The State of the World: Political Allegiances

Grant PetersonStarred Page By Grant Peterson, 15th Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3d8h1pi1/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

There are some core principles that the major political parties around the world are based on. Despite the names that may be used it is important to understand the true nature of each political party in your country - the name may have you consider it under one flag, yet in reality it has quite different allegiances.

Part 6 - Political Allegiances

Do you think the political parties are unique to your country? Truth is there are one of several groups to which each political party belongs, yet each party also has many subgroups that differ from the overall aims of that party and this certainly complicates the picture also you should remember that there may be two political parties having broadly the same allegiance group in your country. Please also remember just because a political party bears a specific name, e.g. Social Democratic that does not mean it really is such a party it is necessary to look at the policies and actions of that party to find its true nature.

This definition has been provided in order to support a group of articles about democracy and the need for societal change, if you have not been reading this series then you should read through it from the start. This and the preceding part are provided to give some clarity of terms, the terms used here may also have a slightly different definition than you are used to because there are many incorrect definitions being used and this categorization seeks to correct such misconceptions and it is important to note that these categories are relevant to other discussions that will be made during the course of these articles.

Conservative

This group is broadly described as being the mainstream party of capitalism, they are right-wing in nature and tend to be the party that supports fiscal or tight budgetary control and most parties of this type are funded by donations by industrial leaders, who use such donations as a tax write off. Political conservatives prefer the status quo but do support reforms when necessary but tend to do so only there is financial justification for change or if change is needed to smooth the path of business within their country. These need to be distinguished from the extreme right wing or neo-fascist parties because they do have a belief in democracy at their core.

The program for most conservatives tends to support business, religion, and family values and to be tough on crime because "the criminal classes" break these values and the type of criminal justice system supported tends to favor punishment. When it comes to foreign policy they believe it is better to be feared and therefore support strong armed forces and tend to be very patriotic and support "buy local" campaigns.

The clearest examples of such parties are in the Conservative Party in the UK and in the Christian Democrats in Germany and Europe, but it is also necessary to look at the special case of the USA, below.

Social Democratic

Social democratic groups believe fundamentally in equality and that the state has a central role to play in creating a just and fair society and see the state as representing the will of all and tends to support programs of social reform, particularly in the areas of health care, education and family welfare. While liberal in nature they must be distinguished from liberal policies. It has always been assumed that the process of reform would gradually transform society from a capitalist form to one that is socialist in nature. However Lionel Jospin, former Prime minister of France stated "social democracy is a way of regulating society and putting the market economy at the service of the people" the idea being to give society a strong sense of community because of fighting inequality, the idea being that people have equality of opportunity and an equality in their lives and a part of this relates to basic needs, food, shelter and health care and that it is society's responsibility to provide health care and ultimately jobs and provide a safety net for the unemployed.

Social democracy tends to be the second party in many countries with prime examples being the British Labour Party and the social democratic parties of western Europe. Much of the funding for this type of party comes from worker's organizations like Trade Unions.

One of the basic problems of social democracy has been that many of the parties have become the second party of capitalism and often when in power do not implement the values they hold dear while they are not the party of power.

Liberal

A philosophy based on liberty and equality supporting the basic freedoms of life, fair and free elections, civil rights, free press, freedom of religion, etc. It rejects notions of hereditary privilege and absolute monarchies, John Locke is credited with founding liberalism and argued that each man has a natural right to life, liberty, and property and that government should not violate these rights. There is a certain amount of cross over into the camp of social democracy with many of these ideas but liberals tent to take an egalitarian approach in identifying the need for reform. In part many of the notions of liberalism come from ancient Greek culture and these ideas played their part in the French Revolution and the creation of the United States which contains many of the libertarian and egalitarian ideals within its constitution.

In the practical world of party politics liberal parties tend to fill the gap between social democracy and conservatism liberals share many beliefs with social democracy but they also share many with conservatives and they will often either be squeezed by the other two parties or form an ideal coalition partner to shore up a minority government of either color.

Neo-Fascist

Despite the defeat of Hitler in 1945 these ideas are still present in the world, many are associated with racist, anti-immigration sentiments but also relate to the concept of the supremacy of one race over all others. More right wing than the conservative parties and most also bring a nationalistic fervor.

Socialist

Parties founded on the principles of socialism, they bear many similarities to social democratic parties but with most aims carrying with them a need for change with a great deal more urgency. Most believe in reforming the existing system in order to create a new socialist society but have a reform program that is wider than just health care, education and family welfare, it also involves social control of business, particularly big business that needs to be nationalized.

Communist

This is a term which has been much misused because it is associated with the parties that ran many of the soviet states of eastern Europe, yet the the form of society they managed was state capitalist in nature, not communist.

In the west most communist parties today are more correctly defined as socialist or social democratic in nature, advocates of reform and not of revolutionary change. In the east they generally crave a return to the old regime and the power they once had.

Nationalist

The idea of such parties is to act as a focal point for nationalism, most often found in former colonial countries and to a large extent they are allied to the conservative group, discussed above, although many do not believe in democracy in the same way that the conservative group does.

In some places nationalist parties represent a call for freedom, such as the Scottish Nationalist Party which seeks self government, yet in other places nationalist parties represent a focus that causes people to stand behind the national banner and some rapidly become dictatorial or totalitarian in nature, stomping on the very rights promised during their campaign for freedom.

The Special Case of the USA

The original constitution of the United States was setup during perhaps the prime time of the development of Liberalism and much of the wording is very egalitarian in nature, yet the modern politics in this country has traveled in a different direction.

This system and the parties in the United States do not follow the trend of the rest of the world, they were setup differently from the outset and the truth is that both the Republican and Democratic parties are conservative in nature, and at times one more so than the other, both are pro-capitalist in nature, neither being supportive of unions or the movements of working people, both are funded by donations from wealthy patrons. It is true to say that there are differences between the two but they are not as great as observed for other nations and despite what many Republicans state the Democrats are NOT a socialist or social democratic party and neither do they fall into the liberal camp.

The Path to Change

The next section will start to discuss the path to change based on the need for change in society, a necessity the deeper world capitalism goes into recession, one of the most important elements being how to organize against the capitalist class.

GP, Toronto 2014.


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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
16th Mar 2014 (#)

interesting...

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
16th Mar 2014 (#)

Interesting post!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
17th Mar 2014 (#)

Well said. I voted Republican (including mock elections) from age 8 to age 20 something. But part of that was because I didn't want to vote for Clinton -- I hadn't liked him as a governor and I didn't want him as POTUS. Starting in High School, I voted for candidate or issue over party, but still identified REP until DOMA started passing. Now I am registered IND(endent) but tend to vote DEM just to offset the crazy right wing REPs who might be running. (I do not object to all REP -- just the crazy ultra-right-winged ones.) Fiscally, I would still consider myself conservative or libertarian, but I have to vote DEM now for women's reproductive rights, gay rights, and esp. to fight DOMA. It is difficult to have these opinions in the Bible Belt, but it is easier now than it was five years ago. Hopefully if I keep working at it with like-minded individuals, my son will not notice the difficulties his father and I have faced.

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author avatar joyalariwo
17th Mar 2014 (#)

Once again an interesting and incisive article Grant.

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author avatar Blake C. Patria
17th Mar 2014 (#)

An interesting read! I look forward to reading the others.

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