|Part of the Politics series|
Far-left politics are politics further to the left of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political left.
There are different definitions of the far-left. Some scholars define it as representing the left of social democracy while others limit it to the left of communist parties. In certain instances, especially in the news media, the term far-left has been associated with some forms of anarchism and communism, or it characterizes groups that advocate for revolutionary anti-capitalism and anti-globalization.
Extremist far-left politics can involve violent acts and the formation of far-left militant organizations meant to abolish capitalist systems and the upper ruling class. Far-left terrorism consists of groups that attempt to realize their radical ideals and bring about change through violence rather than established political processes.
The definition of the far-left varies in the literature and there is not a general agreement on what it entails or consensus on the core characteristics that constitute the far-left, other than being to the left of "the left". In France, extrême-gauche ("extreme left") is a generally accepted term for political groups that position themselves to the left of the Socialist Party, although some such as the political scientist Serge Cosseron limit the scope to the left of the French Communist Party.
Scholars such as Luke March and Cas Mudde propose that socio-economic rights are at the far-left's core. Moreover, March and Mudde argue that the far-left is to the left of "the left" with regard to how parties or groups describe economic inequality on the base of existing social and political arrangements.Luke March, Senior Lecturer in Soviet and post-Soviet Politics at Politics and International Relations of the University of Edinburgh, defines the far-left as those who position themselves to the left of social democracy, which is seen as insufficiently left-wing. The two main sub-types of far-left politics are called "the radical left" and "the extreme left". The first desires fundamental changes in neoliberal capitalism and progressive reform of democracy such as direct democracy and the inclusion of marginalised communities while the latter denounces liberal democracy as a "compromise with bourgeois political forces" and defines capitalism more strictly.
Far-left politics is seen as radical politics because it calls for fundamental change to the capitalist socio-economic structure of society.March and Mudde claim that far-left parties are an increasingly stabilized political actor and are challenging mainstream social democratic parties, defining other core characteristics of far-left politics as being internationalism and a focus on networking and solidarity as well as opposition to globalization and neoliberalism. In his later conceptualization, March started to refer to far-left politics as "radical left politics" which is constituted of radical left parties that reject the socio-economic structures of contemporary society that are based on the principles and values of capitalism.
In Europe, the support for far-left politics comes from three overlapping groups, namely far-left subcultures, disaffected social democrats and protest voters—those who are opposed to their country's European Union membership.
To distinguish the far-left from the moderate left, Luke March and Cas Mudde identify three useful criteria:
Others classify the far-left under the category of populist socialist parties.Some such as Professor Vít Hloušek and Professor Lubomír Kopeček of the Masaryk University at the International Institute of Political Science suggest secondary characteristics, including anti-Americanism, anti-globalization, opposition to NATO and in some cases a rejection of European integration.
Luke March states that "compared with the international communist movement 30 years ago, the far left has undergone a process of profound de-radicalization. The extreme left is marginal in most places". March identifies four major subgroups within contemporary European far-left politics, namely communists, democratic socialists, populist socialists and social populists.In a later conception of far-left politics, March writes that "I prefer the term 'radical left' to alternatives such as 'hard left' and 'far left', which can appear pejorative and imply that the left is necessarily marginal". According to March, the most successful far-left parties are "pragmatic and non-ideological".
Many far-left militant organizations were formed by members of existing political parties in the 1960s and 1970ssuch as the Montoneros, the Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades. These groups generally aim to overthrow capitalism and the wealthy ruling classes.
Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism, often in critique of social hierarchy. Left-wing politics typically involves a concern for those in society whom its adherents perceive as disadvantaged relative to others as well as a belief that there are unjustified inequalities that need to be reduced or abolished. According to emeritus professor of economics Barry Clark, left-wing supporters "claim that human development flourishes when individuals engage in cooperative, mutually respectful relations that can thrive only when excessive differences in status, power, and wealth are eliminated."
Leninism is a political ideology developed by Russian Marxist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin that proposes the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat led by a revolutionary vanguard party, as the political prelude to the establishment of communism. The function of the Leninist vanguard party is to provide the working classes with the political consciousness and revolutionary leadership necessary to depose capitalism in the Russian Empire (1721–1917). Leninist revolutionary leadership is based upon The Communist Manifesto (1848) identifying the communist party as "the most advanced and resolute section of the working class parties of every country; that section which pushes forward all others." As the vanguard party, the Bolsheviks viewed history through the theoretical framework of dialectical materialism, which sanctioned political commitment to the successful overthrow of capitalism, and then to instituting socialism; and, as the revolutionary national government, to realize the socio-economic transition by all means.
Socialism is a political, social and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and democratic control or workers' self-management of enterprises. It includes the political theories and movements associated with such systems. Social ownership can be public, collective, cooperative, or of equity. While no single definition encapsulates the many types of socialism, social ownership is the one common element. Socialists disagree about the degree to which social control or regulation of the economy is necessary, how far society should intervene and whether government, particularly existing government, is the correct vehicle for change.
Right-wing politics embraces the view that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition. Hierarchy and inequality may be seen as natural results of traditional social differences or competition in market economies. The term right-wing can generally refer to "the conservative or reactionary section of a political party or system".
Populism refers to a range of political stances that emphasise the idea of "the people" and often juxtapose this group against "the elite". The term developed in the 19th century and has been applied to various politicians, parties, and movements since that time, although it has rarely been chosen as a self-description. Within political science and other social sciences, several different definitions of populism have been employed, with some scholars proposing that the term be rejected altogether.
Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are politics further on the right of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political right, particularly in terms of anti-communist, authoritarian, ultranationalist, and nativist ideologies and tendencies.
Social liberalism, also known as left liberalism in Germany, modern liberalism in the United States and new liberalism in the United Kingdom, is a political philosophy and variety of liberalism that endorses a regulated market economy and the expansion of civil and political rights. Under social liberalism, the common good is viewed as harmonious with the freedom of the individual.
The Third Position is a set of neo-fascist political ideologies that developed in Western Europe following the Second World War. Developed in the context of the Cold War, it developed its name through the claim that it represented a third position between the capitalism of the Western Bloc and the communism of the Eastern Bloc.
National conservatism is a variant of conservatism common in Europe and Asia that concentrates on upholding national and cultural identity, while mixing conservative elements with purely nationalist ones.
Right-wing populism, also called national populism and right-wing nationalism, is a political ideology which combines right-wing politics and populist rhetoric and themes. The rhetoric often consists of anti-elitist sentiments, opposition to the Establishment, and speaking to the "common people". Both right-wing populism and left-wing populism object to the perceived control of liberal democracies by elites; however, populism of the left also objects to the power of large corporations and their allies, while populism of the right normally supports strong controls on immigration.
Cas Mudde is a Dutch political scientist who focuses on political extremism and populism in Europe and the United States. His research includes the areas of political parties, extremism, democracy, civil society and European politics.
Social democracy is a political, social and economic philosophy within socialism that supports political and economic democracy. As a policy regime, it is described by academics as advocating economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal-democratic polity and a capitalist-oriented mixed economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy, measures for income redistribution, regulation of the economy in the general interest and social-welfare provisions. Due to longstanding governance by social democratic parties during the post-war consensus and their influence on socioeconomic policy in Northern and Western Europe, social democracy became associated with Keynesianism, the Nordic model, the social-liberal paradigm and welfare states within political circles in the late 20th century. It has been described as the most common form of Western or modern socialism as well as the reformist wing of democratic socialism.
Left-wing populism, also called social populism, is a political ideology that combines left-wing politics and populist rhetoric and themes. Its rhetoric often consists of anti-elitist sentiments, opposition to the Establishment and speaking for the "common people". Important themes for left-wing populists usually include anti-capitalism, social justice, pacifism and anti-globalization whereas class society ideology or socialist theory is not as important as it is to traditional left-wing parties.
Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that originates in the works of 19th century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marxism analyzes and critiques the development of class society and especially of capitalism as well as the role of class struggles in systemic economic, social and political change. It frames capitalism through a paradigm of exploitation and analyzes class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development - materialist in the sense that the politics and ideas of an epoch are determined by the way in which material production is carried on.
Authoritarian socialism, or socialism from above, is an economic and political system supporting some form of socialist economics while rejecting political liberalism. As a term, it represents a set of economic-political systems describing themselves as socialist and rejecting the liberal-democratic concepts of multi-party politics, freedom of assembly, habeas corpus and freedom of expression, either due to fear of the counter-revolution or as a means to socialist ends. Several countries, most notably the Soviet Union, China and their allies, have been described by journalists and scholars as authoritarian socialist states.
Democratic socialism is a political philosophy supporting political democracy within a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on economic democracy, workplace democracy and workers' self-management within a market socialist economy or some form of a decentralised planned socialist economy. Democratic socialists argue that capitalism is inherently incompatible with the values of freedom, equality and solidarity and that these ideals can only be achieved through the realisation of a socialist society. Although most democratic socialists seek a gradual transition to socialism, democratic socialism can support either revolutionary or reformist politics as means to establish socialism. As a term, democratic socialism was popularised by social democrats and other socialists who were opposed to the authoritarian socialist development in Russia and elsewhere during the 20th century.
A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovereign state constitutionally dedicated to the establishment of socialism. The term communist state is often used synonymously in the West specifically when referring to one-party socialist states governed by Marxist–Leninist communist parties, despite these countries being officially socialist states in the process of building socialism. These countries never describe themselves as communist nor as having implemented a communist society. Additionally, a number of countries that are multi-party capitalist states make references to socialism in their constitutions, in most cases alluding to the building of a socialist society, naming socialism, claiming to be a socialist state, or including the term people's republic or socialist republic in their country's full name, although this does not necessarily reflect the structure and development paths of these countries' political and economic systems. Currently, these countries include Algeria, Bangladesh, Guyana, India, Nepal, Nicaragua, Portugal, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.
Roger Eatwell is a British academic currently an Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Bath.
Latin America has been claimed to have the world's "most enduring and prevalent populist tradition". This has been argued to be because it was a region with a long tradition of democratic governance and free elections, but with high rates of socio-economic inequality, generating widespread resentments that politicians can articulate through populism.