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Defining Political Parties (assembly discussion)

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Demo Game Revival: Citizens' started by Lord Civius, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. Lord Civius

    Lord Civius Chieftain

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    I come not as your Judge Advocate but as a citizen and member of the Assembly. It is the recommendation of the Judiciary that the legislative branch define what constitutes a political party. It was the opinion of the court in a 2-1 majority that a political party is defined as...

    This is Donsigs definition and Nobodys' definition was very similar. The dissenting opinion by yours truly was that the constitution does not define a political party and "any group organized under shared political ideals" should constitute a political party.

    I think my opinion was too broad while the majority opinion was too narrow. So it is up to the assembly of Hibernia citizens to define a political party and add it to our code of laws. Let the discussion begin. Keep in mind we are in the Assemby and all citizens voices are equal.
     
  2. Bowsling

    Bowsling Chieftain

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    I think my definition would be the same as donsig.
     
  3. Cyc

    Cyc Looking for the door...

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    The banning of political parties is stated in Article A of the Constitution. This Article deals with a citizen's rights. The right to free speech, the right to vote, etc. The banning of political parties concludes the first Article. Why is this, I ask myself. Why at the end of the Article where the Constitution guarantees all these rights, does it say "But, you can't go this far..."

    Is it because political parties infringe on the rights guaranteed us? Is it because political parties lead to the disolvement of the unity that our citizens have come to expect? And is that unity a right, a natural right of the people of Hibernia?

    How can political parties threaten to divide our people's will to be as one? Political parties seek to separate groups for the advantage of personal gain for the leaders of the party. Let's face it, not very many political parties, if any at all, base their goals on the wishes and motives of the lower ranks. Political parties are driven by their leaders, who coerce their followers to do their bidding. Whether that be voting for or against another citizen or an issue that the leaders of the party have been monitoring and have felt the need to influence the outcome of.

    So maybe a political party can be defined as a group of citizens whose leaders tend to infringe on the rights of its members, in one way or another. In any way. Even if the infringement can not be tied directly to the leaders, but say to the charter or some other documentation. The key is the infringement, not the specific placement of blame.
     
  4. Ashburnham

    Ashburnham Chieftain

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    Quite the populist rablerousing from our president, eh?

    A political party is, at its simplest, a group organized around shared political beliefs. Without this core idea, no political party would exist. All the organizational chicanery and political machinations others have assigned to political parties are secondary to that one truth.

    An apt comparision to the many variations of the argument given above would be to say that the police department exists to shoot people. This is, of course, not true. The police department exists to uphold the peace, it is only the means in which they do so that is open to debate. Similarly, a political party is a group centered on a shared political belief (the very name "political party" states this fact). All the partisan political schemes many have mentioned are secondary to this basic fact.

    I disagree with the Judiciary's ruling on the AADP's standing as a political party. As neither the Constitution nor the Code of Laws defines the term 'political party', I would think the judges would use the real world definition. That definition has been given several times (namely by myself) and won't bear repeating. Furthermore, justices Donsig and Nobody make an error in judgment when they assume that the AADP will not organize its membership for votes during an election. The AADP has not existed long enough to participate in an election, and any assumption on their electoral designs is without merit*.

    I do believe that groups such as the AADP should be allowed to exist in our Democracy. I believe the Judiciary agrees with me on this point, which is why they made an error in judgment. To use my example from above, we should not ban police departments, we should ban gun violence. Given the extent to which this situation has grown, I believe an alteration to our Constitution is necessary.

    We should change Article A of our Constitution, which currently states:
    and make it:
    Such practices would be determined by our Judiciary on a case by case basis (the amount of discussion on this topic makes it clear that such judgments would have a solid grounding). This change gives us the benefit of keeping well-minded political groups-- such as the AADP-- while prohibiting the partisan politics we all loathe and fear.


    *Having said that, I do agree with the majority that the AADP is without malicious partisan political goals. But my point stands that we cannot know this.
     
  5. Lord Civius

    Lord Civius Chieftain

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    Great points so far guys. I am beginning to see a pattern and I believe we can begin working on legislation of defining what constitutes a political party. I believe foremost we should start with the Judiciaries definition.

    IMO this is a narrow interpretation but the point is valid. Any citizen group that only allows citizens to join their group if they vote for their proposed candidates should be banned. However there is more to a political party than partisan voting practices. Why not just "no citizen group can refuse a citizen of Hibernia membership". Ashburnham went a little further and suggested we ban all exclusionary political practices. Cyc has also added that a group of citizens whose leaders tend to infringe on the rights of its members, in one way or another should constitute a political party. So protecting the constitutional rights of the members in the citizen groups while also upholding the groups right to assemble seems to be the goal of this legislation.
     
  6. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    I hope the AADP and other citizens groups do participate in our election process. That is what democracy is all about. I see nothing wrong with a citizen group endorsing candidates and urging members to vote a certain way as long as there is no coercion involved.

    I agree with your points here. I am leaning towards supporting your proposed constitutional amendment. I just want to see if Lord Civius has a different proposal for us to consider.
     
  7. Cyc

    Cyc Looking for the door...

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    It goes beyond being exclusionary. That's way to vague. Think more on the infringement part.
     
  8. Lord Civius

    Lord Civius Chieftain

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    Ashs' ammendment would lift the ban on political parties but outlaw "exclusionary political practices". This coincides with the Judiciaries ruling and expands it to all exclusionary practices (not just elections). Cyc, I believe any infringements on a citizens rights by a citizens group or political party could be dealt with under the constitution as is. Article A gives all citizens the right to request an investigation into possible violations of law. So if a citizen feels his rights are being infringed he has an avenue of recourse through an official investigation from the Judiciary. The constitution as is does not ban exclusionary practices and as we stand a citizen would have no recourse if he found himself a victim of such practices.

    So what should we do?
    A. Add the judiciaries majority definition of a political party to our code of laws.
    B. Ammend article A of the Constitution lifting the ban on political parties but outlawing exclusionary political practices.
     
  9. Cyc

    Cyc Looking for the door...

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    How about adding to Ashburnham's amendment. Add a detailed definition to exclusionary political practices before we go any further? Not what you believe it is, but one that will be in the amendment, as part of the law.
     
  10. Lord Civius

    Lord Civius Chieftain

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    I agree, we should have a detailed definition of what constitutes exclusionary practices.

    Exclusionary practices are defined as

    Any act that prevents a citizen membership to a citizen group or restricts a citizen from full participation in the group.
    Any act that coerces or mandates a member to vote according to his/her citizen groups candidate(s) or preference on a polled issue.

    Sorry I am in a hurry and I know these could be worded a little better. They would bar a citizen group from excluding a citizen from the group and forbid groups from coercing members to vote for the groups candidates or forcing members to side with the group on any given issue.
     
  11. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    I think the amendment as proposed is good. We'd need to put the definition of exclusionary practices in the code of laws.
     
  12. Ashburnham

    Ashburnham Chieftain

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    My inclination is to not provide a definition for exclusionary politics in the CoL but rather have it determined by judicial precedent. By having "exclusion" defined by the Judiciary on a case-by-case basis, we will end up with a more organic, reactive definition. This definition will also be tailored precisely for our Demogame.

    We have had no examples of exclusionary practices thus far in the Demogame (and, honestly, I doubt we will have any at all). Let us hold off on adding more lines to our lengthy CoL until absolutely necessary.
     
  13. Cyc

    Cyc Looking for the door...

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    You're right Ashburnham. Let not add more lines to our ruleset. As you say, "We have had no examples of exclusionary practices thus far in the Demogame (and, honestly, I doubt we will have any at all)". So why change the Constitution?
     
  14. Lord Civius

    Lord Civius Chieftain

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    I think a definition of exclusionary practices should be defined by the assembly. It is the responsibility of the legislature to write laws and the judiciary to make sure the law does not contradict/violate the constitution. Also with a definition on the books it will be far easier for the judiciary to find merit and prosecute a charge of exclusionary practice by a citizens group/political party.

    On the other hand JR1 was fun so a case by case basis would also be fine with me.
     
  15. Ashburnham

    Ashburnham Chieftain

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    The Constitution needs to be changed because of the very situation we find ourselves in right now. I feel that the change from "political parties" to "exclusionary political practices" is a sufficient remedy to the issues we face as a result of JR1. Citizen groups based on political ideals should be encouraged not outlawed. It is the destructive and divisive effect political parties often have that we must guard against.

    I am not opposed to adding a line to the CoL clarifying the proposed change in wording. However, I feel that any addition we add will be imperfect. I would much rather see a definition of "exclusion" provided by actual cases in the Judiciary.

    Besides, as Civius said, JRs are fun! ;)
     
  16. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    Exclusionary practices by itself doesn't seem to capture the entire difference between a political party and a citizen's group. Coercive and elitist practices should also be disallowed, IMO.
     
  17. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    I can see adding coercive but I'm not so sure about elitist. Moderators can be said to be elitist by definition. Must we really re-open old wounds?
     
  18. Cyc

    Cyc Looking for the door...

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    Exclusionary political practices and Coercive and elitist practices all sound grand and noble to ban, but what WE need are definitions of these three practices. WE can't just rubber stamp a ban on things of these elusive natures without involving some sort of definition. I'm sure AIG said in its charter "no elitest practices", but they also said that didn't cover 6 billion in bonuses.

    Just type up what these things mean so that they can be put in the CoL.
     
  19. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    Exclusionary is easy to define.

    A citizens group must allow any citizen to join. It must not prohibit members from joining other citizens groups. All activities of the citizens group must be open to the public view.

    Coercive can be a bit harder to nail down. We can list examples of coercive behaviors, but we don't want the definition to be limited to the list.

    Some possible coercive actions are:
    • Telling members they must vote a certain way
    • Threatening sanctions if a member acts / doesn't act a certain way
    • Ignoring input of members who are "out of favor" or making them feel unwelcome

    Other things citizens groups should not be able to do
    Spoiler :
    Elitism, but not calling it that out of deference to donsig

    • Arranging for members of the group to run for different offices so as to try to take control of the government
    • Organizing votes, in particular arranging that members only vote for members
    • Organized activities to discredit nonmembers as individuals and policies that oppose the group
     
  20. Cyc

    Cyc Looking for the door...

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    Good. I like this, DaveShack. I propose we just strike "Political parties are not permitted" from Article A and then use the vacant Article K for this amendment? This will keep our first Article free from all this extra dialog, plus use our empty slot in K.

    Article K ~ For the safety of the Demogame and the well-being of its citizens, it is forbidden to impose or infringe upon the rights of any citizen in the normal operation of a Citizen's Group. It matters not if these citizens are members of the Citizen's Group, no one should be subject to exclusionary political practices, coercive, and/or elitist practices by any group.

    Code of Laws K.1 could then list the definition and examples posted above. More or different language is welcome. By the way, I don't have problem with the term elitist. It fits well in this discussion.
     

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