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15 Comp. Pol. Stud. 3 (1982-1983)

handle is hein.journals/compls15 and id is 1 raw text is: 




Dutch action groups are related to the single-issue groups and citizens' movements of
other advanced industrial societies. They are characterized by concentration on a single
issue, the use of direct action to mobilize public opinion, and relatively intense but brief
lives as organized political forces. Action groups are among the few channels of direct
political participation available in a highly institutionalized representative democracy.
This article uses survey evidence from the mass public and from local and national elites to
see if Dutch action groups are an effective channel of direct participation. For several
reasons, it turns out that they are not: (1) Although action group participation is one of the
more common   forms of Dutch political activity, it is a channel used mainly by young
middle-class leftists. (2) There is considerable mistrust of action groups by both mass and
elite. This is due primarily to disapproval of demonstrations and direct action tactics. (3)
As a result, political elites are unresponsive to action group demands. This is particularly
true at the national level; the evidence suggests that action groups are somewhat more
influential at the municipal level. Action groups must win the confidence of the
conservative portion of the population if they are to become the effective channels of direct
political participation that they have the potential to be. This would be a desirable
development from  the viewpoint of decreasing the distance between citizen and
government.






                              DIRECT DEMOCRACY

                                          OR ORGANIZED

                                                      FUTILITY?

                                             Action Groups in

                                                the Netherlands



                                             THOMAS R. ROCHON
                                                   Princeton University





 E mpirical instances of sovereign governments which practice direct
      democracy   have  not existed for centuries. They  have met the same
fate as the dinosaurs,  but  for the opposite  reason: Whereas   dinosaurs
were  too big to survive in their environment,  direct democracies  need  to


AUTHOR'S   NOTE:  An earlier version of this article waspresentedat the 1979 meeting of
the American Political Science Association.
COMPARATIVE POLITICAL STUDIES, Vol. 15   No. 1, April 1982 3-28
@  1982 Sage Publications, Inc.                                            3


from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

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