Thursday, January 14, 2010

Politics is About People, Not Parties

Sometimes I come across a particularly profound political insight that I just have to share it widely. This is one on the political participation of young people in European politics from the Personal Democracy Forum:
Young Europeans do not want political parties in their lives. Only 4 percent of young people (15-29 year olds) participate in a political party or trade union (on Euronews from Eurostat statistics). This is a clear figure of what young people want or do no want. Political party politicians and their acolytes would quickly blame the education system, capitalism, the television or even the Playstation for the lack of interest in politics of young people. They are blinded by their group thinking and narrow perspective of what politics is. Politics is not only, and not even mainly, about what political parties and their representatives (the so-called "politicians") do. This fact, many people, including young people, know very well. I recommend the party people to go one night around bars in any city or town in Europe, to listen to what people are talking about. They talk about politics beyond political parties and their captive public institutions. They will be surprised to hear that there is political life outside the party. For politics is mainly about people and what they do, and not about organisations of any kind. That is why we need to reform the system to give chances to those who want to talk and participate in politics, but do not want to be captive of an organisation that has its own interests, often different than the interests of the rest of us.

Given the oft-cited statistic that the number of self-described political independents in the U.S. is surging rapidly I would say that what is said in the quote above holds true for us here in the U.S. as well. Politics should be about people, their needs and solving problems. Not narrow partisan interests. Most people are wising up to that insight and would prefer a political system that is responsive to those needs.

Yes to people-centered participatory democracy and no to narrow partisanship!

1 comment:

Once upon a time said...

Not just the 15-29 year olds.. some of us who are a little older than that also advocate for better representation. If that means a third party or some sort of Party of No-Party, then so be it.. I think it's about time for that.