>Warfare, welfare and politics by other means

>BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight reports from Beruit suggest that the widespread destruction of infrastructure and weakening of state structures will increase Hezbollah support, because they will be best placed to supply reconstruction assistance and welfare. Someone should do some research about the use of welfare and educational structures as means of building political power.

Some, for example, have seen a parallel between Islamicist movements’ strategy of building up social and education institutions – a common pattern across the Arab world – and the ‘new evolutionist’ strategy of bypassing the communist Party-state used (or at least theorized) by n dissidents in East Europe in 1980s. There, however, the parallels probably end. Sinn Fein’s strategy of building up republican advice centres and nationalist community organizations in West Belfast during 1980s is perhaps another point of reference. There are also echoes of the traditional European mass political parties of 19th century (Social Democrats, Christian Socials) ‘encapsulating’ their chosen social constituencies in a web of affiliated and cultural organizations

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