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A number of political movements have involved their members wearing uniforms, typically as a way of showing their identity in marches and demonstrations. The wearing of political uniforms has tended to be associated with radical political beliefs, typically at the far-right or far-left of politics, and can be used to imply a paramilitary type of organization.
A number of countries have legislation banning the wearing of political uniforms. Many also ban members of their police and armed forces from taking part in political activity when in uniform.
In Germany, political uniforms are forbidden.
Political uniforms were forbidden in Sweden during the period 1933-2002. The law existed to prevent Nazi groups from wearing uniforms.
In the United Kingdom, the Public Order Act 1936, passed to control extremist political movements in the 1930s such as the British Union of Fascists, banned the wearing of political uniforms during marches. Though this has rarely arisen in recent decades, in January 2015 the Leader of Britain First Paul Golding was convicted for wearing a political uniform. Later in November 2016 the deputy leader of Britain First Jayda Fransen was convicted for wearing a political uniform.
List of parties with political uniforms
Notable uniformed political groups have included:
- the Communist Party of China, which dressed its members in green, loose fitting fatigues or the more formal Mao suit
- the Blackshirts, Fascist paramilitary groups in Italy
- British Union of Fascists, a fascist political party of the 1930s in the United Kingdom
- the Patriotic People's Movement of Finland
- The Blackshirts, an atheist organisation in India
- Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi political party in Greece
- The Blueshirts, or Army Comrades Association, an Irish political organisation set up by General Eoin O'Duffy in 1932
- The British Fascists, the first avowedly fascist organisation in the United Kingdom
- the Chinese Blue Shirt Society, a secret clique within the Kuomintang
- the National Syndicalists in Portugal
- the Falange in Spain
- the National Unity Party in Canada
- the Green Shirt Movement for Social Credit in the United Kingdom
- The Romanian Iron Guard movement
- The Greenshirts were a wing of the Irish National Corporate Party
- The Hungarian National Socialist Agricultural Labourers' and Workers' Party
- The Brazilian Integralist Action
- The Yugoslav Radical Union
- The Redshirts that unified Italy
- The Ratniks, a Bulgarian national-socialist organisation
- The Red Shirts of the Southern United States
- The Red Shirts of Mexico
- The United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship in Thailand
- The Gold shirts, a Mexican fascist movement
- The Greyshirts, a South African Nazi organisation
- Silver Legion of America, commonly known as the Silver Shirts, an American fascist organization founded by William Dudley Pelley
- The white uniform of Singapore's People's Action Party
Political uniforms have sometimes taken the form of headwear:
- Red berets were worn as distinguishing devices of the Spanish Carlists
- Members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and Sinn Féin have worn black berets in demonstrations, or black balaclavas for anonymity
- Black berets are also worn over hoods by members of ETA
- The Black Panther Party
Other uniformed movements:
- Black Sash a non-violent white women's anti-apartheid organization in South Africa
- Ku Klux Klan in the United States
- Britain First, a far-right group who wear green jackets and flat caps
- Fruit of Islam, the paramilitary wing of the Nation of Islam.
- Yellow vests movement, a populist political movement that began in France in 2018.
The youth sections of some political movements have also been uniformed:
- Hitler Youth (the youth wing of the German Nazi Party)
- Gioventù Italiana del Littorio, youth organization of the Italian National Fascist Party
- Komsomol, youth organization in the Soviet Union
- Free German Youth (German Democratic Republic)