The Concept of Membership

  • M. Duverger


The distinction between cadre and mass parties is not based upon their dimensions, upon the number of their members: the difference involved is not one of size but of structure. Consider, for example, the French Socialist party: in its eyes the recruiting of members is a fundamental activity, both from the political and the financial standpoints. In the first place, the party aims at the political education of the working class, at picking out from it an elite capable of taking over the government and the administration of the country: the members are therefore the very substance of the party, the stuff of its activity. Without members, the party would be like a teacher without pupils. Secondly, from the financial point of view, the party is essentially based upon the subscriptions paid by its members: the first duty of the branch is to ensure that they are regularly collected. In this way, the party gathers the funds required for its work of political education and for its day-to-day activity; in the same way it is enabled to finance electioneering: the financial and the political are here at one. This last point is fundamental: every electoral campaign represents considerable expense.


Cadre Parti Capitalist Financing Socialist Party Political Education Universal Suffrage 
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Copyright information

© Jean Blondel 1969

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  • M. Duverger

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