INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES
Thursday, September 5, 2002
Susan V. Thompson, ed.
Read online or subscribe at: http://www.9-11peace.org/bulletin.php3
1. Introduction: A Tool Kit for Discussion
2. One Link: A Glossary of Terms
3. Right vs. Left
4. Liberalism vs. Conservatism
6. Marxism, Socialism, and Communism
9. Other Resources
11. Get Involved
12. About the Bulletin
INTRODUCTION: A TOOL KIT FOR DISCUSSION
Terms like right and left, liberal and conservative, socialist,
communist, anarchist, etc. are used frequently in political discussions.
But people frequently misunderstand or confuse the actual political
ideologies that these terms refer to. We don't all have degrees in
political science, and such terms are often loaded with assumptions that
more accurately reflect the political leanings of the person using them
than the ideologies themselves.
In an effort to clear up some of these misunderstandings, we are offering
an online guide to political ideologies. This bulletin is meant to be an
introduction to the most commonly mentioned political ideologies,
including their definitions, frequently asked questions about them,
criticisms of them, and their general positions on war with a look at the
war on terrorism in particular (where possible). We try to treat all
ideologies fairly, despite our own leanings. Ultimately, we hope that it
will help you to approach others with more knowledge and understanding.
Note: Of course, we also recommend that you don't end your research about
the various ideologies here. There is a wealth of information out there
which examines these ideologies in far more depth and detail.
ONE LINK: A GLOSSARY OF TERMS
This excellent glossary of political and economic terms provides
information on everything from anarchism to capitalism to "pork barrel"
to "welfare state" in an easy-to-use and understandable format. If you
have a question about a political term, chances are you can look it up
here. Definitions from this glossary are used in several places
throughout the rest of the bulletin.
RIGHT VS. LEFT
The traditional political spectrum places people on a line somewhere
between "left" and "right." These terms originated with the seating
arrangements of the French Assembly in the 1790s, where the monarchists
sat on the right, and the republicans on the left. In current usage,
especially in the US, left is generally associated with liberalism and