indigeneity and Marginalisation: Planning For and With Urban Aboriginal Communities in Canada.” In Review of Indigene ity and Marginalisation: Planning For and With Urban Aboriginal Communities in Canada, by Ryan Walker. Progress in Planning 63 (2005): 327-404. Accessed November 23, 2009. JSTOR.
Peters, Evelyn J. “Three Myths about Aboriginals in Cities.” Address, Canadan Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 415-151 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario, March 25, 2004. JSTOR. Accessed November 28, 2009. Peters, Evelyn J. “Urban Reserves.” N.p.: National Centre for First Nations Governance, 2007. Accessed November 21, 2009. JSTOR. Richards, John. Neighbors Matter: Poor Neighborhoods and Urban Aboriginal Policy. C.D. Howe Institute Online. C.D. Howe Institute, Nov. 2001. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. Todd, Roy. “Between The Land And The City: Aboriginal Agency, Culture And Governance In Urban Areas.” London Journal of Canadian Studies, no. 16 (2000/2001): 49-67. Accessed November 26, 2009. JSTOR. Todd, Roy. «Urban Aboriginal Governance: Developments and Issues.» In Not Strangers in These Parts: Urban Aboriginal Peoples. By Policy Research Initiative. Edited by David Newhouse and Evelyn J. Peters, 255-65. Accessed November 28, 2009. JSTOR.
The Social Network: How the growth of civil networks, political liberalization and effective frames of contention spurred the emergence of indigenous nationalism in Bolivia Gabriel Devlin
Ever since the third wave of democracy swept Latin America in the 1990s, new indigenous parties have made progressive electoral gains within the political sphere. One party that attracted the attention of scholars is the Movement for Socialism (MAS) in Bolivia. Led by Evo Morales, it won the 2005 elections with 53.7% of the vote.1 At his inauguration speech, Evo claimed: “a new history of Bolivia begins, a history where we search for equality, justice and peace with social justice.”2 The sudden rise of indigenous nationalism in Bolivia caught many by surprise, including the state’s white ruling class. But historical analysis reveals that indigenous movements are far from a recent phenomenon. As many native leaders like to claim, Indian revolts can be traced back as far as the first contact between Indians and Spanish colonizers. Taking this into account, why did it take so long for such indigenous movements to attain their contemporary level of national appeal? Three important processes led to the emergence of contemporary indigenous nationalist movements. First, the strengthening of social-civil ties increased their capacity to build a support base and diffuse ideologies. Second, progressive political liberalization gave indigenous movements the ability to translate capacity in electoral gains. And finally, the emergence of political opportunity allowed indigenous movements to unify mass grievances under a unified ‘frame of contention.’
The big picture - Capacity, ability and ideology
The first section attempts to delineate a theoretical framework to explain the rise and success of indigenous nationalist movements in Bolivia. Three processes are considered crucial. The first is a movement’s capacity to mobilize support, which relies on the strength and multiplicity of social networks. The second is a movement’s ability to attain power, which is dependent on the 1 “Coca Advocate Wins Election for President in Bolivia,” The New York Times (Dec 19, 2005). 2 Ibid.
extent of political liberalization within the state. The third factor is the movement’s ideology –the manner in which it is able to exploit cultural features to successfully frame its struggle in a manner that gathers unified supporters against a common enemy.
Strong civil society networks are central to the success of indigenous nationalist movements, as they allow means through which such movements can mobilize various factions. Comparing the failure of the early Indian revolts to the success of the later indigenous social movements, one can identify the strength of civil society as a vital distinguishing factor. Strong and overlapping civil networks are important for three reasons. First, they make movements more resilient. One difference between riots and social movements is that riots typically have no more than temporary solidarity and cannot sustain their challenges against opponents.3 Civil networks offer a means through which leaders can help maintain movements during periods of inertia and reaction.4 Strong networks can neutralize the state’s repressive abilities. Elaborate organizational structures allow groups to instigate social unrest at various loci. Even if the state manages to restore social control, the actors of the struggle can continue their cause by ‘going underground.’5 Second, social networks offer movements greater capacity to mobilize and apply pressure on the state. Without networks, actors must be mobilized individually, rendering the struggle slower and more difficult. With networks, a movement simply needs to mobilize a given group’s leaders. The existence of these overlapping organizational structures facilitates the ability of nationalist movements to quickly mobilize its supporters in demonstrations and increase their turnout at elections.6 Finally, strong civil linkages allow for the effective diffusion and development of ideas. Aristide Zolberg writes that through networks “new ideas filter down from their originators to those who ‘vulgarize’ and domesticate them.”7 If social linkages are strong, ideas can spread more effectively to the general consciousness, which in turn can elaborate new civil ties. Networks offer ideologies an environment in which they can incubate, evolve and refine themselves. Networks thus provide a medium through which ideas can increase their potency and appeal. Following this reasoning, one can expect a correlation between stronger civil networks and the emergence of social movements. 3 4 5 6 7
Tarrow, Power in Movement, 6. Ibid., 174. Ibid. Tarrow, Power in Movement, 128. Zolberg, “Moments of Madness,” 196.
Social movements can attain greater momentum in one of two ways. The first is to make gains within the political system. However, if the system is designed in such a way that it limits a movement’s ability to create change within the system, the movement can either open up the political system peacefully or overthrow it violently. The rise of indigenous parties in Bolivia provides a useful example of the former case. The causes for a state to liberalize its political sphere can originate from various sources. It can be caused from ‘below’ through social unrest. It can be done from ‘above’ through multi-laterals, who have the ability to make loans conditional upon democratization. It can also be done from within the state by state leaders themselves, who, for instance face intense competition within the ruling class. The process of political liberalization typically results from a combination of various sources of pressure from above, below and within the state.8 Political liberalization permits the growth of social movements for several reasons. First, it decreases the likelihood of state repression.9 Second, it gives social movements the opportunity to gain experience lobbying votes as well as explicit means through which to they can pressure the state into making concessions.10 Finally, it allows them to more openly diffuse their ideas into the public sphere, thereby gaining more potential support.11Following this reasoning, one can expect a correlation between political liberalization and the growth of social movements.
Opportunities and ‘frames of contention’
Strong civil networks and political opening are two processes that allow for the development of nationalist movements. However, they only give a movement the means through which to build support and gain power. What thus determines a movement’s appeal to the public? Why do successful nationalist movements take a certain character over another? In the case of Bolivia, for instance, why are contemporary nationalist movements indigenous rather than based on linguistic, ethnic or religious ties? In answering this question, one has to examine the question of how movements collect disconnected and diverse public grievances into a unified movement. Nationalist struggles start with grievance. Without grievance (or the perception of one), there is no motive to engage in struggle.12 Consequently, nationalist movements first consist of in naming grievances, connecting them 8 Hough, The Nation-States: Concert or Chaos, 56. 9 Tarrow, Power in Movement, 83. ��������������� Ibid., 88-89. ������������� Ibid., 174. ������������ Ibid., 30.
to other grievances and constructing larger frames of meaning.13 They do so typically by attempting to link diverse and different grievances to a common origin. This view is supported by Anthony Marx, who argues that movements are primarily built upon opposition.14 In unifying a base against a specific target, the movement ultimately defines the other. In opposition to this other, the movement then identifies itself. Identification of self requires highlighting a particular common identifying characteristic out of the population’s culturally familiar repertoires.15 Ideally, these characteristics are prevalent in a large portion of the population (so as to maximize a movement’s total potential support base). These common characteristics enable a movement to build a feeling of solidarity and common identity.16 By distinguishing ‘us’ and ‘them,’ a movement delineates the boundaries of the actors in its struggle. From there, it can construct what Sydney Tarrow calls a ìframe of contentionî, a narrative through which a movement places its struggle within a history of struggle. A successful frame of contention resonates with a population’s cultural predispositions.17 The nature of these ‘cultural predispositions’ is highly reliant upon social realities melded by history. Through a frame of contention, a movement can build legitimacy for its cause. Once a movement is built, it engages in ‘a competition for cultural supremacy’ with the state and other political actors.18 What determines a nationalist movement’s success is its ability to frame itself as a ‘truer’ representative of the nation than the state leaders it opposes. This is because in nation-states, leaders derive their legitimacy from public consensus that they embody the nation’s identity and interests.19 Consequently, the success of a given nationalist movements is its ability to convince the public that they truly represent the nation (and its opposition’s inability to counter such claims). This strategy is a common thread in successful nationalist movements. In When Victims Become Killers, Mahmood Mamdani argues that Hutu extremists caused the Rwandan genocide of 1994 by using the collective memory from the colonial era to associate Tutsis with the European invaders and thus as ‘aliens’ to the Rwandan nation.20 In States and Women’s Rights, Mourina M. Charrad argues that part of the rise of Muslim conservatism in the Maghreb is due to their effectiveness in associating colonial stereotypes of Muslims as ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Snow and Benford, “Ideology, Frame Resonance, and Participant Mobilization,” 203. 14 Marx, Making Race and Nation. ��������������������������������� Tarrow, Power in Movement, 201. ������������� Ibid., 201. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Snow and Benford, “Ideology, Frame Resonance, and Participant Mobilization,” 136. ��������������������������������� Tarrow, Power in Movement, 110. �������������������������������� Hough, The Nation-States, 30. ��������������������������������������� Mamdani, When Victims Become Killers.
‘backward’ with progressive state liberalization of personal status laws.21 What these findings show is that the battle between state leaders and nationalist movements from below is ultimately a fight over what defines ‘the nation.’
Early indigenous revolts - Tupak Katari (1780-81) and Zatare Willka (1888-89)
Leaders of contemporary indigenous movements such as Evo Morales frequently claim that they are continuing a fight that dates hundreds of years. Indeed, native resistance against white oppression dates as far back as 1524 when the Spanish first entered the Andes and attempted to consolidate their control over the region.22 Two revolts in particular, one during the 1780-81 and another a century later, are notable for the extent to which they instigated social unrest. Although the first wave, led by Tupak Katari, is by far the most famous (and the most frequently referenced by contemporary indigenous movements), both waves are remarkably similar in their character and trajectory.23 They were both led by charismatic leaders, who opposed political and economic domination by the white race and called for empowerment of marginalized Indian populations. Both leaders built support through the use of native symbols, such as traditional clothes and the Wiphala flag. Both used ethnic distinctions as a way to delineate the boundaries of their struggle. But the most notable common denominator of the revolts is that they both disappeared within a year. Why were these leaders unable to sustain their respective struggles?
Weak civil networks
Before the arrival of colonialism, Andean societies were structurally loose, characterized by an ‘archipelago pattern of territoriality’ formed of isolated ‘peripheral islands’ this was largely an adaptation to the mountainous and rugged Andean environment.24 Although a greater kingdom formally collected the different units under a single leader, the vertical terrain that separated .these units forced them to be isolated and self-suffici 25 In 1524 the Spanish tore apart this already loose societal structure. After defeating the pre-colonial empires, the Europeans began to fragment, disintegrate and rearrange the ethnic kingdoms of the south as to establish their hegemony.26 Institution of mitas, forced labor practices that extracted In������������������������������������� Charrad, States and Women’s Rights. ��������������������������������������� Larson. Cochabamba, 1550-1900, 31-43. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� See Campbell, “Ideology and Factionalism during the Great Rebellion,” and Szeminski, ì���� ����� Why kill the Spaniard?” ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Stahl, “Structural Density of Domesticated South American Camelid Skeletal Elements and the Archaeological Investigation of Prehistoric Andean Ch’arki” in Journal of Archaeological Science 26 (1999); p. 1347–1368 ������������������������������������ Larson. Cochabamba, 1550-1900, 34. ������������ Ibid., 34.
dians out of their communities and inserted them into white-owned agricultural plots and mines, further weakened civil ties.27 Colonialism fully fragmented kin groups and destroyed the vestiges of political archipelagos.28 These practices continued past independence in 1825. The white upper-class which inherited the leadership mantle from Spanish had little incentive to empower their cheap workforce.29 Marginalization only worsened with the rise of Liberal parties in the late 1800s, which portrayed Indians as obstacles to state progress and used the state to actively suppress their cultural practices.30 One can thus conclude that Indian civil ties remained weak for most of Bolivian history. Because civil ties were weak, the indigenous revolts of the late 18th th and 19 centuries were disorganized and chaotic. Although social unrest was intense in certain specific regions, the violence failed to diffuse to the rest of the country. The lack of any structures through which revolt leaders could discipline and mobilize the masses led to a quick suppression by the state. Indeed, social order reestablished itself almost immediately after the state captured and executed the revolts’ leaders. Consequently, early indigenous leaders had little capacity to create successful nationalist movements.
The Indians have persistently been marginalized by the state though limited political rights and state repression. The colonial administrative apparatus was less of a state than it was a system that extracted the region of its natural resources through coerced native labor. Consequently, the Spanish fully excluded natives from the state and allowed little room for indigenous political expression. The colonial state repressed any opposition to its hegemony. Despite the transition to independent rule, Bolivia’s large indigenous population would have to wait over a century to vote. After white creoles took control of the state apparatus in 1825, they showed little interest in extending voting rights towards the Indian population. Although Bolivia’s first constitution promised universal suffrage, Bolivia’s Congress passed regulations that in practice kept Indians without a voice. Congress limited voting rights only to those who owned property and were literate in Spanish.31 Additionally, the state limited the availability of voting booths to urban areas, in the process excluding the mostly rural Indian population.32 From 1825 to 1952, less than 10 percent of adult males voted during elections.33 Repression of native revolts continued to be the norm. Consequently, throughout most of Bolivia’s history, power remained mostly in hands of a small group of white elites. ������������ Ibid., 53. ������������ Ibid., 67. ������������ Ibid., 67. ������������� Ibid., 101. ������������ Ibid., 54. ������������� Ibid., 100. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Gamarra and Malloy, “The patrimonial dynamics of party politics in Bolivia,” 400.
Indians thus remained at the boundaries of the state for much of Bolivia’s history, and whites maintained the status quo.34 This allowed little room for the indigenous groups to build movements for equal rights. A closed political system thus allowed indigenous populations little ability to create sustain social movements against white dominance.
A Fragmented Struggle
Another reason the early indigenous revolts led by Tupak Amaru and Zatare Willka quickly dissipated is the lack of a unified narrative. Indeed, the reasons why peasants revolted were far from unified under a single cause; rather, they varied greatly: land reform, voting rights, low wages, better conditions, etc.35 The riots thus lacked a clearly defined opponent. The only common denominator that linked the revolts’ participants was the existence of personal grievance and allegiance to a charismatic leader. Indeed, the lack of strong pre-existing civil networks and a closed political system limited these leaders’ ability to develop any unifying framework. The lack of a unified ideology led to the rapid dissipation of social unrest after the state reinstated its control over the unstable regions. However, it is interesting to note that the riots displayed some similarities to modern indigenous social movements. Most notable is that both Tupak Amary and Zatare Willka built support by invoking symbols of indigenous culture, such as traditional clothing and the Wiphala flag.36 This characteristic suggests an important point: although white rule successfully disrupted Indian civil networks, they were much less successful in eliminating their cultural practices. As Brooke Larson notes, an underlying contradiction of the extractive system of exploitation was its preservation and legitimation of certain cultural traditions, customs and norms wrenched loose from the total Andean socio-economic formation.37 Indeed, Spanish colonizers and leaders of the early Bolivian state demonstrated little interest in engaging a national assimilation project; they conceptualized the natives as exploitable labour and outside of what constituted Bolivian citizenship.38 Consequently, there have always been strong ethnic and socio-economic distinctions between the oppressed Indians and white oppressors. In conclusion, although one can identify elements that would classify these revolts as indigenous in character, the lack of an overarching ‘framing of contention’ suggests that examples of social unrest before 1952 resembled mass riots more than legitimate social movements.39 However, they provided a beginning to a movement. The revolts clearly defined a struggle fueled by iden34 Postero, Now We Are Citizens, 35. ��������������������������������������� Larson. Cochabamba, 1550-1900, 101-3. ������������������������������������������������������� Yashar, Contesting Citizenship in Latin America, 342. ������������������������������������ Larson. Cochabamba, 1550-1900, 69. ����������������������������������� Postero, Now We Are Citizens, 35. ������������������������������� Tarrow, Power in Movement, 6.
tifiable political, economic and social inequalities between whites and Indians.
The beginnings of a unified movement - The Indianistas and the Kataristas (1960-1980s) The emergence of indigenous nationalist movement with a unified ideology first emerged during the 1960s. Historians trace its beginnings to discussions among several Aymara youth from the provinces of La Paz, who had migrated from the rural areas to the capital to pursue secondary and university degrees.40 Education gave these students access to writings of Bolivian intellectuals such as Fausto Reinaga, Alcides Arguedas, Armando Chirveches, Rigoberto Paredes, Bautista Saavedra and Franz Tamayo.41 Universities taught them the history of white cultural oppression in Bolivia and violent native responses led by Tupak Katari and Zatare Willka. Young activists would eventually come to unify these historical fragments into a new ideology focused upon the cultural repression of the Indian. These discussions eventually materialized in 1973 under the form of the Manifesto of Tiwanaku. The document “denounced the economic and cultural oppression of the indigenous...and urged [natives to] unite and liberate themselves.”42 It rejected the Western concept of class, and instead called for a struggle built upon ethnicity and a revalorization of indigenous identity.43 The document quickly spread through educational cadres and marked the beginning of a new, indigenous movement. However, this ideological framework led to the emergence of several different parties. One can differentiate between two main streams: the Indianistas and the Kataristas. Founded by a group of students from Pacajes in La Paz, the Indianista movement later organized itself under the moniker Tupak Katari Indian Movement (MITKA).44 The Indianistas stressed the marginalization of the Indian race and culture, and called for a violent overthrow of white rule. Although influential, the MITKA struggled to compete in a crowded political field, until it finally disintegrated, due to internal disputes, a decade later. The Katarista movement, which emerged at around the same time as the MITKA, proved to be more durable. The Kataristas espoused a much more inclusionary rhetoric which emphasized the need to look at society with ìtwo eyes: one on class and one on race.45 Rather than advocating the total elimination of whites, they called for recognition of the nation as multicultural, multi������������������������������������������������������� Yashar, Contesting Citizenship in Latin America, 168. �������������������������������������� Sanjines, Mestizaje Upside-Down, 32. ������������������������������������������������������ Van Cott, The Friendly Liquidation of the Past, 127. ������� Ibid. ������������������������������������������������������� Yashar, Contesting Citizenship in Latin America, 174. �������������������������������������� Sanjines, Mestizaje Upside-Down, 56.
lingual, and multinational, as well as emphasizing the importance of respecting Bolivian autonomy.46 Unlike the Indianistas, who attempted to build support by competing in the political sphere, the Kataristas strategized to first garner support for their cause through pre-existing social networks. Progressively over time, they gained positions of leadership in their local union organizations, which they used to disseminate their ideas and build a base.47 Through such means, Katarista ideology quickly found its way to the rural indigenous agrarian and working classes. Throughout the 1970s, awareness of the Katarista cause became increasingly prominent within civil organizations, especially the National Confederation of Bolivian Peasant Workers (CNTCB), Bolivia’s largest workers union.48 In 1979, the CNTCB changed its name to the Bolivian Unitary Peasant Workers Confederation (CSUTCB) and redefined itself as an organization aimed at unifying Indian campesinos under a single cause.49 However, similarly to the MITKA, the Kataristas failed to translate it growing support base into electoral victories during the 1970s and 1980s.50
Strong social networks
The growth of stronger social networks started with the 1952 Bolivian Revolution. Leading up to the event, the Great Depression put a halt to Bolivia’s economic growth.51 Bolivia’s subsequent losses during the War of the Pacific against Chile (1879-84) and the Chaco War to Paraguay (1933-35) further soured the public mood.52 These developments resulted in significant discontent within all rungs of Bolivian society, and eventually led to a ìgeneralized crisis of authority.53 This crisis gave way to universal public unrest and the rise to power of the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR) in 1952. Led by a small group of middle-class whites, the MNR committed itself to representing the peasants who had brought it to power. It immediately removed colonial-era voting restrictions, expanded education spending and initiated new welfare programs.54 Yet the MNR leadership also faced the challenge of channeling and controlling the vote of the labor and peasant masses.55 In uniting these diverse and disconnected grievances under one leadership, the MNR borrowed a strategy used by the PRI after the Mexican Revolution and instituted a cor������������������������������������������������������ Van Cott, The Friendly Liquidation of the Past, 128. ������������������������������������������������������� Yashar, Contesting Citizenship in Latin America, 170. �������������������������������������� Sanjines, Mestizaje Upside-Down, 76. ������������ Ibid., 76. ������������ Ibid., 83. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Gamarra and Malloy, “The patrimonial dynamics of party politics in Bolivia,” 401. ������������� Ibid., 401. ������������� Ibid., 401. ������������� Ibid., 403. ������������� Ibid., 403.
poratist party structure.56 It banned the term ‘Indio,’ effectively transforming ethnic collective social actors into an economic class and subordinating this class through corporatist ties.57 It furthermore institutionalized reform through propagation of a dense network of syndical unions to co-opt and control the peasant vote.58 However, the state’s compartmentalization of society into distinct organizational networks inadvertently reestablished civil ties within the indigenous population. The creation of educational and labor networks significantly increased Indians’ capacity to build support. Indeed, comparing the success of the Kataristas to the failure of the Indianistas, one can distinguish the former’s use of pre-existing networks to disseminate its ideas and build support. Through the use of networks, the Kataristas were able to build a strong and stable support base, and reach a significant amount of the Indian rural population. From there, indigenous nationalist movements generated the means through which it could more efficiently pressure the white-controlled government into giving later political concessions.
Growing but still limited political opportunities
The 1952 Revolution brought to power urban middle sectorsî that, despite opening the political process to the lower classes, mostly excluded them from the state apparatus.59 Although the MNR extended political participation to all classes of Bolivian society, it rejected competitive pluralist democracy and sought to impose a state-centered system based on de facto single-party control operating behind a facade of democratic institutions and electoral procedures.60 Indianistas and Kataristas thus had little space to elaborate a competitive party apparatus. The MNR-led state actively suppressed any challenges towards its control. Thus the creation of social networks gave Kataristas the capacity to build support, but the closed political opportunities hindered them from translating their support into electoral gains. This is one reason why neither Indianistas nor Kataristas managed to establish any political presence beyond their constituencies.
The lack of opportunity
From 1952 to the 1980s, the MNR benefited from significant national popularity. It claimed to represent Bolivia’s peasant sector and made conscious efforts to pull them out of poverty through a “universalist ideology...of national developmentism and nation-building.”61 It limited the potential of popular grievances and discontent by ìdoling out jobs in the state bureaucracy to the ������������� Ibid., 403. 57 Assies, “Neoliberalism in Bolivia,” 302. �������������������������������������������������� Van Cott, The Friendly Liquidation of the Past, 126. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Gamarra & Malloy, “The patrimonial dynamics of party politics in Bolivia,” 404. ������������� Ibid., 404. ������������������������������������������ Assies, “Neoliberalism in Bolivia,” 303.
clientele of the governing sectors.62 Contemporary political scientists characterize the MNR-led Bolivia as an essentially “prebendalist, patrimonialist or cartorial state.” 63 By the mid-1970s, the state sector accounted for some 70% of the national product.64 Consequently, Bolivia’s native population was mostly satisfied with the MNR government and believed the government supported their interests. As a result, there was little incentive for the public to support alternative political movements. Thus although these new indigenous nationalist movements developed an effective and unifying ideology, they faced great challenges in gaining significant support for their cause. As Yashar argues, “while Katarismo had a lasting impact on union and electoral politics, it did not sustain political momentum or unity as an organizational force.”65 Regardless, the effort to construct a fully national and integrated modern Bolivia after 1952 failed to establish the unifying national identity envisioned by its proponents. Socio-economic inequalities from the pre-revolutionary era thus persisted throughout the rest of the 20th century.66 This explains why, despite the Kataristas’ failure to create a full political movement, their ideas spread widely throughout various civil networks. The continuity of colonial legacies would later provide the basis for the rise of indigenous nationalist movement in the 1980s and beyond.
The rise of modern indigenous movements – Evo Morales and MAS (1980spresent) Faced with a crippling level of debt, inflation rates at 25,000%, and increasing pressure from the World Bank and IMF to reduce state spending, the Bolivian government engaged in a series of aggressive Neoliberal economic reforms.67 Formally collected under the New Economic Policy (NEP) of 1985, these reforms reduced budgets for agriculture, social services, and economic programs, including protection of peasant lands, access to credit, and agricultural subsidies. Real wages in the agricultural sector declined steadily declined from the 1980s and by 1992 fell by thirty percent in Latin America as a whole.68 Bolivia consequently descended into a long period of social instability from 1990s until the mid-2000s. Revolts such as the teacher strikes in 1995, the Water War in 2000 and the Gas War in 2003 led to the state’s decision to ������������� Ibid., 303. ������������� Ibid., 303. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Gamarra & Malloy, “The patrimonial dynamics of party politics in Bolivia,” 406. ����������� Yashar, “Contesting Citizenship,” 31. ���������������������������������� Sanjines, Mestizaje Upside-Down. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Gamarra & Malloy, “The patrimonial dynamics of party politics in Bolivia,” 410. ����������� Yashar, “Contesting Citizenship,” 34.
adopt martial law.69 Although in each of these cases the government ultimately managed to diffuse protests, social unrest instilled growing national disillusionment towards the MNR. Amidst the chaos emerged the Movement for Socialism (MAS), led by Evo Morales. Morales started his rise as a leader of the Cocaleros (union of coca leaf farmers).70 Throughout the 1990s, the Cocaleros resisted state efforts to eradicate coca plantations led by the United States’ anti-drug campaign. Morales decried coca eradication efforts as foreign encroachment upon an indigenous symbol, thereby turning the focus of his struggle from one of economic survival to one of indigenous rights.71 MAS quickly surpassed the popularity of competing indigenous movements such as that led by CSUTCB, mainly due to the latter’s connections to the unpopular neoliberal government.72 MAS managed to capture 20.9% of the vote in 2002, and dominated the 2005 elections by winning 53.7% of votes cast.73 Once in power, Morales initiated a series of radical reforms, namely the nationalization of Bolivia’s natural resources, an increase in social spending, and the drafting of a new constitution that fully embraced the nation’s multi-ethnic character. Morales hailed these events marked the end of what was a five-hundred year-old struggle. What thus explains the factors leading to the successful rise of MAS?
Even stronger civil networks
With the end of the Cold War came a shift within the global discourse away from anti-communism towards promoting human rights. In particular, international organizations put significant focus on poor and marginalized indigenous groups. For example, in 1994 the United Nations General Assembly launched the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.74 The new discourse led to a dramatic influx of NGOs into Bolivia, such as Oxfam and World Vision, explicitly targeted towards helping rural indigenous communities.75 These NGOs created new overlapping networks superimposed over the older pre-existing ones from the MNR era, and thus further strengthened civil ties within the indigenous. Examples include generated labor unions, self-help groups, and church organizations. These overlapping civil networks would later prove instrumental to the rise of MAS. Jorge Komadina, in his analysis of MAS electoral strategies, highlights the importance of alliances with civil organiza�������������������������������������������������� Van Cott, Radical Democracy in the Andes, 10-20. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Albro, “The Indigenous in the Plural in Bolivian Oppositional Politics,” 437. ������������� Ibid., 437. ������������� Ibid., 439. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� “Coca Advocate Wins Election for President in Bolivia,” The New York Times (Dec 19, 2005). ������������������������������������ Postero, Now We Are Citizens, 172. ������������� Ibid., 172.
tions in mobilizing support for demonstrations and elections.76 The NGO’s explicit reasoning for its assistance to ‘indigenous’ communities increased these new civil groups’ likelihood in allying with indigenous nationalist movements. Consequently, one can conclude that the further strengthening of civil ties after the 1980s furthered indigenous movements’ capacity to mobilize support.
Extensive political liberalization
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the Bolivian government engaged in progressive political liberalization. Its reasons for doing so are numerous.77 First was the pressure from ‘above’ in the form of new global discourses that valorized human rights and democracy. Second was the pressure from ‘below’ empowering labor unions who wanted a bigger say in political decisions. Third was from the white Bolivian leaders themselves, who thought decentralizing the political process seemed to align with economic decentralization. Also, they assumed that empowering districts would relieve popular pressure from the federal towards local governments. Liberalization mainly occurred through the Popular Participation Law (LPP) in 1994. The LPP created an original scheme for municipal government emphasizing participatory planning, national-local revenue sharing, and the incorporation of civil society organizations into the formal scheme of government oversight.78 It also established a mechanism for more even distribution of government resources, particularly in needy rural areas.79 The LPP was expanded by the 1995 Law of Administrative Decentralization, which facilitated the transfer of national government functions to the nine departmental governors.80 Ultimately, the LPP extended the presence of the state...throughout the territory and empowered peasant-dense rural areas, giving significantly more leverage to rural-based indigenous movements.81 A recent continent-wide study of indigenous movements in Latin America showed a strong correlation between the success of Indian nationalist parties and the quantity of districts in the state system.82 Political liberalization provided the macro-political opportunity for organizing, as states demilitarized and legalized freedoms of associations and speech,83 thus creating a more conducive context for organization.84 It also allowed indigenous movements to attain political power at a local level and gain experience mobilizing support for greater electoral action.85
���������������������������������������������������� Komadina, El poder del movimiento polÌtico, 40-50. ����������������������������������������������������� Van Cott, The Friendly Liquidation of the Past, 10. ������������ Ibid., 39. ������������� Ibid., 156. �������������������������������������������������� Van Cott, Radical Democracy in the Andes, 39-40. ������������������������������������������������ Van Cott, Radical Democracy in the Andes, 155. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Rice and Van Cott, “The Emergence and Performance of Indigenous Peoples’ Parties in South America.” ����������� Yashar, “Contesting Citizenship,” 25. ����������� Yashar, “Contesting Citizenship,” 32. ���������������������������������������������������� Komadina, El poder del movimiento polÌtico, 40-50.
A fully developed framing of contention The mixed success of Neoliberal economic policies led to a growing sense of disillusionment within the Bolivian populace. The decentralization of the Bolivian economy eradicated the MNR’s patrimonial programs, and thus the party’s main source of legitimacy. Widening economic disparities and growing foreign ownership of natural resources led to a crisis of legitimacy of the Neoliberal model and the emergence of intents to recompose and rewrite the modernization project.86 Taking advantage growing social unrest and disillusionment, Evo Morales and MAS strategically positioned themselves in opposition to the MNR. Morales took advantage of the persistence of colonial-era class relations to build a new indigenous consciousness during the final quarter of the twentieth century.87 Morales built support by first uniting diverse nationwide economic grievances through identification of a clear enemy: the Neoliberal economic model. He then inserted Neoliberalism within Bolivia’s long history of indigenous marginalization at the hands of whites, a narrative that found strong resonance within a poor population with strong remnants of indigenous culture. The masses thus rejected Neoliberalism not only because it was impractical, but also because it was a form of foreign control similar to the colonial-era mitas. As Yashar argues, “Neoliberalism has become synonymous with the culpable state and has enabled indigenous movements to target the state for retribution, justice, and guarantee.88 In doing so, MAS delegitimized the traditional parties’ by portraying them ‘foreign’ puppets of the West, in opposition to the indigenous Bolivian nation. As Postero argues, “indigenous rights give cultural analogues that frame deprivations.”89 Of course, a nationalist movement’s success largely depends on ideological framework as much as a state leaders’ inability to counter it. In illustrating to this point, let us turn to MNR leader Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, President from 1993-97 and from 2000 until MAS took power. The son of a political exile, Sánchez de Lozada spent his early life in the United States and studied at the University of Chicago.90 He has pale skin, wears Western business attire and speaks Spanish with a heavy English accent.91 Although he moved back to Bolivia in 1951, he retained close ties to the West; for example, his advisors included U.S. political consultants James Carville, Stan Greenberg and Bob Shrum.92 Such characteristic made Sánchez de Lozada an easy target for ����������������������������������������������������� Monasterios, Reinventando la nación en Bolivia, 12. ������������������������������������������ Postero, “Morales’s MAS Government,” 18. ����������� Yashar, “Contesting Citizenship,” 36. ����������������������������������� Postero, Now We Are Citizens, 12. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Healy, “Ethno-Ecological Identity and the Restructuring of Political Power in Bolivia,” 90. ������ Ibid. ������� Ibid.
indigenous leaders. Evo Morales proved to be a perfect counterpoint to Sánchez de Lozada. As previously mentioned, Morales boasts a long agrarian background. Morales solidified this image through appearance: dark skin, traditional indigenous clothes, extremely colloquial yet eloquent speeches that make common references to Indian mythology.93 In doing so, Morales portrayed an ideal leader of the indigenous nationalist cause. Keeping this in mind, it is interesting to compare Bolivia to its Andean neighbor, Peru. Although both countries possess large indigenous populations and have similar political histories, strong indigenous movements did not emerge in the latter.94 An important reason is that Peruvian traditional parties have made a much more conscious effort in fully embracing the country’s diverse ethnicity. For example, Alberto Fujimori, Peru’s president from 1990-2000, is a second generation Japanese immigrant.95 Although an extensive comparative analysis is beyond the scope of this paper, this fact supports the claim that the success of a nationalist movement depends on its ability to frame itself as better representatives of national identity. In conclusion, the MAS’ electoral success can be linked to its leader’s construction of an effective ‘frame of contention.’ Morales united an angered and disillusion public by identifying the source of their anger as the state’s neoliberal policies. However, he superimposed this anti-neoliberalism with an anti-colonialist rhetoric, which placed neoliberalism within the long history of colonial marginalization of the Indian race. This discourse’s cultural resonance stems from the prevalence of Indian customs within the large portion of Bolivia’s poor, due to the state’s failures in building an all-encompassing national project. Morales rode this wave of discontent all the way to his election to Presidency in 2005.
Conclusion: Mission accomplished? The Morales certainly moved forward quickly with his promises after becoming president in 2005. He nationalized Bolivia’s natural resources in 2006, passed new education reforms in 2007 and passed a new constitution in 2008.96 However, many claim that these actions are more symbolic than significant.97 Five years into the new government, Bolivia remains Latin America’s poorest nation.98 The masses now hold MAS, not the white leaders that preceded them, ������������������������������������������ Postero, “Morales’s MAS Government,” 12. ���������������������������������������������������������� Yashar, Contesting Citizenship in Latin America, Ch. 4-5 ������������� Ibid., 450. ��������������������������������������������� Postero, “Morales’s MAS Government,” 23-24. ������������ Ibid., 25. ������������ Ibid., 25.
accountable for Bolivia’s problems. Taking advantage of stronger and overlapping civil networks, political liberalization and large socio-economic inequalities that follow racial lines, Morales managed to construct a cross-ethnic coalition centered on anti-imperialist sentiment. Although MAS remains popular for now, there are signs that its electoral base is growing frustrated with the lack of results thus far. How indigenous parties respond to these challenges remains to be seen.
Bibliography Albro, Robert. “The Indigenous in the Plural in Bolivian Oppositional Politics.” Bulletin of Latin American Research 24, 4 (2005) 433–53. Assies, Willem. “Neoliberalism in Bolivia.” In Multiculturalism and the Welfare State: Recognition of Redistribution in Contemporary Democracies, edited by Will Kymlicka and Keith Banting, 297-320. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Campbell, Leon G. “Ideology and Factionalism during the Great Rebellion, 1780-1782.” In Resistance, Rebellion, and Consciousness in the Andean Peasant World: 18th to 20th Centuries, edited by Steve J. Stern, 110-142. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987. Charrad, Mourina M. States and Women’s Rights: The Making of Postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001. Forero, Juan. “Coca Advocate Wins Election for President in Bolivia.” New York Times, December 19, 2005, Section A, Final edition. Gamarra, E. Alberto & Malloy, Juan. “The Patrimonial Dynamics of Party Politics in Bolivia.” In Building Democratic Institutions: Party Systems in Latin America, edited by Scott Mainwaring & Timothy R. Scully, 399-433. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995. Healy, Susan. “Ethno-Ecological Identity and the Restructuring of Political Power in Bolivia.” Latin American Perspectives 36 (2009): 83-100. Hough, Richard Lee. The Nation-States: Concert or Chaos. Washington: University Press of America, 2003. Klein, Herbert. Bolivia: The Evolution of a Multiethnic Society. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2002. Komadina, Jorge and Celine Geffroy. El poder del movimiento politico. Estrategia, tramas organizativas e identidad del MAS en Cochabamba (1999-2005). La Paz: Fundacion PIEB, 2007. Larson, Brooke. Cochabamba, 1550-1900: Colonialism and Agrarian Transformation in Bolivia. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1998. Mamdani, Mahmood. When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. Marx, Anthony. Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of South Africa, the United States, and
Brazil. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Monasterios, Karin. Reinventando la nación en Bolivia: movimientos sociales, estado poscolonialidad. La Paz: Plural, 2007.
Postero, Nancy Grey. “Morales’s MAS Government: Building Indigenous Popular Hegemony in Bolivia.” Latin American Perspectives 37 (2010): 18-36. Postero, Nancy Grey. Now We Are Citizens: Indigenous Politics in Postmulticultural Bolivia. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2006. Rice, Roberta and Donna Lee Van Cott, “The Emergence and Performance of Indigenous Peoples’ Parties in South America: A Subnational Statistical Analysis.” Comparative Political Studies 39 709 (2006): 34-56. Sanjines, Javier. Mestizaje Upside-Down: Aesthetic Politics in Modern Bolivia. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004. Snow, David E., and Robert Benford. “Ideology, Frame Resonance, and Participant Mobilization.” In From Structure to Action: Comparing Social Movement Research across Cultures, edited by Bert Klandermans, Hanspeter Kriesi, and Sidney Tarrow, 201-34. Greenwich: JAI Press, 1988. Stahl, Peter W. “Structural Density of Domesticated South American Camelid Skeletal Elements and the Archaeological Investigation of Prehistoric Andean Ch’arki.î Journal of Archaeological Science 26 (1999): 1347–1368. Szeminski, Jan. “Why kill the Spaniard? New Perspectives on Andean Insurrectionary Ideology in the 18th Century.” In Resistance, Rebellion, and Consciousness in the Andean Peasant World: 18th to 20th Centuries, edited by Steve J. Stern, 166-192. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987. Tarrow, Sidney. Power in Movement: Collective Action, Social Movements and Politics. Cambridge University Press, 1994. Van Cott, Donna Lee. The Friendly Liquidation of the Past. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000. Van Cott, Donna Lee. Radical Democracy in the Andes. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2008. Yashar, Deborah. “Contesting Citizenship: Indigenous Movements and Democracy in Latin America.” Comparative Politics 31 1 (October 1998): 23-42. Yashar, Deborah. Contesting Citizenship in Latin America: The Rise of Indigenous Movements and the Postliberal Challenge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Zolberg, Aristide. “Moments of Madness.” In Politics and Society 2 (1978): 183-207.
The Tigers’ Collapse: The LTTE’s Strategic Shift and the End of the Sri Lankan Civil War James Gilman Few conflicts in the modern era have been as brutally contested as the Sri Lankan civil war, the 26-year struggle between the Sri Lankan state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or the Tamil Tigers. This conflict has long been a subject of analysis for political scientists studying interstate warfare and asymmetric conflict between conventional state-run militaries and insurgencies. Yet, just under two years ago, Sri Lankan government forces inflicted a decisive defeat on the LTTE, and the civil war was declared over. The task now facing students of the conflict is to explain why the government was able to defeat the Tigers so rapidly and so easily after 26 years of war. This article argues that the most important explanation for the LTTE’s defeat was the general shift in its strategy away from one based primarily on guerrilla and terrorist tactics to a more conventional one. This shift caused the LTTE to lose the advantage of asymmetry, and caused the government’s power advantage over the rebels to be enhanced and made more salient. By making itself more vulnerable, the LTTE was effectively weakened relative to the government forces, so that when the Sri Lankan army launched an offensive against it the LTTE was easily defeated. Asymmetric vs. Conventional Tactics Until the government’s military victory in May 2009, The Sri Lankan civil war was a case of an intractable insurgency, an asymmetric conflict between a state with a conventional army and a non-state actor using guerrilla and terrorist tactics in an attempt to alter the status quo within the country. Writing in The Times, Jeremy Page described the conflict as an unwinnable war: “For almost three decades, Sri Lanka was held up as an example of how a small democratic state with a conventional army could never defeat a wellfunded and disciplined guerrilla organisation.”1 For most of its history, the war in Sri Lanka was viewed through this prism, and was seen as a classic case of an insurgency fighting a central government over a set of grievances felt by one group in society. This type of asymmetric conflict is a central feature of 1 Jeremy Page, “Guerrilla Tactics - How the Tamil Tigers were Beaten in an ‘Unwinnable’ War,” The Times, May 19, 2009.
the modern, post-colonial world. The proliferation of such intra-state conflicts, especially since the end of the Cold War, has focused a great deal of attention on the dichotomy between conventional military forces on one hand, and the guerrilla and terrorist tactics so often used by insurgent forces on the other hand. The term “conventional warfare” refers to the use of well-defined forces to target opposition forces in open confrontation. The weapons and tactics used are conventional and are aimed at the opposition. The primary goal is the military defeat of the enemy, and the capture and protection of territory has historically been an important part of this. On the other hand, the tactics usually used by insurgencies, such as guerrilla warfare and terrorism, are very different. Guerrilla warfare refers to a type of warfare fought by irregulars in fast-moving, small-scale actions, usually targeted against orthodox military and police forces. Terrorist tactics differ from guerrilla tactics in terms of both their targets and their broader goals. In this article, terrorism is defined as “the use of violence against civilians by nonstate actors to attain political goals.”2 The focus of this essay is on the LTTE and the tactics it used in its war against the Sri Lankan government. It is important to point out, however, that these tactics are just that, tactics used by an organization, and can only go so far in defining that group. When governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and individuals label the LTTE a “terrorist group,” as many have done, they imply that the organization uses the tactics of terrorism. Yet the Tamil Tigers also used guerrilla tactics and, as this article claims, conventional tactics. The arguments put forward in this essay will depend on an analysis of the LTTE that appreciates its use of different tactics and shifting strategies, reflecting my belief that while any descriptor derived from a tactic, such as “terrorist organization” or “conventional force,” can be useful in emphasizing a group’s preferred tactic, it is limited in its ability to capture the complete picture. The Roots of the Conflict The Sri Lankan civil war began in July 1983, when the LTTE launched an audacious attack on a military convoy and killed 13 soldiers; however, the roots of the conflict can be found further back in history. The war is often portrayed as an ethnic conflict between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamil populations. While there is some accuracy to this picture—the central government has historically been dominated by Sinhalese while the Tigers claimed to be fighting for the rights of Sri Lanka’s Tamil population—reducing the situation to an ethnic dualism is an oversimplification. Differences among 2 Andrew Kydd and Barbara Walter, “The Strategies of Terrorism,” International Security 31.1 (Summer 2001): 52.
Tamil groups, among Sinhalese groups, and among inter-ethnic groups, as well as class and caste conflict, have been pronounced as well, and the claim that the LTTE represents the Tamil population as a whole is problematic.3 In fact, especially in the pre-colonial period, differences between the Tamil and Sinhalese populations were not particularly well-defined, and caste was the main dividing line in Sri Lankan society.4 However, the impact of colonialism and the efforts of many post-colonial nationalist leaders, both Sinhalese and Tamil, hardened the perception of an ethno-linguistic divide during the post-colonial period. In nation-building efforts reminiscent of the formation of Benedict Anderson’s “imagined communities,”5 “From the very leaders on both sides have promoted the idea of beginning the two distinct communities existing in the region through manipulated readings of Sri Lankan Tigers’ goal was history.6
secession. They sought the creation of an independent Tamil homeland— Eelam—in the north and east of the country.”
It is within this context of imagined communities and a solidifying Tamil ethnolinguistic identity that the Tamil Tigers were born. By the 1970s, the Tamil population had a number of legitimate grievances with the Sinhalesedominated government in Colombo. Numerous organizations claiming to represent Tamil interests were created, both militant and non-militant, which spanned the ideological spectrum. Among these was the LTTE, founded in 1976 by Velupillai Prabhakaran, who would lead the group until he was killed at the end of the conflict. Many Tamils were concerned about their community’s “political impotence and insecurity.”7 Moreover, a strong sense of disillusionment was prevalent among the younger generations, which led, unsurprisingly, to greater radicalization.8 The LTTE and its militant message preyed upon these sentiments, and the organization’s popularity was reinforced by this disillusionment and radicalization. From the very beginning the Tigers’ goal was secession. They sought the creation of an independent Tamil homeland—Eelam—in the north and east of the country. As Bandarage argues, it is too simple to equate the Tigers’ 3 Asoka Bandarage, The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka: Terrorism, Ethnicity, Political Economy (New York: Routledge, 2009), 4-5. 4 Ibid., 5. 5 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (New York: Verso, 1983). 6 See Bandarage, The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka, 10-19. 7 William Clarance, Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis (London: Pluto Press, 2007), 39. 8 Amita Shastri, “The Tigers’ Shadow: Bringing a Close to Sri Lanka’s Long War,” Foreign Affairs Snapshot, August 4, 2009.
separatist cause with Tamil grievances,9 as these grievances were complicated and diverse, and the Tamils did not always preclude the possibility that they could be addressed within a unified Sri Lanka. However, the LTTE’s militant, separatist vision won out, and the Tigers eliminated most of the competing Tamil groups in the lead up to the civil war. By the start of the war in 1983, the LTTE was the strongest of the organizations claiming to represent the Tamil population, and the events of the next three decades would reflect this fact. The LTTE’s Shifting Tactics Having taken into account the context of diverse and complex Tamil grievances and a newly dominant LTTE movement described above, we may turn to examining the goals and tactics of the Tigers. The claimed ultimate goal of the LTTE was the creation of an independent Tamil state on the island, but the Tigers’ main goals en route to this were gaining support within the Tamil population and changing the government’s policies toward the Tamil minority. Over the course of the civil war, the Tigers’ strategy shifted from one characterized mainly by guerrilla and terrorist tactics to one resembling the strategy of a conventional force. I will argue that while there were a number of reasons for this, the main explanations are its increased capabilities, and its increased interest in holding territory. Although the Tigers used guerrilla and terrorist tactics from the very beginning up to the end of the war in 2009, the earlier stages of its campaign against the government were far more heavily reliant on such methods. The LTTE began as an insurgency using guerrilla tactics against Sri Lankan military targets, and terrorist tactics against civilian targets.10 The Tigers were the first group to use suicide bombing as a weapon, and the Black Tigers, the LTTE’s suicide bomber wing, carried out frequent attacks on both military and economic targets across the country, and especially in Colombo. These targets included oil refineries, the Central Bank, hotels, buses, trains, and the World Trade Centre in the capital city.11 The Tigers also used assassinations as a weapon against not only Sinhalese government figures, but also journalists and moderate Tamils who opposed the LTTE. Many leaders and journalists refrained from criticizing the LTTE out of fear of assassination, and the threat of attack “sapped the courage of the political and military elite.”12 In fighting Sri Lankan military targets, the Tigers used typical guerrilla tactics, conducting intermittent hit-and-run assaults and focusing on striking the army where it 9 Bandarage. The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka, 172. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Elizabeth Ferris, “At Long Last: Finally Peace for Sri Lanka?” Journal of International Peace Operations (July-August 2009): 9. 11 Clarance. Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis, 218. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� M S Kulandaswamy, Sri Lankan Crisis: Anatomy of Ethnicity, Peace and Security (Delhi: Authorspress, 2000), 194.
was vulnerable rather than seizing and holding territory.13 The rationale of this early strategy was clear. The LTTE was much weaker than the Sri Lankan military, and had few heavy weapons—only those they could steal from the army in successful raids.14 Their goals were both to force the government into changing its policies through the use and threat of terrorism, and to gain support among the Tamil population by provoking the army into heavy-handed retaliations in Tamil-populated areas. These early tactics were perfect for these purposes because, as Kydd and Walter point out, extremist groups such as the Tamil Tigers “engage in terrorism because it frequently delivers the desired response,” and “terrorism works not simply because it instils fear in target populations, but also because it causes governments and individuals to respond in ways that aid the terrorists’ cause.”15 Since LTTE terrorism was usually far removed from Tamil-populated areas Tamil civilians did not directly suffer the effects of the Tigers’ violence, while they did suffer from the government`s retaliations, allowing the Tigers to portray their terrorist and guerrilla actions as acting in the defence of Sri Lanka`s Tamil population. While many Tamils nonetheless despised the LTTE’s tactics, they could not oppose the Tigers, who brutally enforced their domination of the Tamil north and east. Thus, by provoking heavy-handed action from the government and fostering a culture of fear among Tamil civilians the LTTE was able to maintain the compliance, both voluntary and forced, though not always the support, of the Tamil population. As the conflict wore on, the Tigers saw greater success stemming from this strategy, with a stronger sense of resentment towards the central government developing among Tamil populations in the north and east, and an even stronger sense of fear developing among all communities across the country. But as the war continued the LTTE adopted increasingly more elements of a conventional force, and shifted away from a purely guerrilla-terrorist force to a more conventional one that also used guerrilla and terrorist tactics. The Tigers developed not only a stronger standing army, but also dedicated marine and air forces—by the 1990s there was an LTTE navy and an LTTE air force.16 They also procured more artillery and other heavy weapons, mainly through the international black market, and purchased armoured cars and even tanks.17 The style of LTTE fighting changed in the 1990s and especially in the 2000s as the LTTE began to apply its new capabilities, putting greater emphasis on capturing and, more importantly, holding territory. As Kulandaswamy writes, the nature of the war was “increasingly becoming conventional, with heavy ������������� Ibid., 117. ������������� Ibid., 286. �������������������������������������������������������� Kydd and Walter. “The Strategies of Terrorism,” 49-50. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Arabinda Acharya, “Ending the LTTE: Recipe for Counter-Terrorism?” RSIS ������������������� Commentaries, June 8, 2009. ��������������������������������������� Kulandaswamy, Sri Lankan Crisis, 286.
reliance on stand-off weapons.”18 The Tigers held the Jaffna peninsula in the far north for much of the early 1990s, until the army recaptured it in 1995. However, even during the 1990s the LTTE was willing, in typical guerrilla fashion, to give up land to buy time, and to lead the army to overextend itself by spreading over more territory and increasing its vulnerability.19 Yet by the second half of the 2000s, the LTTE was demonstrating a greater commitment to holding territory in the north and east of the country, and effectively functioned as a mini-state within Sri Lanka.20 The organization expanded its role in these regions, serving not only a security function, but also providing basic services and attempting to operate as the de-facto government. As Acharya writes, until the government’s offensive in 2008-09, the LTTE “was in de-facto control of one-third of Sri Lanka’s territory where it ran a parallel administration,” adding that “it had effective sea-control in the waters off Jaffna.”21 This is not something that could have been achieved without a shift toward conventional tactics, as the LTTE had to defend this territory in pitched, conventional battles with the military. During the 2000s, up until the 2008-09 offensive, the fight between the two sides had essentially developed into a war of attrition, characterized by battles over territory, and no longer by asymmetric guerrilla warfare. Why did this shift in tactics occur? A number of important factors contributed to the LTTE’s strategic transformation. First of all, as the war dragged on, it became more important for the Tigers to demonstrate that they could provide an alternative to the government. Territory was important for morale, and capturing and holding land was crucial for regaining public support.22 This was especially the case because the issue of land was central to the ideology of Tamil nationalism, and the LTTE’s narrative played up fears of the government’s attempt to forcibly “Sinhalize” the Tamil “homelands.” Secondly, the LTTE had greater resources and capabilities than before, and was able to reconstitute itself as a conventional force. The Tigers received more and more funding from the Tamil diaspora, and were able to purchase more conventional heavy weapons on the black market with which they could defend their territory.23 Simply put, even if the Tigers had desired to hold a significant amount of territory in the early phase of the civil war, they did not have the capacity to do so. Finally, an central reason for the LTTE’s interest in holding territory, and thus in developing significant conventional capabilities, was its leadership’s belief that international pressure or even intervention would compel the two sides to end hostilities and begin negotiations, and its desire to hold as ������������� Ibid., 287. ������������� Ibid., 180. ��������������������������������������������������������������� Clarance. Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis, 215. ��������������������������������������������������������������� Acharya, “Ending the LTTE: Recipe for counter-terrorism?” 1. ��������������������������������������� Kulandaswamy. Sri Lankan Crisis, 181. ������������� Ibid., 286.
much territory as possible if and when that were to happen.24 Thus, the LTTE evolved from a purely guerrilla/terrorist insurgency to a mainly conventional force. This shift was a result of both its improved financial resources and its increased interest in holding territory. In order to make progress toward its goal of creating a separate Tamil state on the island the LTTE needed to establish itself as an plausible alternative to the Sri Lankan government, and needed to control and administer as much of the territory that would make up Eelam as possible. The Tigers’ terrorist tactics were effective in many ways, but it was clear that they would not convince the government to go as far as to give up one-third of its territory. As we shall see, the changing nature of the LTTE, its strategy, and its role in the north and east of the country is essential to explaining why it was defeated so quickly in 2009, after 30 years of stubborn resistance and brutal warfare. The Defeat of the LTTE In January 2008, the Sri Lankan government attempted to decisively end the war by defeating the rebels militarily. The government and rebels had agreed to a ceasefire under Norwegian mediation, and began peace talks in 2002. The ceasefire followed a lull in LTTE activity, and although some have speculated that the Tigers feared an increase in international opposition following the 9/11 attacks, the reasons for the reduction in violence are unclear.25 Although the peace process was not finalized, the ceasefire officially held until 2008, despite occasional incidents of violence. But after abruptly withdrawing from the agreement in 2008, the Sri Lankan army began an offensive against the LTTE that continued until the defeat of the Tigers’ military forces in May 2009. The final push against the Tigers in the north of the country was especially violent, costing the lives of 7,000 civilians and injuring another 13,000 in just a few months of intense battle. The army made steady progress in recapturing LTTE territory, and by the beginning of May 2009 the remaining LTTE fighters and leaders were confined to a small bit of territory in the northeast. By the middle of the month, government forces had crushed the last of the LTTE resistance. Prabhakaran was killed, and on May 19 President Rajapaksa declared victory in the civil war.26 After 26 years of civil war, a determined and aggressive government offensive routed the Tigers. The fighting was bloody, but it resulted in a decisive victory for the Sri Lankan army. The most important explanation of why the army was able to defeat the LTTE is the strategic shift described above. The Tigers’ transformation ������������� Ibid., 124. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Preeti Bhattacharji, “Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,” Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder, May 20, 2009. ����������������������������������������������������������� “The Corpse of the Tigers,” The Economist, May 21, 2009.
into a largely conventional force highlighted the advantage the army had over the rebels in terms of troop numbers, materiel, and financing, and allowed the army to make full use of these advantages. When the Tigers operated simply as a guerrilla/terrorist force, the balance between the two sides was much more even, as it was defined in terms of the asymmetric conflict that favoured the LTTE and its evasive tactics. However, when the Tigers shifted strategies in order to hold territory, their deficiencies relative to the government and its army were made more relevant, despite their having been reduced as the LTTE had acquired resources and conventional weaponry. The LTTE was forced to take care to avoid civilian casualties, and to stretch across its vast territory in order to defend it, making the LTTE much more vulnerable.27 In the early phase of “The Tigers’ the war, the Tigers’ guerrilla and terrorist transformation into a strategy was the equalizer, but by turning into a more conventional force, they gave largely conventional up this equalizer and were forced to fight force highlighted the from a relatively weaker position. advantage the army
had over the rebels in
The Sri Lankan government also had an advantage over the Tigers in terms terms of troop numbers, of legitimacy which became meaningful materiel, and financing, when the LTTE resorted to conventional and allowed the army to tactics. As the internationally recognized make full use of these authority in Sri Lanka, the government had access to a wider set of diplomatic advantages.” relations and greater international financing than the LTTE. Additionally, the government took advantage of increased counter-terrorism legislation following 9/11, and “lobbied hard to have the Tigers banned as terrorists in the US, EU, Canada and Australia, forcing those countries to crack down on their financing and arms procurement.”28 The LTTE could not compete with the government in raising funds or building up military capabilities, and Sri Lanka’s diplomatic manoeuvring, including expanded ties with China and Pakistan, as well as the lobbying of Western governments, increased its strength relative to the rebels, thus further increasing its advantages over the LTTE in conventional warfare. There were also a number of other factors, both long-term and proximate, that contributed to the weakening of the LTTE. These included the loss of Indian support after its assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991,29 and the split within the organization in 2004, when Colonel ������������������������������������������� Kulandaswamy. Sri Lankan Crisis, 125-126. ���������������������������� Page. “Guerrilla Tactics” �������������������������������������������������������������������������� Ahilan Kadirgamar, “After the Tigers,” Himal Southasian, February 2009.
“Karuna” turned to the government’s side.30 Yet the most important factor in explaining why the LTTE was so thoroughly defeated was the gradual shift in tactics described above, and the power discrepancy that this exposed. As Ong Weichong writes, the Sri Lankan army “rarely got the LTTE to fight a decisive military campaign on its terms.” When it finally did, in 2008-2009, the army was able to completely overpower the rebels, who were no longer able to “employ the advantage of asymmetry” and were “forced into defensive actions to hold on to their rapidly-diminishing territory.”31 By developing into a conventional force the Tigers handed the advantage back to the superior, larger, and better financed forces of the Sri Lankan government, and doomed themselves to inevitable military defeat. Conclusion: A Way Forward? As it shifted away from guerrilla and terrorist tactics towards a more conventional strategy by building up its resources, political power, and military capabilities, the LTTE actually weakened itself with respect to the Sri Lankan military and opened itself up to a decisive military defeat. I have attempted to explain this apparent paradox by claiming that this move to holding territory and using conventional tactics made the LTTE more vulnerable to defeat through conventional warfare. The government’s victory over the Tamil Tigers in May 2009 brought to an end the military confrontation between the two sides. However, this in no way guarantees peace for Sri Lanka. Instead, the government is now faced with the difficult task of forging a lasting peace and moving on from this bloody chapter in Sri Lanka’s history. Yet without political reconciliation or any meaningful effort to address legitimate Tamil grievances—such as discrimination in education and the job market, the secondary status of the Tamil language, the lack of development spending in Tamil areas, and the general lack of opportunities for Tamil citizens in modern Sri Lanka—there is a significant possibility that an insurgency will re-emerge and Sri Lanka will return to civil war. The Sri Lankan government must now move beyond the military dimension and work towards an enduring political solution to the “Tamil question.”
��������������������������������������������������������������� Clarance. Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis, 221. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Ong Weichong, “Military Defeat of the Tamil Tigers: From Velvet Glove to Iron Fist,” RSIS Commentaries, May 27, 2009.
Bibliography Acharya, Arabinda. “Ending the LTTE: Recipe for Counter-Terrorism?” RSIS Commentaries, June 8, 2009. Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. New York: Verso, 1983. Bandarage, Asoka. The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka: Terrorism, Ethnicity, Political Economy. New York: Routledge, 2009. Bhattacharji, Preeti. “Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,” Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder, May 20, 2009. Clarance, William. Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis. London: Pluto Press, 2007. “The Corpse of the Tigers.” The Economist, May 21, 2009. Ferris, Elizabeth. “At Long Last: Finally Peace for Sri Lanka?” Journal of International Peace Operations (July-August 2009): 9-10. Kadirgamar, Ahilan. “After the Tigers.” Himal Southasian, February 2009. Kulandaswamy, M S. Sri Lankan Crisis: Anatomy of Ethnicity, Peace and Security. Delhi: Authorspress, 2000. Kydd, Andrew and Barbara Walter. “The Strategies of Terrorism.” International Security 31.1 (Summer 2001): 49-80. Page, Jeremy. “Guerrilla Tactics: How the Tamil Tigers were Beaten in an ‘Unwinnable’ War.” The Times, May 19, 2009. Shastri, Amita. “The Tigers’ Shadow: Bringing a Close to Sri Lanka’s Long War.” Foreign Affairs Snapshot, August 4, 2009. Weichong, Ong. “Military Defeat of the Tamil Tigers: From Velvet Glove to Iron Fist.” RSIS Commentaries, May 27, 2008.
Greenpeace and the Media: Symbiosis or Constraint? Stephanie Duchesneau
While attracting positive media coverage is a common aim of social movements and interest groups seeking to convey a political message, Greenpeace is unique in the extent to which its strategies, message, and goals are defined in terms of media coverage.1 Greenpeace established its presence in the global community with an acute understanding of the modern media and a consequential ability to construct media-friendly messages and images that correspond to its environmental tenets.2 Its founders foresaw the onset of a McLuhanist “global village,” in which experience is assembled and constructed by news media and sought to exploit these media to project environmental messages.3 As Paul Watson, one of the organization’s original members, explains: “When we set up Greenpeace it was because we wanted a small group of actionoriented people who could get into the field and, using these McLuhanist principles, make an issue controversial, and publicize it and get to the root of the problem.”4 Given Greenpeace’s success in presenting environmental coverage in dramatic and visually appealing formats, its relationship with the media is one of asymmetric dependency: “the media need the picture as well as the story, whereas Greenpeace needs the coverage to demonstrate its impact.”5 This relationship has contradictory implications for Greenpeace. On the one hand its intimate understanding of and relationship to the media, allows Greenpeace “to mobilize, to validate their existence as politically important collective actors, and to enlarge the scope of conflict.”6 While this is in part responsible for the organization’s growth, its implications have not been entirely positive. This paper will explain how Greenpeace’s media strategy has also limited the scope of their message, diminished their ability to ally with other social movements and interest groups, and jeopardized the organization’s legitimacy as a trusted source on environmental issues. 1 Kevin DeLuca, Image Politics: The New Rhetoric of Environmental Activism (New York, NY: The Guildord Press, 1999), 4. 2 Stephen Dale, Mcluhan’s Children: The Greenpeace Message and the Media (Toronto, ON: Between the Lines, 1996), 14. 3 James Winter, Democracy’s Oxygen: How Corporations Control the News (Montréal, QC: Black Rose Books, 1997), 1. 4 Rik Scarce, Eco-Warriors: Understanding the Radical Environmental Movement (Chicago, MI: Noble, 1990), 101. 5 Ronald Shaiko, “Greenpeace USA: Something Old, New, Borrowed,” Citizens and Democracy, no. 528 (1993): 97. 6 William Carroll and R.S. Ratner, “Media Strategies and Political Projects: A Comparative Study of Social Movements,” The Canadian Hournal of Sociology 24, no. 1 (1999): 3.
Method This paper is primarily exploratory; it examines Greenpeace’s strategies and the ways in which they constrain the organization, by analyzing qualitative literature about the organization between 1990 and 2004, as well as theoretical literature on the role of media in politics. My argument is divided into two parts. First, I address how Greenpeace’s ability to attract positive media attention is largely due to its ability to frame environmental stories in a way suited for mass media coverage. This section addresses how a media-driven strategy has contributed to Greenpeace’s expanding international presence and its ability to incite a public response to environmental issues. Second, I examine the negative implications of these strategies and specify how they ultimately restrict Greenpeace by limiting its message, constraining its ability to form allegiances with other social movements and interest groups, and jeopardizing its reputation as a legitimate epistemic source. Both sections will focus on relevant case studies, which demonstrate Greenpeace’s media tactics or their negative consequences.
Greenpeace’s Media Strategy: Framing the Environment Greenpeace’s success in using the media to project its environmental message and pressure governments and corporations stems from its understanding of the conventions and constraints of mass media outlets. The organization tailors its messages to provide the media with “pre-packaged material that accords with journalists’ taken for granted assumptions about what constitutes ‘news’.”7 While news production tends to focus on events within a 24-hour cycle, environmental issues are generally long-term, obscure, and complex.8 Greenpeace carefully selects environmental messages which can be made amenable to news production by simplification through the use of images, event frames, and symbolic packages, which present issues according to common themes and metaphors within a given society.9 These simplified messages, specifically intended for the media, provide news outlets with powerful environmental coverage, capable of resonating with the public.
Use of Images Greenpeace uses images as their predominant communication strategy, as photographic framing holds the capacity to “document environmental 7 Alison Anderson, Media, Culture, and the Environment (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1997), 35. 8 Ibid., 123. 9 Ibid., 35.
destruction and to convey the visual beauty of nature at risk,” while still being media-friendly.10 One of Greenpeace’s primary tactics is referred to as guerilla imagefare. In this method, the organization’s primary communicative activity consists of staging image events, composed of photos and video content of environmental degradation.11 These images provide visually appealing and dramatic content to media outlets and are capable of shifting public opinion.12 The production of image events serves three functions. First, it transforms a long-term issue into an event, as event frames are most common to environmental coverage on twenty-four hour news networks.13 Second, it provides media outlets with powerful images and videos which are capable of evoking public reaction.14 Third, the photos and videos Greenpeace creates are seen to provide its message with instant credibility. Images and videos are perceived as inherently more objective than print coverage.15 As a former broadcaster describes, “A good thing about television images is that they can be tough to bullshit around [whereas] arguments can be twisted, [and] the truth can get lost in the ambiguities of debate.”16 One case in which Greenpeace used images to generate effective media coverage was its 1988 save the seals campaign. In 1988, a major virus affected seal populations off the coast of Europe. While the extent to which human pollution contributed to the virus was unknown at the time, Greenpeace was quick to define the issue as an urgent political matter. Despite Greenpeace’s lack of scientific knowledge and the obscurity of the issue itself, the image-driven campaign was enormously successful both in attracting media reception and in inciting a public response. “Pictures of dying seals provided the media with a highly visual metaphor for pollution, and the state of the environment more generally. Seals, splashed on the front pages of mid market newspapers, became icons.”17 In this example, making the image the message allowed Greenpeace to convert what would other wise be a largely uncovered scientific issue, into a pressing political concern that attracted prime media coverage. In other instances, Greenpeace has used the staging of image events not simply to call attention to environmentalism, but to redefine its central concepts.18 By redefining concepts, Greenpeace is able to challenge, and in some instances subvert, the dominant cultural and political framing techniques.19 10 Julie Doyle, “Picturing the Clima(C)Tic: Greenpeace and the Presentational Politics of Climate Change Communication,” Science as Culture 16, no. 2 (2007): 131. 11 DeLuca, Image Politics: The New Rhetoric of Environmental Activism, 14. 12 Alison Anderson, “Source Strategies and the Communication of Environmental Affairs,” Media, Culture, & Society 13, no. 4 (1991): 464. 13 Anderson, Media, Culture, and the Environment, 116. 14 DeLuca, Image Politics: The New Rhetoric of Environmental Activism, 19. 15 Doyle, “Picturing the Clima(C)Tic: Greenpeace and the Presentational Politics of Climate Change Communication,” 132. 16 Dale, Mcluhan’s Children: The Greenpeace Message and the Media, 157. 17 Anderson, Media, Culture, and the Environment, 36. 18 DeLuca, Image Politics: The New Rhetoric of Environmental Activism, 52. 19 Carroll and Ratner, “Media Strategies and Political Projects: A Comparative Study of Social
Greenpeace recognizes these concepts as socially constructed, and understands that media hold a key role in defining the relationship between mankind and nature.20 An example is Greenpeace’s confrontation with Vlastny, a soviet whaling ship. The staged image of an enormous whaling ship, dwarfing both the Greenpeace vessels and the whales was hunting, challenged the common perception of nature as a powerful force. In the image: Whales, as the largest animals ever, symbolize the sublime powers of nature…however with modern industrial technology humans have reversed the ancient nature/culture dichotomy. This reversal is symbolized in the relation of the Vlastny to the whales…Whales and nature, then, are no longer powerful forces threatening people but entities at the mercy of humans and their technology and in need of protection.21 Though the whale the Vlastny was pursuing died, nearly every nation with a newswire picked up the photographs of the event, converting the image into a political success for Greenpeace. As the New York Times exclaimed, “For the first time in the history of whaling, human beings had put their lives on the line for whales.”22 This new perspective overturned common discourse on how humans relate to their environment. This new discourse drew the public into environmentalism, as for the first time nature was seen by the public as a vulnerable entity, one that merited and necessitated the attention of human activists.
Moral Conflict Another way in which Greenpeace symbolically packages its environmental message, is by framing environmental coverage as a two-sided, moral conflict between “the goodies and the baddies.”23 As Chris Rose, a director of Media Natura explained, “what Greenpeace is very good at is that they’ve invented…a sort of morality play…Issues are simplified, they’re global problems and they’re David and Goliath.”24 This frame is effective for two reasons. First, it corresponds to media framing techniques, which tend to focus on two-sided conflicts for their simplicity and salience within the public. Second, the moral stigma Greenpeace attaches to these conflicts acts as an emotional appeal to Movements,” 2. 20 Anderson, “Source Strategies and the Communication of Environmental Affairs,” 461. 21 DeLuca, Image Politics: The New Rhetoric of Environmental Activism, 52. 22 Michael Brown and John May, The Greenpeace Story (Scarborough, ON: Prentice-Hall Canada, 1989), 39. 23 Anderson, Media, Culture, and the Environment, 7. 24 Ibid., 126.
the public.25 As Gross and D’Ambrosio argue, framing that elicits an emotional response is more engaging than that which elicits a cognitive response and, thus, has the potential to increase public attentiveness to the issues.26 Third, the two-sided nature of these moral conflicts, simplifies the task of attributing responsibility, and places direct demands on the perpetrator to change its position or to jeopardize planetary survival.27 The Brent Spar affair, which pitted Greenpeace against Shell, over Shell’s plans to sink the Brent Spar oil platform in the Atlantic, is a powerful example of the potential effectiveness of the moral conflict frame.28 While offshore dumping is a common occurrence, Greenpeace’s conflict with Shell turned the issue from a judgment of hard science, to a moral issue. Greenpeace positioned itself as “a morally authoritative defender of ‘Mother Earth’ ” and placed Shell in violation of a European cultural standard.29 Independent scientific studies eventually emerged, which stated that Greenpeace had dramatically overstated Spar’s toxicity and its potential impact.30 Nevertheless, Greenpeace’s ability to incite an emotional response from the European publics caused it to win support from most European governments and triggered widespread boycotts of Shell oil. These public pressures eventually forced Shell to abandon its plans to close the oilfield.31
Media Influence as a Constraint Greenpeace’s ability to use media tactics to its political advantage is often seen as the reason for its growing international presence and influence on public opinion regarding environmental issues. However, I argue that a media-dependent strategy has had serious negative implications. Adopting an environmental activism strategy centered on communications media has constrained Greenpeace when three key dimensions are considered: its message, its ability to network with other organizations and groups, and its reputation as a provider of epistemic knowledge.
25 Dale, Mcluhan’s Children: The Greenpeace Message and the Media, 16. 26 Kimberly Gross and Lisa D’Ambrosio, “Framing Emotional Response,” Political Psychology 25, no. 1 (2004): 170. 27 Carroll and Ratner, “Media Strategies and Political Projects: A Comparative Study of Social Movements,” 6. 28 Anderson, Media, Culture, and the Environment, 6. 29 Vian Bakir, “Policy Agenda Setting,” The Harvard Internaitonal Journal of Press/Politics 11, no. 3 (2006): 78. 30 Ibid.: 74. 31 Anderson, Media, Culture, and the Environment, 6.
Greenpeace’s Message In his book Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan famously proclaimed, “The medium is the message,” arguing that the way in which a message is communicated holds key social consequences.32 McLuhan’s goes on to argue that due to these consequences, a given message may come to be defined more by its communication medium than by its content.33 This has held true for Greenpeace as their strategy of framing events for the media limits the range of environmental messages the group is able to adopt and project. Greenpeace’s relationship with the media forces it to ignore issues and solutions that are too ideological or complex. Highly ideological issues could threaten its relationships with certain media outlets and audiences, while highly complex issues cannot be boiled down into Greenpeace’s complex and dramatic frames. Both phenomena are seen in Greenpeace’s failure to endorse green economics.34 The movement seeks to redefine economic success in terms that are not detrimental to the environment. These strategies include increasing efficiency, moderating use of resources, and encouraging recycling, projects, which make sense both environmentally and economically. Furthermore: The emerging movement…holds principles that are directly at odds with conventional, free market economics…Greens will interpret measures that signify economic health for classical economists – such as gross national product and the rate of economic growth as indicators of waste and economic strain.35 Despite the movement’s potential to challenge the ethos of growth at all costs, Greenpeace has done little to promote the movement for two major reasons. First, presenting green economics in a manner suitable for the media would pose a challenge, as the subject lacks a moral conflict-driven or visual component. Second the issue threatens to undermine Greenpeace’s media and public relationships, by pitting the organization against the free market.36 Media outlets “don’t want their markets destroyed; they don’t want consumers to see their products as bad.”37 Coverage that criticized the operation of the free market could be seen as threatening to news programs’ corporate sponsors and, therefore, are unsuited for media coverage. Furthermore, liberal capitalism is generally accepted as a positive western value; by pitting itself against the free market, Greenpeace would have risked associating itself with socialism and losing public support. 32 Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (Boston, MA: The MIT Press, 1964), 23. 33 Ibid., 25. 34 Dale, Mcluhan’s Children: The Greenpeace Message and the Media, 53. 35 Ibid., 52. 36 Ibid., 55. 37 Carroll and Ratner, “Media Strategies and Political Projects: A Comparative Study of Social Movements,” 7.
Likewise, Greenpeace’s tendency to center its media campaigns around evocative pictures and videos limits its capacity to cover abstract or long-term issues that cannot be condensed into simplified messages. These issues pose two problems: first photographic evidence is often not readily available or easy to stage and, second, images may not accurately capture the nature of long-term processes, as they can for specific events. The constraints that this places on the range of messages the organization is able to project is witnessed Greenpeace’s difficulty in imagining, and thus in covering, climate change. The trouble with covering climate change and global warning is that its negative implications are not immediately visible.38 Furthermore, global warming and climate change cannot be fully captured as an image event as they transcend past, present, and future temporality. Greenpeace’s struggle to present photographic evidence of climate change “Greenpeace’s came to fruition in 1997, when the splitting of the relationship with Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica was photographed the media forces by members upon its ship the MV Arctic Sunrise.39 it to ignore issues Nevertheless, the images restricted discourse on climate change to presenting it as a present event, and solutions that which could be sufficiently addressed by targeting are too ideological current villains, rather than as a long-term process, rooted in both past and future temporal modes.40 or complex.” Greenpeace is increasingly facing difficulties transmitting even those images that fit moral and image frames. As they are repeatedly used, the impact of these frames on the media and on the public declines. These images “have tended to become predictable and ritualized, subverting their claim to even be news;” as one member described, “we’ve gotten very stale in our actions…and now we’ve gotten into this routine of hanging a banner…half the employees don’t even come to attend the banner hanging; we’ve gotten so sick of it, and the media’s gotten sick of it too.”41
Greenpeace’s Alliance Network By relying heavily on the media to project its message, Greenpeace has constrained its ability to ally and network with other social movements. This occurs for three reasons. First, alliances with non-environmental social movements threaten the image of non-partisanship that Greenpeace maintains in order to stay in favor with media outlets of varying ideological dispositions. 38 Doyle, “Picturing the Clima(C)Tic: Greenpeace and the Presentational Politics of Climate Change Communication,” 131. 39 Ibid.: 140. 40 Ibid.: 46.
Second, a media driven strategy encourages Greenpeace to define its goals and victories according to media access, rather than policy change; this pushes comparable groups and organizations to compete for attention, rather than working together to achieve policy change. Third, Greenpeace often draws criticism from both radical and conservative environmental groups over the integrity of its media-driven tactics. Greenpeace’s need to maintain its “sheen of non-partisanship,” to keep in good favor with media outlets, has constrained its ability to ally with other social movements.42 Labor groups, which are distinctly leftist, pose a particular problem. This predicament was witnessed in the Stanley Gray affair, a battle between the organization and one of its hired consultants, over his association with labor unions and movements. While working for Greenpeace: Gray had done the calculations showing that by shifting state subsidies away from capital intensive but environmentally risky industries…into newer labor-intensive, and environmentally friendly industries…the government could seed all kinds of new initiatives that would both generate employment and lessen environmental strain.43 Greenpeace embraced Gray’s discoveries as a victory for sustainable development, until the organization discovered that the endorsement from the Canadian labor movement Gray’s strategies had earned, compromised Greenpeace’s image in media-relations, by undermining their political neutrality.44 As a result, Greenpeace fired Gray and two other staff members for their union involvement and abandoned his strategies, in hopes of distancing themselves from the Canadian labor movement.45 This instance suggests how Greenpeace’s strategy threatens its ability to ally with a broad range of social movements, even where their goals intersect. While this is necessary to maintain Greenpeace’s integrity in the eyes of media outlets, it undermines the organization’s incentives and ability to cooperate with a range of social movements, which could increase the amount of public pressures on governments and corporations it can exert, by incorporating a greater range of constituencies in the fight for policy change. Greenpeace’s ability to collaborate with other environmental organizations is also limited, due to intra-organization competition over media coverage, membership bases, and political endorsement. Given the centrality of media outlets to Greenpeace’s strategy, Greenpeace’s goals are based upon gaining media attention, rather than inciting social and political change that benefits the environment.46 “Instead of trying truly to win a battle, the group 42 43 44 45 46
Dale, Mcluhan’s Children: The Greenpeace Message and the Media, 6. Ibid. Ibid. Roger Keil, “The Green Work Aliance,” Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 6, no. 3 (1995): 63. Dale Foreman, Confessions of an Eco-Warrior (Ney York, NY: Harmony Books, 1991), 62.
merely wants to get credit for a victory no matter how hollow it may be.”47 Communications media are not just an avenue for presenting environmental issues, but are implicated in the movement’s self-image.48 As previously stated, pursuing media coverage as an end rather than as a means of communication encourages competition, rather than collaboration, between similar social movements. Rather than act jointly to pursue political and social progress, other environmental groups see themselves in competition with Greenpeace, when success is defined in terms of the number of members, degree of media coverage, and amount of political sponsorship.49 Oftentimes, media-driven competition outweighs the incentive for these groups to work together to achieve common environmental goals, as public recognition becomes more central to their organization’s reputation than contributions to policy change. Furthermore, Greenpeace has incited criticism from other environmental organizations that perceive tactics such as media-baiting and guerilla imagefare as “the politics of rude and crude”50 and as violations of the norms of public discourse.51 These organizations sense that in prioritizing media-driven strategies, Greenpeace has abandoned more legitimate forms of environmental activism. This type of criticism comes both from organizations to Greenpeace’s right and its left. Organizations to Greenpeace’s right deem its strategies unacceptable. As Jay Hair, executive director of the National Wildlife Federation explained, “I don’t agree with [Greenpeace’s] tactics. Some people feel that environmentalists will do anything, including deceiving the public, to make a point.”52 Hair and other mainstream environmentalists encourage environmental groups to push reform by working directly within political systems and educational programs, rather than using the media alone.53 Likewise, Greenpeace draws criticism from radical organizations, which argue that in focusing on media-stunts, Greenpeace has abandoned its commitment to direct action and grassroots campaigning.54 Paul Watson, one of the groups founding members eventually left Greenpeace, to create the Sea Shepherd society, a radical environmentalist group committed to the principle of direct-action, which he felt Greenpeace had abandoned.55 He justified his move stating, “You are what the media defines you to be. [Greenpeace] became a myth and a myth-generating machine.”56 Even amongst those who have stayed with the organization, questions have been raised about Greenpeace’s shift away from grassroots campaigning. David Peerla, a Greenpeace member explained that the cost of Greenpeace’s choice to 47 Ibid., 204. 48 Anderson, Media, Culture, and the Environment, 40. 49 Ibid. 50 William Greider, Who Will Tell the People? (New York, NY: Simon & Schultz, 1992), 163. 51 DeLuca, Image Politics: The New Rhetoric of Environmental Activism, 14. 52 Shaiko, “Greenpeace USA: Something Old, New, Borrowed,” 89. 53 Ibid. 54 Dale, Mcluhan’s Children: The Greenpeace Message and the Media, 183. 55 Shaiko, “Greenpeace USA: Something Old, New, Borrowed,” 90. 56 Leslie Spencer, Jan Bollwerk, and Richard C. Morais, The Not So Peaceful World of Greenpeace (Forbes, 1991), 11.
pursue a more passive form of activism through the modern media is “the sense of community and of human contact, which were once the foundation of social activism.”57 This criticism and inattention to other forms of environmental activism, compromises Greenpeace’s ability to form broad-based coalitions united by shared environmental goals, which could effectively campaign for certain environmental goals by merging the successes of their varying tactics.
Greenpeace’s Reputation as an Epistemic Source A final way in which Greenpeace’s media-driven strategy acts as a constraint, is by limiting the organization’s reputation as a credible source of environmental knowledge.58 Greenpeace faces a tradeoff, wherein “the dilemma…is to determine whether publicity and entertainment or knowledge circulation is more important. Stunts result in coverage but may jeopardize an organizations epistemic credibility.”59 By prioritizing media attention, Greenpeace has delegitimized itself as a source of knowledge, due to its tendency to emphasize emotion and drama rather than factual sensible information and for being implicated in the journalistic process.60 The risks associated with Greenpeace’s choice to pursue emotion and drama, over scientifically accurate information are illustrated in the aftermath of the Brent Spar affair. Basing its message on the moral principles of dumping, rather than measurement and scientific knowledge, led Greenpeace to drastically overstate Spar’s impact, projecting the damage to be 100 times that predicted by Shell.61 Once many scientific reports emerged undermining the credibility of the figures put forth by Greenpeace scientists and condemning the organizations overstated stance, Greenpeace was forced to do damage control62. Despite public apologies, the factual inaccuracies uncovered in the Brent Spar affair undermined the extent to which the scientific community, media networks, as well as the public, viewed Greenpeace as a source of credible environmental knowledge. Moreover, the struggle for epistemic credibility is closely tied to Greenpeace’s reputation as a news source, as can be seen in Greenpeace’s campaign against lifting the genetically modified (GM) moratorium in New Zealand. In this campaign, Greenpeace relied heavily on the media to raise consumer awareness about the dangers of GM food, and in turn mobilize consumer pressure.63 Nevertheless in competing with pro-GM coverage 57 Dale, Mcluhan’s Children: The Greenpeace Message and the Media, 186. 58 Judy Motion and C. Kay Weaver, “The Epistemic Struggle for Credibility: Rethinking Media Relations,” Journal of Communication Management 9, no. 3 (2004): 248. 59 Ibid.: 254. 60 Shaiko, “Greenpeace USA: Something Old, New, Borrowed,” 98. 61 Bakir, “Policy Agenda Setting,” 78. 62 Ibid.: 74. 63 Motion and Weaver, “The Epistemic Struggle for Credibility: Rethinking Media Relations,” 250.
Greenpeace still faced a credibility context, over who could define the dominant discourse on the issue.64 The organization met with mixed results, “Greenpeace was recognized as an authority on direct action and controversy…it struggled however to position itself as an epistemic authority that was widely quoted.”65 This failure is linked to a dialectical tension between what is news worthy and what is a credible news source. This inverse relationship suggests that the connection between news coverage and the ability to influence public opinion may be more complicated than Greenpeace foresaw. To effectively push for a change in environmental policy, Greenpeace would do well complimenting its current strategy with proof that it is also a credible source of environmental knowledge, by demonstrating its comprehension of the science.66 Demonstrating that Greenpeace can conform to the latter standard is becoming more and more important, as networks are becoming increasingly aware of and unaffected by the use of media stunts. Some outlets have begun to abandon Greenpeace as a source for environmental news, perceiving it to be more focused on media ploys than on legitimate environmental stories and for being implicated in the journalistic process. As John Vidal, an environmental editor for The Guardian explains, amongst his newspaper’s readers there is a growing demand for deeper issue-driven environmental coverage outweighing the need for Greenpeace-style media stunts.67 When asked how he responds to Greenpeace’s environmental coverage, Vidal responded “its quite simple, really, they send me their stuff and I dump it in the bin.”68 Furthermore, in striving for mass publicity over mor,e epistemic forms of environmental coverage Greenpeace has specifically alienated more elite constituencies, which desire deeper and more scientific environmental information. This is important as these constituencies hold greater influence on the opinion-forming agenda and decision-making agendas.
Conclusion Understanding the customs and values of contemporary news outlets and employing a strategy centered on media influence has afforded Greenpeace many successes; Greenpeace has grown to be one of the largest environmental organizations, capable of exerting influence on publics, governments, and corporations internationally, making it a model for many new social movements. Nevertheless, in focusing its tactics on the media Greenpeace faces tradeoffs in several domains. The use of moral and image-driven framing tactics to present 64 65 66 67 68
Ibid.: 251. Ibid.: 252. Ibid.: 254. Dale, Mcluhan’s Children: The Greenpeace Message and the Media, 142. Ibid.
environmental, combined with the need to appeal to a wide demographic of news producers and consumers, severely limit the range of messages the organization can project. The need to maintain a non-ideological and nonpartisan stance to stay in favor with media outlets limits the range of groups and social movements the organization can form alliances with. Greenpeaceâ€™s heavy use of media tactics limits the extent to which it is viewed as a credible source of environmental knowledge, as its media reports emphasize drama over scientific accuracy; this in turn limits its ability to access elite, and potentially policy-shaping, public constituencies. While these negative implications do not suggest that Greenpeace ought to abandon its media tactics, they suggest the organization would benefit from a two-pronged approach, wherein Greenpeace continues its appeals to the mass public through media, but shift some attention towards more epistemic fields of scientific environmental knowledge and activism, within existing government frameworks. In doing so Greenpeace could prevent itself from alienating fellow environmental movements and the elite constituencies, needed to convert environmental activism into policy change.
Bibliography Anderson, Alison. Media, Culture, and the Environment. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1997. ———. “Source Strategies and the Communication of Environmental Affairs.” Media, Culture, & Society 13, no. 4 (1991): 459-76. Bakir, Vian. “Policy Agenda Setting.” The Harvard Internaitonal Journal of Press/Politics 11, no. 3 (2006): 67-88. Brown, Michael, and John May. The Greenpeace Story. Scarborough, ON: Prentice-Hall Canada, 1989. Carroll, William, and R.S. Ratner. “Media Strategies and Political Projects: A Comparative Study of Social Movements.” The Canadian Hournal of Sociology 24, no. 1 (1999): 1-34. Dale, Stephen. Mcluhan’s Children: The Greenpeace Message and the Media. Toronto, ON: Between the Lines, 1996. DeLuca, Kevin. Image Politics: The New Rhetoric of Environmental Activism. New York, NY: The Guildord Press, 1999. Doyle, Julie. “Picturing the Clima(C)Tic: Greenpeace and the Presentational Politics of Climate Change Communication.” Science as Culture 16, no. 2 (2007): 129-50. Foreman, Dale. Confessions of an Eco-Warrior. Ney York, NY: Harmony Books, 1991. Greider, William. Who Will Tell the People? New York, NY: Simon & Schultz, 1992. Gross, Kimberly, and Lisa D’Ambrosio. “Framing Emotional Response.” Political Psychology 25, no. 1 (2004): 1-29. Keil, Roger. “The Green Work Aliance.” Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 6, no. 3 (1995): 63-76. McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Boston, MA: The MIT Press, 1964. Motion, Judy, and C. Kay Weaver. “The Epistemic Struggle for Credibility: Rethinking Media Relations.” Journal of Communication Management 9, no. 3 (2004): 246-55. Scarce, Rik. Eco-Warriors: Understanding the Radical Environmental Movement. Chicago, MI: Noble, 1990. Shaiko, Ronald. “Greenpeace USA: Something Old, New, Borrowed.” Citizens and Democracy, no. 528 (1993): 88-100. Spencer, Leslie , Jan Bollwerk, and Richard C. Morais. The Not So Peaceful World of Greenpeace: Forbes, 1991. Winter, James. Democracy’s Oxygen: How Corporations Control the News. Montréal, QC: Black Rose Books, 1997.
Machiavelli: The Teacher of Evil? Ariana Keyman
Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince offers a view on politics radically different from the views of predecessors such as St. Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, and St. Augustine. Machiavelli rejects the notion that ideas of moral virtue, religion and knowledge provide the ultimate means for good governance. For him, rather than getting caught up with discussing “theories and speculations,” it is “better to concentrate on what really happens”1. He suggests that it is not moral virtue, or religion, or knowledge, but power, embedded in what really happens, that defines politics. This claim which gives primacy to power over virtue, has caused many to view Machiavelli as “the teacher of evil,” a term coined by Leo Strauss. In this paper, I argue that although it is possible to view Machiavelli as a “teacher or evil,” it is more appropriate to characterize him as the first empirical political scientist, who lived in the period of transition from medieval to modern thought, and recognized before his contemporaries did that power, embedded in what happens in concrete and earthly social relations, constitutes the basis of politics in modern times. If we approach Machiavelli’s thought in this way, it is possible to think of him as “the tamer of evil” rather than “the teacher of evil”. Machiavelli takes three main positions on political society which distinguish him as the first empirical political scientist, setting his thought apart from the medieval and establishing himself in some sense as the first modern. He uses such analyses of politics in turn to advise princes—in his mind, in ways which are realistic and useful, as is indicated in his letter dedicating The Prince to Lorenzo de Medici. These stances are demonstrated by his emphasis on the shift of understanding political authority to be politics as power, rather than politics as knowledge; his division of laws and ethics, followed by his emphasis on laws as a consequence of arms; and his treatment of politics as the primary causal force in the unfolding of history. Given these aspects of Machiavelli’s thought, it would seem appropriate for Machiavelli to be called the first modern; however, I believe he is rather a thinker caught in a transition between the medieval and the modern, who fails to appreciate certain ascendant aspects of politics, such as the importance of abstract institutions and technological improvement as legitimate and significant in political life. Machiavelli rather focuses mainly on the character of the prince himself, and tells a story of virtue, although not one of what we understand to be moral virtue, but rather “virtú”—the virtue of the effective and successful prince. His detailed discussion of the character and the 1 Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 5.
ability of the prince are indicative of his ongoing, although perhaps not conventional, medieval treatment of politics. In fact, through his scientific assessment of political society and the observations he makes, along with his study of the virtú of a prince, Machiavelli reveals himself to be not the teacher, but rather the tamer of evil. In The Discourses, Machiavelli explicitly advocates that the republic is the best form of government, as it is the only form of government in which “the common good is looked to properly”2 and that “[t]he opposite happens where there is a prince; for what he does in his own interest usually harms the city, and what is done in the interests of the city harms him”3. However, given that such a principality had for the time being been established by the Medicis, Machiavelli offers advice through many examples, with reference to the scientific aspect of his thought, to Lorenzo de Medici and all princes as to how to govern most effectively and successfully. If one were to study The Prince as an advice book to both politicians and private citizens alike, asserting that Machiavelli believes that virtú of a prince is a universal form of morality that should be practiced in all aspects of life, it would be a limited and fundamentally mistaken view of his thought. It is important to realize that Machiavelli, while advising princes on the methods of acquisition and maintenance of power, advises princes to do what is ultimately useful for the whole state, including its people and politicians alike. He mainly advises on what is useful in maintaining stability and unity in a state, which he gives utmost importance to. Given his views on a principality as a form of government, the means to attaining this are then worse than any other state’s, as a principality is a form of government worse than any other. He thus creates a kind of parallel morality to be viewed in relation to the governance of this difficult, dangerous form of government. He never rejects the merits of Christian morality in a universal stance, nor does he advocate the kind of “evil” to be employed by any other than the prince himself. In fact, the way in which he directs the prince is to tame the evil that may arise in the excessive use of his unitary power that will consequentially lead to the stability and content of all the state. As I will explain, this is made apparent by his emphasis on the concept of glory as something which is contingent on reasonable behaviour, his belief that a prince’s political “fortune” is derived from the stability of his state, and his definition of the freedom of the governed public as the internal unity and security of the state. Machiavelli’s focus on the idea of eternal glory through the effective conduct of power is one way in which he tames the appetite, and therefore the evil of the prince, writing that “... it cannot be called virtue to kill one’s fellowcitizens, to betray one’s friends, to be treacherous, merciless and irreligious; power may be gained by acting in such ways, but not glory”4. Given the type of person a prince, and especially a new prince will be—as he shows through 2 Niccolo Machiavelli, The Discourses (London: Penguin, 2003), 275. 3 Machiavelli, The Discourses, 275. 4 Machiavelli, The Prince, 5.
examples such as Borgia, Romulus, and Alexander the Great—Machiavelli realizes the attractiveness of the prospect of glory will have to such a prince. It would not be useful to try to tame the appetite of such a man—one who has killed, gone against all conventional moral virtues to acquire power—by appealing to his salvation. It is more useful to appeal to what he strives for in the immediate temporal world, which is maximizing political power. Putting his stamp on immediate temporal society and history is one step to attaining this; the next leap would be to put such a stamp on history that will never be forgotten. The most fundamental way to secure this, Machiavelli maintains, is through avoiding being hated, while being feared is better than being loved. He goes on to say that “what will make him hated, above all else ... is being rapacious and seizing the property of womenfolk of his subjects”5. Machiavelli therefore advises rulers not to exercise power to a point where they will do injustice to the people, and rather use violence just as much as is necessary to establish the stability and unity of the state in the first place, and do nothing more that will further anger or hurt the people. He writes, “...a conqueror ... must decide about all the injuries he needs to commit, and do all of them at once, so as not to have to inflict punishments every day. Thus he will be able ... to reassure men and win them over by benefiting them”6. His discussion of how the prince should use violence and immoral means as the circumstances present themselves leads to an important discussion of “fortuna”—fortune—in his work, which contributes to understanding Machiavelli as a tamer of evil. He describes fortune as almost something of a force of nature—uncontrollable, and unless necessary precautions are taken, potentially destructible. A successful ruler is one who is able to tame the waves of such potential destruction, take defences against it and make it work in his favour. Machiavelli asserts, then, as fortune makes up about half of the potential success or lack of it that a prince will attain, that the best ruler is one that is able to “conform with the conditions in which they operate”7. If a prince were to blindly take example of any given ruler’s actions as a successful course of action, without taking in to account the specific circumstances he had been in, it is then probable that this prince will blunder and be defeated by the forces of luck. Therefore, as a ruler should be mainly interested in maintaining the survival of his power and state, the employment of both good and evil are equally plausible means of maintaining his state—given the circumstances his fortune dictates. The extent of flexibility a prince can have will be his measure of success, not the extent of evil he can perform. Machiavelli doesn’t advocate one set course of actions that dictate an immoral code of conduct, but rather one that dictates a possibility of both good and evil in the name of sustaining the survival and stability of the state. “... a ruler who wishes to maintain his power 5 Machiavelli, The Prince, 63-64. 6 Machiavelli, The Prince, 33. 7 Machiavelli, The Prince, 86.
must be prepared to act immorally when this becomes necessary”8 Machiavelli’s emphasis of the force of fortune and consequently the importance of flexibility in a ruler is demonstrative of his being a tamer of evil, as he openly advocates for the use of both good and evil as conditions deem necessary, but ultimately requires that these be applied for the purposes of increasing the unity and security of the state and its people. Lastly, it is important to understand Machiavelli’s conception of freedom in terms of the people in order to gain full understanding of his role as not the teacher, but the tamer of evil. Machiavelli never outright defines what he means by “freedom” and “liberty” in The Discourses, and at times what he means by these words appears to change. The underlying condition in all of these states for freedom, however, is the existence of security within the government—both externally and internally. For a people to be freed, then, doesn’t mean that they have been freed from living under any sort of government, but it means rather that they have been freed from the threat of being subordinate or captive to some other larger power. Maintaining this freedom requires that the city be strong and united, especially internally, so that there are no hostile factions that cause unrest. Machiavelli writes, “... the vast bulk of those who demand freedom, desire but to live in security”9. If security through unity isn’t established or preserved, then the city will either crumble within itself or be swallowed by a greater and stronger state, which will both lead for the city to lose its liberty. Looking at all of Machiavelli’s advice then, it is perhaps more important to understand the end that he tries to direct the prince toward, rather than the means he advocates for attaining this—namely the unmoving, unifying, and stabilizing authority of the prince over the state through maximizing his relative power, leading to the state’s freedom. He goes on to state that “[i] t should be assumed, then, as a basic and established principle that to a state which has been under a prince and has become corrupt, freedom cannot be restored even if the prince and the whole of his stock be wiped out”10. He thus pointedly advises against any excessive use of power by a prince, as it would necessarily lead to corruption, and rather advocates for a controlled use of his power as a means of directing his fortune for the preserved unity and security of the state, as it will ultimately lead to the people’s freedom and therefore to their contentment, as well as love for him which would result in his glory. However, despite my argument that Machiavelli is the tamer of evil, it is possible to read Machiavelli as a teacher of evil because throughout his “advice book” he abandons the view that politics and society should be studied according to who men ought to be, rather than who they empirically seem to be. I will now outline this counterargument, and will describe below why I believe my interpretation that Machiavelli is “a tamer of evil” is nonetheless correct. In 8 Machiavelli, The Prince, 85. 9 Machiavelli, The Discourses, 156. ����������������������������������� Machiavelli, The Discourses, 158.
The Prince, Machiavelli essentially teaches that as long as a prince keeps up the appearance that he is morally virtuous, a friend of the people, while authoritative and forceful, that it does not matter whether he actually possesses these virtues. He in fact goes as far as to say that “having and always cultivating them (moral virtues, good qualities) is harmful, whereas seeming to have them is useful”11. He teaches that bad actions, such as killing, lying, deceiving, go therefore without consequences as long as they are “well committed”12 and therefore the truth of goodness or badness of actions lies only in how others perceive them. He takes away the possibility of a higher moral code as a regulation mechanism for “Looking at all men’s actions, and persuasively argues against the of Machiavelli’s Thomistic view of teleological morality in men— which claims that men “tend” toward their ulti- advice then, it is mate purpose and virtue, seemingly dismissing the perhaps more imimportance of ethics and moral virtue altogether. portant to underSince appearance, then, is all that matters in the stand the end that world of humans and politics, it shouldn’t really matter what Machiavelli actually thinks the na- he tries to direct ture or men entail, but should rather teach mo- the prince toward, rality, goodness, truth and justice to be a “tamer rather than the of evil.” If he aimed to tame evil, he would have means he advoproduced a work persuasive of the importance cates for attaining and existence of a higher moral conduct keeping check of human actions and intentions, whether this.” he believed this to be true or not, trying even in this chaotic and evil-ridden world to direct men to moral good and virtue. However, he does quite the opposite, and exposes men for what he believes they actually are—consequently taking role as a teacher of the legitimacy of usefulness of immorality and deceit. Machiavelli’s mere act of producing such a work is legitimate evidence supporting the claim that he is the teacher of evil, as according to his own philosophy, we live in a world of appearances and what we present to the world is who we are. In response to this, I suggest that while Machiavelli allows for deception, he does put meaningful restrictions on the use of deception in politics, thereby permitting my view that he is a “tamer of evil.” In The Discourses, Machiavelli describes the power and long life of the Roman republic in terms of the productive tension existing between the nobles and the plebes, explaining that the two main social classes worked as agents to keep each others’ power in check and balanced. Throughout The Prince, though never expressed outright, there is a similar tension prevalen–—the prince is always advised to do whatever will not lead the people to revolt as “men are very ready to change their ruler ������������������������������ Machiavelli, The Prince, 62. ������������������������������ Machiavelli, The Prince, 33.
when they believe that they can better their condition”). In this way, it is as if the prince and the people are playing a game of power. However, if the state is to keep its sovereignty and unity, the prince must always be able to display more authority and power than the people, or else the people will overcome him and the state will cease to exist. The Prince advocates the use of violence and immoral means to maintain his power because in a world where the idea of a “population” has started to form, and the common people have become stronger than ever before, not resorting to such forceful and definitive means to maintain the appearance of authority and power would result in the dissolution of the state. As “... it is impossible to have good laws if good arms are lacking, and if there are good arms there must also be good laws...”), military strength is the most legitimate indicator of political power. This demonstrates that Machiavelli is not willing to advocate the use of unlimited and excessive deception in politics, for without the actual substance of military success, appearance cannot hold. He therefore maintains that rulers should “not deviate from right conduct if possible, but be capable of entering upon the path of wrongdoing when this becomes necessary”). Moral flexibility and military capability are the most important characteristics a ruler should possess, and this is a claim different from and irrelevant to the notion that he is a teacher of ultimate evil and immorality. Thus, I contend that the counterargument does not refute, undermine, or override the evidence of which indicates that Machiavells attempts to tame and curve the potential evil of a prince, but rather shows that Machiavelli directs him to rule in a the way which will most benefit his people. Bibliography Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Discourses. London: Penguin Books, 2003. Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
The Cause: Individual and Organizational Motivations for Suicide Missions Kartiga Thavaraj Suicide terrorism is one of the most feared terror tactics in the world today and, whether transnational or intrastate, the unpredictability and seemingly unstoppable nature of suicide missions (SMs) makes them high risk and high reward. Murderous suicide terrorism is seen as an especially appalling act, “since it violates two of society’s primary taboos, the prohibition against killing innocent[s], and the ban against killing oneself,”1 and its heightened presence in the media since 9/11 has cast a great spotlight on SMs, particularly those emanating from and in the Middle East. Se m venty per cent of SMs carried out in the last thirty years have been by terrorist organizations connected with the Muslim faith.2 But what does this signify? Some scholars, such as Mark Juergensmeyer and Yoram Schweitzer have drawn the link that SMs are simply martyrdom operations of religious extremism, and since Islam has presented SMs as the ultimate sacrifice leading to reward, manipulated religious fervour can account for the increasing trend of Islamic suicide terrorism. While this is perhaps a touted opinion among the general public and scholars alike, this view is highly limited in terms of effectively understanding the motivations behind SMs. A few obvious retorts arise here: Not all groups or individuals who undertake SMs are Islamist (or religious of any kind) in belief or nature, and not all Islamist or jihadist groups use this tactic, and Islam is certainly not the only religion to accept the premise of of martyrdom. While these points may be obvious however, a further refutation can be made: even within Islamist terror groups who undertake suicide attacks, the penchant for SMs stems from rational calculations rather than value-driven Islamist ideologies. In order to defend this idea, we must ask, if not Islam, what drives the use of the SMs as a part of terrorist tactics? What causes willingness to die, and what makes death an integral part of the attack? In this paper, I argue that the use of SMs is valued for their sincere and direct political and military coercive power, and thus the motivation for their use is as part of a grand strategy comprising rationally calculated instrumental objectives rather than a fanatical series of operations conducted for value objectives. Individuals can demonstrate a rationally calculated motivation for committing SMs because they see them as being in service to preserving a goal they hold greater than 1 Robert A. Pape, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. (New York: Random House, 2005), 218. 2 Mia Bloom, Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror (New York, Chichester, West Sussex: Colombia University Press, 2005), 4.
their lives. Terror organizations that sponsor SMs do so because these operations are highly effective as a tactic of warfare in the attainment of the group’s objectives. As such, SMs are not simply valuable in and of themselves, but rather for their tactical and coercive strength, which make them an appropriate tool to service further ends. Thus, I posit that the instrumental rationality of SMs is more important than the value rationality conventionally assigned to them, and that relegating SMs to the status of a desperate, last-resort attack undertaken by insane religious fanatics misses a lot of the multi-dimensional effectiveness they can and do have. First, I will outline a definition of SMs for the purposes of this paper. I will then examine the individual level, outlining some faults of egoistic and value explanations, and describing the rational calculation to commit an SM using the concept of “altruistic suicide”. In the next section, I examine the relevance and effectiveness of SMs as motivation at the organizational-strategic level in achieving the dual objectives of outbidding and coercion using asymmetric warfare. I will present Hamas and competition by Palestinian groups as evidence for outbidding, and analyze six infamous SMs in the Middle East region to demonstrate asymmetric warfare tactics. Lastly, I analyze a few key terror attacks perpetrated in the Middle East to support these claims, and conclude by underlining the idea that a broader approach to understanding the motivations behind SMs is warranted. Definitions: The first3 contemporary case of a suicide terrorist attack in the Middle East was the November, 1982 attack on Israeli Defense Forces’ headquarters building in Tyre, Lebanon by Hezbollah, leaving seventy-four people dead and thirty wounded.4 Since then, estimates of the number of suicide attacks from 1983 to 2003 range from 315 to 1857.5 These variations suffer from incomplete and sometimes contradictory sources as well as a lack of a clear definition of suicide terrorism—and it is a pressing definitional issue. What is a suicide mission? Though debates on the definitions of terrorism and SMs are hotly contested, I wish to apply a viable definition that provides a conceptual limit for the purposes of this paper. The action that particularly separates suicide terrorism from other terror tactics, and for which motivation seems highly contentious, is the suicide component. For the purposes of this paper, therefore, I will use Mia Bloom’s definition of the SM as a “violent, politically motivated attack, 3 There is some dispute over this date. Many list the first suicide attack in Lebanon as the car bombing of the Iraqi embassy in 1981; some say Hezbollah’s first attack was in 1983 with the US EMbassy bombing. See for example Pedazhur, Moghadam and Ricolfi. 4 Pape, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, appendix I 5 Ibid. 17.; see also Assaf Moghadam, “Motives for Martyrdom Al-Qaida, Salafi Jihad, and the Spread of Suicide Attacks”, International Security, Volume 33, Number 3, (Winter 2008/09)
carried out in deliberate awareness by a person [where] premeditated certain death is a precondition for the success of the attack”.6 In this sense, attacks on both civilians and politically targeted assassinations as well as government buildings are counted, as the suicide aspect in relevant in all cases. With the meaning of SMs now defined, we can explore what drives both individuals and organizations to enact them.
SM Motivation at the Individual Level: It is primarily at the individual level that Islam is believed to be the motivator of those who commit SMs. What else could make particular people willing to give up their lives to carry out terrorist attacks? It seems however that the individual logic of terrorism is difficult to comprehend because many are looking at it through wrong lens—that of ordinary suicide.7 This section will debunk some of the myths and stereotypes surrounding the minds of the individuals who carry out SMs, and use the concept of “altruistic suicide” to provide an instrumentally rational reason for the motivation behind SMs at the individual level. First, we must go over some conventional theories that do not apply. The belief exists that suicide attackers are those who would have ended their lives anyway, drawing a parallel between the socially suicidal and individuals who carry out SMs.8 This is connected with the idea that individuals who commit SMs are the product of desolate poverty, brainwashing, emotional dysfunction or insanity.9 However, these are poor explanations. This attempt to create a psychopathological or socio-demographic “suicide terrorist profile” cannot explain why SMs only occur in certain societies and at certain times, or by certain organizations. Moreover, empirical evidence on the demographic profile of suicide attackers has changed drastically from what was once thought to be conventional wisdom—from the idea of a young, uneducated, unemployed male—to the realization that suicide attackers encompass varying ages, occupations, middle class and educated backgrounds, differing religious affiliations and commitment and include women.10 The final and most poignant of these disputed theories is that Islamic fundamentalism and its indoctrination are key to understanding the motivations of these individuals. There is a hotly contested debate regarding whether the wish for martyrdom or jihad is based on 6 Bloom, Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror, 2; This definition also excludes those who kill themselves without attempting to destroy anything/anyone else like those who selfimmolate, even though it is for a cause, and eliminate extreme risk undertakings where the agent’s death cannot be known with certainty. 7 Ibid, 171. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Jeff Victoroff, “The Mind of the Terrorist: A Review and Critique of Psychological Approaches,” The Journal of Conflict Resolution 19.1 (2005): 12. JSTOR. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/ stable/30045097>. 9 Pape, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, 17 ������� Ibid.
some schools of Islamist theology, such as Salafisim.11 However, though this theory suffers from many flaws, one in particular is important to this paper12: the viewing of the SM as a value end in and of itself rather than as the rational means to a broader, strategic goal. For this reason, among others, the religious explanation is quite incomplete. Since the above socio-demographic, psychological and religious fundamentalist factors are neither conclusive nor substantive enough to demonstrate motivation, it seems that egoistic motives are insufficient to explain why individuals voluntarily carry out SMs. Therefore, we must turn to a non-egoistic individual motivation to explain the decision to commit an SM—the concept of “altruistic suicide”. According to Durkheim, three distinct types of general suicides can be distinguished: egoistic, fatalistic and altruistic.13 In the first type,i individuals experience a high level of personal trauma and a low degree of attachment to society. In the second, an individual is subjected to a regulation of beliefs and pressure to carry out the act. Altruistic suicide however, is described almost as the opposite to egoistic—parents who give their lives to save their children, soldiers who value the success of their units, or complete strangers who risk their lives to save others.14 Thus, society views altruistic suicide, and the motive to promote the common good, as acceptable. This concept suggests that SM motivation derives from viewing SMs as the optimal action, rational and consciously calculated, to accomplish a goal, 15 as rational choice theory dictates. Although SMs are portrayed in the media to be of a more fatalistic nature, I argue that many acts of suicide terrorism are a murderous form of Durkheim’s altruistic suicide. Although it seems at first objectionable to assign the term “altruistic” to actions clearly intended to harm others,16 it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of this theory is to describe why a suicide attacker would willingly kill him o o or herself in order to complete a mission. Japanese Kamikaze bombers were not recognized as terrorists because they did not target civilians, and their actions were government sanctioned. Their actions however—using premeditated suicide as a means for achieving an earthly objective—fall in line with the definition of an SM in this paper. As the Kamikaze example shows, SMs “violate the notion...that extreme altruism is to be expected only towards one’s kin,”17 and seem to give validation to the possible mentality of the suicide bomber as being one of altruistic suicide. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Christina Hellmich. “Al-Qaeda: Terrorists, Hypocrites, Fundamentalists? The View from Within.” Third World Quaterly 26 (2005): 39-54. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� My intent is not specifically to downplay the considerations of Islamist fundamentalism in individual motivations, but rather to demonstrate that SMs can be motivated by rational and instrumental reasons. ������������������������������������������������������������������ Pape, Dying ���������������������������������������������������������� to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, 38 ������������ Ibid, 176.
15 Victoroff, “The Mind of the Terrorist”, 14. 16 15 Pape, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, 179.
�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Diego Gambetta et Al. Making Sense of Suicide Missions. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 16 2005). Ix
Thus, the homicidal nature of the attack should not obscure the significance of the motivation of the attacker—that those who carry out SMs see themselves to be advancing some form of the common good. This common good, in the view of an Islamist suicide attacker, can be viewed as the welfare of the people and their cause and thus a rational cost-benefit analysis can be derived that by sacrificing their one life, they are committing to the greater good of their people and society. Most often, this objective is viewed as the goal of national or nationalist “Socio-demographic, liberation from physical or perceived occupa- psychological and retion, as an objective so worthy that it justifies ligious fundamentalist risking their life for the greater good. This proves, contrary to the beliefs of the theories factors are neither conoutlined above, that the perpetrator of the clusive nor substantive attack does not necessarily see the SM only enough to demonstrate as an end in itself, but as a method of achievmotivation, it seems ing some further desired end.
that egoistic motives
Empirical data is obviously quite dif- are insufficient to exficult to come by on this topic because of the impossibility of interviewing attackers to find plain why individuals out their motives. However these altruistic voluntarily carry out motives can be somewhat empirically demon- suicide missions.” strated in the example of written statements and videos to the community. In explaining her motives for carrying out an SM in one such video, seventeen-year-old Sanaa Muhaidly’s most prominent message is her “association of self-sacrifice with the need to free her community from foreign occupation”.18 Scores of these videos and messages were made by would-be attackers, and were almost entirely directed at the community at large. Many explain why their actions are directly related to foreign occupation, often describing invading military forces (i.e. Israeli) as “barbaric invaders who must be ousted at any price”.19 Furthermore, Pape outlines four patterns that demonstrate that altruistic motives likely account for a large portion of SMs.20 First, data shows that there seems to be no pattern between rates of ordinary suicide and suicide terrorism in countries with high quantities of the latter. This lack of a connection undermines the idea that a cultural or social predisposition to non-violent suicide contributes to the widespread use of SMs in terrorist campaigns. The second is that even an anomic variant of egoistic suicide—an SM set off by a catalyst causing psychosocial distress—does not account for a large proportion of SMs. Third, there is the fact that instances of SMs that come from ‘lone wolf’ actions un are quite rare, and many SMs are carried out in teams, which is a characteristic of altruistic suicide.21 Finally, the social construction of the altruistic motive in SMs is not �������������������������������������������������������������������� Pape, Dying ������������������������������������������������������������ to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, 134. ������� Ibid. �������������������������������������������������������������������� Pape, Dying ������������������������������������������������������������ to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, 181. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Scott Atran, “Genesis of Suicide Terrorism”, Science 7 March 2003: accessed online
a product of separation of the group from society, but rather the result of close integration of the sponsoring organization with the surrounding society. Though egoistic motives such as the ones outlined certainly may exist, they are insufficient to explain why individuals voluntarily carry out SMs. “Absent the altruistic motive,” Pape argues, “many suicide attacks would probably not occur and many suicide attackers might well seek other opportunities to contribute to their community”.
SM Motivation at an Organizational Level: SMs are extremely beneficial at what Martha Crenshaw calls the “organizational-strategic”22 level of the terrorist group. For the sponsoring organization, suicide attackers are dispensable assets, and many organizations that use it reap numerous side-benefits, including it being financially lucrative and good for recruitment, without incurring significant costs. The great motivation and validation of SMs however comes from their coercive and strategic power for achieving political objectives. Over the last three decades especially, terror networks have learned that this strategy pays. As the most aggressive form of terrorism, suicide operations kill on average about fofur times as many people as other types of terrorist attacks.23 Even more importantly, governments have greater difficulty in responding to suicide terrorism than to other tactics, and to find even an effective short-term response is challenging. Additionally, suicide terrorism is much more likely to gain media coverage than most other forms of terrorist attack. This propaganda in effect helps the terrorist organization by disseminating their ideology, thereby increasing their number of sympathizers and members. This helps to explain why SMs have been on the rise since 1983, and have grown even more since the start of the millennium.24 While the specific goal depends on each particular group, what is important is that terror organizations understand these benefits, and thus SMs have become strategically very important to terror groups in achieving their political and military objectives. SMs pay off for terror groups at the organizational-strategic level in two ways: 1) internally to solidify social support and combat competitor groups, termed “outbidding” by Bloom,25 and 2) externally, to coerce an adversary using tactics of asymmetric warfare. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Martha Crenshaw. Terrorism, ���������������������������������������������������������������������� Strategies & Grand Strategies in Audrey Cronin et. Al., Attacking Terrorism: Elements of a Grand Strategy (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2004) ������� Ibid.
���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Pape, Dying �������������������������������������������������������������������������������� to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,������������������������� 17.; see also Moghadam, “Motives for Martyrdom Al-Qaida, Salafi Jihad, and the Spread of Suicide Attacks” �������������������������������������������������������� Bloom, Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror���� , 8.
Internal: Outbidding SMs aid the objective of outbidding26 by adding legitimacy to social support for the terrorist organization at work, and thus accrue resources and popular support to that organization. This idea is especially important when many groups are competing for the support and resources of the same constituency. Just as at the individual level, popular support of the group’s goals and tactics is a highly valued asset of the organization. Thus, groups will compete heavily against competitor groups for shares of constituency financial and ideological resources. To illustrate this idea, Bloom outlines the use of SMs by groups in Palestine. She notes that SMs are “bases of mobilization from which Hamas and the Islamic Jihad compete for leadership by capturing the Palestinian imagination”. 27 Since November 2000, Palestinian public opinion has increasingly supported SMs.28 Hamas then continued to employ them to give itself legitimacy since it was an outlier militant group which was competing with the Palestinian Authority for leadership of community. Some explanations even state that SMs were used by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to stall the peace process so as to slow the improvement of relations between Israel and the PA. This shows that the actions of Palestinian parties, particularly Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are not only motivated vis-à-vis Israel, but also strongly motivated vis-à-vis the PA, in their hope to claim a greater share of constituency resources.
External: Coercion of an Enemy The foremost purpose of SMs at the organizational-strategic level is to use threat of punishment fear to compel a change in policy. Terrorist organizations are fighting a war of attrition with the enemy, and are using tactics of guerrilla or revolutionary warfare to do so. From the perspective of a target group therefore, the main question is whether the “value of the concession being demanded is greater than the costs imposed,” regardless of the costs. However, from the perspective of the terror organization sponsoring the attack, the main question is whether a particular strategy “promises to be more effective than alternative methods of influence”.29 Thus, SMs prove rationally useful from the perspective of an organization that represents the weaker party in an ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Some scholars, such as Goodwin, disagree that group rivalry is logically necessary for insurgents to employ SMs. Pape notes that Al Qaeda had no competitors, and the multiple groups that made up Hezbollah often worked together rather than in competition. However, this condition simply demonstrates another facet of the rational and strategic logic of employment of SMs, not a pre-condition for it. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Ganor, “The Islamic Jihad” 197 cited in Bloom, Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror�� , 33. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Luca Ricolfi, “Palestinians, 1981-2003”, 92 in Gambetta et Al. Making Sense of Suicide Missions. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Pape, Dying ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, 62; ���������������������������� This idea roughly translates to “the greater the cost, the greater the benefit”
asymmetrical conflict. As a strategy for weak actors, the theory of asymmetric warfare is useful in evaluating the effectiveness of SMs. Hit-and-run tactics have long been used as an instrument of the weak against the strong,30 and this particular method is simple, efficient and possesses versatility, low cost and high-symbolic value. A suicide attacker can gain access to well-guarded targets, kill large numbers of people, instil fear into the enemy, and signal resolve and dedication to a cause, thus coercing an adversary. SMs can therefore be viewed as a major subcomponent of terrorist grand strategy in an asymmetric war, whereby the campaign aims to weaken the morale of the regime it is fighting against by increasing political pressure and creating widespread dissatisfaction with a series of protracted attacks to which there seems no end in sight.31 In this sense, SMs are particularly valuable not only for the potential for heavy direct military costs, but also for psychological effects capable of destroying the will of the enemy. In addition, the nature of an SM serves the ultimate goal of protracted warfare—the willingness to absorb costs to achieve one’s goal. Thus, suicide attacks magnify the coercive effects of punishment: they are more destructive than other types of terrorism, they deliberately violate norms, and they effectively signal future attacks. In many SMs, terrorist “victory” was achieved by making a territory or political decision too unprofitable or politically difficult for governing or occupying forces to remain. Historical lessons from SM campaigns teach terror groups that they are highly accountable for the relationship between terrorists’ coercive efforts and the political gains that have been achieved. According to Pape’s intensive study of nine completed suicide campaigns in the Middle East between 1983 and 2003, six correlated with significant policy changes by the target state towards the terrorists’ political goals.32 These six are outlined below, and demonstrate that a rational cost-benefit calculation of the organization initiates an attack, and then the perceived rewards of that attack spur on further attacks: The 1983 Hezbollah attacks on the United States and French marine barracks constituted a full achievement of the terrorists’ territorial goals. The catalyst for the growth of Hezbollah in the early 1980s was when “the timing of Hezbollah’s suicide operations parallel[ed] the rise of Israel’s control of the Shia community”.33 Israel’s increasingly deep control and jurisdiction over the local Shia villages in southern Lebanon sparked increased tension when Israeli forces began arresting local Shia leaders in the autumn of 1982. This forced occupation, and the “Organization for a United South” plan seemed to cement �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� John Baylis. Revolutionary Warfare. in John Baylis, et. Al., Contemporary ����������������������������� Strategy. (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1987) 219 ���������������������������������������������� Paul. Complex Deterrence: An Introduction, 6 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Pape, Dying ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������� to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, See �������������������������� table p. 49 and appendix I ������������ Ibid, 133.
Israel’s ideas to take over political control of the region. Therefore, Hezbollah carried out a number of SMs against American, French and Israeli political and military targets, committed to the end of Western and Israeli withdrawal. This ended in the 1983 attacks on the U.S. and French Marine Barracks, when the U.S. and French decided to pull out. What made the coercive success of the SMs most obvious was then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s memories, in which he describes the U.S. decision to withdraw: “The price we had to pay in Beirut was so great...we had to pull out...we couldn’t stay there and run the risk of another suicide attack”.34 In three of the six cases, the territorial aims of the SM sponsoring organization were partially achieved. In Hezbollah versus Israel in 1983-85, Israel’s partial withdrawal followed periods in which the terrorists had turned more and more to suicide attacks. The second case followed the signing of the Oslo Accords by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which mandated Israel’s military withdrawal from the Gaza Strip by April 13, 1994. When these deadlines were skirted, Hamas launched two SMs, one on April 6, and the other on April 13. Then on April 18, the Israeli Knesset voted to withdraw—“effectively accepting the Palestinian position”.35 This accelerated Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza. Lastly, similar to the above case, Hamas versus Israel in 1994-1995 consisted of seven suicide campaigns, in which Israel pulled out from certain villages and towns in the West Bank six months earlier than they originally claimed they would be out. In the last case, the terrorist organization’s top leader was released from prison. In Hamas versus Israel in 1997, Hamas conducted a suicide attack approximately once every two months. In retaliation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized the assassination of a Hamas leader in Amman, Jordan. When that plan backfired however, and two Israeli agents were captured, Netanyahu released Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, “clearly due to coercive pressure from the terrorist group”36 These six cases demonstrate that terror groups came to the conclusion that SMs were instrumental in obtaining each terror group’s political objectives, which validated and made instrumentally rational their continued use. In this light, the Hamas and Hezbollah campaigns are especially good tests of the reasonableness of terrorists’ assessments, since these are the two groups that are often considered to be aiming at unrealistic goals, and thus as “irrational”.
����������� Ibid, 64. ����������� Ibid, 68. ����������� Ibid, 66.
Conclusions: Suicide missions as a tactic of terror groups, particularly Islamist or Jihadist groups, are particularly feared since their glorified presence in the media presents the image of an army of people waiting to kill themselves in order to be welcomed by God. Because of the death component specifically, Islam is often used to account for the motivations behind individuals and organizations that carry out SMs. However, this presupposes the idea that SMs are only valued as an end in and of themselves, when in reality they are often rationally calculated as the best means of achieving a political or military goal. Bloom argues that there is “nothing inherently dysfunctional about Islamic faith that predisposes its adherents towards violence”37 and Pape’s data show little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, nor any religion. What sponsor organizations of SMs do have in common however, is a series of specific political and military strategic goals, and the demonstrated and perceived ability of SMs to carry out these goals. At the individual level, those who commit SMs often make a rationally calculated decision akin to “altruistic suicide” to carry out an SM, whereby they believe they are taking a cost-effective means to fulfil the goals of their people or community. At the organizational level, SMs are used because they works in servicing the political objectives of a group simultaneously competing for resources at home, while attempting to coerce as the weaker party in an asymmetric conflict. Although only a few types of objectives were outlined in this paper, regardless of what the political objective is, what is important is that SMs are used to achieve these objectives just as much, if not more, as they are used to achieve value goals. Thus, relegating SMs to the status of a last-resort, insane, or Islamist-driven tactic misses a lot of the scope and nuance and rational calculation behind the usage and effectiveness of SMs.
37 Bloom, Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror, 2. ���
Bibliography Atran, Scott. “Genesis of Suicide Terrorism”, Science 7 March 2003: 1534-1539 Bloom, Mia. Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror (New York, Chichester, West Sussex: Colombia University Press, 2005) Cook, David and Olivia Allison. Understanding and addressing suicide attacks: the faith and politics of martyrdom operations (Westport: Praeger Security International 2007) Cronin, Audrey et. Al., Attacking Terrorism: Elements of a Grand Strategy (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2004) Gambetta, Diego et Al. Making Sense of Suicide Missions. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). Ix Goodwin, Jeff. “What Do We Really Know About (Suicide) Terrorism?” Sociological Forum, Vol. 21, No. 2, (2 August 2006): 315-330. Hechter, Michael. “The Role of Values in Rational Choice Theory”, Rationality and Society (1994), 318-333. Hellmich, Christina. “Al-Qaeda: Terrorists, Hypocrites, Fundamentalists? The View from Within.” Third World Quarterly 26 (2005): 39-54. Print. Hoffman, Bruce. «Al Qaeda, Trends in Terrorism, and Future Potentialities: An Assessment.» Studies in Conflict & Terrorism (2003): 429-42. Web. Hoffman, Bruce. “The Logic of Suicide Terrorism”, 145-153 in Mahan, Sue and Pamala L. Griset. Terrorism in Perspective (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Inc 2007) John Baylis. Revolutionary Warfare. in John Baylis, et. Al., Contemporary Strategy. (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1987). Karlin, Mara E. “Understanding Terror Networks (review).” SAIS Review 24.2 (2004): 201-202. Project MUSE. . 21 Sep. 2010 <http://muse.jhu.edu/>. Kydd, Andrew H., 1963- and Walter, Barbara F. “The Strategies of Terrorism.”International Security 31.1 (2006): 49-79. Project MUSE. 21 Sep. 2010 <http://muse.jhu.edu/>. Moghadam, Assaf. “Motives for Martyrdom Al-Qaida, Salafi Jihad, and the Spread of Suicide Attacks”, International Security, Volume 33, Number 3, (Winter 2008/09): 46-78. Pape, Robert A., Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. (New York: Random House, 2005) Paul, T.V.. Complex Deterrence: An Introduction. In T.V. Paul et. Al., Complex Deterrence: Theory and Practise in a New Era (University of Chicago Press, 2009). 1-31.
Pedahzur, Ami and Arie Perliger. “Altruism and Fatalism: The Characteristics of Palestinian Suicide Terrorists” Deviant Behaviour: An Interdisciplinary Journal (2003): 405-423 Robison, Kristopher K. and Crenshaw, Edward M. and Jenkins, J. Craig, 1948-. “Ideologies of Violence: The Social Origins of Islamist and Leftist Transnational Terrorism.” Social Forces 84.4 (2006): 2009-2026. Project MUSE. . 21 Sep. 2010 <http://muse.jhu. edu/>. Sageman, Marc. Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-first Century. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2008). Print. Sageman, Marc. Understanding Terror Networks. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2004). Print. Schweitzer, Yoram. “Historical Background and Risks for the Future” (June 18 2004) Published online at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/suicide-bombers/essaysuicide-terrorism/2760/ Sinjar Documents -- West Point Centre for Tterrorism Combating Terrorism Centre (CTC) Victoroff, Jeff. “The Mind of the Terrorist: A Review and Critique of Psychological Approaches,” The Journal of Conflict Resolution 19.1 (2005): 12. JSTOR. Web. <http://www. jstor.org/stable/30045097>.
The Dilemma of Statebuilding in Areas of Ethnic Violence: How International Efforts to Bolster Georgia’s Statebuilding May Have Contributed to the resurgence of Ethnic Violence Since 2003 Majd al Khaldi
In recent years, there has been a general consensus among scholars and policymakers alike that states with weak central governments, failing states or, at the extreme, failed states are more likely to witness ethnic violence take place within their territories. For instance, one need not look further than contemporary Sudan, Yugoslavia in the 1990s or Somalia in the past two decades, respectively. It is therefore no surprise that the role of the international community in such volatile regions often includes promoting statebuilding policies, based on the notion that countries with stronger, more democratic governments and functioning institutions are less likely to experience ethnic violence. This paper, however, seeks to shed light on a negative side-effect of statebuilding that has hitherto been largely ignored; that is, in collapsed (or collapsing) states that had experienced ethnic violence in the past and in which many informal institutions exist, statebuilding can lead to an increase in the probability of ethnic violence occurring by destroying informal institutions that had a mitigating effect on ethnic violence. In such cases, international support (economic or political) for these statebuilding efforts may have the unintended negative effect of increasing the likelihood of ethnic violence breaking out. Using the case of Georgia and its two breakaway regions from 1990 to the present day, this paper shall demonstrate how the statebuilding efforts that have taken place in Georgia since the Rose Revolution of 2003, which included strengthening government institutions, anti-corruption campaigns and the severing of patronage networks, decreased or ended collaboration between elites who had personal interests in maintaining the fragile peace, and, by disenfranchising them, paved the way for the resurgence of ethnic violence. In this context, the international community’s good intentions, which translated into financial and political support for Georgia’s statebuilding efforts, may have in fact inadvertently facilitated the re-escalation of ethnic violence. The graphic representation below seeks to clarify this causation.
It is important to note that, given the two conditions outlined above, this model does not claim that statebuilding will necessarily lead to the resurgence of ethnic violence. Rather, it implies that effective statebuilding measures will damage informal institutions and make an increase in ethnic violence more likely. The more international support these statebuilding measures have, the stronger this causality (i.e. the higher the likelihood). Before delving into the topic, however, a few points must be made. The vast majority of academic literature available on the topic of the two unresolved ethnic conflicts in Georgia places them within the context of the larger, sub-systemic Russian-Georgian protracted conflict, or even the resurging global Russian-US rivalry. Scholars such as Per Gahrton have gone as far as labelling the region’s new dynamics ‘The New Great Game,’ in reference to the 19th century rivalry between Imperial Russia and the British Empire over control of the region, known as The Great Game.1 The author supports most of the conclusions drawn by scholars who use system-level analyses to explain various aspects of the two ethnic conflicts, but finds that alone they provide an incomplete picture of Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-South Ossetian ethnic violence. While Russia has proven to be a staunch supporter of both the Abkhaz and South Ossetian secessionist movements time and again, simply portraying Abkhaz and South Ossetian politicians and rebels as proxies of Moscow is painting a grossly incomplete image. This paper seeks to complement these IR narratives, rather than challenge them, and to clarify that in addition to the 1 Per Gahrton, Georgia: Pawn in the New Great Game (New York: Pluto Press, 2010), 1.
various actors’ realpolitik considerations in the region, there were often less visible factors at play affecting the situation on the ground. Some academics have suggested that from 1995 - 2003 the Georgians were too weak relative to the Abkhaz and South Ossetians to go about reintegrating the two breakaway regions. Therefore, ethnic violence was unlikely to resurface until 2003.2 While that may very well be true, two important points must be kept in mind. First, the Georgian state was rendered chronically weak from 1995 - 2003 because various elites from all three sides who were operating via informal channels and personally benefiting from this weakness, made an active effort to maintain a weak Georgian state. There was no considerable effort to strengthen the Georgian state until the Rose Revolution. Second, although the increase in Georgia’s power relative to the two breakaway provinces was the same following the Rose Revolution, ethnic violence began to take place more frequently in South Ossetia than in Abkhazia. Therefore, a factor other than Georgia’s relative state capacity must have accounted for the difference in the levels of ethnic violence. As will be demonstrated later on, this discrepancy can be accounted for by the fact that informal South Ossetian - Georgian cooperation was damaged by statebuilding more so than the same kind of informal cooperation between Abkhaz and Georgian elites. This paper treats the ethnic conflicts of Georgia as a given, and will not dwell on the causes behind them. That being said, primordial explanations for why ethnic violence resurged between the Abkhaz and South Ossetians on the one hand, and Georgians on the other in the Aftermath of the Rose Revolution must be dispelled on the basis the three ethnic groups did not suddenly experience an increase in deep-rooted ethnic hatred beginning in 2003. Theoretical Considerations ‘Statebuilding’ shall be defined broadly as: the construction of a functioning, democratic state, with effective formal institutions, rule of law and working enforcement mechanisms based on the economic and political values of Western liberal democracies. Borrowing an additional parameter from Lake3, it can be added that statebuilding policies aim towards increasing the legitimacy of the state by attempting to enhance its popular support. Most comparative research on political institutions focuses mainly on formal rules. In many cases, however, so-called informal institutions, “ranging from bureaucratic and legislative norms to clientelism and patrimonialism can 2 Julie George, The Politics of Ethnic Separatism in Russia and Georgia (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 168-173 3 David Lake, “The Practice and Theory of US Statebuilding,” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 4, no 3 (2010): 265.
play an equally important role in shaping political behaviour and outcomes.”4 Informal institutions will be defined as “socially shared rules, usually unwritten, that are created, communicated and enforced outside of officially sanctioned channels.”5 To narrow this definition further, four parameters must be added that highlight what informal institutions are not: 1) Informal institutions are not synonymous with weak institutions. Formal institutional weakness does not necessarily imply the presence of informal institutions. Clientelism and abuses of executive authority, as an example, both depart from formal rules, but whereas the former is an informal institution, the latter is not; 2) Informal institutions must be distinguished from other informal behavioural regularities. Not all patterned behaviour is based on rules set by incentives or rooted in shared mutual expectations about others’ behaviour. In informal institutions, the violation of tacit rules must generate some kind of punishment or external sanction. When bribery is rooted in widely shared expectations among citizens and public officials, corruption may be considered an informal institution. On the other hand, when shared expectations are not involved and the bribe is merely a reaction to low public sector wages, it may simply be described as a behavioural pattern; 3) Third, informal institutions should be distinguished from informal organizations. In the same way that formal organizations, such as political parties or unions, are not equivalent to formal rules, so too should informal organizations, such as mafias, be distinguished from informal institutions; 4) Fourth, it is crucial to differentiate between informal institutions and the more general idea of culture. While culture may help shape institutions, the shared expectations of informal institutions should not be mistaken for shared values- though shared expectations can be (and often are) influenced by cultural values.6 5) According to Transparency International, corruption is operationally defined as the “abuse of entrusted power for private gain.”7 In other words, it is the use of public office for private and / or personal gains. In their work on patron-client relationships, Eisenstadt and Roniger resolve that, in essence, patronage may be seen as a reciprocal relationship between a patron and a subordinate, characterized by three main features:
i) the relationship must be unequal;
4 Gretchen Helme and Steven Letivsky, “Informal Institutions and Comparative Politics: a Research Agenda,” Perspectives on Politics 2, no 4 (2004): 725. 5 Ibid., 727. 6 Helme and Letivsky, “Informal Institutions,” 726-728. 7 http://www.transparency.org/news_room/faq/corruption_faq-#faqcorr1
ii) the arrangement relies on reciprocity, of goods, political favour, wealth, votes...etc; iii) the emergence of patronage depends on close personal interactions between the client and the patron.8 Although the word ‘elite’ would be difficult to operationalize for the purposes of this paper, generally speaking, it shall encompass individuals such as political figures, heads of security, top police officials, businessmen, the heads of smuggling groups, ethnic warlords, and anyone else with enough authority or power to significantly affect the kinds of informal institutions discussed in this paper. Admittedly, the word ‘significantly’ is vague, but its implied use will become clear. Historical Background Ethnic Ossetians are descendents of the Alan tribes that had migrated in ancient times from what is now modern Iran. Their language is related to that of the Pashtuns in Afghanistan. The exact time of their migration is debated. While a small number of scholars, such as Stuart Kaufmann, have argued that the Alans are descendents of the Sarmatians who arrived in the region in the sixth century AD,9 the majority of historians agree that the Ossetians were most likely driven into the region by Mongol invaders and Tamerlane’s armies in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries AD.10 The Abkhaz people, on the other hand, speak a West Circassian language of the North Caucasian family (distinct from South Caucasian, which includes Georgian) and trace their lineage to the Hittites, powerful warrior tribes that ruled Anatolia in the third and second centuries BC.11 The Abkhaz and Ossetians came under occupation by various larger powers throughout history, including the Byzantines, the Ottomans and the Persians, until they were both absorbed into the expanding Russian Empire in the 1800s. Without going into the specific details of their history, for brevity’s sake, it is important to note that both within Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, the Abkhaz and Ossetians were given special status formally recognizing their ethnic distinctiveness. However, in both Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, these two ethnic groups’ regions were administratively treated as part of Georgia. Abkhazia, for example, became the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia within 8 S. N. Eisenstadt and Louis Roniger, “Patron--Client Relations as a Model of Structuring Social Exchange,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 22, no 1 (1980): 49-52. 9 Stuart Kaufman, Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001): 97. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Julian Birch “The Georgian/South Ossetian Territorial and Boundary Dispute,” in Transcaucasian Boundaries, ed. John F. R. Wright and Richard Schofield (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996): 152. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Vjacheslav Chirikba, “The Origins of the Abkhaz People,” in The Abkhazians: A Handbook (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998): 37-40.
the Soviet Union Republic of Georgia. The Early 1990s In August 1992 war broke out between Georgian troops and Abkhaz rebels seeking secession. Given its influence over both the Abkhaz and the Georgians, Russia played a leading role as the mediator in the conflict. Under the aegis of the UN and with active mediation by Russia, intensive negotiations between the Abkhaz and the Georgians subsequently took place in late November and December of 1993. In February 1994, Russia and Georgia signed a series of agreements giving the former the role of assisting in the development of the Georgian army, the right to deploy Russian border guards and, critically, the right to keep its military bases in Georgia. In return, Georgia’s territorial integrity was recognized but “no specific arrangements were made for settling the conflict.”12However, on September 27th, 1993, Abkhaz rebels breached the previously mentioned ceasefire agreement and took the Abkhaz capital, Sukhumi. On May 14th, 1994, all parties signed the Moscow Agreement, which was essentially another ceasefire agreement. Georgia also called for the Commonwealth of Independent States to send peacekeeping troops (all of whom ended up coming from Russia) to maintain the fragile ceasefire in Abkhazia. As in the case of Abkhazia, war broke out in South Ossetia on January 5th, 1991. When the Soviet Union collapsed, South Ossetia had few -if any- ties to the central Georgian government in Tbilisi.13 Fighting raged on for months. A ceasefire agreement that was signed on June 24th, 1992, and came to be known . as the Sochi Agreement brought an official end to the war 14 With the �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Ana Niedermaier, Countdown to war in Georgia : Russia’s foreign policy and media coverage of the conflict in south Ossetia and Abkhazia (Minneapolis: East View Press 2008), 59-60. ������������������������������������������������� George, The Politics of Ethnic Separatism, 113. �������������������������������������������������� Niedermaier, Countdown to war in Georgia, 45-46.
signing of the Sochi and Moscow Agreements in 1992 and 1994 respectively, the two ethnic conflicts in Georgia were now frozen, in the sense that there was little to no ethnic violence in either breakaway region, but no comprehensive peace agreements were reached between Georgia on the one hand and the two breakaway regions on the other. Corruption, Smuggling, Extortion and Patronage: South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Georgia after the two wars By the mid 1990s, the informal trade which had originated during wartime burgeoned into networks of profit, enlisting a broad spectrum of actors.15 Scholars have suggested that networks of profit should either eventually harden into state institutions or weaken the state as a result of the economics of deliberate violence. In the case of Georgia, the rise of what Closson calls “networks of profit” de-legitimized and weakened the central government, thus significantly impeding post-war statebuilding.16 Charles King, a renowned expert on the region, best summarizes the situation in post-war Georgia by describing it as “a dark version of Pareto efficiency,” whereby an equilibrium has been reached by elites from within the various conflict actors- an equilibrium that renders the two ethnic conflicts frozen yet unresolved.17 King observes that such situations develop when “even after one camp has secured a partial or complete victory in the military contest [analysts posit that Abkhazia and South Ossetia had both successfully defeated the Georgian army], the basic networks, relationships, and informal channels... replicate themselves in new, state-like institutions in the former conflict zones.”18 The economic structure that developed in the region after the two wars depended on the participation of several entities in order to function including: South Ossetian traders, Russian peacekeepers, Georgian smugglers and the Georgian police. Such cooperation was taking place on multiple levels, reaching from the highest (between the President of Georgia and the de facto presidents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia) to the lowest levels (petty smugglers and poor policemen). Following the end of Georgia’s two wars with South Ossetia and Abkhazia in the early 1990s, its president, Shevardnadze, was mainly concerned with the country’s stability. As such, in the process of privatizing the country’s industries, he offered tax exemptions to favoured corporations, thus creating patron-client networks where they previously did not exist. By 2001, an ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Stacy Closson, “Networks of Profit in Georgia’s Autonomous Regions: Challenges to Statebuilding,” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 4, no 2 (2010): 179 ������������������������������������� Closson, “Networks of Profit,” 179. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Chares King, “The Benefits of Ethnic War: Understanding Eurasia’s Unrecognized States,” World Politics 53, no 4 (2001): 525. �������������� Ibid., 528.
estimated 30% to 70% of the Georgian economy was illicit.19 Shevardnadze, who had been Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union under Gorbachev, used the experience he had acquired during his ascent to the top of the former Soviet bureaucracy to build himself a broad base of clients in Georgia. The president used personalized authority to secure allies, punish enemies and stabilize the economy, all while turning a blind eye to the extensive corruption networks that were developing, as long as they did not threaten his allies’ interests or, more importantly, his grip on power. Birch adds that, like in Georgia, elites in the two breakaway regions took advantage of the status quo stalemate to reward their support groups.20 For example, during the post-war period, the pursuit of personal interests was often intricately woven into government policy, at the expense of the Georgian state’s overall wellbeing. This was reflected in the cooperation that began to take place across ethnic divisions to maintain smuggling corridors, extortion checkpoints and illegal distribution networks both throughout South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Examples abound. Just outside the entrance to the regional capital, Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian highway police were entrusted with the job of monitoring trade that was on its way to Vladikavkaz, the capital of the Russian Republic of North Ossetia. Instead, however, they acted as facilitators rather than invigilators of illegal trade along this route. Beside the same highway, markets emerged that sold licit goods such as petrol, timber, scrap iron and wheat flour, with hundreds of trucks laden with these goods coming from Russia every year.21 The Ergneti smuggling market, located just on the de facto ‘border’ between Georgia and South Ossetia, on the road to Tskhinvali, offered opportunities for interethnic mixing and stability that years of confidence building measures could not deliver. Estimates of the value of smuggled goods entering Georgia through the Ergneti market alone reached US $100 million annually.22 Elites in the South Ossetian administration received major revenues from controlling this contraband trade, the road linking South Ossetia to the neighbouring city of Vladikavkaz in Russia, and the Roki mountain tunnel that links North and South Ossetia. The tunnel remains one of the few ways across the Caucasus mountain range, which extends from the Caspian Sea in the East to the Black Sea in the West. Ironically, an estimated US $60-$70 million in goods passed through the tunnel each year from 1995-2003, compared with an official South Ossetian budget of roughly $1 million for the same time period. Furthermore, drugs (heroin in particular) were being smuggled through both Abkhazia and South Ossetia into the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere.23 ������������������������������������������������� George, The Politics of Ethnic Separatism, 131. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Birch, “Ossetiya- Land of Uncertain Frontiers and Manipulative Elites,” Central Asian Survey 18, no 4 (1999): 528. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Alexander Kupatadze, “Radiological Smuggling and Uncontrolled Territories: The Case Of Georgia,” Global Crime 8, no 1 (2007): 50. ������������������������������������������������� George, The Politics of Ethnic Separatism, 138. ������������������������������������������ King, “The Benefits of Ethnic War,” 537.
In South Ossetia the illegal trade with Russia benefited all sides. The South Ossetian government applied vague “transit taxes” on various goods, while Georgian authorities, especially the interior ministry, were able to take a cut by fining truck drivers on the outskirts of Tbilisi. A Russian word was even coined to describe corrupt Georgian officials who offered valuable information and protection to smugglers: krysha- literally, “roof.”24 The gradual increase in international humanitarian aid flowing into the region simply exacerbated the problems, by further fuelling the fire, so to speak. Organizations were set up in Tbilisi to receive humanitarian assistance destined for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in South Ossetia. Instead, however, these organizations sold the goods for profit in local markets.25 It is partly because of these tacit agreements between South Ossetian and Georgian officials that relations between Tskhinvali and Tbilisi were generally cordial, notwithstanding the lack of a final conflict settlement. The de facto South Ossetian president, Eduard Kokoity, openly supported Eduard Shevardnadze in his bid for re-election to the Georgian presidency in early 2000.26 The general situation in Abkhazia was similar. If anything, the behaviour of Abkhaz police officials in the two districts of Abkhazia that border Georgia proper was even worse than that of the police in South Ossetia. The Abkhaz police force has been noted to execute well-planned crackdowns on groups engaged in the smuggling of illegal goods to and from Georgia, not to enforce the law, but simply to eliminate the competition and maintain their monopoly on trans-border smuggling.27 In fact, Kupatadze claims former Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba’s clan “continues to influence smuggling within the separatist region.”28 Closson goes even further and suggests that Ardzinba’s family headed the petroleum smuggling business, whereby petroleum was smuggled from Russia aboard one of Ardzinba’s nephews’ ships, and then taken to Georgia by another nephew’s trucks.29 The Abkhaz Presidential Guard and the State Security Services of Abkhazia also controlled five checkpoints and the main bridge across the Inguri river, which formed part of the de facto border between Georgia and Abkhazia. There they demanded illegal payments from freight transporters and extorted the local population. Beginning in 1995, even two of the largest Georgian insurgent groups remaining in Abkhazia, the Forest Brothers led by David Shengelia and the White Legion, headed by Zurab Samushia, had shifted their ������������������������������������������ Kupatadze, “Radiological Smuggling,” 50. ���������������������������������������������� King, “The Benefits of Ethnic War,” 545-546. ������������� Ibid., 546. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Alexandre Kukhianidze, Corruption and Organized Crime in Georgia before and after the Rose Revolution,” Central Asian Survey 28, no 2 (2009): 221. ������������������������������������������ Kupatadze, “Radiological Smuggling,” 51. ����������������������������������������� Closson, “Networks of Profit,” 186-187.
focus away from fighting as insurgents toward operating as business groups in commercial activities.30 To make matters worse, the peacekeeping force that was deployed on the de facto border between Abkhazia and Georgia starting in 1994 often did not have the resources necessary to monitor, let alone interrupt smuggling across the Inguri river. Often, the poorly paid Russian peacekeepers were bribed in return for unfettered passage.31 It is reported that around 5-10% of the gasoline that entered Georgia was smuggled on trains from Russia that were in fact transporting the aforementioned peacekeepers as well.32 Perhaps most alarmingly, smugglers operating in both of the two breakaway regions also engaged in what Alexander Kupatadze termed “Radiological Smuggling,” in collaboration with “The gradual Georgian smugglers.33 It seems that the same groups increase in that smuggled items such as cigarettes and fuel into and out of Georgia’s “grey zones” (i.e. South international Ossetia and Abkhazia), sometimes also smuggled humanitarian aid radioactive materials. By taking advantage of flowing into the the debilitated border security, weakness (or region simply sometimes complicity) of law enforcement figures and corruption of public officials, these smugglers exacerbated the used Georgia as both a source of these materials problems, by (Georgia inherited Soviet facilities and military further fuelling the bases with radioactive materials in them) and as fire, so to speak.” a transit country for material that was originally stolen in Russia. In fact, this smuggling business employed the services of high ranking security officials- as high up as the former head of President Shevardnadze’s security, as well as large business tycoons who had the contacts necessary to sell abroad. The radioactive material itself could be used in devices other than nuclear weapons to create so called ‘weapons of mass disruption,’ which, in the wrong hands, may prove to be powerful psychological and political weapons. For years this has been (and continues to be) a primary concern for the US and its allies, especially after evidence surfaced suggesting that Iran had attempted to purchase such radioactive materials on the black market in the late 1990s.34 Because of the lucrative economies of stalemate, key elites on all sides saw little incentive to go beyond the parameters outlined in the ceasefire agreements that followed the two secessionist wars- they preferred not to implement a ����������������� Ibid., 186-187. ������������� Ibid., 185. ������� Ibid. ������������������������������������������ Kupatadze, “Radiological Smuggling,” 40. ��������������� Ibid., 41-47.
peaceful resolution to the conflict. When elites did meet to talk, they usually simply agreed on the idea to hold more talks in the future, because as long as the sides maintained “dialogue,” humanitarian aid and financial assistance would keep flowing into the region.35 It was this intricate web of relationships that developed between supposed enemies that helped control ethnic violence between 1995 and 2003. Corruption and patron-client relationships helped create a status quo equilibrium in which elites from all sides and from various areas, such as politics, law enforcement and business cooperated to maximize their own interests. In her study, Closson concluded that the networks of profit that flourished in Georgia and the two breakaway regions before the Rose Revolution did not transform and harden into formal institutions, but rather negatively affected statebuilding in Georgia. These networks impeded the creation of respected “government institutions and a regulated market economy, thereby contributing to high levels of criminal activity perpetuated by state security services, and inhibited conflict resolution as a result of lucrative profits paid to elites.”36 Nationalist Georgian rhetoric was kept at a minimum. Likewise, Abkhaz and South Ossetian calls for separatism were mollified. Ethnic violence was kept in check as long as all elite groups were privy to the trade and were benefiting from these ‘networks of profit.’ As evidence for the fact that these networks had an effect on the level of violence, the author draws on George’s account, whereby she describes how violence tended to escalate when elites disagreed on how to divide spoils among themselves. For example, an outbreak of ethnic violence in Abkhazia in early 1998 has been directly linked to groups that were concerned that peace agreements would endanger their economic well-being.37 The Rose Revolution and Saakashvilli’s Crackdown on Informal Institutions In November 2003, fraud during Georgia’s parliamentary elections led to weeks of angry protests, the resignation of president Shervardnadze and the swearing in of the leader of the opposition and Shevardnadze’s former pupil and Minister of Justice, Mikheil Saakashvili. At the time of what later became known as ‘The Rose Revolution,’ Columbia University Law School graduate Saakashvili became the youngest leader of any state in Europe. He had widespread popularity among the Georgian masses because he promised to fight corruption, reinvigorate Georgia’s economy and, most importantly, reintegrate the two breakaway provinces back into Georgia. Mere days after becoming president, Saakashvilli launched a three-pronged reform campaign that involved a program of anticorruption, statebuilding and democratization.38 ���������������������������������������������� King, “The Benefits of Ethnic War,” 548-549. ������������������������������������� Closson, “Networks of Profit,” 181. ������������������������������������������������� George, The Politics of Ethnic Separatism, 139. ������������� Ibid., 167.
He immediately began to strengthen the security forces manning the borders and to decrease the level of influence of regional politicians in both Georgia and South Ossetia.39 At the same time, he ended the Georgian Defence Ministry’s sponsorship of Georgian guerrilla groups operating along the border with Abkhazia. Corrupt law enforcement officials were sacked. As a result, smuggling through Abkhazia became more chaotic and disorganised.40 Saakashvili’s boldest move, however, came when he attempted to forcibly close down the Ergneti market in May/June 2003. When he ordered his troops into the market, they were met by armed Ossetians who violently defended their position for six weeks, before the market was finally closed. Soon after that, traffic through the Roki tunnel on the Russian side of the border with North Ossetia was initially curbed. “All imports of petrol products were to be directed first to Tbilisi 41 for official accounting purposes and then distributed out to the regions. ” Saakashvilli sacked over 20 top Georgian police officials for their involvement with smuggling across the de facto South Ossetian-Georgian border. Saakashvili had effectively disrupted some of the most important cross-ethnic elite ties that were based on informal institutions. In closing down the Ergneti market he had also eliminated the primary meeting place between ethnic Ossetians and Georgians. Saakashvili’s focus returned to Abkhazia in 2005, where his Special Units’ efforts to curb smuggling led to the deaths of many Georgian police officers at first, and then eventually to the deaths of Abkhaz and Georgian civilians.42 Saakashvilli’s anticorruption reforms led to the removal of Shervardnadze-era bureaucrats who had engaged in criminal activities, the replacement of the entire traffic police force, the creation of real customs control along the borders and the rewriting (and, more importantly, reinforcement) of the tax code. While all of Saakashvilli’s reforms led to initial successes, a major negative side-effect was developing and is worth elaborating on. Starting with the Rose Revolution, there was a rise in ethnic violence between the Abkhaz and Georgians on the one hand, and South Ossetians and Georgians on the other. Instances of shooting, assassination, kidnapping, mine-blasting, ambushing and robbery increased as paramilitaries from all sides (defined along ethnic lines) began to clash. The breakdown in community relations at Ergneti became a symbol, reflecting the lack of negotiations between authorities in Tbilisi and Tskhinvali. The author of this paper asserts that Saakashvili’s three-pronged campaign efforts disrupted many of the existent informal institutions that extended across ethnic lines. Consequently, as the relationships that were based on reciprocity and expectations of mutual benefit ������������������������������������� Closson, “Networks of Profit,” 191. ������������������������������������������ Kupatadze, “Radiological Smuggling,” 50. ������������������������������������� Closson, “Networks of Profit,” 191. ������������� Ibid., 193.
broke down, so too did inter-ethnic elite cooperation. Elites who from 1995 to 2003 were on supposedly opposing sides in a frozen ethnic conflict (but in reality were partners in one way or another) no longer had the opportunity to collaborate with one another as a means of maximizing their own personal utility. This translated into the removal of a major buffer against the reescalation of ethnic conflict, as fewer and fewer elites regarded a state of peace as being more beneficial to them personally than a state of violence. Some readers may wonder how damaging informal institutions implies an increase in the likelihood that ethnic violence will resurface. For one thing, many of the elites who were personally benefiting from the status quo before the Rose Revolution were political elites capable of mobilizing ethnic support for themselves using ethnic rhetoric. The leaders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia both began to use nationalist ethnic rhetoric more frequently, and Saakashvilli, out of fear for his legitimacy, retaliated in kind.43 In the 1990s Balkans, it was specifically this kind of Milosevic-like ethno-nationalist rhetoric that contributed to the destabilization of Yugoslavia and the rise of ethnic violence.44 The same kind of scenario was replicated in Georgia after the Rose Revolution, albeit on a smaller scale. After the Rose Revolution reports of low-level clashes between Georgians and Abkhaz became steadily more frequent, and even more so between Georgians and South Ossetians. All this contributed to the beginning of an international crisis, which in August 2008 burst into full scale war when in the middle of the night on August 7/8 Saakashvilli ordered Georgia’s armed forces to invade South Ossetia. The war, of course, cannot be entirely explained by this model, but the rise in ethnic violence certainly contributed to the probability of it happening. This is what was implied when the author expressed that the model presented in this paper does not seek to compete with, but rather complement system-level explanations. The role of the International Community in Georgia’s Statebuilding Stewart argues that in seeing the eagerness of Georgia’s new leader and due to the nature of his academic and professional backgrounds, Western countries were eager to support him without fully considering the side effects that their support may create.45 ����������������������������������������������������� George, The Politics of Ethnic Separatism, 173-175. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Stephen Saideman, “International Relations of Ethnic Conflict,” (lecture, McGill University, Montreal, Fall 2010). ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Susan Steward, “The interplay of domestic contexts and external democracy promotion: lessons from Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus,” Democratization 16, no 4 (2009): 809.
Between the events of the Rose Revolution in November 2003 and the presidential elections of January 2004 when he became president, Saakashvili put out calls for assistance to the Organization for Security and Cooperation of Europe (OSCE). At a donor’s meeting held in the Netherlands, 6 million Euros were pledged to assist Georgia. The OSCE’s support, however, was not limited to money. In 2004, during Bulgaria’s Chairmanship of the OSCE, support for democratization in Georgia was declared a priority of the OSCE’s, which gave Saakashvilli’s statebuilding efforts enormous political clout and legitimacy within Georgia. The IMF also pledged financial support for Georgia’s efforts, in the amount of $750 million.46 It is the United States, however, that has been by far the strongest supporter of Georgia’s statebuilding efforts. It provided almost $1.7 billion to Georgia in aid from the late 1990s to 2008, specifically designed to facilitate statebuilding efforts.47 The vast majority of this financing poured into Georgia after the Rose Revolution. According to the official US Department of State Website:48 Assistance Goals: United States Government (USG) assistance promotes consolidation and advancement of the democratic reforms undertaken since the November 2003 Rose Revolution [and] assists Georgia’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic community through the implementation of free-market reforms.
And among the priorities of this program is to: •
• • • •
Reform, train and equip the Georgian military to meet NATO standards and to support contributions to international peacekeeping and security operations; Improve the capacity of the Georgian Border Police and Custom Service to fight smuggling, increase revenue and improve border control; Increase the skills of the Georgian judicial and law enforcement officials; Enhance forensic capabilities to meet international standards; Improve executive, parliamentary and local government capacity, transparency, accountability and citizen outreach, as well as institutional checks and balances; Strengthen the rule of law by improving judicial independence, legal profession reform, judicial and legal education, and the criminal procedure code, and by supporting the implementation of jury trials; Bolster political party competitiveness and promote free and fair
��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Pamela Jawad, “Conflict Resolution through Democracy Promotion? The Role of the OSCE in Georgia,” Democratization 15, no 3 (2008): 620. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Steven Lee Myers, “Bush proposes $1 billion in assistance to Georgia,” September 4 2008. http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080904/news_1n4georgia.html ���������������������������������������������� http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/fs/140638.htm
elections; Strengthen civil society, independent media and civic education
During a conference held at McGill University, former US ambassador to Georgia Kenneth Yalowitz insisted that it was primarily this US assistance that enabled Saakashvilli to implement his statebuilding plans.49 To summarize, international assistance aimed at strengthening Saakashvilli’s campaigns was crucial in the destruction of critical informal institutions that had a mitigating effect on ethnic violence. Without international assistance Georgia’s postRevolution reforms would not have occurred as rapidly as they did or on the scale that they were on. The US and its European allies, by contributing their financial and political support unintentionally made it more likely that ethnic violence will resurge.
Caveats At first glance, there seems to be a number of weaknesses with the model presented on page 2. Some of those shall be addressed here. Critics may point out that Georgia was receiving some statebuilding funding from the international community even prior to 2003. While that may be true, the Georgian leadership’s overtures and various allusions regarding its intentions to statebuild were not credible. Georgia’s head of state from 1994 to 2003, Shevardnadze, was unwilling to take the necessary steps that accompanied the process of statebuilding ,50 most likely because he or his allies were complicit in many of the informal institutions that would have been targeted by reform. And, as the model suggests, internal statebuilding efforts must be credible before external support plays a role. Credibility was lacking prior to the Rose Revolution but abundant right after it. With that in mind, it must be pointed out that some of the author’s colleagues have suggested making international support for statebuilding an independent variable in the model. The problem with that is that international support for statebuilding efforts alone cannot account for the destruction of informal institutions, it simply strengthens the causality between the independent variable and the dependent variable. Another issue may be the generalizability of this model. The reader may have qualms with the presentation of only one case study in this paper. This was done for brevity’s sake. The case of Georgia was used specifically because it involved not one but two ethnic conflicts. The conclusions drawn from the model can, however, be applied to other regions with similar conditions. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Kenneth Yalowitz, “Russia and Georgia: Why such a Difficult and Dangerous Relationship?” (conference, McGill University, Montreal, March 25, 2010). ������������������������� Jawad, “Conflict,” 620.
For example, in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq ethnic stability was fragile. Evidence suggests that his use of oil money and patronage networks to co-opt traditional leaders of ethnic groups were just as important as his brutal use of repression in maintaining ethnic stability in the country.51 Following the US invasion in 2003, statebuilding efforts (in this case supported entirely by external actors) broke many of those patronage ties. This most likely contributed to the rise in inter-ethnic violence that ensued. Conclusion and Outlook The model that was developed for this paper is obviously not foolproof. However, the explanatory power afforded by it is potentially too important to ignore. In areas where ethnic conflict exists, and where inter-ethnic cooperation through informal institutions plays a big role in mitigating ethnic violence, statebuilding measures can lead to an increase in the probability of ethnic violence occurring by destroying the aforementioned informal institutions. International support for these statebuilding efforts may, by bolstering these efforts, have the unintended negative effect of increasing the likelihood of ethnic violence breaking out. The Western community continues to struggle with defining the ideal ‘modern state’ and designing programmes to achieve this state. While critical approaches have significantly contributed to understanding international practices of statebuilding, less attention has been given to understanding the effects of assisting statebuilding initiatives in countries that have unresolved ethnic strife and in which informal institutions play an important role. If the international community wishes to maximize the positive impact of supporting various governments in their statebuilding efforts, the specific context of each target state must be considered more carefully in order to minimize the negative effects. Bibliography Birch, Julian. “Ossetiya—land of uncertain frontiers and manipulative elites.” Central Asian Survey 18, no. 4 (1999): 501 - 534. Birch, Julian. “The Georgian/South Ossetian Territorial and Boundary Dispute,” in Transcaucasian Boundaries, edited by John. F. R. Wright, Suzanna Goldenberg and Richard Schofield, 151-189. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996. Chirikba, Vjacheslav. “The Origin of the Abkhazian People,” in The Abkhazians: A Handbook. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. ����������������������������������������������� George, The Politics of Ethnic Separatism, 7.
Closson, Stacy. “Networks of Profit in Georgia’s Autonomous Regions: Challenges to Statebuilding.” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 4, no. 2 (2010): 179-204. Eisenstadt, S. N. and Louis Roniger. “Patron--Client Relations as a Model of Structuring Social Exchange.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 22, no. 1 (1980): 42-77. Gahrton, Per. Georgia: Pawn in the New Great Game. New York: Pluto Press. 2010. George, Julie. The Politics of Ethnic Separatism in Russia and Georgia. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2009. Helme, Gretchen and Steven Letivsky. “Informal Institutions and Comparative Politics: A Research Agenda.” Perspectives on Politics 2, no. 4 (2004): 725-740. Jawad, Pamela. “Conflict Resolution through Democracy Promotion? The Role of the OSCE in Georgia.” Democratization 15, no. 3 (2008): 611-629. Kaufman, Stuart. Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 2001. King, Charles. The Benefits of Ethnic War: Understanding Eurasia’s Unrecognized States.” World Politics 53, no. 4 (2001): 545-525. Kukhianidze, Alexandre. “Corruption and Organized Crime in Georgia before and after the Rose Revolution.” Central Asian Survey 28, no. 2 (2009): 215-234. Kupatadze, Alexander. “Radiological Smuggling and Uncontrolled Territories: The Case Of Georgia.” Global Crime 8, no. 1 (2007): 40-57. Lake, David. “The Practice and Theory of US Statebuilding.” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 4, no. 3 (2010): 257-284. Myers, Steven Lee. September 4 2008. http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080904/ news_1n4georgia.html Niedermaier, Ana. Countdown to war in Georgia : Russia’s foreign policy and media coverage of the conflict in south Ossetia and Abkhazia. Minneapolis: East View Press, 2008. Saideman, Stephen. Fall 2010 Lecture. Montreal: McGill University. Stewart, Susan. “The interplay of domestic contexts and external democracy promotion: lessons from Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus.” Democratization 16, no. 4 (2009): 804-824. Transparency International.http://www.transparency.org/ United States Department of State. Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: Georgia http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/fs/140638.htm Yalowitz, Kenneth. “Russia and Georgia: Why Such a Difficult and Dangerous Relationship?” Conference hosted by McGill University. March 25, 2010.
The McGill Journal of Political Studies is published by the Political Science Studentsâ€™ Association in collaboration with the Arts Undergraduate Society. Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of McGill University.
Published on May 2, 2011