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Far left, extreme left, revolutionary left and radical left are terms which refer to the extreme left positions in a political spectrum. These can be the economic far left (communism), or the social far left (anarchy), or both. The terms are often used to imply that someone is an extremist, or has extreme or very Left-wing political views.
Distinguishing Far-leftist groups from Centre-left and very left-wing groups
Distinguishing Far-leftist groups from Centre-left and very left-wing groups can be hard as the general meaning of far left is confusing. Some groups considered to be far left do not wish to govern within the current institutional framework of a state, though this is not always so as some extreme or very left-wing groups will and do govern within the constitutional framework and take part in the democratic process to either achieve their goals and further their aims or because they want to as they see it as beneficial to them that the will of the people and/or of their members to have nothing against the authority of the state and its laws and to actively participate in them, what distinguishes these groups from other Centre-left and very left-wing groups such as certain Socialists such as Democratic socialists and Social democrats, and Liberals such as Social liberals and mainstream Green parties is that whereas these groups are officially not willing to be unconstitutional and go against and question their support of the authority of the state regardless of the circumstances and be seen as such and only some of their members and not the whole group may be willing to be seen as officially rebellious and participate in violence such as riots or armed revolution or peacefully through forms of protest and civil disobedience is that on the far left whole groups are willing and prepared to officially disobey the laws of the state and go against its constitutional authority and give and take away its support of the state and its authority at will regardless of the circumstances and be seen as rebellious by rebelling either violently through riots and/or armed revolution or peacefully through forms of protest and civil disobedience if it is the will of their members and/or the people at large to do so if the state is deemed by them as exploitive, authoritarian, oppressive or all three, ultimately depending on the circumstances in which it is done.
Ideologies of the Far-Left
The ideologies usually associated by people with the social and economic far left are forms of Anarchism particularly forms of Left anarchism such as Anarcho-Communism, Libertarian socialism and Social anarchism, Collectivist anarchism, Mutualism and Anarcho-syndicalism. Groups associated with the economic far left include Marxism, Leninism, Trotskyism, Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, and Hoxhaism, and some branches of Socialism such as Revolutionary socialism and Titoism. Groups associated with the social far left include Feminism, particularly Anarcha-feminism, and some branches of Green politics such as Green anarchism, Anarcho-primitivism, and Veganarchism and some forms of Pacifism such as Anarcho-pacifism. These groups are all generally considered to be the traditional far left as usually defined and thought of by most people, though these ideologies and peoples opinions can vary as to what is a far-left ideology.
History and usage
The origin of left as a political term is the seating arrangements in the French National Assembly during the French Revolution. The most radical of the Jacobins were seated on the far left of the chamber. The term Jacobin was used to describe far left people throughout much of the 19th century. Since then, the term far left has been used to describe persons or groups who hold extreme egalitarian views and support radical social and political change and the term varies from country to country across the world.
In the 2000s, in countries where communist or socialist parties may or may not be part of the political mainstream (such as the United States), the term far left can simply mean to the left of the most left-wing member of the legislature or its most left-wing member. The US Department of Homeland Security defines left-wing extremism as groups who want "to bring about change through violent revolution rather than through established political processes."
In France, the term extrême-gauche is an accepted term for Trotskyists, anarchists, Maoists and New Leftists (altermondialistes). The French Communist Party is not considered far left. Dictionary of the Far Left by Serge Cosseron defines 'far left' as "all movements situated to the left of the Communist Party". In Italy, The Left - The Rainbow coalition has described itself as "radical left".
During the 19th century, the term radical was used by progressive liberals to distance themselves from classical liberals, which explains why some centre-left political parties today have radical in their names, such as Denmark's Det Radikale Venstre (which literally translates into English as "the radical left"), and France's Left Radical Party.
In the 20th century, the definition of radical was revised in response to the models of communism and the Soviet Union. At that time, the political term radical often implied Marxism of some kind. Since the early 20th century, radical left has been used as an umbrella term to describe those on the political left who support revolutionary socialism, communism, or anarchism.
In this context, it generally does not include democratic socialists, social democrats, liberals, nor others working in electoral politics, since the radical qualifier tends to denote a revolutionary fervor. The term ultra-leftism, which originated in the 1920s, is sometimes used in the same way as far left, but also has a more specific meaning within the context of Marxism. The term hard left is sometimes used in the same way, but also had a specific meaning in the 1980s within the British Labour Party.
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- ^ http://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis2
- ^ Left-wing extremists likely to increase use of cyber attacks over the next coming decade
- ^ Cosseron, Serge (ed.). Le dictionnaire de l'extrême gauche. Paris: Larousse, 2007. p. 20
- ^ Bertinotti, beato oppositore; Corriere della Sera: "sinistra radicale" can be translated into English as both "far left" and "radical left"