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New Forms of Political Representation: European Ecological Politics and the Montreal Citizen's Movement

Timothy Thomas
Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique
Vol. 28, No. 3 (Sep., 1995), pp. 509-531
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3232340
Page Count: 23
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New Forms of Political Representation: European Ecological Politics and the Montreal Citizen's Movement
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Abstract

In his examinations of the ecological parties of Belgium and West Germany, Herbert Kitschelt argues that he has found a new form of political representation that defies patterns of behaviour outlined for political parties by all previous scholarly work. These parties, which Kitschelt calls "left-libertarian," are unique because they lack the organizational structures common to traditional parties, and include in their membership constituencies that are normally more comfortable in social movements. This article compares the political platforms of these parties and the sociological characteristics of their activists with those of the Montreal Citizen's Movement (MCM) and concludes that the MCM is indeed a left-libertarian party. However, an examination of the MCM reveals that although Kitschelt has found a new form of political representation in the left-libertarian party, this new form does not actually defy the developmental patterns outlined by the classical studies of political parties. /// Herbert Kitschelt a démontré par ses études des partis écologist gique et d'Allemagne de l'Ouest qu'il existe maintenant de nouvelles formes de représentation politique qui ne ressemblent en rien au type de comportement organisationnel généralement identifié par la littérature qui fait autorité à l'égard des partis politiques. Ces partis, que Kitschelt qualifie de << libertaires de gauche >>, sont uniques en ce qu'ils n'affichent pas les structures organisationnelles que l'on retrouve généralement dans les partis traditionnels et s'appuient sur des effectifs qui s'identifient plus volontiers aux mouvements sociaux. Cet article compare les programmes politiques de ces partis et les caractéristiques sociologiques de leurs militants avec ceux du Rassemblement des citoyens de Montréal (RCM). Il conclut que le RCM s'apparente en effet à un parti libertaire de gauche. Toutefois, bien que Kitschelt ait associé le parti libertaire de gauche typique à l'émergence de nouvelles formes de représentation, un examen attentif du RCM révèle que ces nouvelles formes ne remettent pas nécessairement en question le mode de développement organisationnel mis en relief par les études classiques des partis politiques.

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