Political life of modern society is complex, contradictory, and diverse. It has a huge number of participants (subjects of policies), one of the most prominent places among which belongs to political parties. Today it is hard to imagine the State without political parties. In most states of modern world there are at least two parties. Other states have multi-party systems.
Existence of political parties is one of the great achievements of civilization required for normal political institution. The party is the most political of all public institutions. Its purpose is to gain and maintain power. It is the implementation of forward and backward linkages between society and the state. Feedback helps the party to perform unique role – alignment, removing the political level of real and diverse interests existing or emerging in the society. The party is an essential element of the political system of society. It is an important policy framework.
The party is an organized group of associates, which represents and expresses political interests and needs of specific social groups of the society. Sometimes, it is a considerable part of the population.
Parties have great impact on politics and history. They drive the masses of people involving them in politics and thus, in many cases, providing a decisive influence on the course of history. The question arises: when political parties were born? They existed in their simplest form at the dawn of mankind when people began to realize themselves as a part of community. Their purpose was to survive in a bitter struggle with nature and with neighbouring tribes. With the emergence of the state, there appeared certain groups of people, whose goal was to capture the power or to achieve the maximum impact on the existing power.
Organized political parties appear even in a mature society. This clearly identifies interests of a particular section of a society. There is a concept of upper and lower classes and conditions of flirting with interests of lower classes are created. As a rule, party speaks on behalf of people as a force that is interested in improving lives of people and most of the lower class representatives. At a certain stage of historical development, the class parties appear.
There are many different political parties. Most of them are parties of peaceful renewal of society. Such parties are present in most countries. As a rule, there are two major parties in each country competing with each other and one smaller party, which does not play a significant role in the life of society. In England there is the Conservative Party and the Labour Party (Jennifer 2001). In the USA there is the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. These parties do not aim to overthrow the existing order and even do not make often attempts to change the constitution. For example, in England there is no written constitution. So there is nothing to change.
These parties know that if they get the power, it will not be for long. They also know that they will eventually have to give power to a rival party. They know what it takes to make a continued effort to attract the masses to their side. The work is diverse and includes systematic criticism and exposure of the rival party. Suffice it to recall sensational Watergate affair in the United States as a result of revelations of illegal activities, which led to resignation of President Nixon.
There were also parties of peace operations. In pre-revolutionary Russia such party was the party of the Cadets. An ideal Cadet is England, which has a limited monarchy.
There are also parties of revolutionary action, which aim to overthrowing the regime. Appearance of such parties was associated with emergence of social democratic parties in Western Europe. They set out to overthrow the capitalist system through revolution and create a society where there should be no place for exploitation of man by man.
It is not able to cover the history of political parties of all countries. However, it is important to mention that the West in its party building was ahead of the East and Russia. Russia almost always adopted party games as well as everything else from the West. Social Democrats and the Socialist-Revolutionaries are the first and most important existing parties. These parties have sought the overthrow of the monarchy and establishment of a republican system in the country.
Lenin said “Give us a party of revolutionaries, and we will move the world”. He proved it. Lenin created the Bolshevik party, the ideology of which he and his followers spread out to the whole world. They changed the world. They created the worldwide communist movement, the world socialist system, and such super-state as the Soviet Union.
In the creation and activities of the Bolshevik Party it is possible to see the role of personality and the role of people in history and politics. If there was no Lenin, there would be no Bolshevik Party.
Is existence of political parties good or bad for society? Nothing depends on this response, regardless of whether the response to this question is positive or negative. Parties continue to emerge. Each of them has certain objectives based on the fact that in any society there are different categories of people according to their relation to property or political power. There are rich and poor. There are also middle class representatives. This does not mean that these populations are grouped according to their position. They themselves could not do so. There are always people ready to take advantage of this kind of stratification in the society. They create ideology of a particular class. The examples of such people were Marx and Engels.
Social-democratic parties came to a conclusion that the revolution in their countries is not possible and is not necessary. They abandoned the idea of dictatorship of the proletariat, because the proletariat, which existed during the lives of Marx and Engels, no longer exists and because all classes of society suffer from dictatorial regime. They refused the idea of socialization of property. Thus, Swedish Social Democrats believe that it does not matter who owns the property. It is more important how property works for the benefit of people. This was essentially complete rejection of Marxism theory. Social democratic parties of the West have survived this metamorphosis. They turned into ordinary peaceful parties, which compete with each other in their countries.
In the West there were revolutionary parties of a different type, but also exploiting the socialist banner. These were fascist’s parties of Mussolini in Italy and Hitler’s National Socialists. This was one-party dictatorship focused on race theory and seeking to establish world domination. The fate of these parties is known. It was a collapse of the idea of a one-party system. Having multiple parties is a proof of existence of civil society and, at the same time, a guarantee to its preservation.
It is now important to discuss some aspects of one-party development in Russia. Year 1917, the Bolsheviks came to power and immediately deployed a policy of repression and persecution of dissidents. Russian writer Bunin called the events of those days “Damned days”. However, this was only the beginning. There was more to come. Political opponents were eliminated and trials of any party were arranged. Their leaders were expelled or destroyed physically. Then the eradication campaign of the exploiting classes began. The first stage of this was a civil war. The second stage – liquidation of kulaks as a class. At the same time, the repression of their own ranks began. The most active participants died, especially the followers of Lenin himself: Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Rykov, and Trotsky. The year 1937 was particularly significant. Repression did not stop for the next few years. Millions of people were killed and sent away. The revolution devoured its creators.
The Bolshevik Party was the only ruling party for many years. The party created the community of consensus. People gathered at rallies, demanding death penalty for enemies of people – agents of capitalist countries. These were the times when the son went against his father. The striking example was Pavlik Morozov, who denounced his own father. This was not an isolated example.
The society stood for the upbringing of social unanimity. It starts from school, where small children become the Octobrists. They put on the red ties, after that, they became the pioneers in organized units and detachments. From these children the parties grew the Komsomols. Komsomol was a reliable reserve for the party.
In such society all people had to follow the same ideological position and to think and act in the same way. There was no place for religion. It was a society of atheists. Believers were persecuted. Churches and mosques were closed. The property was nationalized. Private property was abolished and condemned.
As a result, the country came to what we have today. Soviet Union collapsed, the communist idea failed. In Eastern Europe after the World War II, communist regimes have experienced the same evolution and came to the same end. Their leaders went through personal tragedy. This is confirmed by the fate of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania and Erich Honecker in East Germany. The multi-mode style of life was then born.
So, history fully demonstrated the role of parties in society. As it is possible to see, the parties arise as a consequence of socio-economic development. They manifest themselves differently and manifest themselves in different conditions and in different countries.
However, it is not possible to totally research the role of parties in politics and history. The world changes all the time, which in the recent past was difficult to imagine. Life goes on and more is still to come.