political theory question: political party theorists

A question for my brothers and sisters in political theory: There are certain individuals who embody the role of the activist/intellectual. They are highly influential in movement politics and they write or speak about movements in a very theoretical way, offering justification for the movement’s goals and strategies. For socialist politics, this role is filled by Lenin, who provided an explanation of what the communist party is supposed to do. For non-violence, King and Gandhi fill this role.

My question: Is there an analog for mass political parties in democratic societies? In other words, who is the master politician who articulates the purpose and function of the party in modern democracies? Does this person talk about how the party should manage/exploit various constituencies, especially rowdy ones like protest movements?

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Written by fabiorojas

October 17, 2013 at 12:01 am

3 Responses

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  1. Not sure I totally understand this question, but gosh I am intrigued as to what others may think! I don’t think that there’s one politician who “has it all”. Sure there are some that rally the base and can even effectively exploit significant populations, but they’re not going to cover everything. People love living in their own worlds. A very common answer to the question “do you vote Democrat or Republican?” is “I vote for the person.” Well no, they don’t, but that’s beside the point. People hold democracy near and dear to their hearts but they don’t actually fulfill it with their activism. If someone cares about a cause and is a good activist, they’re going to go to both (we really only have two) parties and persuade their elected officials to change. As far as protests go, some have leaders, some don’t. The ones that do are still scattered because you can’t lump all of the protesters into one category – they care about other things that the person next to them doesn’t, or worse, disagrees. Does that answer the question? I feel like it doesn’t but I would welcome more explanation and be happy to continue the conversation. Love this post!



    October 17, 2013 at 1:15 am

  2. Minor point, but it’s spelled “Gandhi.” You can delete this comment after you’ve read it.


    Chris M

    October 17, 2013 at 3:16 am

  3. George Washington Plunkitt?



    October 18, 2013 at 1:25 am

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