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Democracy and Popular Struggles

Public demonstration of mass support

  • The struggle in Nepal was to establish democracy
  • The struggle in Bolivia involved claims on an elected, democratic government.
  • While the popular struggle in Bolivia was for one specific policy, the struggle in Nepal was about the foundations of the country's politics.
  • The impact of both these struggles was at different levels, though they were successful.

There were quite a few things common in both these struggles.

  • Both these instances of political conflict led to popular struggles.
  • Mass mobilisation was involved in both the struggles.
  • The dispute was clinched by the public demonstration of mass support.
  • A critical role was played by the political organisations.

The conclusions we draw from these examples

  • Democracy is evolved through popular struggles.
  • It is possible that without any conflict some significant decisions may take place. But that would be an exception.
  • Those groups who have exercised power and those who aspire for a share in power are usually the ones who are involved in the conflict.
  • When the country is going through transition to democracy, expansion of democracy or deepening of democracy, these moments appear.
  • Mass mobilisation resolves democratic conflict.
  • The existing institutions like the parliament or the judiciary sometimes resolve the conflict.
  • The resolution has to come from outside, from the people, when there is a deep dispute, and when these institutions themselves get involved in the dispute.
  • New political organisations form the basis of these conflicts and mobilisations.

In all such historic moments, there is an element of spontaneity. Organised politics help the spontaneous public participation to become effective. The agencies of organised politics include political parties,pressure groups and movement groups.

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