6.6.1 Individual Participation in Politics
Individual participation in politics is open to everyone. Democracies offer more scope, but people can be active in any political system.
Not everyone tries to participate in politics. Political apathy is a problem, as described for example in a UK parliamentary report: Political disengagement in the UK: Who is disengaged?:
“People are politically disengaged if they do not know, value or participate in the democratic process. Research suggests that while some people are unhappy with the way democracy functions and would like to have more opportunities to participate, others share their unhappiness but do not want more involvement. In the UK, political disengagement takes different forms and is more prevalent among certain groups than others.”
The related topic of disillusion with politicians was analysed above (6.3.9), where it was largely attributed to people’s dissatisfaction with their circumstances. People might be energised by examples of successful protest for example (18.104.22.168), but otherwise education would seem to be the only way of showing them that they can make a difference – as discussed later (6.8.1).
People’s moral values influence their participation in politics (4.3.4), affecting their personal preferences in political ideology and approaches (6.2.1), and determining which politicians and policies they support (6.2.6).
They can participate in several ways, as described in the following sub-sections:
● They can be politically active by campaigning for specific causes (6.1.1). There are many ways of doing this, even in political systems which are not democratic.
● They influence their fellow citizens in personal interactions, by making their views known and thereby encouraging others to follow them (6.1.2).
● By using Internet social media they can influence other people anywhere in the world, at any level of subsidiarity (6.1.3).
This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books. An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/661a.htm.