After the demise of the ideologies, all that’s left in modern day politics is about slightly different takes on all the biggest troubles. A number of current political parties were born after the end of the said ideologies, often as heirs of a lost tradition used as a connection for the eldest part of the electoral body. Usually, these parties are ruled by a bunch of fat cats, people that were in politics since the dinosaur era, and pushing such an organization toward modernization is nothing less than a desperate task.
Those parties more than ever appeal for a direct involvement of the public, in order to grab a bit of money and/or to select some fresh face to present to the media. For a newcomer, meaning that for somebody who never pursues a political-oriented carrier before, the impact with the reality of a political party could be worrisome. It’s also a wonderful way to understand – firsthand – the reasons why such organization should be modernized at once. Important notice: “modernized” is to be intended as “radically reformed”.
Our newcomer, after the initial shock, is likely to be disgusted by the internal organization of the party, ashamed by the blatant nepotism and worried by the unclear path followed by the money. At this moment the newbie is ready and willing to run away, ready to enlist in the growing number of disgruntled former activists. This is the moment when an old hand takes the newcomer under his (hers) protective wing and enunciate the magic words: you have to change the party from the inside if you want to succeed (true story, I can testify it).
The new member of the party, fueled by enthusiasm and hope for the future, usually stay in the organization and tries his (her) best to push on the modernization. In a matter of few months, even the most motivated understand the bleak truth: the party don’t really want to change, the rule of the fat cats is commonly accepted and new ideas are considered less than nothing. Our political hero resigns and goes back to the real world, blaming himself (herself) for the time wasted.
Sooner or later a number of this citizens bands together and create a new political subject. This time, they say, everything will be different. They learn from the past mistakes and from their awful experience in the old party. A new subject, built anew, will be the perfect way to face the modern challenges and lead to bright future. A pity that is very difficult to reach the potential voters. It’s almost a paradox, but they will need a lot of money and people to reach the minimum mass of voters needed to sustain their party and became a real factor on the national political scene. Said money is not available to the new party and even with a massive use of social media is very difficult to get enough volunteers to help.
The final result is that the old parties are slowly deteriorating, losing voters and members every year, while new parties are popping up like popcorn for a few months before vanishing. The whole political scene is coming down, with a declining number of voters and a growing number of citizens who call themselves out of the democratic system. Marches and social media activism are used as substitutes of traditional politics, showing that there a lot of people who wants to do something but plain refuse to support the old ways. We have another paradox at hand; we need the strength and the organization of the old parties, but we also need to get rid of the fat cats (and of their close acolytes) to win back the trust of the citizens. Of course, the fat cats will not collaborate.
Is there a way out? In my opinion, yes. Once again, the answer comes straight from history. The process needed to create a new party should start from the destruction of the oldest organizations. But the new organization cannot become a copy of the old one, with a new generation of fat cats in power. Social media and internet-based tools could become handy to build political programs and/or to organize initiatives but are not enough. People needs to meet face-to-face, to physically feel the presence of the others. It’s a slow process, it will take years to build up and it will require a lot of patience (not to mention money, of course). On the other hand, we need to change. We already what the alternative is, isn’t it?