Political Parties and Party Systems

By Alan Ware | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
SUPPORTERS, MEMBERS, AND ACTIVISTS

SECTION A
One of the most obvious features of political parties is that, with few exceptions today, they involve large numbers of people--as supporters, in some parties as members, and as activists. This chapter is about these people and parties' relationships with them. To many readers, perhaps, the idea that parties require people may seem so self-evident as not to be worth stating. But a moment's reflection will make it clear that there are a great many human purposes that can be secured without mobilizing supporters. Vast multinational corporations are built up and conduct their business successfully without recruiting members or activists. So why, precisely, do parties need them?Several reasons can be advanced, the first two of which relate directly to the subject of the last chapter, namely ideology.
Perhaps the most effective way of getting an ideology accepted is to establish a forum in which those who are attracted to that ideology can interact with others. This helps to keep up the enthusiasm of the already committed because they are not isolated; it provides a base for proselytizing in the wider community; and it helps to publicize the existence of the ideology among potential believers. For some ideological parties, the spreading of the movement can be much easier if relatively enclosed communities of the 'faithful' are created--partly insulating them from other pressures and ideologies. In these cases, especially, the internal life of a party is more likely to resemble that of a religious sect or church than an economic organization.
In some parties the particular set of political ideas advanced by its founders includes the involvement and participation of people in political life. Almost

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Political Parties and Party Systems
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Figures xi
  • List of Tables xii
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • About This Book xvi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Parties 15
  • Chapter One - Parties and Ideology 17
  • Chapter Two - Supporters, Members, and Activists 63
  • Chapter Three - Party Organizations 93
  • Chapter Four - Parties in Non-Liberal- Democratic Regimes 124
  • Part II - Party Systems 145
  • Chapter Five - The Classification of Party Systems 147
  • Chapter Six - Why Party Systems Differ 184
  • Chapter Seven - Stability and Change in Party Systems 213
  • Chapter Eight - Party Systems in Non- Liberal-Democratic Regimes 245
  • Part III - Moving towards Government 255
  • Chapter Nine - The Selection of Candidates and Leaders 257
  • Chapter Ten - Campaigning for Election 289
  • Chapter Eleven - Voter Choice and Government Formation 317
  • Chapter Twelve - Parties in Government 349
  • Conclusions 377
  • Appendix 1 - France 383
  • Appendix 2 - Germany 388
  • Appendix 3 - Great Britain 391
  • Appendix 4 - Japan 395
  • Appendix 5 - United States 398
  • Notes 404
  • Index 417
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