Civil Society

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Snapshot,
John Delury

There is nothing inevitable about democratization China. But neither, as one former Obama administration official argued, is the students’ call for genuine democracy a mere “pipe dream.” For what history does record are long and hard-fought struggles between competing visions of political life and social order, and the students in Hong Kong have made themselves heard and their vision known.

Essay, JUL/AUG 2014
Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan

Revolts against authoritarian regimes don’t always succeed -- but they’re more likely to if they embrace civil resistance rather than violence. Over the last century, nonviolent campaigns have been twice as likely to succeed as violent ones and they increase the chances that toppling a dictatorship will lead to peace and democracy.

Snapshot,
Andrew J. Nathan

With each new generation of leaders since Tiananmen, outside observers and many Chinese have hoped for a period of liberalizing political reform. Instead, each successive head of state -- Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and now Xi Jinping -- has restricted freedom further. China will likely eventually democratize. But with every passing year, doing so gets more dangerous for the regime because the bottled-up social pressure has only increased. And so democratization is postponed again and again.

Snapshot,
Elin Bjarnegård and Erik Melander

For years, both red and yellow activists in Thailand have claimed that they want to strengthen democracy on behalf of the Thai people -- even if that means condoning police and military interference. But activists make up a tiny portion of the country’s population, and their preferences are radically different from each other and from those of the broader Thai population.

Snapshot,
Ricardo Soares De Oliveira

The countries of East Africa are in the early throes of an oil boom, with an unprecedented opportunity for economic development. Unless they avoid the mistakes of those before them, though, the region's governments could easily squander it.

Snapshot,
Johan Lagerkvist

Although China's leaders are intent on liberating the country's economy, they have outlined no such liberalization for China’s restless civil society. That approach may come back to haunt them.

Snapshot,
Ellen Mickiewicz

Moscow had hoped to use breathless coverage of the Olympics to ease domestic anxiety after a rough year of protests and economic malaise. Unfortunately, however, news out of Ukraine has overshadowed all else and, as Russians tune in, they are only feeling more insecure.

Letter From,
Cara Eckholm

As Estonia, Ukraine, and many others have learned, tearing down monuments linked to the old guard is only a start. Deciding what to put in its place is the harder challenge.

Snapshot,
Tarek Osman

In the coming weeks and years, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood will likely undergo a painful internal struggle between those who want to give in to victimhood and respond with violence and those who realize that it is time to move on. The result will almost certainly be the group's fragmentation.

Snapshot,
Erica Chenoweth

By deciding to hold mass sit-ins across Egypt, the pro-Morsi protesters were making use of a time-honored tactic of civil resistance. But tactics are the not the same as a strategy and, in this case, would not likely promote the very things that allow protests movements to succeed: diverse participation, the avoidance of repression, and the defection of regime loyalists.

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