In a certain fashion, yes. Parties have helped to bring ideas and concepts to life. In a world where it is hard for people to communicate easily, often and in real time, they are probably the best tool available. A big problem of parties is that you always have to buy the whole package. What if you favor a rather conservative standpoint in one area but a more progressive one in another. There is no way you can have that. This is one issue addressed by the "Liquid Democracy" concept for example.