[Guide to this chapter]
Through the study of this chapter, we can clarify the origin, connotation, essence and characteristics of political parties, and establish a correct understanding of the role of political parties in social development. Through comparison, every activist who joins the party should grasp the main basis for the classification of political parties according to different standards, in order to have a general understanding of the existing political parties in the world and their classification.
[Key points of this chapter]
The political party emerged as the antithesis of the feudal monarchy and was an inevitable product of the development of democratic politics. A political party is a political organization that combines activists of a certain class, class or group to protect the interests of their own class, class or group and revolve around seizing power, consolidating power, or influencing the government. As a component of the social and political superstructure, political parties have their own clear political goals, programs, leadership groups, organizational forms and disciplines. According to the class basis, political parties can be divided into two categories: bourgeois and proletarian parties. As representatives and leaders of class interests, political parties are increasingly playing an important role in contemporary political life.
- The origin and development of political parties
Party politics is a common political phenomenon in most countries in the world today. According to statistics, with the exception of more than 20 countries and regions that implement a strict monarchy and unity of state and church without political parties, most of the more than 200 countries and regions in the world currently have political parties, and there are political parties in the world. More than five thousand.
The political party emerged as the antithesis of the feudal monarchy. It was gradually produced along with the development of capitalist production methods and the stimulus of the democratic trend. It is an inevitable product of the development of democratic politics.
In the period of feudal society, the formation of political parties did not have the basic conditions. In order to strengthen the authoritarian monarchy system, the feudal ruling class not only deprived the ruled class of the freedom of association, but also did not allow its members to enjoy the right of association. Even the Tiandi Hui, Hongmen Hui, Dadao Hui, Elder Hui, Qinghong Gang, etc. that have appeared in Chinese history are generally classified as private secret societies, or have a strong feudal superstition color; or have a rebellious nature. , And even become the organizational form of the peasant uprising; or become a tool of the ruling class, used by the ruling class.
Political parties in the true scientific sense were gradually produced and developed in the course of bourgeois revolutions in Europe and North America. It was produced with the development of capitalist relations of production and under the conditions that the political development of the bourgeoisie achieved the attainment of state governance and the establishment of a capitalist parliamentary system. The predecessor or bud of the bourgeois political party first emerged in Britain, where capitalism developed the earliest.
As early as the middle of the 13th century, Britain had a “parliament” that evolved on the basis of the Royal Council. Between the 14th and 16th centuries, the gradual dissolution of feudal serfdom and the gradual growth of capitalism enabled representatives of the bourgeoisie to participate in parliament as “civilians” and gradually developed into an emerging political force. In the 1770s, the British Parliament had a dispute over the issue of the succession to the throne. The Whig Party, which represented the interests of the bourgeoisie and the new aristocracy, and the Tory Party, which represented the old feudal forces, formed diametrically opposed factions. Although they were only different political factions in the British Parliament at the time, they were the predecessors of political parties from a historical perspective.
In the 1830s, the British Parliament passed the Electoral Reform Act. The promulgation of the “Electoral Reform Law” has further expanded the scope of electors. If a political party wants to win the election, it must expand its influence by continuously strengthening its own organization. In order to win over voters, the Whig Party and the Tory Party are racing to develop their own organizations across the country. In 1833, the Tory Party was renamed the Conservative Party; in 1839, the Whig Party was renamed the Liberal Party, and a modern political party was formally formed.
After the independence of the United States in the 1870s, two different political factions, Federalist (or Federalist) and anti-Federalist (or anti-Federalist) appeared in the US Congress. It was not until the 1860s. They evolved into the Democratic and Republican parties respectively.
In our country, the my country League, founded by Dr. Sun Yat-sen in 1905, is the earliest bourgeois party in China. The early bourgeois parties came into being and were active during the period of rising capitalism. At that time, the emerging bourgeoisie they represented was a revolutionary and progressive class. Therefore, it can reflect to a certain extent the demands of the people against the feudal system, become the organizer and leader of the bourgeois revolution, and has played an active role in the process of historical development.
After the bourgeoisie gained rule, the bourgeois party became a tool for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, especially in the imperialist stage, as the contradictions between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries intensified and the relationship between imperialism and the oppressed nation With the ever-increasing development of contradictions, the bourgeois parties in capitalist countries generally tend to be conservative or even reactionary.
The proletarian party came into being after the bourgeois party. As a companion of capitalist industry, the working class continues to grow with the development of capitalism. The three major labor movements of the two workers’ uprisings in Lyon, France, the British Charter Movement and the Silesian Textile Workers’ Uprising in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s marked the proletariat’s as a new independent political force on the stage of history. The creation of Marxist doctrine gave the proletariat a scientific world outlook and methodology to arm itself.
The combination of Marxist doctrine and the labor movement gave rise to the proletarian party. In 1847, Marx and Engels united multiple proletarian political organizations to form the “Communist League” and clarified their own program, line, and organizational principles. The first proletarian party in the history of the world was established since then.
In the 1870s and 1980s, the first proletarian parties were established in Europe and the United States. Although the proletarian party at this time
It is often called the Social Democratic Party, but it believes in Marxism in its guiding ideology.
In 1903, the Russian Socialist Democratic Labor Party was officially born under the leadership of Lenin. In 1917, it led the Russian people to victory in the October Revolution, establishing the world’s first socialist country and becoming the first ruling proletariat. political party. In 1918, the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party was renamed the Communist Party of Russia. When talking about the reasons for the change, Lenin pointed out that “changing it to the Communist Party can collectively reflect the nature, tasks, goals, and ideological system of the working-class party”.
From January 1918 to the end of 1922, 27 countries in Europe, including Finland, Germany, and the United Kingdom, established communist parties one after another. With the help of the Third International, some countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, such as Indonesia, China, Japan, Mongolia, India, South Africa, Egypt, Argentina and other countries, have also established communist parties. By the end of the 1930s, there were 69 Communist Parties in the world (a few of which are called the Workers’ Party and the Labour Party).
After World War II, most countries in Eastern Europe, including China, North Korea, Vietnam and other countries in Asia, established a people’s democratic regime under the leadership of the Communist Party, thus forming a powerful socialist camp worldwide. As of the mid-1980s, the number of Communist Parties in the world had grown to more than 180.
However, the drastic changes in Eastern Europe and the disintegration of the Soviet Union that took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s reduced the number of socialist countries in the world by two-thirds, and the number of Communist Parties in the world also decreased to 130. However, the Communist Party of China, the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Communist Party of Cuba and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, as the ruling parties in socialist countries, have not been swallowed up by the anti-Communist and anti-socialist trends in the world.
On the contrary, they have led their own people on the contrary. While building a socialist road with its own characteristics, it further consolidated its ruling position. The Communist Party of China has led the Chinese people in different historical stages of revolution, construction, and reform and opening up, especially in the great practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. With its outstanding achievements and unparalleled advancement, it has established itself as a socialist party in the world. A model and a monument.
In short, a political party is a class-like political organization that will inevitably form when human society develops to a certain stage. It is the product of the political development of various classes and the political struggle between them. The emergence and development of political parties is a long historical process, and political parties are a social and political phenomenon that prevails in all countries in the contemporary world. This phenomenon will continue for a long time. In the future, only with the complete elimination of classes and the ultimate realization of communism, the party as a tool of class struggle will die out of its own accord because it loses its own role and the meaning of existence.
- The nature and characteristics of political parties
Regarding the definition of a political party, different people will naturally have different opinions based on different perspectives. For example, some Western scholars attribute political parties to general social groups or organizations, believing that political parties are “organizations expressing public opinion” and “groups of people holding common political opinions”; some attribute political parties to general social means , Measures, that “political parties are organizations of intermediaries and arbitrators between society and government”; some believe that “political parties are specialized communication networks of political communication systems”; some believe that “political parties are in a certain political system.
It is an organization established for the purpose of obtaining and exercising political power through democratic elections or revolutionary means. Some believe that “a political party is a political group formed by individuals based on their own will, providing general measures and suggestions to the government. Or formulate policies, elect and support leading figures as candidates for public office, as the most effective way to realize their doctrines and policies.” These various interpretations of political parties, although they reveal some of the external characteristics of political parties and contain some truths, none of them reveal the essential attributes of political parties.
Based on the materialistic investigation of human social history, Marxism made a scientific explanation of political parties and revealed the essential attributes of political parties. Marxism believes that a political party is a political organization that combines activists of a certain class, class, or group to take common actions to protect the interests of their own class, class or group and revolve around seizing power, consolidating power, or influencing the government. “In a society based on class division, the struggle between rival classes (developing to a certain stage) will inevitably become a political struggle. The most rigorous, complete and obvious manifestation of the political struggle of each class is the political parties. Struggle”.
It can be seen from this that the Marxist definition of political parties has four meanings: First, political parties are a historical category. It is not always there, nor does it appear with the emergence of classes and countries, but the product of the development of classes and class struggle to a certain stage. Secondly, a political party is a class organization. “In most cases, at least in modern civilized countries, the class is usually led by the party.” It is a political organization that represents the fundamental interests of a certain class or class and leads a certain class or class to fight for or maintain state power. Third, a political party is an organized and programmatic political organization.
The political program, organization members, statutes and institutions of a party, as well as a group of authoritative political leaders as the core of leadership, are an indispensable part of the party. Finally, a political party is a political organization whose purpose is to obtain and maintain political power. In order for a political party to realize its own political program, it must participate in the political process, control the state power, seize power through peaceful parliamentary struggle or armed struggle, and commit itself to the construction of democratic parties after seizing power.
Proceeding from the essential attributes of political parties, we can see that political parties have the following characteristics: First, political parties have their own political programs, as well as their own lines of action and political strategies to achieve them. Second, all parties have clear political goals. Third, political parties have organizational systems and leading institutions. Fourth, political parties have organizational discipline. Fifth, a political party must have a certain number of party members. Sixth, political parties generally have a clear legal status.
, The main types of political parties
According to different standards, political parties can be divided into different types. For example, according to the classification of class basis, political parties can be divided into two major categories: bourgeois parties and proletarian parties, and can be further divided into the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, the Christian Democratic Party, and the Communist Party according to their ideology, political views, and ideological tendencies. Liberal parties, Conservative parties, and nationalist parties; according to whether they have legal status, political parties can be divided into legal and illegal parties; according to the political status of political parties, political parties can be divided into ruling parties, participating parties, and opposition parties; according to the party’s status The number of seats in the parliament can be divided into a majority party and a minority party.
Among the various political party classification standards, the party’s class standard has the primary significance. And ideology, as the external manifestation of the party’s class foundation, constitutes the external characteristics of the party organization. Therefore, people often use ideology to judge the nature of a party.
Taking the class basis of the party as the primary criterion, and referring to the ideological criterion of the party, the existing parties in the world can be basically divided into four types, namely, bourgeois parties, proletarian parties, social-democratic parties, and nationalist parties. Four categories.
- The role of political parties in social development
The political party is the inevitable product of the development of the conflict of class interests to a certain stage. As representatives of class interests and leaders of class forces, political parties are increasingly playing an important role in the development of contemporary society.
In general, the various roles of political parties can be summarized as follows:
First, gather class interests and political requirements, and develop and strengthen political forces.
Needless to say, any class has its own specific interests and political requirements. But when a certain class exists only in its own state, these interests and political requirements are often scattered, superficial, and changeable. The emergence of political parties has fundamentally changed this situation. A major role of a political party is to theoreticalize, systematize, and clarify the interests and political requirements of the class it represents through its theoretical programs and policies, so as to effectively condense and fully express the interests and political requirements of the class. In order to fully consolidate the interests and political requirements of its own class, a political party must not only extensively mobilize and organize the political forces of its own class, but also maximize the support of other class members to achieve its goal of strengthening itself.
The proletarian party must faithfully represent the fundamental interests of the majority of the people of its class. It must not be able to form its own special interests, but it must also make the masses fully aware of their own interests, contact, mobilize, unite, and lead the masses to realize and satisfy themselves. Interests and political requirements.
Second, influence and lead political life, and supervise or control state power.
A basic function of a political party is to carry out political activities in the political life of the country in a manner suitable for itself to realize the interests and will of the class it represents. However, at different times, the ways in which political parties influence and lead political life are different.
When political parties do not gain power, they often formulate their own platforms, guidelines, policies, and strategies to organize party members and the masses to carry out legal or illegal, peaceful or violent, and political struggles within or outside the parliament to influence the country’s political life and make it a dynasty. It is beneficial to the development of its own direction. After gaining power, as the ruling party, it will control and supervise state power, and transform its own political program, principles and policies into the country’s principles and policies through legal channels, and send its own party members to hold important positions in the country and participate in policies. To formulate, determine and control the development direction and actual process of the country’s political life.
Third, play a role in handling international affairs and influence the international political landscape.
In today’s society, political parties not only play an important role in domestic political life, but also increasingly become an indispensable force in international political life. Political parties, either through themselves or through political alliances between parties, elevate the relationship between parties to international relations, and carry out specific political activities on the international stage, so as to achieve and maintain the class they represent to a greater extent. Interests and political requirements. The proletarian parties and the nationalist parties of the third world are playing an increasingly active and important role in international life.
[Test questions in this chapter]
One, fill in the blanks
- Marxism believes that a political party is a political organization that activists of a certain class, class, or group are __________ and are combined to take common actions around __________.
- The __ nature of a political party is the essential attribute of a political party.
- According to the classification of class basis, political parties can be divided into two categories: _ and ; according to their political status, political parties can be divided into , and _.
- Having a certain amount of _ is a major sign that distinguishes a political party from other social organizations.
Two, choose to fill in the blanks
- The predecessor or bud of the political party first came into being in __.
B. United States
C. United Kingdom
- The first proletarian party in the history of the world was __.
A. Russian Social Democratic Labor Party
B. Communist League
C. Tory Party
- The organizational discipline of a proletarian party is a concentrated expression of the class nature of the proletariat. It is established on the basis of __ and achieved through the high degree of self-consciousness of party members.
A. democratic centralism
B. High concentration of power
C. Completely voluntary