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Problematic Feelings about Parties: Excerpts from the Staats-Lexikon: "Parties" (1845-1848)

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There are two kinds of interests, special interests and general human interests. The former are rights, privileges; the latter is the law. The fundamental characteristic of privileges is discrimination against the whole in favor of a few. The fundamental characteristic of justice or law is respect for the rights and needs of each individual.

There are, corresponding to these two kinds of interests, two kinds of parties: representatives of privileges and representatives of human interests.

By way of content, parties of the first kind are similar to each other, they have a common principle, the same aims and interests; by way of form, they are divided into three main classes, whose difference is determined by the methods which each individual one uses to realize its aims. Since privileges represent nothing more than favoring some at the cost of the whole, a subordination of general interests to special interests, a degradation of the whole into a means and tool for some, therefore the parties of privileges belong to one of these classes, depending on the method whereby the whole is exploited for their purposes, used as a means, made to work in their interests.

The first class stands for that party which uses the power of the state directly in order to force the whole to act in its interest, to work, to produce, to hand over a portion of its products to the holders of state power under some form and pretext. This party represents political absolutism. Political absolutism gives the representative of this party the right to organize the state in such a way, i.e. to formulate the manner in which state power is applied, that the private interest of the holder of this power, and of those whom he has drawn into his interest – whom he, in order to use them as tools, has turned into his accessories – are placed above the interests of the whole.

The second class stands for that party which uses people's religious feeling to keep them in a condition in which they are inclined to work, to produce, to relinquish a portion of the fruits of their labor in the interests of this kind of privilege holder. These are the priests, the representatives of the church, as they have developed in the course of time and especially as they were trained by Gregory VII and the Innocents.

The third class, finally, stands for that party which uses the institutions of production and commerce in order to have the entire community work in its service, to compel them to relinquish a portion of the fruits of their labor. These are the representatives of capital, the so-called bourgeois.

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