Political Parties and Democracy
Explorations in History & Theory
Published by Pluto Press
1996, 240pp, ISBN 0861010982, Paperback
The absence of democratically organised parties in the US political system originates in the pseudo-democratic, or “plebiscitarian” political reforms of the populist and progressive reform movements. The debased nature of US parties underlines the danger to Britain’s Labour Party as it drifts — or is pushed — towards “Americanisation”.
In a wide-ranging and stimulating collection, Arthur Lipow traces the historical, sociological and intellectual roots of these phenomena. Lipow examines the issue of state funding of political parties, in particular in Britain, where the continued existence of the democratic mass membership party is increasingly under threat.
Also explored are the roles of the democratic labour and socialist movements as an alternative to communism and now, in the post-Cold War era, to really-existing capitalism; the cult of “political correctness”; and the crisis of the “middle class” which underpins the volatility of US politics at the end of the 1990s.
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