The Death of the Party
MOSCOW – Nearly 26 years ago, President Boris Yeltsin issued a decree that effectively banned Communist Party organs from operating in factories, universities, and all other workplaces across the Russian Federation. But Yeltsin’s bold decree was, in some ways, superfluous: the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), once a fearsome organizational weapon, had already been decimated by its own incompetence and brutality, to the point that the public was simply indifferent to it.
Today, once-great political parties in the West and some developing countries also seem to be on a fast track to oblivion. But whereas the CPSU’s demise was perfectly logical – Yeltsin’s decree came just months before the Soviet Union’s collapse – the decline of major political parties in countries like France and India is not so easy to explain.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron has just secured a massive majority in the French National Assembly for his own year-old movement, ostensibly consigning the Socialist Party – with which Macron himself was affiliated while serving as economy minister – to Trotsky’s dustbin of history. France’s other major mainstream party – the center-right Republicans, rooted in Charles de Gaulle’s political legacy – does not seem to be doing much better.