February 28, 2005

Raising a Political Class

In 1989, I bent the ear of anybody I could in the romanian-american community that Romania needed political schools to raise up a democratic political class. Being under the age of 40 at the time (heck, I'm still under 40) I wasn't taken seriously. But ten years later I heard the laments that if only such a school had been created, the debacle of the 1996 opposition government would have been avoided.

There was just no critical mass of new thinkers who understood that if you build your campaign about the promise to resign if you can't get your program through in 200 days, day 201 should see mass resignations and new elections. The result was in 2000, the opposition parties who led the way in that government, including my personal favorite, PNT-cd were obliterated and only the liberals who had cannily maintained enough distance to avoid the blowback managed to survive.

I bring this up because I'm hearing an awful lot of talk about EU cynicism, about how the EU political class simply does not trust the people, does not permit them a real say in how things are run, and they specialize in back room deals that make the franchise something of a joke as real choice is leached out of the system.

The solution is as obvious today as it was in 1989. Somebody needs to plunk down the money, in country after country, to raise a political class in the EU republics dedicated to the proposition that citizens are the ultimate authority, that the political class are their servants, and that rise or fall, politics will be conducted honestly.

It's a strikingly impractical suggestion. It's as impractical as the suffragettes, the good government movements that brought down the corrupt urban machines, as impractical as the civil rights movement. Such a movement would require vision and a march through the institutions as tenacious as the fabian's was a century ago.

Posted by TMLutas at February 28, 2005 11:20 PM