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Far-left or extreme-left politics are terms used to describe political positions farther to the left on the political spectrum than the standard political left.

Contents

Definitions and characteristicsEdit

 
French posters of support to the Tunisian Revolution (and feminism below)

EuropeEdit

Luke March of the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh defines the far-left in Europe as those who place themselves to the left of social democracy, which they see as insufficiently left-wing. The two main sub-types are called the radical left due to their desire for fundamental change to the capitalist system while accepting of democracy and the extreme left who are more hostile to liberal democracy and denounce any compromise with capitalism. March specifies four major subgroups within contemporary European far-left politics: communists, democratic socialists, populist socialists and social populists.[1]

Vít Hloušek and Lubomír Kopeček add secondary characteristics to those identified by March and Mudde, such as anti-Americanism, anti-globalization, opposition to NATO and rejection of European integration.[2]

In France, the term extrême-gauche ("far left") is a generally accepted term for political groups that position themselves to the left of the Socialist Party, such as Trotskyists, Maoists, anarcho-communists and New Leftists. Some, as political scientist of marxist background Serge Cosseron, will limit the scope to the left of the French Communist Party,[3] but there is no real consensus. Many leftists with strong anti-Americanism, anti-globalization, opposition to NATO and rejection of European integration try to avoid the negative and reductive impression associated with the far-left categorization by using the parable la gauche de la gauche ("the left of the left"), reflecting what some might view as a cultural ambiguity.

United StatesEdit

Herbert McClosky and Dennis Chong further claim that in the United States the far-left groups studied are deeply estranged from American society and highly critical of what they perceive as the spiritual and moral degeneration of American institutions. They view American society as dominated by conspiratorial forces working to defeat their ideological aims.[4]

Far-left terrorismEdit

 
Aftermath of the bombing on American Ramstein Air Base in 1981 by left-wing terrorist group RAF

A number of far-left parties gave birth to militant organisations during the 1960s and 1970s,[5] such as the Red Brigades and the Red Army Faction.[6] These groups generally aimed to overthrow capitalist systems and replace them with socialist societies.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ March, Luke (2008). Contemporary Far Left Parties in Europe: From Marxism to the Mainstream? (PDF). Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. p. 3. ISBN 9783868720006. Retrieved 3 June 2017. 
  2. ^ Hloušek, Vít; Kopeček, Lubomír (2010). Origin, Ideology and Transformation of Political Parties: East-Central and Western Europe Compared. Farnham: Ashgate. p. 46. ISBN 9780754678403. 
  3. ^ Cosseron, Serge (2007). Dictionnaire de l'extrême gauche. Paris: Larousse. p. 20. ISBN 2035826209. 
  4. ^ McClosky, Herbert; Chong, Dennis (27 January 2009). "Similarities and Differences Between Left-Wing and Right-Wing Radicals". British Journal of Political Science. 15 (03): 329–363. doi:10.1017/s0007123400004221. 
  5. ^ Weinberg, Leonard; Pedahzur, Ami; Perliger, Arie (2009). Political Parties and Terrorist Groups (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. p. 53. ISBN 9781135973377. 
  6. ^ Chaliand, Gérard (2010). The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to Al Qaeda. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520247093.