Elite-Mass Relations in Communist Systems by Daniel N. Nelson

By Daniel N. Nelson

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40 To Lenin, there could be only 'centralization of direction and decentralization of responsibility' within the Party. 41 Local branches of national ministries are creatures of the central regime as well, much more than the stock phrase 'doublesubordination' suggests. Ostensibly responsible to local people's 22 Elite-Mass Relations in Communist Systems councils, the budgetary control of central ministries leads to their primacy in all but a few local economic enterprises. 42 People's councils and their standing commissions meet so rarely that any action other than submission to central decrees and policies is unthinkable.

At this point, then, I will turn to consider the conversion of local power accretion into policy influence and the problem represented by such a phenomenon for communist regimes. THE PROBLEM OF HORIZONTAL INTEGRATION 'Horizontal integration' is the process through which sub-national political institutions attempt to influence decisions of prime concern to them made at higher levels by mobilizing and organizing local resources. The integration of political institutions within subnational units is promoted by issues such as resource allocation, but it occurs independently from policy questions, as I will describe below.

Quite naturally, the projection of local influence is enhanced, and 28 Elite-Mass Relations in Communist Systems the likelihood of success far greater, when the center is confronted by prior local power accretion. My emphasis above on 'potential' is important because, as one might expect, horizontal integration is not necessarily fed by politicization in the local unit. While one effect of an increase in subjective political involvement is to promote sub-national integration, another no less plausible effect is the promotion of a local unit's 'dis-integration'.

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