Talk:Left-wing politics

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It would be nice if there could be added on the page a list of historically most important and current left-wing parties, possibly grouped under different left-wing ideologies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 10:00, 20 January 2013

Misrepresentation of Views[edit]

' More recently in the United States, left-wing and right-wing have often been used as synonyms for Democratic and Republican, or as synonyms for liberalism and conservatism respectively.'

I have several contentions with this statement.

The statement is mis-sourced

Reference 17 directs to a blog from a Time journalist which contains the following text: RNC chair sends a letter to supporters Tuesday asking for contributions to stop Franken from “stealing” the Minnesota incumbent’s Senate seat.

“I’m no stranger to the gutter campaign tactics and shady legal maneuverings of the Left Wing.”

That is the entirety of the information which can only be understood contextually and does not prove the original statement. Time is a political publication that has been known for several years to push an elite or establishment viewpoint - it is ironic that this is being used on an article on 'The Left'.

Reference 18 details a Spanish judge who tried Bush administration officials under the premise of Universal Jurisdiction. The article does not make one reference to the Democratic party, the only relevant piece of information is 'but rather he intends to cement his reputation as a darling of the Left'. The source is neither from a credible source(ABC cable) or backs up the original statement.

Reference 19 simply says ' reported in Mother Jones, April 29, 2009' - could someone link this with access to the Mother Jones digital archive? This reference as it is does not help or prove anything.

Reference 20 details a study of the brains of supposedy 'left' wing and 'right' wing individuals. 'Sulloway said the results could explain why President Bush demonstrated a single-minded commitment to the Iraq war and why some people perceived Sen. John F. Kerry, the liberal Massachusetts Democrat who opposed Bush in the 2004 presidential race, as a "flip-flopper" for changing his mind about the conflict.

Ok fair enough, but what does this prove?

Does not Represent Views From the Left

If you actually ask someone involved with Left wing politics if they are a Democratic party supporter they would simply laugh you off - seeing as the Democratic party is not left wing at all. People actually involved with the left. Tariq Ali wrote an entire book on how Obama and the Democratic party are no different to the Republican party. Noam Chomsky describes all democrats as 'moderate republicans'. The list goes on. I simply find it disturbing that the article that is supposed to describe the activities of 'the left' in fact misleads the reader into thinking that something like the Democratic party is left wing in the traditional sense. It simply reinforces the dogma(in the Fox News style) that supposed 'liberals'(a non term)are just the counterpart of the right wing in an inclusive, self contained political system.

Either find sources that actually reinforce the point or move it completely. I think there should be some content dealing with the 'real' left wing. KingHiggins (talk) 16:50, 10 January 2014 (UTC) Cite error: The <ref> tag name cannot be a simple integer (see the help page).

it says that the terms are often used this way, it does not say Democrats are actually left-wing as the term is normally understood. The terms "liberal" and especially "conservative" are also used in non-standard ways. I agree the sourcing could be improved. TFD (talk) 18:07, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
I suppose that the reason I have an objection to the paragraph is because that is all the material on left wing politics after Reconstruction. It seems a shame to miss out on a rich vein of history which could lead its reader to think that the Left is simply synonymous with 'Democratic Party'. How about if I drafted a paragraph on post war intellectual thought; I am thinking of people like Edward Said, Alexander Cockburn, Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky and many more. I feel this would bring a more balanced look(without pushing a particular POV). KingHiggins (talk) 14:00, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Any sourced addition is welcome. On the other hand, I think it is clear that the sentence quoted above has nothing to do with what liberal or leftist or Democrat mean, but rather with the common practice in American news media to use the three words as synonyms, and the same with conservative, right-wing, and Republican. It is commonplace to read a story in, say, Time magazine that begins with something like this: "The Republicans filibustered the Democratic nominee. The liberals did not have the sixty votes needed to overcome the conservative filibuster. This handed a victory to the Right over the Left." Rick Norwood (talk) 15:34, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

"[The left wing] is often in opposition to social hierarchy" if this is true then all forms of government and virtually all forms of organized civilization is not left wing. This is more of a description of anarchism than anything else. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:57, 14 May 2014 (UTC)


There are various sources on this and other websites as well as in mainstream media and society that refer to the term "leftt-of-centre/center". Would it not be a good idea to include a new section in the main article to define the concept? It seems necessary to me because the terms "centre-leftt", "leftt-of-centre" and "left-wing", while sounding similar, describe materially different political positions. For example, in the European Parliament, there is the centre-left Party of European Socialists (PES) group, the left-of-centre European Green Party (EGP) and the left-wing Party of the European Left (EL). Each of these groups ideologies diverge significantly from on another, as such I believe it would be wise if terms used to describe said ideologies left little room for ambiguity. The term "left-of-centre" could also possibly include some of the parties in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE) group as well as parties from elsewhere in the world that subscribe to certain schools of Liberalism. What I would like to see is the political spectrum content on Wikipedia include stand-alone articles for "Left-of-centre politics" as well as "Right-of-centre politics" alongside the established main poltical positions. Though, an alternative, and potentially better solution, seeing as they are both fairly short, could be for the articles Centre-left and Centre-right politics to be expanded and respectively renamed "Centre-left/Left-of-centre politics" and "Centre-right/Right-of-centre politics". If you agree with me, I would appreciate any assistance in this endeavour.

MBFCPresident (talk) 20:02, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

The problem is that there is no consensus about even basic Left and Right, much less about more complicated compounds. The best this article can do is present some of the ways left-wing has been used historically and a few of the primary ways it is used today. Trying to distinguish between "centre-left" and "left-of-centre" would, I fear, lead to nit picking. However, as always, if you can find an authoritative academic source, you should recommend it.Rick Norwood (talk) 11:21, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
Very interesting take on what you are saying here: [1] (very recently published). It seems that this issue might need to be expounded upon substantially somewhere in the left / right wing WP articles. Jprw (talk) 19:43, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
There is no consistency and it is more precise to distinguish the parties by their ideologies, in this case liberal, green, socialist etc. Hard to say the liberals are center-left when many of them are New Right, i.e., supporters of Hayek or Rand. And while both socialists and Left parties call themselves left-wing, Left parties say socialist parties are really right wing, while socialists say Left parties are far left. TFD (talk) 11:38, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Were the abolitionists left-wing?[edit]

Certainly, the abolitionists were considered left-wing at the time, while the conservatives supported the status quo. Similarly, on the subject of capital punishment, most people who oppose capital punishment self-identify with the Left, while most who favor capital punishment self-identify with the Right. See, for example: and Rick Norwood (talk) 21:09, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

The term left-wing was not used before the 20th century. Usually when sources refer to the Left in the 19th century, they are writing about anarchism and socialism. Certainly most of them were abolitionists, but there were very few of them in the U.S. Mostly the abolitionists seem to have been inspired by religion. It seems a stretch of the term though to call Obadiah Bush, the founder of the Bush political dynasty as a leftist. TFD (talk) 01:42, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

If the definition of left-wing is "Left-wing politics are political positions or activities that accept or support social equality and egalitarianism, ... ." then certainly abolitionists fit that definition. Maybe this article is incorrect to say that "left-wing" originated with the French Revolution. The political Left dates back to the French Revolution. I've added to the article some information from the OED about when "wing" was appended to Left and Right. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:03, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Certainly you can use the left-right template for any period. Confucius and Lao Tse, the optimates and populares in Rome. But it would be better to have sources that do that rather than introduce them ourselves. While France in 1789 introduced the seating arrangement that would lead to the current terminology, it was never used throughout the 19th century. I do not think that James was using in in its modern sense. TFD (talk) 14:52, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Check out the OED. I used their first source, as of historical interest, but the idea that the Right favored God and the upper class while the Left opposed everything that was good and true and favored the lazy and good-for-nothing working class and the deist intellectuals was certainly one early thread of the dichotomy. Rick Norwood (talk) 20:43, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Abolitionism should not be a great issue in this article. Remember that this is about the world wide conception of left-wing politics and not about the specific political traditions in the United States. Dentren | Talk 21:50, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

I agree that abolitionism is not a major issue, but neither is it an exclusively US issue. The abolitionist movement in England was specifically religious in nature.Rick Norwood (talk) 23:08, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

On including Barry Clark quote in the lede[edit]

Honestly I can't see how Barry Clark quote ads something relevant to the lead. The lead is to concise and the quotation is too long. Its better left to somewhere else in the article. Dentren | Talk 21:26, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

It is hard for me to see how this quote "If the Hegelian gnosticism, which has begun to show itself here and in Great Britain, were to become popular philosophy, as it once was in Germany, it would certainly develop its left wing here as there, and produce a reaction of disgust." belongs in the lead, but this quote "Leftists... claim that human development flourishes when individuals engage in cooperative, mutually respectful relations that can thrive only when excessive differences in status, power, and wealth are eliminated. According to leftists, a society without substantial equality will distort the development of not only deprived persons, but also those whose privileges undermine their motivation and sense of social responsibility. This suppression of human development, together with the resentment and conflict engendered by sharp class distinctions, will ultimately reduce the efficiency of the economy." is biased. Should the lead only include the views of opponents of the Left, and not views of the supporters of the Left? Rick Norwood (talk) 11:31, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
I was not aware that "views of opponents of the Left" are prominent in the lead. I agree with you "Hegelian gnosticism" sentence needs to get out of the lead, becuase it helps little to explain what left-wing politics is. Could we not include a more concise quote (not blockquote) from Barry Clarck in its place? Dentren | Talk 14:52, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

I can work with that. Rick Norwood (talk) 15:24, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

Calling Blair Right wing is just POV[edit]

Blair is not "right wing", and to use that language in the article is spin and POV. He is to the right of old labour but just because something is to the right of old labour it doesn't mean they are right wing. And citing journalism that itself is not NPOV is not citing a reliable source. Blair is to the Right of Old Labour, yes, but to call him "Right Wing" is just spin from anti-blairites. LeapUK (talk) 10:53, 25 July 2015 (UTC)