Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
What's the point of being a party member ? It seems most of the point of being a party member in, say, France is access to elected officials, and possibility of becoming a candidate. It's been some time since party members had any effect on political opinions : campaigns are run nationally, from the top, with mass media being used, rather than in a decentralised fashion with party members convincing their neighbours. Programs are also conceived at the top, with little or no input from party members.

At most party members may be asked to choose the party leader or candidate for the presidential election, but without control over said party leader...

What's the point ? In France, political parties have become coalitions of local elected officials, and of a part of the Paris technocracy. Party members only count as people who applaud at meetings.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 30th, 2008 at 07:29:22 AM EST
Low participation in politics in general indicates that people do not see the political system as a viable avenue for collective action.

Is this merely due to the top-down functioning of the political system, or have people generally lost belief in the possibility (and desirability) of taking collective action?

My brain is a bit mushy right now. I'll point out that there is a discussion of MoveOn on TPM Cafe that ties into this topic.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jul 30th, 2008 at 11:38:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Low participation in politics in general indicates that people do not see the political system as a viable avenue for collective action.

I completely disagree. Low participation can as well be a sign, that people are so happy with the system, that they don't want to engage to change it. Or that there are more interesting things than politics, or that they want to participate only in focused actions on specific issues, instead of supporting a full package of a party, which doesn't necessarily mean they are against the political system.

One indicator for other reasons than disagreement with the political system is, that most organisations, unions, churches, and hobby clubs, are losing members, as well less and less people marry. The general willingness to bind oneself to whatever is shrinking. At the same time the love parade, or Kirchentage tend to be bigger than ever. The willingness to engage, for specific issues with limited follow up responsibility, is not at all shrinking.
Another indicator is the left party, which shows, that people who really want a fundamentally different society are political active, while e.g. comments in online-newspapers often indicate favour of not too big changes, even when they are written relativly ranting.

The modern selfunderstanding of young politicians is often a service deliverer mentality, with the people kind of costumers, not anymore the defense of a integrated political ideology. Part of it I would say, is due to the more diverse lives and live styles of people and opinions. There is more brokerage necessary between opposing views to come to a political compromise.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 30th, 2008 at 04:21:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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