Meaning of Political Left

What is Political Left?

By political left is understood the whole set of doctrines, ideologies, currents and political movements based on the idea of ​​social equality.

The different actors of the political left, be they parties, personalities or movements, propose that society should ensure the protection of the most disadvantaged sectors, with a view to guaranteeing a healthy social balance.

This is because, for the left, socioeconomic inequality is not natural but historically constructed. In other words, inequality is generated by the disproportionate accumulation of money and power in the hands of small groups, through oppressive practices that compromise the universality of human rights.

Herein lies the main difference between left and right. Indeed, the political right is based on natural law, the protection of the economy over the subjects and/or respect for tradition. Therefore, it is usually conservative, that is, a defender of status quo (protection of the upper classes and capital).

Nowadays, however, the separation between left and right is not always so clear. Both tendencies can participate in the same values. For example, there can be both a nationalist left and a nationalist right. Depending on the historical context, these concepts may be modified.

Origin of the term political left

The terms political left and right emerged in the eighteenth century, specifically in the year 1789, when the French parliament was in session on the king’s absolute veto right over the decisions of the assembly.

To facilitate the counting of votes, which at that time was done by show of hands, supporters of the king stood to the right of the President of the Assembly, while those who thought that the king’s veto should be limited or non-existent, stood to the right. the left. In the center were placed the undecided or moderate.

You may be interested:  Mining

types of left

The political left is very diverse both in its conception of social equality and in the methods necessary to achieve it. Thus, there are different doctrines within the left.

Since both left and right are terms that are defined in terms of a point of reference, it is understood that the further they are from it, the more radical their approaches will be. Therefore, it is common to speak of center-left, left or extreme left. Between each of these there are profound differences.

Democratic or reformist left

By democratic left we mean all left or center-left currents that advocate social equality within the framework of democratic regimes and consensual reforms.

The democratic or reformist left proposes the State as an arbiter of the struggle of social classes, without seeking the disappearance of any of them.

It is the most widespread model and its most frequent interpretations are socialism and social democracy. The democratic or reformist left admits private property.

See also Socialism.

revolutionary left

The revolutionary left is also called radical left, extreme left or ultra left. It proposes the radical rupture of the modes of production (private property) and/or models of social organization through revolution, in order to eliminate the separation of classes.

Communism (in all its tendencies such as Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, Maoism, etc.) and anarchism are usually included in this category.

See also:

  • Communism.
  • Anarchism.

left movements

Throughout history, different movements have been generated that are called leftist. These are recognized for defending social equality, as well as other values ​​that challenge the status quosuch as environmental protection against industrialization.

You may be interested:  Social Classes

Some of these movements are pacifism, anti-consumerism, environmentalism, feminism, the LGBT movement, liberation theology, etc.