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“All political parties share three essential traits. They are created to generate collective passions, designed to exert collective pressure upon the minds of its members and motivated to seek their own growth at the expense not just of other parties, but the nation itself”.
Andrew Nikiforuk, an award-winning journalist and a contributing editor to The Tye, in Party’s Over: Why We Need to Abolish Political Parties, refers to Simone Weil’s radical essay, published in 1950.
She called for the abolition of political parties, condemning the political parties that in 1940 helped to prepare the ground for France’s military defeat.
Nikiforuk reflects that when she observes that “nearly everywhere, instead of thinking, one merely takes sides: for or against,” we recognize she is describing not just France 75 years ago, but the politicians who seem to be steering our own country to social and economic disaster in the United States today.
Computer scientist Eric (Rick) Hehner, emeritus professor at the University of Toronto writes: “A party controls its members by blackmail. If you ever want to advance within the party, to become a minister, or even just be a candidate in the next election, you must toe the party line.
“The people who advance are not those who have their own ideas and integrity; MPs are reduced to cardboard cutouts. Power is concentrated in the hands of a handful of people: the rulers of the ruling party. This is not democracy.
“Without political parties, elections and parliament and government all work perfectly well. In an election, every candidate is an independent, and is free to speak their mind. Voters choose the candidate they feel best represents them. In each new parliament, the first order of business is for MPs to elect the ministers of a government from among themselves. Those ministers then serve parliament. If the ministers (including prime minister) lose the confidence of parliament, then parliament can replace them, without triggering a general election. On each issue, an MP is free to vote as they think their constituents want them to vote, or to vote according to their conscience”.
He cites as working models Nebraska, in the Northwest Territories, in Nunavut, and most city and regional governments.
A search revealed that Nebraska has ‘a nonpartisan legislative body’; there are no formal party alignments or groups within the Legislature. Coalitions tend to form issue by issue based on a member’s philosophy of government, geographic background and constituency (Wikipedia).
“We have always been The United States of America but have now become the Divided States. This is not what or who we are.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to abolish our party system. Politics has become more divisive than rooting for our favorite sports team. We are wallowing in a mentality of us against them. Our Congress gets little done as they’re too busy opposing one another, blocking bills, instigating endless filibusters and campaigning party against party.
“Court justices would be unbiased politically, as there would be no party to be beholden to; there would be no gerrymandering; nor voter suppression nor voter intimidation nor voter fraud. Big money wouldn’t be able to buy a party, most importantly we would just be voters voting for who we feel is best.
“Without the divide of parties Congress would work together, actually accomplishing something. The House of Representatives, Senate and presidency would work as our founding fathers envisioned: “Together for the Good of America”.
Nyasha Francis Nyaungw reports in Namibia’s Observer that Angelina Immanuel (left) from Namibia, who is running as an independent candidate in the Ondangwa Urban by-election scheduled for June 15 has made a case for the abolition of the country’s political party system which she says has not worked in the last 29 years.
In her promise to the residents of Ondangwa, Immanuel argues that the current political party system has brought about corruption, maladministration, incompetence, weak leadership and sluggish development patterns.
She says the system has led to a situation where individual weaknesses, failures and capabilities are not assessed by the electorate who are told to vote for candidates just because they belong to a certain political party;
“The candidates that come from these political parties and eventually win are thus not loyal to the residents and only listen to the instructions and wishes of those running political parties in Windhoek. The residents and citizens’ concerns, no matter the amount of protests or complaints they make, are not listened to unless people in Windhoek say so.”
Time for change?