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To be honest, I am already baking
this idea myself since the last Dutch
parliamentary elections. Some
months before Pim Fortuyn was shot
down by the vegan.
In a way Pim Fortuyn was already
showing the way. He had no political
party but many wanted to vote for
him because the existing
parties are uncapable of representing
Political parties, an anachronistic
20th century invention, are not for
suitable for the 21st century as an
intermediary between the enormously
fragmented citizens and the political
arena. Mind that I am not saying we
should do away with ideologies,
leadership or vision, it's just the
political parties that are corrupt.
Now I have to admit that this idea is
completely adapted to the Dutch
situation, it's up to you how it can
translate to the political system you
have in your country.
In our country there are usually 8
million (out of 16) voting. With 150
seats in the Second Chamber you can
get a seat with only 60000 people
voting for you. There are no districts
in our little country, thus no two-
party system. Usually there are a few
dozen parties with only 4 or 5 that
My idea is that every person who
would like to represent people writes
a political program, puts it on a
webpage and asks people to
subscribe to his/her mailinglist. By
doing so, you can bypass the mass
media and concentrate on the issues
instead of party politics.
The majority of the parliament
chooses a government. This is the
case now, but then also. This
government governs and is controlled
(and fired) by the Second Chamber.
The Second Chamber is also
legislative and can initiate or amend
laws. The First Chamber is there for a
final check just before any new law is
signed by the queen (she always
signs) and published.
When everyone can become a
representative you get a lot more new
ideas (mine to start with) and
politicians ignore less the problems
in society. That's what political
parties are good at, building a wall
between society and the political
arena (instead of a bridge). If a
politician does not represent his
60,000 voters well, he risks losing his
seat at the next elections (every 4
No referenda, no direct democracy,
no layered voting (districts) and all
that kind of evil. Just plain old
representative democracy with all it's
defects, but without the political
parties. By the way, our democracy
was designed in the 19th century
*without* political parties. When you
read the lawbooks there is no
mention of political parties.
Political parties at the time were a
clever agreement of people to
mobilise masses of voters. At the
time masses still existed, now
everyone is a little bit of everything, a
Lego-identity. Let them choose one
individual that best comes close to
By the way, the Pim Fortuyn
political party got more seats than
just for Pim. The seats were all filled
with amateurs rounded up at the very
last moment. They all failed miserably
in their job (no plan, no thinking, just
slogans) and this party will disappear
I wrote my political program as a
candidate representative. The whole
approach got published in one of the
major newspapers. So it's a bit baked,
but only half. I intend to finish baking
it the next decade or two.
ReindeR Rustema's political program (in Dutch)
the upcoming years until the next elections I work on improving this political program [rrr, Oct 04 2004]
Derde Kamer / Third Chamber
Description of this anti-political party idea, free for everyone to adopt. Third Chamber refers to the internet as the place were citizens can found. The Second is legislative and the First for checks and balances. No English translation yet. [rrr, Oct 04 2004]
Derde Kamer concept published
The huge article I wrote in a Dutch newspaper about this (in Dutch) [rrr, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]
New online policical party
[sufc, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]
The Internet party (NZ)
landing page [sofacrat, May 20 2015]
Policy Incubator on Loomio
Functionally, like the Halfbakery! [sofacrat, May 20 2015]
||In the US, Dean has gotten substantial support over the Internet. His supporters, in turn, have been subtly threatening the establishment of the Democratic party that he will run as an independent if the party doesn't nominate him. The party is quite split.
||So I think we're going in this direction, and electronic voting, if it ever happens, will speed it up -- since a significant current value of the party is that it gets out the vote, which will be less of an issue if I can vote at home.
||I think the potential for direct voting is more interesting
||The web can do a lot for money collection, though, which can then be used to buy organization, at least for a given election.
||I agree with much of what Jutta said. But you also have a point [rrr] - the face of politics has already been changed irrevocably by the internet, albeit it in ways that we can't yet get to grips with.
||Every election involves voting a particular person into a particular post. The fact that they are a member of a specific political party just serves as a kind of shorthand as to how they might think about specific issues. It shows their leanings rather than their actual feelings. Here in the UK, you might vote Labour or Conservative - very few people know the name of the actual candidate they are voting for. But each and every cross on a ballot paper marks another step up for that particular person.
||You're always voting for individual people. Hopefully the Internet will make that reality a little clearer (all political candidates have their own websites these days, and so comunication between voter and votee should be somewhat smoother). Politics has already splintered off into various "interest groups" and miscellaneous campaigners. I can't claim to be au fait with the Dutch political scene, but it seems to me that, these days, it's not parties who win power but personalities.
||(To UKians - I see Ken Livingstone passed his "loyalty test" the other day. No chance of him retiring to the country to "spend more time with his newts" anytime soon. Tony B backs another winner...)
||//My idea is that every person...writes a political program...on a webpage and asks people to subscribe to his/her mailinglist...you can bypass the mass media and concentrate on the issues instead of party politics.//
That's OK as far as it goes but they could also do that by getting their fat arses out of the capital and going to visit their electorate a bit more often so that people can actually meet them, quiz them and get some idea of whether they're worth getting out of bed to vote for (or against).
||[theircompetitor] direct voting,
without representation is an
obstacle for (professional,
informed) reflection and careful
deliberation. Direct voting,
especially through the internet, is
therefore very harmful. You will
soon get things like the death
penalty back in the civlised world,
because that is what citizens would
||[jutta] What I propose is not
making the medium into a political
program. The medium is neutral in
that sense, you can publish *any*
political program on it. This idea is
about getting rid of the political
party, party politics and the role
mass media play in the system
||What you say about local politics is
true, but that is better done by
individual representatives than by
||As you in the US don't really have
political parties like we have here
(in the US they are more like pr and
fundraising organisations), the
problem is different.
||[lostdog] Political parties do indeed
function as a shorthand for the
public to see how a person stands
on certain issues. And we do vote
for individuals. The trouble is that
when the individual candidates feel
they want to deviate from the
'partyline' now they are punished
by the political party *as
organisation*. Their loyalty is
questioned and their career inside
the party comes into troubles. Only
at the top they can speak more
freely (and the ones ranking lower
have to conform again). This is
what is corrupting.
||What I propose is to maintain
ideological shorthands like 'Liberal'
or 'Conversative' but _without_ the
political party who holds the final
say on wether or not someone is
allowed to speak under such a flag.
Every candidate should be free to
say 'I am mostly Labour on social
issues, but Conservative on
ecological issues and Liberal on
civil liberties'. Things like that.
||Imagine a website with a few
ideological sliders you can put in a
position that suits you best and
below that a list of links to
corresponding candidates appear.
||[drBob] what prevents the
'partytigers' to leave the capital
and to actually meet their
electorate is the political party. The
party claims to be the intermediary
between the citizens and the
politicians. The political parties on
their turn blame the apathy of the
electorate for not becoming a
member of the political parties and
not coming to party meetings to
voice their concerns.
||This is impossible because citizens
don't feel represented by any
single political party anymore.
They do support a number of
(single-issue) NGOs with
contributions and volunteerwork
though, so the citizens are not the
problem at all. The political parties
must disappear first as an obstacle
between representatives and
||When individual representatives do
follow their conscience and go
meet the people the political party
often intervenes with it's own PR-
machinery to turn it into a media-
event or something good for the
party and disruptive for the
representative and politician. The
politician in the end gives up
because he feels/thinks the aides
from HQ know best and he can't do
without them (and their 'brand').
||rrr, yes I agree with most of what you've said. However, the internet is just a tool not a solution. Political parties are private clubs and any politicians of good will that belong to them need to break out of that clique and go and have some face to face interaction with their electorate (rather than, as you rightly say, stroll around on a media event). Otherwise the turn out at elections will continue to decline because the politicians have little in common with the people who are voting for them.
It's true, in principle, that if people don't like the politicians they've got then they should throw them out and get some new ones or stand for election themselves but, in reality, most of us just don't have the time, energy or resources to get involved with serious politics. It therefore falls to the politicians, who clearly do have the time and resources, to spend less time passing legislation and more time on going out and visiting their constituents. This would enable them to establish their own support, independent of the party machine which, as you point out, is currently operating a bit like a political iron-lung that they can never be free of.
||I dont like this idea becuase it makes it to easy for to Joe
Schmoe run for office. I do not subscribe to hamilton
style politics often but this is one time i will. we dont
need common people in office. we want uncommon and
above average people in office. political parties help us
keep the upper echelon of canidates in office. of course
the immediate response to this is that political parties
keep the upper echelon of those with money in politics.
especially those damn republicans who are evil and eat
babies. But the fact is that most politicions come from
the upper-middle-lower middle classes. GOP and Dems.
political parties are necesary to make sure the voters
have a good selection instead of a huge selection with lots
of unfit candidtates. this would just confuse the voting
public. the truth is most people arnt fit to govern. and
we are all smart enough to know that is the truth.
||how about drafting people for office?
||[Space-Pope] Certainly we need
uncommon people to get elected.
With 1000s of candidates on the
internet and only 150 seats in the
Second Chamber, the chances are
high that only people with solid
and convincing political programs
pass the threshold.
||Many of those 'common' people
who try to get elected will only get
a few thousand votes, insufficient
to break through. Only when you
convince the electorate you are
qualified, you will get votes. You
start locally (what jutta said) and
gradually work your way up to the
national level, showing you are a
||Instead of having the political party
select the candidates for you, you
do it yourself. There is a huge
difference between a candidate
trying to convince a political party
he is the man for the job and a
candidate that tries to convince his
electorate _directly_ he or she is
the man for the job. The second
approach is tougher and more
transparent than the other inside a
political party. Already to become a
member of a political party, let
alone be candidate to represent
the electorate, one has to make
many compromises to one's beliefs
(and by doing so you represent
less your own convictions and
more the political party's power
hungry, sponsored strategic
||For big business it is much more
difficult to 'buy' many of those
individual candidates compared to
just financing a political party. An
individual will lose integrity (and
votes) if journalists find out he eats
out of the hand of big business
and not has the interest of his
electorate in mind. Unless when it
is a candidate that thinks big
business is his electorate.
||rrr: This stuff below of course all pertains to US politics but can probably be adjusted to others.
||Drafting can occur along two tracks.
||Let's take the easy one first -- that's the drafting of assumed to be qualified candidates. This occurs all the time today. Parties "draft" candidates to run, Bill Clinton "drafted" Wesley Clark to run, etc. Furthermore, everyone in government who is in an appointed role, every Secretery and Under Secretary is drafted by the President, and presumably staff members for members of Congress as well, and, of course, to the Supreme Court -- though there are many elected judges in the US as well.
||So it's easy to imagine a scenario where many elected offices are filled by qualified individuals who go through a hearings process.
||The second, much harder to swallow scenario is that we literally lottery elected seats among qualified citizens. Most would object to this on the grounds that the various staff organizations and lobbies would simply become more powerful. To me this is an elitist argument that has also been used against term limits.
||And finally, my personal belief is that long term goal of direct voting instead of the House of Representatives is achievable, leaving the Senate, The President and the courts as they are today.
||An Internet Party ran in the last NZ elections.
It's policy incubator page is oddly like the Halfbakery: in the sense
that party members can make proposals, comment on them, and vote
for them (see links). As for the quality of the policy ideas? No
||I kinda had the same idea.. I called it the Invisible Party. Once the election is over the "party" disappears. It would use crowd funding to support a particular candidate. Basically one party per candidate which may share some of the same mailing lists. And outlaw all radio and tv ads by candidates to even the playing field for the little guy running. The internet made it possible for Dell to compete with IBM back in the day and can do the same for candidates. The government would be required to have a website with links to all the official websites of the candidates in a race so you could research what they believe. Let's do it in the U.S. And get rid of all the laws on Precinct Committeemen and primary elections.... let people organize as they choose and run all the candidates against each other during only one General Election. May the best candidate win!