Hard left

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Hard left is a political term used for political tendencies to the left of the mainstream left-wing and right of the far-left.

In the U.K. the term Hard left is used pejoratively [1] particularly when discussing political tendencies within the UK Labour Party and is used to describe various sections of the British Left, both inside and outside the Labour Party.[2] The term is sometimes used in contrast to the soft left.[3] The term often has negative connotations[1] and has been used by Labour's political opponents, notably during the Conservative Party's election campaigns of the early 1990s, and in the conservative media;[4] however, left wing, centre-left and non-partisan publications occasionally use the term to describe elements to the left of the Labour movement.[5]

The term hard left was sometimes used in the 1980s to describe Trotskyist groups such as the Militant tendency, Socialist Organiser and Socialist Action.[6] Historically within the party, differentiation was made between the soft left and the hard left, with the former embracing more moderately social democratic views while the hard left subscribed to a strongly socialist, even Marxist, ideology.[7][8] Politicians commonly described as being on the hard left of the Labour Party include Derek Hatton, Ken Livingstone,[9] Dennis Skinner,[10] Eric Heffer[11] as well as organisations such as Socialist Campaign Group and the Labour Representation Committee, in contrast to a soft left represented by organisations such as Compass and the magazine Tribune.[12] Momentum, a group founded to support Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party, has been described as hard left.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
    • John Wilson (1996). Understanding Journalism: A Guide to Issues. Psychology Press. p. 203. ISBN 978-0-415-11599-5. Condemnation by label is a favourite tactic of political antagonism ... Descriptions like 'hard left', 'far left' ... all have extra connotations, political under-meanings to damage the people they describe 
    • Grant, Moyra (1984). The British media (illustrated ed.). Comedia. p. 29. Retrieved 1 November 2015. Key words and phrases like 'hard left', 'extremist' and 'Soviet style' are explicitly derogatory and dismissive labels which mask a serious lack of information and analysis about the theory and practice of socialism and communism. 
  2. ^ Paul Anderson; Nyta Mann (January 1997). Safety First: The Making of New Labour. Granta Books. ISBN 978-1-86207-070-7. 
  3. ^ Gerard Alexander (1 January 2002). The Sources of Democratic Consolidation. Cornell University Press. p. 75. ISBN 0-8014-3947-7. 
  4. ^ James Curran (29 July 2005). Culture Wars: The Media and the British Left. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 196,209. 
  5. ^ Use by BBC: − − Use by the Guardian: −
    • Wintour, Patrick (24 October 2015). "Unite challenges expulsion of alleged Trotskyists from Labour party". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 24 October 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015. However, there is concern in the parliamentary party that several hard-left groups such as Left Unity, the Socialist Workers party (SWP), the Socialist party and the AWL are trying to attach themselves to Momentum to gain entry into the party. Party moderates are fearful that Labour’s largest affiliated union is too relaxed about opening the party's doors to the hard left. 
    − Use by the Independent: – Use by the World Socialist Web Site: – Use by The Glasgow Herald:
  6. ^ Eric Shaw (1 January 1988). Discipline and Discord in the Labour Party: The Politics of Managerial Control in the Labour Party, 1951-87. Manchester University Press. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-7190-2483-2. 
  7. ^ Crines, Andrew Scott (2011). Michael Foot and the Labour leadership. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars. p. 161. ISBN 9781443832397. 
  8. ^ "What’s left of the Labour left?". Total Politics. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  9. ^ Hill, Dave (2002). Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory. Lexington Books. p. 188. ISBN 0739103466. 
  10. ^ Andrew Roth (20 March 2001). "Dennis Skinner". The Guardian. Andrew Roth's parliament profiles. 
  11. ^ Thorpe, Andrew (2008). A History of the British Labour Party (3rd ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. p. 228. ISBN 1137248157. 
  12. ^ Akehurst, Luke (14 March 2011). "Compass and Progress: A tale of two groupings". LabourList. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Hard-left Momentum group split by online bullying claims". The Times.
  14. ^ "Hard-left activists target Jewish MP in 'terrifying' campaign of abuse". thejc.com.

Further reading[edit]