Political Parties – Destroying Democracy?

The first kind of democracy was the Athenian form of government created in city-state of Greece, Athens. Since then we’ve come a long way, democracy has spread almost all around the world and has paved a new way, away from the authoritarian ideologies of the past. Yet, there is a great disaffection with some of the most concrete pillars of our current democratic system. 

Political Parties are political organisations that aim to influence or have control over a country’s government. They put forward candidates in order to win political places, seats and office. The members must agree to the same ideology, accept and share the same vision, that of the party, and very often one of their goals is to ensure no other party receives more power.

Americans recognise two major political parties: The Republicans and the Democrats. Sounds like Montague and Capulet from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet? It’s exactly like that. Whether there is an Obama or a Romney, a Bush or a Clinton, they all and each come from the same “family” – the Reds or the Blues, Donkey’s or Elephants.

Parties don’t change ideology from day-to-day, not from year to year not even from election to election – and next time you see a “HOPE”, “CHANGE” or “FORWARD” poster, you should comprehend that it can only be between the boundaries of the respective party’s ideology.

Therefore parties have stagnated the political world. Parties don’t allow new ideas to emerge fast enough in a world that is constantly changing. Parties control the government, especially in countries like the U.S where there are only two major political parties. Democrats and Republicans together control the United States, and if you’re a young American who doesn’t agree with either party, you are free to create your own party – but because the two parties above are already established, you will never have enough resources or a strong-enough voice to be heard and then manage to escape political aggression of the two major parties (TV Ads, Internet Ads, Banners, Ads, Ads, Ads – it should be called Ads-America really).

Most people who want to take on the challenge of influencing public policy and their communities decide to join parties and emerge stronger through them, a process that alters their thinking and ideologies. All of their representatives’ beliefs are along the lines of the party, and they are its product – a waste in most occasions.

Parties are like big families (they even have their own flags), we could compare them to the Aristocrats of a time long gone, the Romanov’s and the Rusik’s, the Bourbon’s and the Bonaparte’s.

We could argue that parties are made of elected representatives, but nobody really cares about their vote at that level where they elect party representatives (and parties make sure that these elections are not seen as, as important – yet these elections are more influential as they “purchase” seats to parliament, house etc.) – and secondly, we can see so many examples of father-son leadership in parties, you want a big one? Bush and Bush (America), Papandreou and Papandreou (Greece), Pitt and Pitt (UK) – Well there is a reason why we call them political families. And so I ask, is there room for Political Families (again, the aristocrats of our time, they are not necessarily rich, but with an immense political power, wealth is not far) and Political Parties in our pursuit of a better democratic system?

Recommended reading: Political Parties and Democracy by Larry Diamond and Richard Gunther
Recommended article/video: Russell Brand vs. Democracy (matteroffactsblog.wordpress.com)