Thursday, September 07, 2006

In Praise of Factions

One of the biggest challenges of a movement (even if it isn't a "party") is to articulate its core values.  Right now, there just seems to be a vague (if sincere) commitment to "civil discourse about substantial issues."  But, that only goes so far.  A quick scan of the forums indicates lots of voices, but little progress towards any meaningful consensus.  In such a world, the gatekeepers can frankly draw pretty much any conclusion they want!

What's the solution? As strange as it may sound, I think Unity '08 needs factions.  That is, it needs well-defined groupings that can attract adherents, articulate consensus policies within their realm of shared values, and compete for "hearts-and-minds" within the larger, civil space that Unity '08 has carved out.

To be sure, factions are usually a dirty word -- much like partisan!  But really, they're the only way I see to form any sort of coherent group identity, lest Unity '08 degenerate into a mere amorphous blob.

The trick is to figure out how to allow factions to self-organize around their preferred (and shared) principles, while still maintaining allegiance to the higher goal of civility...

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