Forging Democracy from Below Insurgent Transitions in South Africa and El Salvador

The recent replacement of authoritarian rule by democracy in both South Africa and El Salvador poses a puzzle: why did the powerful, anti-democratic elites of these countries abandon death squads, apartheid, and the other tools of political repression and take a chance on democracy? Forging Democracy From Below shows how popular mobilization–in El Salvador an effective guerilla army supported by peasant collaboration and in South Africa a powerful alliance of labor unions and poor urban dwellers–forced the elite to the bargaining table, and why a durable settlement and democratic government were the result.

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