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Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties - Vol. 1

By M. Ostrogorski; Frederick Clarke | Go to book overview

THIRD CHAPTER
THE ACTION OF THE CAUCUS (continued)

I

THE propagandist efforts displayed by the party Organizations in the forms which have been examined are far from reaching the whole, or even the majority, of the electorate. Everybody does not go to the meetings, attend the lectures, and read the "political literature." It is not certain that the effect produced even on those who are drawn into them is of a permanent nature. What is to be done? Attempts were made to enlighten the political conscience of the voters, to act on the zoon politikon. This action proving inadequate, it is sought to make good the deficiency by appealing to the animal side of man, to his instinct of sociability, with the joys and pleasures which are connected with it, or which become enhanced by it. Being provided by the Organizations or through their agency, they are destined to produce an association of feelings between all those who are invited to share them and the political parties. As they can be enjoyed only by a number of persons assembled together, they supply the Organizations with an opportunity and a means at the same time of sweeping into this association and carrying the voters wholesale, in a lump.

Among the varied forms in which the "social tendencies of human nature are made subservient to the higher interests" of politics, the most important is provided by party clubs. The reader is aware of the origin of political clubs and will recollect that it dates from the seventeenth century, and that for a long time they were only friendly gatherings of people with the same political opinions, who met periodically to enjoy the pleasures of the table; that it was only with the founding

-420-

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