I believe democracy has two fields: the political field and the ideological field. To the former they belong the actors, while structures belong to the latter. We can say that democratic arenas are constituted by one political spectre parallel to one ideological spectre, both transversely fractionated by three main tendencies: left, centre, right. All the mentioned before is true for any kind regime.
Between those two parallel spectres lie what I’d like to call entities, such as media (Md), specially journalism (Jrn), political parties (Pp), civicl society (CS), business and enterprises (Bs&Nt), individuals (Iv), and other institutions (Inst). All these entities are at the time potential actors and potential structures. The point is that ideological struggles should and must rely within the structures themselves, and the political battles should and must be at the public sphere. For example, newspapers as institutional-enterprises have their ideological views, but these views are not necessarly captured in the written paper. The newspaper, as a structure is one thing, and the newspaper, as an actor, is another thing. When newspapers begin to show their ideological tendency in the written paper, journalism becomes grid’s journalism; now they’re somehow actors, and not just structures.
But perhaps is better to keep many entities just as ideological structures, never as political ideologized actors (or politicised ideological actors?), and let those actors meant to be political to be political. Both limbs of a State are the government and the civil society -the latter may also be divided into nonprofit society (citizens) and profit society (enterprises). We should add political parties as political actors too.
In Mexico newspapers (and other media) are giving their audiences pure ideology instead of information, analyses, etc. It’s news riddled with ideology, if not pure ideology. For example, one of the leading newspapers and (from my point of view) the most important leftist one, La Jornada, serves as an ideological background for many, even por specific political actors. In the other hand, other newspapers inform their readers by telling them nothing; they write so that we forget, as if nothing new had happen, and therefore, things remain the same and should remain the same. They tint news with ideology, pretending to become actors. If, as business, newspapers want to be part of politics, they may look into lobbying, but please, stay out of the public sphere, where Public sphere is the place where what arrives has consequences over people’s beliefs. Newspapers should remain as structures, not as actors through demagogy and proselytism.
Another example is this video of the British parliament. As we can see, the parliament is structured by seats at the left and seats at the right. The parliament is, then, a structure where ideologies are represented. Negotiations take place in there too; political actors discuss. They are making politics, yes, but ideologies remain in the structures. They discuss what’s the best or, at least, what’s more convenient. They discuss on economy, on states, on taxing, on millions, on risks, on reforms. They don’t discuss on ideology.
Also this is an excellent example on what we Mexicans define as grilla.
Let’s not forget politics are a representation of ideologies, while actors are the representative. But politics are zero-sum: one must loose something to gain something else; one must make sacrifices in order to obtain forwards. But granting politics, giving up and giving away politics, does not mean to give up on ideologies. Ideologies are never zero-sum: they are in constant struggle, always completely constituted, and they play the board game of zero-sum politics, always sacrificing chips and tokens -representations- through representatives.
In another post I wrote about what I called Divergent pluralism. But now I believe we must exchange “pluralism” for diversion. As stated, there is always one political spectre and one ideological spectre, parallels to one another. In between, actors distribute themselves as leftists, centrists and/or rightists. Polarised pluralism describes a situation in which half-centralised parties, such as centre-left and centre-right, are forced towards their respective wings to find a coalition. These are centrifugal dynamics.
Within political struggles there are negotiation tables. But what happens when a whole wing decides to withdraw from the table? Let’s say one mayor force/party, whether from the left or the right, decides to quit negotiations, forcing his satellite parties to withdraw from the table too (because of blackmail or compromises, etc.). In this case, the political spectre reduces by half, lets say, encompassing from the centre all the way to the remaining wing (the one that didn’t quit negotiations), being the centre the closest tendency toward the withdrawed wing.
In the other hand, quitting politics does´t mean quitting ideology. The withdrawed parties can still mobilise masses. Their presence decays in the political arena, never in the public arena (streets). By this means, the ideological spectre remains unaffected.
Withdrawing from the political table implies loosing their place in politics, but not in the streets.
By Ulises Bobadilla y Jiménez
Notes & References
1. In Mexico we use the term grilla (also translated as grid) referring to political boisterousness and hubbub. Grillo in spanish means grasshopper, so whenever we use the term grilla, we alude to the never-ending sound of grasshoppers. In other words, grasshoppers keep up making noise for a long time all at the same time, just as political actors do. Political discussion never shuts up; political fists never stop. It’s kin off a constant normalised or pseudo-institutionalised reactionary stuff. Other terms for an english translation that come to my mind for grilla, besides grid, are: hopplet (from hopper), jumplet (from jumper).
2. “The Twilight Sun”. Metarrelato5, https://metarrelato5-eng.com/2014/03/28/the-twilight-sun/