Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties - Vol. 1

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

SEVENTH CHAPTER
AUXILIARY AND RIVAL ORGANIZATIONS (continued)

I

AFTER the Women's Organizations, which second the regular Organizations in a general way, which are, if one may venture to use the expression, "maids-of-all-work," come auxiliary organizations entrusted with a particular duty, with speaking at party meetings. While having an independent origin and existence, these special organizations of speakers work for the political party with which each of them is connected. The prototype of these organizations is a Liberal society formed on the eve of the general election of 1880, when the Liberal party was about to deliver a decisive attack on the Tories, led by Lord Beaconsfield in person, by a group of cultivated young men of various shades of Liberal opinion. Brimming over with enthusiasm, they set forth throughout the country to champion the good cause by their eloquence. Their ardour and their talent contributed to the triumph won by the Liberal party, and they decided to found a permanent organization, which took the name of "Eighty Club," in commemoration of the general election in which they made their first campaign. Having only the name of a club, with no special premises, meeting now in one place and now in another (like the Cobden Club formed for the propaganda of free trade), the Society proposed to bring together the pick of the rising generation of Liberals for the service of the Liberal cause and for enlightening public opinion on political questions with a more thorough knowledge and in more elevated language than was offered by the ordinary rhetoric of political meetings. From time to time the Society was to invite statesmen of the party to come and expound their views to the juniors, who would imbibe the instruction of their elders and

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