Far-left politics

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Far-left politics or extreme-left politics are politics further on the left of the left-right spectrum than the mainstream political left.

Definitions and characteristics


Dr. Luke March of the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, defines the "far left" in Europe as those that place themselves to the left of social democracy, which they see as insufficiently left-wing. The two main sub-types are the so-called "radical left", for 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 sees four major subgroups within contemporary European far-left politics: communists, democratic socialists, populist socialists and social populists.[1]

Hloušek and 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]


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

In France, the term extrême-gauche ("far left") is a generally accepted term for political groups that position themselves to the left of the French Communist Party (such as Trotskyists, Maoists, Anarchists and New Leftist).[3]


In Germany, Eckhard Jesse, a political scientist, regards different kinds of Trotskyists, anarcho-syndicalists, anarcho-communists, National Communists, Authoritarian socialists, Maoists and Autonomists as local "far left".These people include both Authoritarianists and Libertarianists.[citation needed]



McKlosky and Chong further claim that in the USA, the far-left groups they 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 that are working to defeat their ideological aims.[4]


McClosky and Chong surveyed a number of militant, revolutionary far-left groups in the US and they argue that, like far-right extremists, they tend to show traits of authoritarianism.[4]

Political parties


A substantial number of far-left parties gave birth to terrorist organisations during the 1960s and 1970s,[5] such as the Red Brigades and the Red Army Faction.[6]


  1. March, Luke (2008). Contemporary Far Left Parties in Europe (PDF). Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. p. 3. ISBN 978-3-86872-000-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Hloušek, Vít; Lubomír Kopeček (2010). Origin, ideology and transformation of political parties: East-Central and Western Europe compared. Ashgate Publishing. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-7546-7840-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Cosseron, Serge (ed.). Le dictionnaire de l'extrême gauche. Paris: Larousse, 2007. p. 20
  4. 4.0 4.1 Herbert McClosky, Dennis Chong (1985). "Similarities and Differences Between Left-Wing and Right-Wing Radicals". British Journal of Political Science. Cambridge University Press. 15 (03): 329–363. doi:10.1017/s0007123400004221. Retrieved 9 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Weinberg, Leonard; Pedahzur, Ami (2008). Political Parties and Terrorist Groups. Routledge studies in extremism and democracy. Volume 10. Routledge. p. 53. ISBN 9781135973377.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Chaliand, Gérard; Blin, Arnaud (2007). The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to Al Qaeda. University of California Press. p. 257. ISBN 9780520247093.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>