By Fahimul Quadir
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Additional info for Democracy and Civil Society in Asia: Volume 1: Globalization, Democracy and Civil Society in Asia (International Political Economy)
Community values have also been used to resist and overturn authoritarian regimes, often professing to be secular but possessing the supreme virtue of being capital friendly. The most striking example of such a revolt in recent memory is perhaps the Iranian revolution organized by Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers. But, of course, where communities do not have internal democracy or easy exit routes, they turn out to be oppressive to the people imprisoned in them (Alam 1999). The ideology of the Golkar Party in Indonesia was illustrative of this.
What applies to Mahathir’s Malaysia applies with redoubled force to Communist China. Until now, in spite of the fact that China has aggressively entered into the global markets for commodities, technology and capital, it has broken all records of growth. Moreover, ordinary people’s standards of living have improved in almost all areas despite a tremendous growth in regional inequality and a tendency for rural-urban differentials to widen again. Hence, the talk of violations of human rights in China until now has found only a faint echo among the majority of the Chinese people.
In Asia many countries have still to get rid of the domination of local military-feudal oligarchs supported by predatory transnational capital and its client governments in G-7 countries. The ﬁght for democracy in Asia, as in most other developing countries of the world, is thus to be waged both against the local ruling class and against the global controllers of ﬁnance and international economic policy. The introduction of formal or procedural democracy as such will not protect the substantive freedoms of the people if the local and international oligarchs can continue to practise elite pluralism, and marginalize the majority.
Democracy and Civil Society in Asia: Volume 1: Globalization, Democracy and Civil Society in Asia (International Political Economy) by Fahimul Quadir