Return to part I of this paper.
The new states generated by the collapse of all the modern empires are vulnerable to many unsettling and often tragic consequences. Among them, revolts and civil strife motivated by ethnic nationalism may be the most conspicuous but it is not the only one. In passing, we need to recognize the other important forms, all of which are equally modern in character -- some are beneficial ortho-modern movements but many, I fear, are stridently para- modern.
Reforms. One response to the para-modern consequences of democratization that is largely ortho-modern in its consequences involves positive and gradualistic efforts to work within a constitutional system to achieve reforms. Such reforms may include policies designed to transform subjects into citizens, by incremental means -- civil rights, feminist, and affirmative action programs in in many countries, often in concert with international (regional and global) organizations, both governmental and non- governmental, are examples.
Such reform movements, by extending the range of representativeness of regimes, bringing many minorities, including women and ethnic communities, into the power structure, empowerbenign circles which lead, in turn, to improvements in the conditions under which all citizens of a country live. They need to consider constitutional as well as policy reforms -- better rules for making decisions are also needed so that the representative and administrative organs of governance can respond more effectively to the needs of citizens. More reflections on this theme can be found in Riggs, 1997a)
Corruption. Unfortunately, under anarchic conditions, and taking advantage of the para-modern resources created by industrialization (as mentioned above) criminal gangs or syndicates emerge. Their members seek to enrich themselves by stealing and by killing people, by bribing officials to avoid punishment and even to procuring state support for their illegal activities. We may refer to all such projects to undermine society and the state to gain support for alienated groups under the heading of corruption. Of course, vicious circles result -- a state's ability to represent and serve its citizens is undermined by corruption, thereby intensifying the spread of anger and the proliferation of illegal activities, including crimes by isolated individuals as well as those managed by well-organized "syndicates".
Gangsters reflect the economic and materialistic goals fostered by industrialization. They seek to enrich themselves illegal means and criminal violence. Rather than rely on legal and constitutional means, they rely on corruption and terrorism to secure the complaisance of government officials and intimidate those in power. They seek wealth by the most direct means within the political structures of the status quo.
Revolutions. A third response involves the rise of revolutionary movements. Although such movements may reflect the ideological influence of Marxist intellectuals, they are driven by domestic discontents which may take the classic form of a "proletarian" uprising, generated by the angers of industrial workers, many of whom were urbanized farmers. As Mao Tse Tung proved in the Chinese case, however, angry peasants can also fuel a revolutionary movement, especially after industrialization has led to widespread marketization and rising pressure from land-owners to compel their tenants to produce cash crops for the world market, replacing the traditional subsistence farming that prevailed in pre-industrial societies.
Fascist movements can also manifest the anger of distressed communities outraged by para-modern phenomena including the erosion of their own economic, social and cultural privileges as a result of industrialization and democratization, especially when previously marginalized subject populations are granted citizenship status and rights. Revolutionary movements seek to destroy and replace existing regimes, often on the basis of demands that subject populations replace the citizens of a state.
Organizationally, revolutionary movements tend to be dominated by well organized groups who have learned how to take full advantage of all the para- modern fruits of industrialism listed above. When such movements succeed, the usual result is the creation of a single-party dictatorship in which, despite lip-service to democratic values based on a claim that all the people are represented, in fact, most citizens become subjects under the domination of a small ruling circle able to use the mechanisms of power that were elaborated in the Soviet Union, after 1917, and subsequently in Italy and Germany under fascist dictatorships. Revolutionary movements are clearly para- modern consequences of industrialism, democratization and nationalism (despite lip- service in some cases to cosmopolitanism).
Neo-Traditionalism. Although, on the surface, contemporary neo- traditionalist ("fundamentalist") movements seek to restore pre-modern conditions, I believe that, in fact, they are a fourth type of para-modern movement. We should distinguish, I think, between truly traditional communities -- the Amish are an example -- and neo- traditionalism in which all the available modern technologies (especially for mass communication and organization) are fully employed. Sometimes modern weapons are also used to terrorize opponents. Thus industrialism has provided the tools for neo- traditionalism while, at the same time, it has created a symbolic enemy to be attacked as viciously satanic.
Although supernatural authority is emphasized by neo- traditionalists, they do not try to revive the monarchic institution. Instead, neo-traditionalists accept democratic equalitarianism by promising salvation to all those who accept the claims of divine authority made by mediators who promise salvation, peace and prosperity to all "true" believers, offering equal rights as citizens of a new heaven on earth. Non-believers, however, will become subjects vulnerable to severe repression. Thus the distinction between citizens and subjects found in most democracies is also replicated.
Neo-traditionalists who control a regime also act like state nationalists in their drive to convert all of their subjects into citizen believers. When they are not in power, however, they are likely to behave like revolutionaries, seeking to overthrow and replace authoritarian regimes. However, in democracies, they may rely mainly on non-violent means to organize and capture power, but they clear intend, if they succeed, to suppress all opposition.
Neo-traditionalist and secular revolutionary movements resemble each other in their state-transforming rhetoric. In the name of moral absolutism and robust ideologies, they seek to replace existing state elites and transform society, making use of all the modern means of control and social identity that industrialism, nationalism, and democracy have created.
Sovereignty Movements. A fifth type of para-modernity takes the form of ethnic nationalism, as explained above. Increasingly, in the modern world, the aftermath of imperial conquests, including the migration of peoples, especially refugees, have driven sovereignty or self-determination movements designed to secure independence or autonomy for ethnic nations. These movements differ significantly from the four patterns of para-modernity described above. Instead of seeking reform according to constitutionally- prescribed rules, revolutionary movements against a regime or the corruption of those who hold power, ethnic nationalism calls for the partition of states, the rearrangement of boundaries, or the autonomy of ethnic communities.
Because ethno-political movements play such a conspicuous and dangerous role in the context of para-modernity, I shall devote the rest of this paper to some further comments about them. First, because these movements often involve boundary changes and cross- boundary migrations, they affect existing states and have international repercussions. I shall, therefore, take a look at the inter-state context within which the intra-state symptoms of para- modernity (especially ethnic nationalism) occur. Second, the beneficial (ortho-modern) consequences of modernity also need to be considered, especially in order to ask whether or not they can provide solutions for some of the terrible problems of para-modernity. In the context of circular causation, if positive aspects of modernity have negative consequences, may it not also be true that the adverse consequences can generate responses which enhance the beneficial potentials within modernity.
So long as local conflicts do not jeopardize existing borders, the outside world tends to ignore them, claiming that rules against intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states bars external interference. If ethnic nationalism only involved peoples who live within their own territorial domains, it might be possible to ignore domestic conflicts. However, in an increasingly interdependent world, what happens in any place can have consequences in many other places. Moreover, concerned citizens in all countries feel bonds of human solidarity that lead them to support humanitarian projects and to protest against injustices and oppression wherever it may arise. However, there are several specific reasons why ethnonational conflicts often provoke global concern and action. They are likely to involve migrations and boundary changes.
Refugees. Increasingly genocide ("ethnic cleansing") and revolts produce refugees fleeing across inter-state borders. The citizens of Rwanda and Burundi who fled to Zaire, Uganda, and other African countries provide a vivid contemporary example. Others fled zones of conflict in Bosnia, Sudan, Uganda, Burma, Vietnam, Nigeria, Palestine, and many other countries. The flow of refugees creates many problems in the host countries to which they flee: whether they are housed in temporary encampments or given asylum as immigrants, the problems generated by refugees are global in their impact. Violence, economic and humanitarian concerns, and political disputes often follow.
An overlapping problem generated by migrations may be viewed under the rubric of diasporas. Members of any ethnic nation who live outside their homeland may be referred to as a "diaspora," borrowing a word used originally to speak of the Jewish dispersal. Chechens living in Moscow as well as Palestinians, and Armenians, Chinese, Tibetans, or Sikhs, living in many countries, are examples of different diasporas. Although members of a diaspora often migrate for personal and economic reasons, they often move to escape persecution and the violence of inter-ethnic conflicts. Most members of a diaspora are grateful for the refuge and safe haven provided by host countries and and they often choose to become naturalized citizens.
However, many diaspora people also retain ties to their homeland and participate in its political life and struggles. Indeed, there are many cases where their activism may be more significant than that of ethnonationals living at home. I refer to the whole system of ethnonationals plus fellow- ethnics living in diaspora as an ethnicnation. Although ethnonationalism typically provides the most visible and violent evidence of ethnic conflicts in the world today, diaspora mobilization augments them by supporting the flow of information, arms, and leadership for ethnonational movements. Moreover, citizens in diaspora often influence the foreign policy of the states intervene in these disputes. At many levels, therefore, migrations, especially by refugees, have global effects that lead to external interventions in the domestic politics of states.
Boundary Changes. The likelihood that ethnic nationalism will generate demands for boundary changes has already been mentioned, and I have mentioned the likelihood that they will lead to international reactions -- contemporary situations in Bosnia, Somalia, and Rwanda provide good examples. To the degree that civil wars based on ethnonational revolts do not threaten existing interstate boundaries, the outside world is likely to refrain from intervention -- Burma and the Sudan provide good examples.
Even movements to unify divided nations are largely ignored so long as their potential supporters remain internally divided and cannot mobilize much support across existing boundaries: the pan Kurdish, Pushtun, Basque, and Azerbaijan movements probably fall into this category. Although non- governmental organizations have vigorously protested Jakarta's policy toward the people of Timor, and the UN General Assembly has condemned Indonesia, the outside world has not intervened in any forceful way. Moreover, so long as ethnonational movements are conducted nonviolently, especially within the more democratic countries, there is no reason to expect international intervention to occur.
Clearly in the post-imperial age, there is no reason to expect a revival of external interventions inspired by goals of conquest. As Robert Jackson has pointed out, the modern international system maintains a solid front to maintain the de jure status of what he callsquasi-states even when, de facto, they lack the effective institutions and infrastructure of a viable modern states (Jackson, 1990). It seems predictable, therefore, that although violence, terrorism and civil wars will escalate in response to the growing pressures of ethnonational movements to achieve sovereignty or reunification, many such movements will be non-violent, and even violent domestic conflicts may not provoke international intervention except, perhaps, to provide humanitarian relief.
Indigenous Peoples. Although the most visible and violent confrontations arising from the para-modern phenomenon of imperialism can be found in the former overseas possessions of the modern empires, increasingly we can now also see parallel movements by indigenous peoples in many of the countries that were colonized by Europeans as a forerunner of the industrial revolution and the rise of modern empires. Their movements designed to promote autonomy or independence under the mantle of self- determination and compensation for past injustices need to be seen as part of the general phenomenon of para-modernity discussed above.
The rise of liberation movements in the overseas possessions of modern empires came first for a variety of reasons, but the mobilization of a new generation of political activists within the communities that were conquered and settled by Europeans is an inescapable part of the same process. Among the reasons for the long delay is the fact that the conquered peoples overseas were a vast majority of the population, whereas the indigenous peoples are typically a minority among the settlers who have occupied their former lands. In order to understand these movements, however, we need to recognize that they belong to the same long-term para- modern phenomena that have already led to the liberation of new states that were outside the imperial metropoles.
Moreover, it is important to emphasize that the mobilization of indigenous peoples normally leads to non-violent protests and political action. Because the countries where the indigenous peoples live are, for the most part, industrialized democracies, solutions to their problems can usually be found by means of some kind of autonomy, the creation of a state within a state or a nation within a nation. Moreover, even when they do have a territorial domain that can be recognized and bounded as a "reservation" or a "homeland," a large proportion of the members of these nations have dispersed and are living as citizens outside their own territories.
The discussion that follows will focus on this problem and provides a background for looking at the current concerns expressed by Hawaiians as an "indigenous people" seeking justice by various means and through diverse channels. By viewing the Hawaiian case as a prototype for many similar communities elsewhere in the world, and thinking about the mechanisms of world order that might well be activated to facilitate the solution of these problems, we can move toward a way of thinking about the linkages between local ethnonational concerns and the global system within which such concerns need to be resolved.
The basic problem now facing the world, as I see it, is how to make use of the great achievements of ortho-modernity in order to overcome their para- modern consequences. This question can be reduced to a problem of human security. Industrialism has produced overpopulation, environmental devastation, and poverty in the midst of plenty. Democratization has replaced monarchic authoritarianism with representative government, but also marginalized millions of people as secularized subjects of regimes that are both weak and authoritarian. Nationalism has empowered state nations, enabling them to become both industrialized and democratic, but it has also mobilized a host of stateless ethnic nations that are prone to violence in quasi-states where weak authoritarian regimes prevail.
These problems are global and deeply rooted in modernity. To find solutions we must be able to consider options at all levels, from the global to the local, including the role played by states at intervening regional levels. No doubt states are withering, they are losing functions and authority both upward and downward -- to global organizations, both governmental and non- governmental, and to local communities, groups and sub-governmental authorities. We need to pay attention at all of these levels -- local, regional, and global. The most strategic starting point, I believe, is the intermediate level of states -- this is also the most tangible and familiar level.
I believe that democratic states are more capable of dealing with para- modern problems than authoritarian states (whether they be traditional monarchies, single-party dictatorships, or weak quasi-states with large areas of anarchy). Among the democratic states, those that are oligarchic in character will be less capable than more fully democratic states -- at the structural level, parliamentary regimes are much more likely, in my opinion, than presidentialist regimes to be able to cope with these problems -- in part this is because a presidentialist regime can survive only if it is rather oligarchic in character, as is the United States -- my reasons for reaching this conclusion are spelled out in Riggs (1996b and 1997a).
Vertical Devolution. A significant contemporary trend that may well ameliorate many para-modern problems can be linked with radical transformation in the functions of states. The phrase "withering of the state" has negative connotations but it correctly points to an increasingly dynamic movement to surrender state authority both upwards and downwards, to global and local entities. I think of both together as vertical devolution. Surely, states will not disappear: They will continue to perform important functions and remain a stabilizing intermediate force in our increasingly interdependent world system. However, their capacity to abuse power or fail to accomplish necessary tasks can be corrected by appropriate work performed at both higher and lower levels of governance.
The European Union is a good example of upward devolution, but many parallels can be found, especially where specialized authorities have taken over important state functions --including efforts to ameliorate the disasters involved in refugee migrations, the protection of minorities, the regulation of commerce, communications, and transportation, etc. Multi-national corporations can useful perform many functions once performed by states, but their capacity to abuse power is also tremendous and global institutions designed to regulate and control the MNCs are also absolutely necessary. In parallel with the corporations spawned for the rise of industrialism, all kinds of non-governmental international associations are also needed to perform watchdog, humanitarian, scholarly, and aesthetic tasks -- they can well replace government in these respects, especially if appropriate means can be found to finance their activities. They need support structures that do not depend on the profit motive or contributions by states.
Downward devolution is well illustrated by the federal structures of authority pioneered by the United States when it created a constitution that recognized the sovereignty of its thirteen founding members. Recent events in Washington have reinforced a federalizing movement to devolve more and more authority from the central authorities to the 50 states which now constitute this union. However, a serious limitation constrains the federal principle -- all of the constituent states in the U.S.A. are, in principle, culturally homogeneous, accepting the same basic national identity.
Some important exceptions do exist, however, as exemplified by the commonwealth status of Puerto Rico and the Northern Marianas, where administrative autonomy and self-government prevail, and the effective autonomy of many native American nations as manifested in self-governing reservations . In Guam, self-government actually exists and formal commonwealth status is under consideration, but in American Samoa, although self-government prevails, the move toward commonwealth status has been blocked by opponents who fear that it would undermine traditional land tenure and chiefly rights. Constitutionally, full recognition of political and cultural autonomy requires something more than federal devolution of power --
I think of such as status as that of an addominium in which autonomous jurisdictions are not subject to the authority of elected assemblies in which they are constitutionally represented. The status of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands in relation to the United Kingdom may be viewed as an example of what I have in mind. For reasons elaborated elsewhere, I think addominiums are more like to arise in parliamentary than presidentialist regimes (Riggs, 1997a) An important initiative taken by Lichtenstein in the United Nations calls for more formal support and recognition of administrative autonomy as a status, short of full independence, that would permit states like Chechnya to accept self-rule while remaining part of the Russian Federation. Of course, de facto, all kinds of self-governing entities within a modern state can be established outside the formal structures of governance. The literature on civil society celebrates such possibilities by calling attention to the many ways in which non- governmental organizations (including corporations, associations, churches, clubs, and sodalities of many kinds) can arise between the nuclear family and the state to take over a wide variety of social functions.
Actually, I think, a quasi-official kind of personal sovereignty is also possible -- and it may well be illustrated by the "corporations" organized by indigenous nations in Alaska. The model they follow is not that of a territorial state but rather that of a private corporation. All members of an ethnic nation have the right to elect its governing boards and control the properties and activities it sponsors even though there is no territorial boundary to separate its members from non-members. Communities now seeking sovereignty in the U.S. -- like Hawaiians in Hawaii -- might do well to look at these Alaskan Indian corporations to develop some useful ideas about how their own needs can be met within the framework of the American state.
Increasingly, the ability of states to oppress their subjects and represent their citizens effectively can, I think, be enhanced by both the upward and downward devolution of state powers. By this means many of the effective negative effects of para-modernity can, I hope, be ameliorated by the gradual emergence of a new phase of late- modernity in which its most dangerous and destructive side-effects can be counteracted.
Social Science Research. A great deal of research is urgently needed to test the hypotheses offered above and to find appropriate solutions. If we consider the social sciences as a modern tool available to help us understand problems and find solutions for them, then we should be able to view the social sciences as part of our ortho-modern resources. Unfortunately, however, the tendency toward specialization which underlies much of modernity, especially in the processes of industrialization, has seriously handicapped us in our quest for solutions to concrete problems in the real world. Modernity itself has social, economic, political, psychological, cultural, historical and geographic aspects that, as I have tried to show above, are part of a seamless web. Insofar as we try to analyze and solve these problems separately -- e.g., economics for industrialization, politics for democratization, and social/cultural perspectives for nationalism -- we are sure to fail. Only by pulling together the insights and methods of all the social sciences can we ultimately succeed in finding better solutions -- at least, that is my belief.
We are only, I think, at the beginning of a long-term process -- the depth and connectedness of all the para-modern problems is just beginning to attract the attention of scholars, politicians, and community leaders. If we can link the efforts of the best minds modern scholarship has produced, with the common sense and good will of millions of ordinary people, perhaps we shall be able to forestall some of the most dangerous consequences of modernity and find a way to overcome them in the interest of growing security, peace and health for our global community.
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FRED W. RIGGS, Professor Emeritus
Political Science Department, University of Hawaii,
2424 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, U.S.A.
Phone: (808) 956-8123 Fax: (808) 956-6877
Web Page: http://www2.hawaii.edu/fredr/
Revised 11 February 1997
See linked pages:  MALODY I || abstract || Para-Modern Context