Welcome to the second meeting of the seminar. I need perhaps to clarify our purpose here.
First, regarding the seminar concept: I am hoping that we can all work to teach each other interesting and useful lessons on various topics. My vision is that we would come together on a topic, discuss it the first time it is laid out, and then over a period of several weeks, we would each go out and find material that will illustrate the topic and provoke further discussion and learning. Perhaps in the end of a particularly fruitful discussion, a summary article could be written and published.
The various topics for discussion will burst forth from the fertile and fevered minds of myself and anyone else who cares to offer such a topic. I would for the time being limit us to politics and policy, as that is the main focus of the site.
I came by the first topic after reading umpteenth complaints that the Dems were the same as the Rethugs (thanks for that, Ralph, you putz. Al Gore would have been president were it not for you). That and the endless threats of the tiresome Puritans to bolt the Dems and go join the Greens. I usually have something snarky to respond to such tripe, but I would be glad to have more substantive information.
In our first effort most of our correspondents did not quite follow the question, which is: What number of parties is ideal for developing progressive societies? There was much chat about how difficult it is to launch a third party in the US, which is a valid point, but not quite on point.
Several of our correspondents revealed extensive knowledge of the workings of political systems other than the US. These I am eager to have explored further. How many parties are actually active in Germany? How progressive is German politics and society? Can we draw parallels between the two concepts?
Nellie told of her experiences with her local Greens party. While it is a bit off the topic, certainly if a party cannot build any sort of leadership, it is not going to bring any to the legislature.
We also walked around the distinction of parlimentary systems and our own seperation of powers. To the extent that it illustrates the question of how many parties work in which system, we could take that up again.
Last week’s discussion is here:
Give that a review in order to get caught up.
A particularily interesting link in there was:
Kick some ideas around and I’ll come back in.