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Divergent Paths to Democracy: Radical and Moderate Political Activism during the Democracy Wall Movement, 1978-1981

  • Author(s): Chen, Qindian
  • Advisor(s): Wasserstrom, Jeffrey
  • et al.
Abstract

What was the decisive element for activists’ different individual choices during the Democracy Wall Movement? In other words, what were the primary factors for the Democracy Wall activists adopting either a moderate or radical position? This work employs the studies of factionalism of the Red Guard Movement to investigate the divisions among the Democracy Wall activists. Through analyzing the intentions of activists’ inner- and inter-organizational divergences, across three different phases, mobilization, divergence, and two parallel movements, this thesis argues that political access to educational and career opportunities was the decisive factor for activists’ inter-organizational divergences, which determined whether an activist adopted either a moderate or radical position on a macro-scale. Furthermore, access to higher political status within different organizations was the primary factor for their inner-organizational divergences, which determined whether an activist adopted either a moderate or radical position on a micro-scale.

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