Comparative Political Systems: Policy Performance and Social Change

By Charles F. Andrain | Go to book overview
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Mobilization Systems

Whereas reconciliation leaders have sought evolutionary reformist changes in society, political activists who head mobilization systems struggle to attain rapid, fundamental transformations of government and society. The fundamental principle of a mobilization system focuses on active mass involvement in political life. Ideologically, mobilizing leaders expect the masses to view events in political terms, that is, to concentrate on general, common concerns and to link their individual interests with the well-being of the whole society. Struggle for a public good--national independence, industrialization, mass literacy, a healthy society--becomes both an intrinsic end and a means to resolve private problems. Structurally, political organizations like a political party, army, guerrilla force, militia, and mass associations gain collective control over resources and actively use these resources to implement fundamental changes. Behaviorally, charismatic leaders--prophets, sages, warriors, party organizers--steer the nation toward the ideological goal of societal reconstruction. From a Platonic perspective, ideological purposes represent the telos (the potential ends) that leaders must translate into actuality. Through ideological exhortation, political organization, and heightened mass participation, mobilization leaders attempt to realize widespread changes.

For mobilization leaders, politics involves steering state and society toward ideological goals in a conflict-laden environment. Disdaining the peaceful reconciliation of group differences, mobilizers promote conflict and struggle. Instead of negotiating bargains, they exploit value conflicts. Polarization, not accommodation, becomes the dominant style in the mobilization policy process. Dedicated to an ideological cause, mobilization systems try to arouse the mass passion, faith, and emotion needed to defeat political enemies. Military struggles pervade political life as a mobilization movement campaigns for national independence from a colonial power, for victory in a revolutionary civil war, and for success in the battle to industrialize the society. By promoting mass literacy and mass health campaigns, mobilizing activists wage war on social inequalities and underdevelopment.


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Comparative Political Systems: Policy Performance and Social Change


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