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Aleks Szczerbiak, "Testing Party Models in East-Central Europe: Local Party Organization in Postcommunist Poland," Party Politics, 5 (October 1999), 525-537.

First Paragraph:
There is a burgeoning literature on the political parties and party systems that have been emerging in Eastern Europe since the collapse of communism in 1989. Commentators have tended to focus on the new party systems more external and visible aspects: their programmatic and ideological dimensions; the nature and pattern of interactions between the parties; the sociology of party support and emerging cleavage structures; and their general contribution to the process of democratic consolidation (Kitschelt, 1992; Evans and Whitefield, 1993; Roskin, 1993; Berglund and Dellenbrant, 1994; Wightman, 1995; Pridham and Lewis, 1996). Those analysts who have examined internal, structural and organizational issues have generally hypothesized that the new parties are likely to be characterized by a weak grounding in civil society arising from a low membership base, weak organization and the low priority assigned to building up local structures; a high level of dependence on the state for financial and material resources; together with a centralized pattern of decision-making alongside a high level of autonomy given to basic and intermediate structures on local decisions (Kopecky, 1995; Lewis and Gortat, 1995; Lewis, 1996; Mair, 1996). As Kopecky (1995: 518) has argued, with reference to the more abstract contemporary models of party development, the new parties are more likely to develop along the lines of the catch-all, electoral-professional or cartel party (Kircheimer, 1966; Panebianco, 1988; Katz and Mair, 1995) than in line with the traditional mass party model (Duverger, 1954). An important caveat is that those parties with their roots in the former communist parties or their allies (referred to, hereafter, as the 'successor' parties) are more likely to maintain a relatively robust level of membership, organization and material resources compared with those completely 'new' parties that have emerged since 1989.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Party membership, basic organizational units and local implantation in Gdansk, Jelenia Gora, Plock and Rzeszow, april 1997
Table 2: Local party organizational infrastructure in Gdansk, Jelenia Gora, Plock and Rzeszow, April 1997

Last Paragraph:
The PSL is a particularly interesting case worthy of further examination, not just because of its relatively high levels of membership and local implantation, but also because it displays a number of other 'mass party' characteristics such as an organizational strategy geared -- in part at least -- to assisting local parties in developing their organizational infrastructure and, thereby, reducing state dependency. Significantly, even an externally created new party such as the ROP -- which was founded with an organizational strategy bearing at least some resemblance to the 'mass party' approach -- does not seem to be able to break this general pattern of 'successor' party dominance. Indeed, the contrasting fortunes of the two externally created groupings -- the ROP and AWS -- suggest that the only way a 'new' party could fill this 'organizational deficit' is by recourse to some external agency with an existing, fairly extensive organizational network, such as the Solidarity trade union.