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Armed Political Organizations: From Conflict to Integration, Benedetta Berti

Reviewed by Leonard Weinberg



The author of this clearly written analysis is interested in the strategic decisions some armed groups make to enter the world of above‐ground politics by developing political wings. By contrast to others concerned with these decisions Benedetta Berti asserts that the decision by violent organizations to enter party political life is rarely linear. Using the ballot box does not mean necessarily giving up the bomb. Rather, she believes, we are dealing with a dynamic process, one that is hardly irreversible. In fact, Berti develops a hybrid model, according to which the organizations may put down and pick up weapons as the need arises.

Further, the author identifies four factors, and their interactions, that determine the decisions of armed organizations to form political wings. First, the degree of institutionalization the organization develops. If the latter hopes to grow and remain relevant to its constituents or would‐be constituents, it will have an incentive to form a political wing. Second, such an organization will form a political wing when its resources and legitimacy are threatened by forces in its environment; in short, when the organization’s intent to grow is threat­ened by external forces. Third, there is also

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