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Chris Fox's Politics Section

Political Participation

People are best able to take part in politics if they can enter government. In a totalitarian state, this happens either automatically or not at all. With anarchy, there is no such thing as government. In a direct democracy, the Legislature consists of the people; the parts of this chapter concerning elections to a Legislature therefore do not apply to such a society.

In a representative democracy, the politician must first be elected to the Legislature. This means standing in an election and canvassing for support; he can do this either alone or as a member of a political party.

Should the politician succeed at the election, he will be able to speak and vote in the Legislature. Subject to support from other members of the Legislature (or from the electorate, as the case may be), there will be a chance to serve on the Executive.

There are ways in which everyone - not just those in government - can take part in politics. They can vote in elections, and at these and other times can campaign on behalf of their views. Campaigns are aimed at influencing public opinion, government policy, or commercial or industrial practices. People can campaign either individually or with pressure groups.

Both political parties and pressure groups aim to bring together people of common principles and to provide a base for campaigns. But only political parties aim to get their members elected to government.

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