Parties by Type. 4 Stages Explored.

  1. Professor, would you explain,
  2. Party formation?
  3. What traits do they emanate?
  4. For a long time,
  5.      Parties were only from civil society classified.[1]
  6. As a result,
  7.      This standard always implicated the mass-party sculpt.
  8. Along came Katz and Mair,
  9.      Saying that the former implications weren’t fair.
  10. So a determination they make,
  11.      That the mass-party model may have passed its expiration date.
  12. That the dichotomy of party growth or decay,
  13.       Doesn’t quite make sense when society has strayed,
  14.       Into a post-industrial, fragmented, non-linear fray.
  15. Instead they brave,
  16.      That new parties form by means of a dialectical way,
  17. Once a new party takes the stage,
  18.      Reactions upon reactions cause their change.
  19. This doesn’t negate,
  20.      That we may be observing a mass-party model in place.
  21. ‘Tis important to see,
  22.      That there’s much more science to this philosophy,
  23.      That changes are not simply from civil society,
  24.      That the relationship of parties and the state may agree—
  25.             To do different things.
  26. Katz and Mair claim,
  27.      That there are four periods of parties in our political plays.
  28. 1st is The Elite Party,
  29.    Dubbed the liberal régime censitaire.
  30.      ‘Twas seen in the 19th and early 20th centuries; where,
  31.             Suffrage and property requirements were thickly layered.
  32.      Most natural born citizens could not vote; and,
  33.           From enfranchise movements the people abstained,
  34.             For who would act to earn an illegal and immoral label?
  35.                    To be publicly humiliated and [a]shamed!?
  36.      Instead, this era noted that learned men, The Elite Party,
  37.             Would implement a single national interest.
  38.                Because that was their role—to control the game.
  39.                     Thus only local elections were engaged.
  40.                          To sanctify the privileged connections,
  41.                             “vitiating the anti-party spirit that generally
  42.                                   characterized the age.”[2]
  43.  And then the industrial era created more wealthy men,
  44.          It expanded the voting class,
  45.             And some rules became relaxed.
  46.                 Workers began to protest more,
  47.                      And demand a participatory role.
  48.             Of course workers had a much different view-
  49.                         Of the state.
  50.             The state became “them” –something to puke.
  51.                               Or, perhaps, something to claim!
  52. Thus the 2nd Stage was born,
  53.      The mass party formed.
  54. It ultimately led to universal suffrage,
  55.      To a new kind of lore.
  56. Some of the major changes from the 1st to this 2nd Stage include:
  57.        From an oligarchic admin. to a democratic system:
  58.             From the trustee’s mood to the delegate’s view,
  59.             From the voters’ consent to the constituent’s government,
  60.             From independent elites to organized political parties,
  61.             From a few thousand electors to millions of party protectors.
  62. Millions of voters caused an earthquake of modification; in this play:
  63.             The traditional party ideology and style were disposed,
  64.             Parties couldn’t choose ‘tween the rich and the poor,
  65.             Or any one such delimited niche for that matter at all—
  66.                        For all were minorities within [and shaking] society’s walls!
  67. Mass parties are really based on mass cleavages,
  68.             Groups with borders and walls,
  69.             And that belonging matters, it really matters,
  70.                   Most of all.
  71. Then these mass organizations turn toward Stage 3:
  72.      The parties make cross-sectional appeals.
  73.      They advocate single national happiness-Feel;
  74.             The coffers will yield!
  75. Striving to “Catch-All” the voters amidst various deals.
  76. Though personally I have found,
  77.       Here The Catcher in the Rye cliff abounds,
  78.                         The falling off part.
  79.             Parties reaching out for sympathy,
  80.                         Via the fair and balanced mass media.
  81. And a reduction on party dependence evolves; because,
  82. Both parties endorse the same dream,
  83. Though they claim to employ different schemes [on T.V].
  84. There are no radicals seeking anarchy,
  85.       Or socialists demanding equal pay for all employees.
  86.             There are no “well-defined social constituencies.”[3]
  87. Now we stand atop Stage 3,
  88.      A Janus-like continuance for the abiding parties.
  89. One the one side,
  90.      Parties listen to the people and of the bureaucracy demand!
  91. On the other side,
  92.      The same people are the agents of the bureaucracy on hand!
  93. The parties-as-brokers model thus plans:
  94.       That parties will be reelected if they go in-between
  95.             The government and the people; and, all agree,
  96.             That the party has managed responsibly.
  97.             That the party-as-broker earned re-eligibility,
  98.                  Upon paying off promises to the citizenry,
  99.                         Which often means,
  100.                  Successful manipulation of the state machinery.
  101. The Catch-all Party’s heyday,
  102.             ‘Twas at the height of modernity.
  103. This situation might escort in Stage 4, wherefore:
  104.        The brokers are remunerated by the state!
  105.             ‘Tis called subvention these days,
  106.                         When the parties pay themselves, hey,
  107.                                     Pick the Treasury’s pockets, say,
  108.                                           ‘Tis called the Cartel Party, appreciate.
  109.                                                If you’re not in, then you’re not paid.
  110. Katz and Mair say,
  111.      The Cartel Party is in the early stage.
  112. Since the parties now rely on state aid,
  113.      There are more opportunities for patronage.
  114.             And single issues staid.
  115. The Cartel Party will be most observed,
  116.      In locations where the parties readily collaborate.
  117. Rather than places, like theU.K., where politics are adversarial,
  118.      In this place,
  119. Contributions are less likely to come from the state.
  120.                    There is no 4th stage…
  121. The Cartel Party changed democracy’s game,
  122.      In this model, voters pick by the political party’s name.
  123.      The professional parties and politicians compete—kindly,
  124.           For government seats.
  125. ‘Tis much different than Catch-All democracy, for instance,
  126.       Since the professionals there are afraid of voter rebuke,
  127.             And from office they are removed.
  128. In Catch-all,
  129.      ‘Tis all about reelection and the next campaign…
  130.       Democracy looks more like the [tragedy of the] commons frame.
  131.                         Much more money from the Treasury they shift,
  132.                                  Regardless of the national debt of shrift,
  133.                                         For one goal remains the same…
  134.                                                  “Tis the name of the game:
  135.                                                          Ensure reelection.
  136. See:
  137.       The Cartel system keeps everyone around.
  138.       Democracy is about social stability rather than social change.
  139.       Thus democracy becomes a civil society servicing modus operandi.
  140.             Subvention. Subvention. Subvention. Restraint.
  141. The Cartel Party faces challenges in light of Democracy:
  142.      They limit intra-organizational dissents,
  143.      Curtail the effects of competition,
  144.      Bound electoral dissatisfaction,
  145.      Avert electoral feedback,
  146.      Prevent future parties…
  147.      And may become complacent—indeed—cozy colleagues.
  148. That’s quite a history,
  149. You’ve told me.
  150. Tell me the details,
  151. About modern party formation,
  152. and adaptation,
  153. Please.
  154. We think of parties as independent institutional forces.[4]
  155. Parties activate processes in response,
  156.       To political, social, and economic transformation.
  157. Parties are both institutions and agents,
  158.       Dependant upon their structural setting—
  159. Aware of their capacity to operate and integrate,
  160.        A dozen external factors and keep…
  161. A dozen you say?
  162. What are they?
  163. Exogenous factors upon the parties formation are consigned:
  164.     The institutional context, historical legacies,
  165.            The nature of the previous regime. See the
  166.      Sequence of development, explicitly, the timing vis-à-vis
  167.             The government’s enabling of ubiquitous denizen voting.
  168.      There are social, cultural, and economic essences outstanding,
  169.             Such as the cleavages that structure the society, e.g.,
  170.                  Mass media access, entrée to large state subsidies.
  171. Those are the key aspects that reveal how new parties are forming.
  172. Go on, professor.
  173. ‘Tis finally becoming,
  174. A nuanced rejoinder.
  175. In many new democracies, the party formation path,
  176.            Was quite estranged from the western,
  177.                Homegrown civil society stance.
  178.      Their origin was more institutional, [perhaps from a constitution]
  179.             Reflecting the politicization of divisional attitudes…
  180.                 The big normative question was:
  181.                         “To what degree should the regime change?”
  182.                  ‘Twas not:
  183.                         “How doth we redress social stratification?”
  184. There are 4 good reasons to think,
  185.     That mass parties can’t form in new democracies.
  186.          Mainly, they lack the resources and capacity, specifically:
  187.             A professional politician doesn’t ply the people’s power,
  188.             Towards a large membership they’re indifferent beings,
  189.             Party affiliation is low—there’s no majority faction, and finally,
  190.             The linkage ‘tween parties and organized interests is weak.
  191. Does party insecurity erase the political parties face?
  192. If so, then, wouldn’t the regime forever seem…
  193. Transitioning?
  194. No. Though, to strengthen the party,
  195.      The party designs that the party executive will control,
  196.             Party cohesion and conflict: A corrective apparatus.
  197.                  Perhaps directing recruitment and letting go,
  198.                         Of those that don’t do what they’re told.
  199. The chief notion to hear,
  200.      ‘bout party development and formation paths,
  201.           Is that the new democracies and [old] established few,
  202.             Are converging institutional and contextual styles anew.
  203.           However! For the untrained eye,
  204. Like not knowing the difference ‘tween the sun and moon,
  205.                          You will not find, or be able to explain why,
  206.                         Their trajectories are dissimilar, unrelated;
  207.                              Though appearances—the surface—may fool.
  208.           Their points of departure were unlike indeed:
  209.                The old engages mass parties from society to the state;
  210.                But the new are truly parties created by the state. See?
  211. Thus,
  212.       ‘Tis unlikely, prodigy, the parties’ tools; of old and new,
  213.               Will be the same a century from today, in use.
  214. Is that everything, mate?
  215. About parties?
  216. Do I now have the knowledge to depart?
  218. [laughter followed by laughter]
  219. Is that your goal? [Hmm].
  220. Then you should be told…
  221.      There are many different interpretations describing observations
  222.             By political scientists.
  223. This knowledge is meant to illuminate knowledge,
  224.       And is not an end-all stop-gap project.
  225. What more of parties could you articulate?
  226. There are Leninist parties,[5] they:
  227.             Are bent on overthrowing the existing system,
  228.             Love proletariat ideology and are proto-hegemonic,
  229.             Will implement revolutionary change, by strength,
  230.             Use selective membership and indoctrination,
  231.             Demand loyalty, secrets, and obedience,
  232.             That everyone is common.
  233. There are Ultranationalist parties, they:
  234.             Articulate that the nation or dominant race,
  235.                  Is superior to the individual’s place.
  236.             They openly detest minorities, and like the military,
  237.                  To engage force and overthrow others,
  238.                         Leaving them disgraced.
  239. Shall I go on?
  240. No. I’m tired. I’m ready to go home.
  241. Thanks for the words.
  242. Good day. Go snore.
  243. And remember this political lore.

[1] This marks the beginning of an analysis of: Katz and Mair. 1995. Models of Party Organization and Party Democracy: The Emergence of the Cartel Party Party Politics January. 1: 5-28.

[2] Ibid. Page 9.

[3] Ibid. Page 12.

[4] This marks the beginning of an analysis of: Van Biezen, I. 2005. On the Theory and Practice of Party Formation and Adaptation in New Democracies. European Journal of Political Research, 44, 1, 147–174.

[5] This marks the beginning of an analysis of: Gunther and Diamond. 2003. Species of Political Parties: A New Typology. Party Politics, 9: 167-199.


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  1. Pingback: Poli-Sci “Parties” Poetry Book « Political Pipeline

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