From Protest to Parties: Party-Building and Democratization in Africa

Paperback | May 24, 2013

byAdrienne LeBas

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Why do strong opposition party organizations emerge in some democratizing countries, while those in others remain weak or quickly fragment on ethnic lines? From Protest to Parties provides an explanation for differences in opposition party strength in democratizing regimes in Africa thatremain far from democratic. The book argues that strong parties benefit from pre-existing mobilizing structures that transcend ethnic and other cleavages. These mobilizing structures are a legacy of authoritarian rule. Where authoritarian states relied on alliances with corporate actors, notablyorganized labor, they unintentionally armed their allies, providing them with structures and resources that could later be used to effectively challenge the state. Secondly, opposition parties are more likely to maintain their organizational cohesion and the commitment of activists when they usestrategies and appeals that escalate conflict and reorient social boundaries around the lines of partisan affiliation. Polarization forges stronger parties, but it also increases the likelihood of violence and authoritarian retrenchment.From Protest to Parties draws upon an in-depth analysis of three countries in Anglophone Africa: Zimbabwe, Zambia and Kenya. Though these countries share similar institutional frameworks, including electoral rules, opposition party development takes a different route in each. In addition toproviding a unique window into the politics of mobilization and protest in closed political regimes, the book sheds light on how the choices of political elites affect organizational development.

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Why do strong opposition party organizations emerge in some democratizing countries, while those in others remain weak or quickly fragment on ethnic lines? From Protest to Parties provides an explanation for differences in opposition party strength in democratizing regimes in Africa thatremain far from democratic. The book argues that ...

Adrienne LeBas is an Assistant Professor of Government at the School of Public Affairs at the American University in Washington, DC. She previously taught at Michigan State University and was a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Her current work examines popular responses to political violenc...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pagesPublished:May 24, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199673004

ISBN - 13:9780199673001

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsList of Tables and FiguresAcronymsPart I: Introduction1. Opposition Parties and Democratization in Africa2. The Sources of Opposition Party StrengthPart II: Historical Legacies3. Corporatism in Zimbabwe4. Labor Control Regimes in Zambia and KenyaPart III: The Organization of Protest5. Opposition and Collective Identity in Zimbabwe6. Weak Ties in Zambia and KenyaPart IV: The Formation of Parties7. Polarization and Party-Building in Zimbabwe8. Fragmented Parties in Zambia and KenyaConclusionsBibliography

Editorial Reviews

Review from previous edition: "LeBas shows how a highly contentious transition to democracy can help strengthen political parties but also tends to increase the possibility of political violence...The book's analysis of party competition is astute and rings true." --Foreign Affairs