Political Parties by Robert Michels

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Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1915. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER I INTRODUCTORY. THE CLASS STRUGGLE AND ITS DISINTEGRATING INFLUENCE UPON THE BOURGEOISIE The masses are not easily stirred. Great events pass before their eyes and revolutions are accomplished in economic life without their minds' undergoing profound modifications. Very slowly do they react to the influence of new conditions. For decades, and even for centuries, the masses continue to endure passively outworn political conditions which greatly impede legal and moral progress.1 Countries which from the economic point of view are fairly well advanced, often continue to endure for lengthy periods a political and constitutional regime which derives from an earlier economic phase. This is especially noteworthy in Germany, where an aristocratic and feudal form of government, the outcome of economic conditions which the country has outlived, has not yet been able to adapt itself to an economic development of the most advanced capitalist character. These historical phenomena, which at first sight appear paradoxical, arise from causes of two different orders. In the first place it may happen that classes or sub-classes representing an extinct economic form may survive from a time in which they were the authentic exponents of the then dominant economic relationships; they have been able to save from the wreck a sufficiency of moral prestige and effective political force to maintain their dominion in the new phase of economic and civil development, and to do this even in opposition to the expressed will of the majority of the people. These classes succeed in maintain 1' Unreflectingly, sometimes with a sigh, but often without a thought of the possibility of better things, the nations have borne for centuries, and continue to bear, all the burdens and all the shames imposed upon them by...

About Robert Michels

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Robert Michels was a German sociologist who spent the last 10 years of his life in Italy. In the English-speaking world, he is most famous for his book "Political Parties" (1911), in which he formulated the problem of the oligarchic tendencies of organizations. "He who says organization," he asserted, "says oligarchy." But political parties, he believed, are less oligarchic than single-purpose organizations concerned with specific reforms or with technical problems. An important study of the International Typographical Union, "Union Democracy" by Seymour M. Lipset, Martin A. Trow, and James S. Coleman (1956), has been said by some scholars to challenge many of Michels's findings about organizations. Rather, by pointing out the essential characteristics of a democratic trade union, this book confirms Michels's thesis. Michels also wrote about democracy, socialism, revolution, class conflict, trade unionism, mass society, nationalism, imperialism, and intellectuals, and he made intensive studies of the politics of the working class.
Published January 4, 2008 by Evergreen Review, Inc.. 432 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, History, Arts & Photography, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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