Saturday, March 21, 2009


The question, "Is the Party still a viable method of political organisation? " gets to the heart of some very fundamental dilemmas.

I'm probably different than most socialists, most anarcho-syndicalists, most communists, in that along the way while resigning myself to making a living within the Capitalist system, I picked up a MBA degree.

In "Organizational Behavior" class, I did my paper on "Participatory Management". I learned a few useful lessons, thus.

At an earlier period in my life, while participating in group self-study seminars with the Society of Friends, we operated on the principle of consensus in decision making. That is, we did not proceed until everyone concurred. Suffice to say, sometimes, if not often, the group progressed very slowly. On the other hand, we learned everybuddy's perspective and in a SMALL GROUP (a soviet) we eventually began to reach consensus faster, as we learned the perspectives and increased our own knowledge bases with respect to the questions at hand, and learned to respect and defer to others who either knew more or seemed to know more and/or had the respect and following of others in the group. Sometimes, if not often, participants would accede to the majority for the sake of expediency, having to weigh the importance of their disagreement, and/or having to weigh the confidence in one's knowledge and opinion with respect to the issue at hand.

In the "discipline" of Organizational Behavior, there are certain types of recognized authority.

One, which I know we all are familiar with, is called "legitimate" authority. I think a better term for it is "legitimized" authority. This is the authority delegated to an individual by the organization (e.g. a CEO, a Manager, a Foreman).

Another type of authority is called "expert" authority. Such occurs in a group when the members of a group either correctly or incorrectly identify an individual or individuals who have more knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom with respect to the matters at hand and defer to that authority.

If there is a need for "legitimized" authority then certainly it should come from one's "expert" authority (i.e. from the "bottom, up"). I know that some will object to the term, "bottom, up" because it implies a hierarchy. But the study of animal and human behavior teaches us that hierarchies are natural and will always occur. Would it not be optimal to assure that those hierarchies are based on the correct criteria, such as intentions, experience with respect to the matters at hand, wisdom, education and knowledge of the matters at hand, compassion, empathy, and intelligence? Is there always adequate time for a group to correctly discern the correct "expert" authority when someone who has "public relations" skills can outshine someone with the more noble attributes of "public service"?

Given that we all have limited combinations of knowledge, education (and of the kind that is oriented towards the best of intentions), experience, direct and indirect wisdom, empathy, compassion, tolerance, pride, etc., don't we all run the risk of falling into dogmatic thinking, thus following authoritarian (especially if talented orators and "target marketers" (e.g. Obama))?

I submit to you that such concerns are fundamental to the original question about whether a Party is a viable method of political organization. Being an anarcho-syndicalist of sorts, I transfer the question to one that precedes political organization with one that is concerned with ecological economic organization (ecology means the study of the home, economics means the management of the home).

Still, can we preclude the need for organization?

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