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Introduction

Politics (from Greek: πολιτικά, translit. Politiká, meaning "affairs of the cities") is the process of making decisions that apply to members of a group.

It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state. The academic study focusing on just politics, which is therefore more targeted than all Political science, is sometimes referred to as Politology (not to be confused with Politicology).

In modern nation-states, people have formed political parties to represent their ideas. They agree to take the same position on many issues and agree to support the same changes to law and the same leaders.

An election is usually a competition between different parties. Some examples of political parties worldwide are: the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, the Conservatives in the United Kingdom, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany and the Indian National Congress in India.

Politics is a multifaceted word. It has a set of fairly specific meanings that are descriptive and nonjudgmental (such as "the art or science of government" and "political principles"), but often does carry a connotation of dishonest malpractice. The word has been used negatively for many years: the British national anthem as published in 1745 calls on God to "Confound their politics", and the phrase "play politics", for example, has been in use since at least 1853, when abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared: "We do not play politics; anti-slavery is no half-jest with us."

A variety of methods are deployed in politics, which include promoting one's own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries. Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level.

It is very often said that politics is about power. A political system is a framework which defines acceptable political methods within a given society. The history of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics and the works of Confucius.

Selected article

Oliver Stone, director of JFK

JFK is a 1991 American film directed by Oliver Stone. It examines the events leading to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and alleged subsequent cover-up through the eyes of former New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (played by Kevin Costner). Garrison filed charges against New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones) for his alleged participation in a conspiracy to assassinate the president, for which Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman) was found responsible by two Government investigations: the Warren Commission, and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (which concluded that there was another assassin shooting with Oswald). The film was adapted by Stone and Zachary Sklar from the books On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison and Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy by Jim Marrs. Stone described this account as a "counter-myth" to the "fictional myth" of the Warren Commission. The film became embroiled in controversy. Upon JFK's theatrical release, many major American newspapers ran editorials accusing Stone of taking liberties with historical facts, including the film's implication that President Lyndon B. Johnson was part of a coup d'état to kill Kennedy. After a slow start at the box office, Stone's film gradually picked up momentum, earning over $205 million in worldwide gross. JFK went on to win two Academy Awards and was nominated for eight in total, including Best Picture. The film was one of three films Stone made about the American Presidency, followed later by Nixon with Anthony Hopkins in the title role and W. with Josh Brolin as George W. Bush.

Featured picture

Parliament House, Canberra, Pano jjron 25.9.2008-edit1.jpg
Credit: John O'Neill

Parliament House is the meeting facility of the Parliament of Australia located in Canberra, the capital of Australia. The building was designed by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects and opened on 9 May 1988 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. At the time of the construction, it was the most expensive building in the world at more than A$1.1 billion.

Selected quote

Gore Vidal
Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.

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Selected biography

José Maria da Silva Paranhos in 1879

José Paranhos, Viscount of Rio Branco (1819–1880) was a politician, monarchist, diplomat, teacher and journalist of the Empire of Brazil. In 1871, Rio Branco became the President of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) for the first time. He would become the Council's longest-serving president, and his cabinet the second longest, in Brazilian history. His government was marked by a time of economic prosperity and the enactment of several necessary reforms—though they proved to be seriously flawed. The most important of these initiatives was the Law of Free Birth, which granted freeborn status to children born to slave women. Rio Branco led the government that enacted this law, and its passage increased his popularity. However, his government was plagued by a long crisis with the Catholic Church that had resulted from the expulsion of Freemasons from its lay brotherhoods. After more than four years heading the Cabinet, Rio Branco resigned in 1875. Following a long vacation in Europe, his health swiftly declined and he was diagnosed with oral cancer. Rio Branco died in 1880 and was widely mourned throughout the country. He is regarded by most historians as one of Brazil's greatest statesmen.

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