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A political organization is any organization that involves itself in the political process, including political parties, non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups and special interest groups. Political organizations are those engaged in political activities (e.g., lobbying, community organizing, campaign advertising, etc.) aimed at achieving clearly-defined political goals, which typically benefit the interests of their members.
While parties are one type of political organization that may engage in some or all of those activities, they are distinct in that they typically focus on supporting candidates for public office, winning elections and controlling government.
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The most well known type of political organisation is the political party. Political parties are directly involved in the political processes of countries with party systems, of which there are several types.
In democratic multi-party systems such as India, there is no restriction on the amount of parties allowed to be in operation at any given time. Under these types of systems, people are free to participate in the political process both through elections and by forming their own political parties as they please.
A fundamental flaw in this system is that it leads to a surplus of political parties resulting in a disorganised political atmosphere. However, the democratic system entails the freedom for political organisations to develop into political parties, which acts as a counterweight against corruption. An example of a political organisation which exercised this freedom is the AAP, which evolved from a simple anti-corruption advocacy group into a proper political party in protest against the dominance of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Congress in India.
In democratic systems, political parties essentially represent the motives and agenda of its founders and corporate sponsors.
Major examples of multi-party systems are:
Single party systems
Under single-party systems, a single political party exercises absolute control over the government. Unlike under other systems, single-party systems do not necessarily extend democratic privileges to the citizens. This means that citizens have very little say regarding political subjects.
Major examples of single-party systems are:
Two-party systems are similar to multiparty systems in that power is not concentrated in one party and that parties have to consider the opinion of the general public in order to retain power by winning elections. However, two-party systems restrict the people's democratic rights by not authorising the citizen's to found their own political parties.
Most two-party systems are technically multiparty systems but all power is effectively concentrated amongst two parties or coalitions.
Major examples of two-party systems are:
Another type of political organisation is the party coalition. A party coalition is a group of political parties operating together in parliament. Oftentimes, party coalitions are formed after elections have taken place and no party has clearly won a majority seat in parliament (e.g. the AAP-Congress Government in Delhi). Other coalitions are formed prior to elections and are effectively agreements between two or more parties to run jointly in elections and to pursue similar agendas (e.g. the National Democratic Alliance in India, and the Liberal/National Coalition in Australia).
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A labour union (or trade union) is a political organisation formed in order to ensure the rights of workers.
Labour unions have several important roles in modern politics, including:
- Organising strikes and Mass strikes
- Negotiating with employers on behalf of workers
- Ensuring that workers aren't fired without severance pay
- Assuring that workers receive reasonable salaries
Unlike other political organisations, labour unions don't participate in elections although they may lobby on behalf of parties supporting their positions. Labour unionisation is essentially a simple way for workers to maintain unity and preserve their rights. Often, major corporations antagonise the principle of labour unionisation since it results in heavier employment regulations which restrict the powers of big business to fire workers at will, effectively causing economic difficulties for such companies.