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"This book will be invaluable to any doctoral students or researchers interested in the contentious area of political and conceptual study."—Matt McCullock, H-Net Review
— Matt McCullock
The means by which people protest—that is, their repertoires of contention—vary radically from one political regime to the next. Highly capable undemocratic regimes such as China's show no visible signs of popular social movements, yet produce many citizen protests against arbitrary, predatory government. Less effective and undemocratic governments like the Sudan’s, meanwhile, often experience regional insurgencies and even civil wars. In Regimes and Repertoires, Charles Tilly offers a fascinating and wide-ranging case-by-case study of various types of government and the equally various styles of protests they foster.
Using examples drawn from many areas—G8 summit and anti-globalization protests, Hindu activism in 1980s India, nineteenth-century English Chartists organizing on behalf of workers' rights, the revolutions of 1848, and civil wars in Angola, Chechnya, and Kosovo—Tilly masterfully shows that such episodes of contentious politics unfold like loosely scripted theater. Along the way, Tilly also brings forth powerful tools to sort out the reasons why certain political regimes vary and change, how the people living under them make claims on their government, and what connections can be drawn between regime change and the character of contentious politics.
"This book will be invaluable to any doctoral students or researchers interested in the contentious area of political and conceptual study."—Matt McCullock, H-Net Review
— Matt McCullock
Copyright © 2006 The University of Chicago
All right reserved.
What Are Regimes?
PERU, CENTER OF THE INCA EMPIRE, became a jewel of Spain's colonial domains during the sixteenth century. Its silver and gold eventually financed trade as far away as China. Despite its promising background, since Peru's independence in 1824 the country has had a troubled history. Regime succeeded regime and coup followed coup. One faction of military men or another usually ran the country, often with the backing of foreign capitalists. Then, in the late twentieth century, halting democratization began.
It began, however, with a nondemocratic blow. Coming to power by yet another coup in 1968, the regime of General Juan Velasco Alvarado adopted its own variant of the Latin American populist model: it tolerated the formation of labor unions and granted land titles to squatter settlements in an effort to contain them both. Those concessions, however, solidified the opposition and opened the way to precarious democratization (Collier 1999, 115-19; Mason 2004, chap. 9). After two more regime turnovers, in 1980 a sustained period of formally democratic rule began. Even then, intense struggles continued among civilian officials, military leaders, organized workers, indigenous peoples, the urban poor, and organizedrebels.
Democratic rule never reached much of the Peruvian countryside. By 1988, highland Peru bled with civil war. A Maoist guerrilla group called Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) posed the regime's greatest threat. In 1988, Sendero's leader Abimael Guzmán gave a Lima newspaper his first interview in ten years. While he remained silent about the recent capture and arrest of Osman Morote, his deputy and military commander, the venerable Annual Register reported:
[Guzmán] called for a new stage in the struggle. "Our process of the people's war has led us towards the apex," he claimed, adding: "We have to prepare for insurrection, which will be the taking of the cities." In May the discovery of five bodies in an unmarked grave confirmed the reported massacre by soldiers of 28 peasants in Cayará, but President Alan García, who had initially been critical of such excesses, indirectly defended the armed forces, who had been increasingly insistent that he should do so. (Annual Register 1988, 80-81)
At the same time, the rival Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement was battling the Peruvian army in the mountains. During 1989, Sendero Luminoso was organizing attacks and strikes in the Peruvian capital Lima, where García declared martial law (Burt 1997). Meanwhile, hyperinflation was racking the national economy.
Over the next fifteen years, a spectacular set of regime changes occurred in Peru. The country's struggles from 1989 to 2003 illustrate the questions that are the focus of this book: how do diverse forms of political contention-revolutions, strikes, wars, social movements, coups d'état, and others-interact with shifts from one kind of regime to another? To what extent, and how, do alterations of contentious politics and transformations of regimes cause one another? Does virulent violence, for example, necessarily accompany rapid regime transitions?
These questions loom behind current inquiries into democratization, with their debate between theorists who consider agreements among elites to provide necessary and sufficient conditions for democracy and those who insist that democracy only emerges from the interplay between ruling-class actions and popular struggle. They arise when political analysts ask whether (or under what conditions) social movements promote democracy, and whether stable democracy extinguishes or tames social movements. They appear from another angle in investigations of whether democracies tend to avoid war with one another. At least as context, they loom large in every historical account of popular politics.
The same sorts of questions recur in studies of industrial conflict, where one school of thought declares that strikes represent breakdowns in bargaining pursued more efficiently by other means, another school argues that strikes entail compromises of labor with capital and thereby integrate workers unwittingly into capitalism, while a third view treats strikes as rational, essential means of struggle in competitive capitalism but not elsewhere. They dog every analysis of revolution, which must consider whether certain kinds of contention regularly promote revolutions as well as whether revolutions regularly generate certain kinds of contention.
So far, we have no coherent theory of links between regime change and contentious politics. We have, that is, no widely accepted, logically connected, and empirically defensible account of how prevailing forms of popular struggle vary and change from one sort of political regime to another, much less why such variation and change occur. At least two obstacles bar the path to coherent theory: first, the relationship between regime change and contentious politics is complex, contingent, and variable; second, no codification of variation in regimes or in contentious politics has commanded wide assent.
Regimes and contentious politics clearly connect, but only contingently. Many a relation among political actors operates without open contention, as participants fulfill routine obligations, form coalitions, make deals, share members, and pay each other off. On the other side, contentious politics need not center on governmental agents or major political actors; many strikes, for example, pit workers against employers while enlisting police or officials chiefly as monitors and boundary-setters. Here I seek not to explain all facets of regimes or every aspect of contentious politics. The focus instead is on the zone of their mutual influence.
In order to connect these complex phenomena to each other, furthermore, we must work very selectively. We must concentrate on a few significant variations and causal connections. In meeting this challenge, we have deplorably little systematic analysis to build on. Analysts commonly recognize the concentration of social movements (narrowly defined) in parliamentary democracies, the vulnerability of weakened despotic regimes to revolution, and the greater frequency of coups d'état where military forces exercise great autonomy. Discussions of regimes also retail a miscellany of near-tautologies such as the prevalence of strikes under industrial capitalism or the concentration of peasant revolts in large-landlord systems. But we have no well-established general mapping of variation in the forms and dynamics of contentious politics across the multiple types of governmental regime.
Existing formulations, furthermore, suffer major weaknesses. They offer little insight into two-way interactions between contentious political processes and their social settings, especially into the processes by which contentious politics incited by certain sorts of regime (for example, authoritarian states) in turn transforms those regimes. Nor do they offer a plausible account of interpretation-for example, the interplay between understandings that pervade routine politics and those that inform contentious claims. Much less, then, do we have a dynamic causal account that explains interconnections between regimes and contention.
This book proposes a dynamic causal account of regimes and political contention. Put starkly, its organizing questions run like this:
1. How do political regimes vary and change?
2. How do the means by which people living in various sorts of regimes make consequential collective claims on each other and on their governments-their contentious politics-vary and change?
3. What connections exist-in both directions-between regime change or variation and the character of contentious politics? How much and how do the two influence each other?
Superior answers to these three questions should help us identify the sorts of struggle that occurred in Peru from 1989 to 2003 not simply as expressions of Peru's uniqueness but as consequences of more general regularities in the interplay between regimes and contentious politics.
Back to Peru
Before surveying the analytical tools available for that formidable task, let us reconsider Peru. A closer look will identify some connections between Peruvian regime structures and contentious politics and thus help specify what we must explain. It will also underline the high stakes of our inquiry.
After a decade of relatively democratic civilian government threatened by mounting civil war, Alan García's presidential term ended in 1990. Voters sought change. Out of a large field of candidates emerged two who survived to the runoff: novelist Mario Vargas Llosa and mathematician Alberto Fujimori, rector of Peru's National Agrarian University. Internationally famous Vargas Llosa aligned with the Peruvian elite, while Fujimori identified himself with the masses; his immigrant parents, after all, had been school caretakers. Fujimori opposed Vargas Llosa's free-market program and pledged to resist International Monetary Fund demands for belt-tightening.
In his autobiographical Fish in the Water, Vargas Llosa describes his amazement at the late surge in support for Fujimori, and his deep suspicion that García's forces had secretly shifted their support to Fujimori in order to forestall the disaster of a Vargas Llosa victory and the political housecleaning it would produce. Still, up to two weeks before the election he remained confident:
I thought, however, that the vote for Fujimori-the vote meant to castigate us-couldn't possibly amount to more than 10 percent or so of the electorate, the most uninformed and uncultured voters. Who else would vote for an unknown, without a team for governing, without any political credentials whatsoever, who had hardly campaigned outside of Lima, who had been jury-rigged overnight to serve as a candidate? No matter what the opinion polls said, it never entered my head that a candidacy so devoid of ideas and with no planning staff could carry weight in the face of the monumental effort we had put in over a period of almost three years of work. (Vargas Llosa 1994, 459)
But Fujimori received 24 percent of the popular vote, second only to Vargas Llosa's 29 percent, both far short of the 50 percent required for a first-round victory. In the runoff, after a grueling campaign, Fujimori was elected by a margin of 57 to 34 percent. The "most uninformed and uncultured voters" had spoken. Despite Fujimori's populist campaign promises, however, once in office he began abolishing governmental subsidies, privatizing public services, and promoting international trade. He also made another move, little noticed at the time, that marked the rest of his tenure as president: he recruited Vladimiro Montesinos as security advisor.
The appointment was no venial incident. Vladimiro Ilyich Montesinos Torres, born to a left-leaning Arequipa family in 1946, owed his name to his parents' admiration for V. I. Lenin. The prodigal son would move away definitively from his communist elders. After military training in Panama and Peru, he entered the Peruvian army as an artillery lieutenant, rapidly becoming personal adjutant to General Mercado Jarrin. When Jarrin became prime minister and commander of the armed forces in 1973, the twenty-seven-year-old Montesinos began his personal collection of compromising information about military officers and political figures. He also launched a career of semi-legal and illegal activity.
In 1976, Montesinos forged a presidential signature, sent himself on a mission to the United States, passed himself off as an official representative of the Peruvian government, then advised the Rand Corporation and the CIA on Peruvian military capabilities. The army riposted sternly: it court-martialed Montesinos, gave him a dishonorable discharge, and sent him to jail for a year. He studied law in prison, bought himself a law degree and admission to the bar, then began legal practice in defense of accused tax evaders and drug dealers. But he also started working closely with the Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional (SIN), the government's domestic security agency.
During the 1990 election campaign, opponents accused Fujimori's wife of tax evasion on a real estate deal. Advised by the director of Peru's secret service, Fujimori took on Montesinos as his legal counselor; the tax evasion charge evaporated. (So, some observers say, did Fujimori's birth certificate, which established that he was born in Japan and was therefore ineligible for the presidency.) In fact if not in name, Montesinos became Fujimori's chief of intelligence. At the time, indeed, U.S. Army intelligence agents wrote a report about relations between the two titled Who is Controlling Whom? (National Security Archive 2000). Under Montesinos's guidance, Fujimori soon placed allies in the army's high command, suspended Congress and the courts, packed their successors with more compliant officials, stepped up clandestine action against leftist rebels and their sympathizers, but also-with U.S. support-managed an economic recovery.
By 2000, SIN was receiving 8 to 9 million dollars per month altogether from three sources inside Peru: its official budget, under the table transfers by government agencies, and payments from Montesinos's collaborators in arms deals or other illegal businesses (McMillan and Zoido 2004, 76). Montesinos reportedly also received massive chunks of money from the American CIA for his collaboration in the U.S. war on drugs. Meanwhile, he stashed millions of dollars in his own Swiss bank accounts. No one held him accountable for the huge amounts of cash he handled.
Fujimori and Montesinos engineered a previously forbidden second presidential term in 1995, defeating former UN secretary general Javier Pérez de Cuellar in what seems to have been a fair vote. True to populist tradition, Fujimori's modest origins continued to attract the urban poor and many rural people as well (Panfichi 1997). The elite, however, remained suspicious. Montesinos used a combination of threats and bribes to keep legislators, judges, newspapers, and television stations in line, secretly filming his payoffs as insurance. Fujimori ran an unprecedented third-term campaign in 2000. As the economy faltered, however, a strong opposition formed around Alejandro Toledo, another newcomer. Toledo had grown up in an Indian shantytown but had gone on to study economics in the United States. Both outside observers and domestic opponents declared the vote fraudulent, but Fujimori had himself certified as the winner.
Fujimori hung on until September 2000, when a dissident television station-one of the few not paid off by Montesinos-intervened. Taking a leaf from her master's playbook, Montesinos's bookkeeper and mistress had removed a tape from his collection for her own use. She gave it to opposition politicians, who brought it to the television station. The video showed a former opposition member of parliament accepting a bribe to change his vote. Montesinos fled to Panama with $15 million in "severance pay" from Fujimori, returned to precipitate a political crisis including an attempted army coup, then left for Venezuela. On a November trip to Southeast Asia, Fujimori detoured to Japan. He never returned to Peru.
In 2001, new elections brought Toledo to the presidency in a victory over Alan García. Soon after, Venezuelan and Peruvian agents seized Montesinos in Venezuela and took him back for trial in Peru. Two years later, Switzerland repatriated $77.5 million from bank accounts Montesinos had controlled. But Toledo discovered that Montesinos's institutional legacy lived on; in September 2003, Toledo fired the retired admiral he had appointed to head SIN when it came out that the spy agency had tapped Toledo's telephone and leaked the tape to a scandal-mongering television program.
As Montesinos came to trial, some seven hundred "Vladivideos" surfaced. Reviewing the evidence from videos and state documents, two Stanford economists (McMillan and Zoido 2004, 78-81) showed that payments (typically made in U.S. dollars) to cooperative individuals ran as follows:
Legislators and officials $10,000-50,000 per month
Judges $2,500-55,000 per month, graded by rank of court
Newpapers One-time payments or payments per issue or per (favorable) headline, from $1,000 apiece to a total of 1.5 million for one newspaper
TV channels $500,000-1,500,000 per month, plus one-time payments
Excerpted from Regimes and Repertoires by CHARLES TILLY Copyright © 2006 by The University of Chicago. Excerpted by permission.
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|1||What are regimes?||1|
|2||How regimes work||18|
|3||Repertoires of contention||30|
|4||Repertoires, meet regimes||60|
|5||Trajectories of change||90|