Left-wing politics

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Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy and social inequality.[1][2][3][4] It typically involves a concern for those in society whom its adherents perceive as disadvantaged relative to others (prioritarianism), as well as a belief that there are unjustified inequalities that need to be reduced or abolished (by advocating for social justice). The term left wing can generally refer to "the radical, reforming, or socialist section of a political party or system".[5]

The political terms Left and Right were coined during the French Revolution (1789–1799), referring to the seating arrangement in the Estates General: those who sat on the left generally opposed the monarchy and supported the revolution, including the creation of a republic and secularization,[6] while those on the right were supportive of the traditional institutions of the Old Regime. Use of the term "Left" became more prominent after the restoration of the French monarchy in 1815 when it was applied to the "Independents".[7] The word "wing" was appended to Left and Right in the late 19th century, usually with disparaging intent, and "left-wing" was applied to those who were unorthodox in their religious or political views.

The term was later applied to a number of movements, especially republicanism during the French Revolution in the 18th century, followed by socialism,[8] communism, anarchism, and social democracy in the 19th and 20th centuries.[9] Since then, the term left-wing has been applied to a broad range of movements[10] including civil rights movements, feminist movements, anti-war movements, and environmental movements,[11][12] as well as a wide range of parties.[13][14][15]

According to author Barry Clark, "Leftists [...] 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.".[16]

References

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  3. Lukes, Steven. 'Epilogue: The Grand Dichotomy of the Twentieth Century': concluding chapter to T. Ball and R. Bellamy (eds.), The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought.
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  5. Definition of left wing (Google Dictionary; via Oxford American College Dictionary)
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  7. Realms of memory: conflicts and divisions (1996), ed. Pierre Nora, "Right and Left" by Marcel Gauchet, p. 248
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  13. http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/Fleisher/courses/econ508winter06/docs/Democratic_socialism.pdf
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  16. Clark, B. (1998). Political economy: A comparative approach. Westport, CT: Praeger Press.

Further reading

  • Encyclopedia of the American Left, ed. by Mari Jo Buhle, Paul Buhle, Dan Georgakas, Second Edition, Oxford University Press 1998, ISBN 0-19-512088-4
  • Lin Chun, The British New Left, Edinburgh : Edinburgh Univ. Press, 1993
  • Geoff Eley, Forging Democracy: The History of the Left in Europe, 1850–2000, Oxford University Press 2002, ISBN 0-19-504479-7
  • "Leftism in India, 1917–1947", Satyabrata Rai Chowdhuri, Palgrave Macmillan, UK, 2007, ISBN 978-0-230-51716-5
  • Neither Washington Nor Stowe: Common Sense For The Working Vermonter, by David Van Deusen, Sean West, and the Green Mountain Anarchist Collective (NEFAC-VT), Catamount Tavern Press, 2004.
  • The Rise and Fall of The Green Mountain Anarchist Collective, 2015.