The Independent Party of the Yale Political Union has been historically recognized as the premier forum for free and authentic student debate at Yale. The sole founding party of the Yale Political Union still in existence, dating back to 1934, the IP is the Union’s largest and most ideologically diverse party and the only one that adheres to no specific ideology or political viewpoint; instead we aim to foster robust, open, and wide-ranging political discourse, welcoming a tremendous diversity of perspectives.
Our weekly debates are open to the entire Yale community and address challenging political, cultural, and philosophical issues. Our debate format is easily accessible and relies on Robert’s Rules of Order to ensure that all voices are heard and respected. We encourage everyone–the casual visitor and committed member alike–to ask tough questions, give speeches, and actively explore their own convictions. Recently, we have debated some of the following resolutions: R: Abolish Inheritance, R: Automate the Army, R: Sell Out, R: Public Figures Deserve Private Lives, R: Judge Your Grandmother by the Standards of Her Day, and R: A Good Child Stays Home.
The Independent Party’s motto is “Hear All Sides,” and this is an imperative by which we live. At our debates, you will find bold expressions of opinions from across the political spectrum. One could say that the IP is home to libertarians, socialists, neoconservatives, hard-line moderates, and almost everything in between -but in fact, we are a group of students who resist the claustrophobic categories of “liberal” and “conservative” popular in today’s politics and reject the partisan pressures that demand adherence to a mass-produced political platform, in favor of intellectually honest and authentic approaches to forming and evaluating our worldviews. In the Independent Party we believe that openness of mind is the truest mark of genuine intelligence. Speeches on our floor are not given to win the debate, but to provoke interest and ideological introspection.
Along with our debates, the Independent Party hosts a wide variety of social events throughout the academic year. Whether watching a movie, arguing over drinks, or having a margherita mixer, IPsters are always having fun together. As we like to say, we take our ideas seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. The IP is one of the closest groups of friends you will find at Yale; the friendships formed in the IP stay with us forever.
We also go to New York City every semester to meet with prominent politicians, journalists, business people, artists, and media personalities. In recent semesters, we have meet with former New York Mayor Ed Koch, Obama Administration health care expert Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, Editor-in-Chief of The New Atlantis Eric Cohen, CEO of the New York Public Library Tony Marx, UN Ambassador John Bolton, Historian Eric Foner, and the late William F. Buckley, Jr.
“Yale,” George Pierson famously said, “is at once a tradition, a company of scholars, a society of friends.” The Independent Party is much the same. Please join us at one of our debates this Fall and learn firsthand what this party is all about.