Far left
Far left, also known as the revolutionary left, radical left and extreme left are terms which refer to the highest degree of leftist positions among left-wing politics
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

. Ideologies and movements both historically and presently associated with the far-left include: anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

, and Jacobinism.

As left positions are generally characterized by greater support for egalitarianism, so the far left is at the limit of this with many or most such groupings advocating radical fundamental change, not mere superficial or incremental reforms in the direction of a classless society
Classless society
Classless society refers to a society in which no one is born into a social class. Such distinctions of wealth, income, education, culture, or social network might arise and would only be determined by individual experience and achievement in such a society.Since these distinctions are difficult to...

. What is considered far left varies however the basic distinction between right and left can be used to make an objective assessment in a particular real political spectrum relative to a particular political culture and time.

Meanings of "Far-left"

In France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, the term extrême-gauche ("far left") is a generally accepted term for political groups to the left of the French Communist Party
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

 (such as Trotskyists
Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky considered himself an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party of the working-class...

, anarchists
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, Maoists
Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

 and New Left
New Left
The New Left was a term used mainly in the United Kingdom and United States in reference to activists, educators, agitators and others in the 1960s and 1970s who sought to implement a broad range of reforms, in contrast to earlier leftist or Marxist movements that had taken a more vanguardist...


The German political scientist Eckhard Jesse
Eckhard Jesse
Professor Eckhard Jesse is a German political scientist. He holds the professorship for "political systems, political institutions" at the Technical University of Chemnitz. Jesse is one of the best known German political scholars in the field of extremism and terrorism studies...

 includes anarchists, different trends of communism (communists of pro-Soviet orientation, Maoists and Trotskyists) and the Autonome among the (German) far-left.

Dr. Luke March of the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

, defines the "Far-left" in Europe as those that place themselves to the left of social democracy
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

, 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
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

. March sees four major subgroups within contemporary European far-left politics: communists, democratic socialists, populist socialists and social populists.

Hloušek and Kopeček add secondary characteristics to those identified by March and Mudde, such as anti-Americanism
The term Anti-Americanism, or Anti-American Sentiment, refers to broad opposition or hostility to the people, policies, culture or government of the United States...

, anti-globalism, opposition to NATO and rejection of European integration

McKlosky 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
Authoritarian personality
-Historical Origins:Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswick, Levinson and Sanford compiled a large body of research and theory , which attempted to characterize a personality type that described the “potentially fascistic individual”...

. McKlosky and Chong further assert 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.

Political parties

In the USA, John George and Laird Wilcox
Laird Wilcox
Laird M. Wilcox is an American researcher specializing in the study of political fringe movements. He is the founder of the "Wilcox Collection on Contemporary Political Movements," said to be one of the largest collections of American political material in the United States. It is housed in the...

 have identified the Communist Party USA
Communist Party USA
The Communist Party USA is a Marxist political party in the United States, established in 1919. It has a long, complex history that is closely related to the histories of similar communist parties worldwide and the U.S. labor movement....

, Socialist Workers Party (United States)
Socialist Workers Party (United States)
The Socialist Workers Party is a far-left political organization in the United States. The group places a priority on "solidarity work" to aid strikes and is strongly supportive of Cuba...

, Black Panther Party
Black Panther Party
The Black Panther Party wasan African-American revolutionary leftist organization. It was active in the United States from 1966 until 1982....

, Students for a Democratic Society
Students for a Democratic Society
Students for a Democratic Society was a student activist movement in the United States that was one of the main iconic representations of the country's New Left. The organization developed and expanded rapidly in the mid-1960s before dissolving at its last convention in 1969...

 and Progressive Labor Party (United States) as some of the groups active on what he refers to as the "far-left".

In Europe, Dr. Luke March classifies the following parties as far-left:

See also

  • European Anticapitalist Left
    European Anticapitalist Left
    The European Anticapitalist Left is an informal network for European anticapitalist left wing parties. EACL met for the first time in Lisbon in March 2000 with the representation of the Scottish Socialist Party, the Portuguese Left Bloc, the Danish Red-Green Alliance, the French LCR, and the...

  • Extremism
    Extremism is any ideology or political act far outside the perceived political center of a society; or otherwise claimed to violate common moral standards...

  • Far-right politics
  • Glossary of the French Revolution
    Glossary of the French Revolution
    This is a glossary of the French Revolution. It generally does not explicate names of individual people or their political associations; those can be found in List of people associated with the French Revolution....

  • Ideology
    An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

  • Left-wing political parties
    Left-wing political parties
    The following is a list of left-wing political parties. It includes parties from the centre-left to the far and ultra left.- Active :* Albania – Socialist Party of Albania, Socialist Movement for Integration...

  • Libertarian Marxism
    Libertarian Marxism
    Libertarian Marxism refers to a broad scope of economic and political philosophies that emphasize the anti-authoritarian aspects of Marxism. Early currents of libertarian Marxism, known as left communism, emerged in opposition to Marxism–Leninism and its derivatives, such as Stalinism, Maoism, and...

  • Luxemburgism
    Luxemburgism is a specific revolutionary theory within Marxism, based on the writings of Rosa Luxemburg. According to M. K...

  • Socialism
    Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

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