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While the blogosphere has recently turned the tables, my concern is about donor fatigue. Look at some of the comments whenever a new thread goes up about giving to X or Y. You always have a few people who simply cannot give or have given this month or are doing without something rather basic because they are giving. How long can this go on?
Despite these concerns, fundraising in the US works because of the structure of its electoral system. This was figured out; something of a mass consumerism adopted to campaign finance. Get lots of small donations and you can outdo just a small number of larger donations. The analysis looked at the system and figured out how to make a difference.
The EUlogosphere or EUblogosphere (or whatever, take your pick) needs to see how it can make a difference. I totally agree with Colman that we should think about this. Let's look at the current structures/processes and do an analysis to see the strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats.
We need to look at this as two different, yet connected networks.
The first is a networking of different national political systems. The political systems of all European states are much more connected than we realize. We have to find those links and use them. One way, for example, is simple information flows; the diffusion of good policy examples from one society to another. We can serve as a channel for this type of policy information diffusion. Another is to work on the national dailies in the ways that the dKosers do...letters to the editor and such.
The second is to look at the EU institutional network. In this one, Parliament is the first opportunity, but we need to find other ways of approaching the EU network as well. It's precisely because the EU has not been a system with great accessibility and permeability that we had the Non-neen (sp?) votes were so easy to come by. (I'm not saying that this was the only explanation; all complex phenomena are multi-determined.)
We're not going to figure this out today in one thread, particularly not in early August. But this is a good dialogue for us to be having. Jerome et al have provided the first step in creating this, now let's see what comes next.
Let's say that the will to pan-European parties isn't in evidence among pols. Something that needs discussion here, no doubt.
We don't have to model the next form of poltical activity on past activity. We don't need 20th century modeled political parties on a European scale. We need networks of parties, but networks that really work. This allows flexibility and coordination. The EP's political groups work on this model. It has drawbacks, but it also has strengths. We may not have seen them all yet if we're looking at them with the expectation that they can only be effective if they look like traditional political parties that we're accustomed to on a national level.
But my point was that, for most citizens, these groups are practically invisible. And not because people are looking for something they shouldn't be (ie old-fashioned type political parties). It's because there's no communication, no doubt because the democratic link, the voter link, is too indirect to push the pols to feel the need to communicate.
I'm still thinking a lot of this out right now, so my apologies is some points are not clear. I do hope we can keep up this topic in several different threads if need be over the next several weeks.
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