The party is a concept, in Latinmeaning "part". That is, it is part of some larger community. A party is a term that long before the emergence of associations in their modern form, groups of people were designated. They competed among themselves either in the sphere of power itself, or in its influence on it.
Even among the ancient Greek thinkers, we findmention of these associations. Aristotle, for example, wrote that in Attica in the 6th century BC. e. There was a struggle between the parties of the inhabitants of the mountains, the plains and the coast. Consequently, by this time it is possible to attribute their formation (its beginning). Parties in the Middle Ages were groups that were mostly temporary. It is known, for example, that in medieval England there was a war between two "parties", namely the Scarlet and White Roses. However, the emergence of their prototypes in the modern sense of the word can only be said from the moment of bourgeois revolutions. It is, first of all, the revolution in England in the 17th century. The party is an association that emerged as a result of the fact that the absolutist functions of the state were subjected to restriction. There was an autonomous personality who wanted to participate in the life of society, to influence the power. It was recognized that the existence of diverse interests in society is legitimate. After that, a political party appeared. This is a special tool designed to represent all these interests of people in the system of power.
There is a special science of partology that deals withtheir study. Political scientists have not yet come to a consensus on what a political party is. It can only be noted that at the moment there is no universally recognized definition. However, we can identify the most significant signs that separate it from other political organizations. These include the following:
- minimal formal organization;
- program of joint activities;
- the existence of a special social status, including the desire to directly influence political life, as well as an important role in the conduct of elections, in the preparation of the election campaign;
- a special position in the state, including the connection of the party with the elements of its mechanism, participation in the functioning and formation of government mechanisms;
- social base;
- a special legal regime, which means the regulatory regulation of party activities and its special constitutional and legal status.
Based on these characteristics, we can give a generaldefinition. The party is a voluntary political organization, which includes individuals with common ideals and interests, and which seeks to gain political power or participate in its implementation. The main distinguishing feature distinguishing it among other clubs, movements and organizations is participation in the mechanism of power, a claim to it. Although this sign is the most important, parties can take different positions in relation to the existing authorities. For example, they can be in the opposition, advocating the overthrow of the established order. The opposition can be directed not only against the state as a whole, but also against the policies of the current government. The party can also take part in government bodies, in the government, act as a partner of other parties. In addition, she is able to form a government on her own. Parties, having achieved this, in some cases strive to strengthen their monopoly on power, while violating the rule of law, that is, eliminating the opposition. Speech in this case is about the identification of the party with the state.
Considering the structure of the modern party, it is necessary to distinguish the following three levels:
1. The highest level is representation in the system of power. These are officials who work in the state apparatus, who received their posts due to membership in the party: a member of parliament, a governor, a president, a deputy of the party.
2. The next level is the middle one. It belongs to the official party organization.
3. The lowest level is the voter bloc. This is a mass base, which provides support for party candidates during the election campaign. Note that belonging to this group is based more on the declared commitment. Official involvement is less significant - it is not necessary to be included in the relevant list. Parties can be supported without signing official papers.
Let us now consider the types of political parties. They express their ideological basis, social nature, the main social role role of a particular party, the nature of its methods of operation and its internal structure.
They, according to M. Duverger, formed as a result of the evolution of political clubs. Their main task is to mobilize influential people in this or that constituency in order to provide support to a large number of voters representing different strata of the population and having different ideological orientations. Many modern European parties with a conservative orientation are of this type. They are characterized by free membership, that is, there is no system for registering members, their list. These parties are also marked by the availability of regular contributions. In addition, their composition is unstable. The activity of batches of this kind is manifested mainly during the elections. Specific examples: Democratic and Republican Party of the United States.
Mass parties emerged as a result of the emergence ofuniversal suffrage. They are large organizations with a high degree of ideology and a complex internal structure. These parties form their social base mainly from the lower strata of the population. Basically they are socialist, communist and social-democratic. They have a fixed membership, party discipline. They are characterized by a high degree of organization. They operate on an ongoing basis, they have a ramified management apparatus and many local organizations. The orientation of such a party is to recruit new members. Thus, political and financial problems are solved. A concrete example is the Russian Communist Party.
This division is based on methodsrecruiting members. In open parties, the introduction is not regulated in any way. In closed it is supposed to observe formalities and conditions: questionnaires, recommendations, decision of local party leadership. The strict regulation of admission in the past was characteristic of the CPSU and other socialist and communist parties. Today there was a problem of narrowing the social base. The bulk of the games became an open type.
Depending on the place in the political system the party occupies, two types are distinguished.
1. Ruling. When they come to power, the program of the party begins to be realized, the government is formed. The party becomes ruling as a result of the conducted elections to the legislative body of the state. In this case, it is not necessarily one - there may be several. In this case, the ruling parties form a coalition.
2. Opposition parties. These are those who were defeated in the last elections or were not admitted to them by the current regime. They focus their activities on criticizing the course established by the government, as well as on creating alternative programs for the development of society. Opposition parties can be divided, in turn, into those that play a significant role in public life, and those that do not play it. For example, on November 7, 2001, presidential elections were held in the United States. As a result, the ruling party was the Republicans, the opposition (playing a significant role) - Democrats, and about 20 opposition parties were not playing a significant role. There is one more division. Among the opposition parties, legal, that is, acting under the law, are singled out; illegal; and not prohibited, but also unregistered.
In the ideological sense, the following types are distinguished:
- ideological and political, based on ideology: social democratic, communist, fascist, conventional, liberal;
- problem-oriented, which are concentrated around a particular problem or group (women's parties, "green" parties);
- Electoral - inter-ideological, and sometimes even nonideological organizations, which have a whole set of goals and are aimed at attracting the broad masses of the population.
Political parties of the early 20th century relied onnamely ideology. However, in our days the situation has changed. In Western European society today, ideology is losing its significance, whereas before it was a powerful weapon of the parties. Nowadays, informatization and technocraticization take place, the super-ideology of science, rationalism and knowledge appears. Therefore, modern parties have to fit into new conditions that require significant political risk. As a result of the weakening of ideology, active media actions, the influence of electoral technologies on party elections, etc., they lose a stable electorate. Therefore, according to a number of political scientists, a new type is being created in Western Europe. There are parties electorally professional.
Their distinctive features are as follows. These associations of persons, small in number, who have special training, have the skill of professional work with potential voters. In their activities they go directly to the electorate. At the same time, these parties are financed through special funds and interest groups. They are characterized by personalized leadership. This means that each party leader understands with which particular group of interests he is connected, for whom and with whom he works. Such associations are reminiscent of "information-technocratic mutants" that are ramming the election system.
In conclusion, we note that the typology of political parties as a whole is rather conditional. In fact, each of them may have features characteristic of different species.</ p>