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Ideologies

An ideology is “a collection of beliefs held by an individual, group or society. It can be described as a set of conscious and unconscious ideas which make up one’s beliefs, goals, expectations, and motivations. An ideology is a comprehensive normative vision that is followed by people, governments, or other groups that is considered the correct way by the majority of the population.”

Left-Right: What’s the difference?

The Left
•anarchists
•anti-capitalists
•anti-imperialists
•believers in civil rights
•communists
•democratic socialists
•greens
•left-libertarians
•progressives
•socialists
•social democrats
•social liberals
The Right
•capitalists
•conservatives
•fascists
•imperialists
•monarchists
•nationalists
•neoconservatives
•neoliberals
•racists
•reactionaries
•religious fundamentalists
•right-libertarians
•social authoritarians
•traditionalists

Conservatism

Conservatism as a political and social philosophy promotes retaining traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasising stability and continuity, while others, called reactionaries, oppose modernism and seek a return to “the way things were. The term, historically associated with right-wing politics, has since been used to describe a wide range of views.

There is no single set of policies that are universally regarded as conservative, because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time. Thus conservatives from different parts of the world—each upholding their respective traditions—may disagree on a wide range of issues.

Liberalism

Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programs such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality and international cooperation.

Social Justice

Social justice is the fair and just relation between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity and social privileges. In Western as well as in older Asian cultures, the concept of social justice has often referred to the process of ensuring that individuals fulfill their societal roles and receive what was their due from society. In the current global grassroots movements for social justice, the emphasis has been on the breaking of barriers for social mobility, the creation of safety nets and economic justice.

Newspaper printed in Washington, D.C., in 1912

Newspaper printed in Washington, D.C., in 1912

Social justice assigns rights and duties in the institutions of society, which enables people to receive the basic benefits and burdens of cooperation. The relevant institutions often include taxation, social insurance, public health, public school, public services, labour law and regulation of markets, to ensure fair distribution of wealth, equal opportunity and equality of outcome.

Social democracy

Social democracy is a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a capitalist economy, and a policy regime involving collective bargaining arrangements, a commitment to representative democracy, measures for income redistribution, regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions. Social democracy thus aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes; and is often associated with the set of socioeconomic policies that became prominent in Northern and Western Europe during the latter half of the 20th century.

Note: Distinguish between two similar-sounding ideologies, social democracy and democratic socialism. Social democrats want to keep the private capitalist sector but keep taxes on rich people and corporations high enough to pay for the social welfare programs that make capitalism’s activity tolerable to society at large. Democratic socialist’s want an alternative economic system, in which workers, not the owners, control the means of production democratically, that is, by voting.

Nationalism

The three most common types of nationalism are based on religion, ethnicity, and citizenship. In none of our countries is religious nationalism a factor. Don’t confuse any type of nationalism with patriotism, which is love of your country and its people, regardless of their ethnicity or citizenship.

Ethnic nationalism is a form of nationalism wherein the “nation” is defined in terms of ethnicity. The central theme is that “nations are defined by a shared heritage, which usually includes a common language, a common faith, and a common ethnic ancestry”. It also includes ideas of a culture shared between members of the group, and with their ancestors; however, it is different from purely cultural definitions of “the nation” (which allow people to become members of a nation by cultural assimilation) and a purely linguistic definitions (which see “the nation” as all speakers of a specific language).

Civic nationalism defines the nation as an association of people who identify themselves as belonging to the nation, who have equal and shared political rights, and allegiance to similar political procedures. According to the principles of civic nationalism, the nation is not based on common ethnic ancestry, but is a political entity whose core identity is not ethnicity.

Capitalism

Poster printed in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1911

Poster printed in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1911

Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment is determined by the owners of the factors of production in financial and capital markets, and prices and the distribution of goods are mainly determined by competition in the market.

Different forms of capitalism feature varying degrees of free markets, public ownership, obstacles to free competition, and state-sanctioned social policies. The degree of competition in markets, the role of intervention and regulation, and the scope of state ownership vary across different models of capitalism; the extent to which different markets are free, as well as the rules defining private property, are matters of politics and of policy. Most existing capitalist economies are mixed economies, which combine elements of free markets with state intervention, and in some cases, with economic planning.

Mixed capitalist systems have become dominant in the Western world and continue to spread.

Populism

Both left-wing and right-wing groups blame elites for the problems facing the country.

Left-wing populism is a political ideology which combines left-wing politics and populist rhetoric and themes. The rhetoric often consists of anti-elitist sentiments, opposition to the system and speaking for the “common people”. Usually the important themes for left-wing populists include anti-capitalism, social justice, pacifism and anti-globalization, whereas class society ideology or socialist theory is not as important as it is to traditional left-wing parties.

Right-wing populism is a political ideology that rejects existing political consensus and often combines laissez-faire liberalism and anti-elitism. It is considered populism because of its appeal to the “common man” as opposed to the elites. In Europe right-wing populism is also an expression used to describe groups and political parties generally known for their opposition to immigration, mostly from the Islamic world, and the European Union. Traditional right-wing views such as opposition to an increasing support for the welfare state and a “more lavish, but also more restrictive, domestic social spending” scheme is also described under right-wing populism and is sometimes called “welfare chauvinism”.

Progressivism

Progressivism is often used as shorthand for a more or less left-wing way of looking at the world. Beyond this, the meanings of progressivism have varied over time and from different perspectives.

In the U.S. since the late 1800’s, progressivism has contended that progress is being stifled by vast economic inequality between the rich and the poor, minimally regulated laissez-faire capitalism with out-of-control monopolistic corporations, intense and often violent conflict between workers and capitalists, and a need for measures to address these problems.

Green politics

Green politics (also known as ecopolitics) aims to create an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, nonviolence, social justice, and grassroots democracy.

Supporters of green politics share many ideas with the ecology, conservation, environmentalism, feminism, and peace movements. In addition to democracy and ecological issues, green politics is concerned with civil liberties, social justice, nonviolence, sometimes variants of localism and tends to support social progressivism. The party’s platform is largely considered left in the political spectrum.