Under the political left relatively broad ideological currents of the political spectrum to be understood. The sometimes widely separated currents of the political left are united in that they proceed from a human equality. With left-wing politics very different implementation attempts that ideological approaches are referred to, which have the abolition of inequality and oppression as a nascent social structures, in favor of the economically or socially disadvantaged, to the destination. Their traditional counterparty is the Political Rights.
Already in the immediate run-up to the first - the "big" - applied the French Revolution (1789-1799), has become the concept of political "left" (and its antithesis, the "Right " ) during the so-called " July Monarchy " in France after July Revolution of 1830 established for the classification of parliamentary seating arrangements. Content were then under the left initially all in opposition to the traditional, monarchical regimes of European state formation of the early modern standing political ideas subsumed. In this understanding tends to be anti-monarchist and republican based on classical liberalism and political currents were designated with the left.
In today's parlance, is understood to be a " left-wing" political positioning is usually an attitude that ideologically derived from more or less pronounced and well-established socialist principles. It is mainly applied to communism and anarchism, historically stronger in the presence of reduced emphasis on social democracy and sometimes the social liberalism (or even left-wing liberalism ).
Although the division of the political poles in the right and left, given the complexity of the modern demands of the socio-political practice, both on the nation-state - of domestic and even more so at the international level is becoming increasingly controversial, an appropriate arrangement in everyday language is still common and also in public, for example, in the mass media disseminated. It is used, for example, both of their own ideological positioning and identification of individuals, political groups and parties as well as the demarcation of political opponents.
The political left is trying the conventional, usually understood as reactionary or conservative policy that is aligned with the throwback to former ( reactionary ) or preservation of existing ( conservative ) political and social structures to overcome. Which it opposes a progressive, that is understood as progressive policies that attempt through reform of the status quo, not rarely enforce them through revolutionary activities of new social, economic and political conditions for the benefit of the more under-privileged sections of society.
A classical understanding of politics of the left is characterized by an egalitarian image of man, that is looking at you, among other things, the equality of all people regardless of national, ethnic, gender and other group affiliations, as the desirable policy objective - in accordance with the ideals of the French Revolution, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity " ( liberté, égalité, fraternité ). Was derived from this and is to this day a policy of equal opportunities for all segments of the population, and finally the claim to equal access to social, especially material, wealth. The principle of social justice led and leads to the demand for an equal distribution of wealth, socialization or nationalization of the means of production and - in the ideal of communism - the goal of a classless society, or anarchy to a domination-free, non-government- structured society.
Emerging from the radical democratic and mostly anti-monarchist liberal trends of the early 19th century, are today considered essential from socialism in its various forms inspired implementation attempts of the corresponding world views as left-wing politics.
Regardless of the basic ideological orientation exist today in all, to be quite "right" understood ( conservative to reactionary dominated ) political parties, organizations and groups so-called " left wing ". These take in some aspects, such as the right to social justice (some only for certain parts of the population), claims that are derived from the ideals of the classical left and taking a more or less tolerated edge position in the related parties. The " left wing " from from their self out already (mostly social democratic, socialist or communist ) be understood as the left parties often complains a more consistent, more radical ( more basic ) implementation of the left claim and in turn is usually on the edge of the inner-party spectrum - as well as the " right wing " as its counterpart, it also gives the corresponding in every party. In this respect the labeled terms "left " and "right" - based on the political spectrum - always relative to see to what is seen in the company of a country as a " political center ".
The distinction, "left" and "right" in a Parliament goes according to contemporary transcripts back to the seating arrangements of the delegates at the convocation of the Estates General and the subsequent transition to the Constituent Assembly in the French National Assembly 1789-1791. There the seat traditionally " honorable " was right reserved by Parliament President of the nobility, so that the middle class sat on the left. From France, the left-right distinction spread throughout Europe. In the German Confederation during the time of the March Revolution, the St. Paul's Church Parliament was constituted in 1848 after their pattern. Here sat the republican deputies, who demanded the fall of the former monarchical structured German principalities, left, and representatives of the status quo and the proponents of a constitutional monarchy were all-German right.
Later, this seating arrangement was transferred tendency overview of other parliaments: from reactionary, nationalist parties on the right side about conservative or bourgeois parties of the political center to the social democratic, socialist and communist parties on the left.
Parliamentary Left in Germany
In a narrower sense, the supporters of a parliamentary left politics in the modern world often require state intervention in social and economic issues, to promote substantive equality of socially disadvantaged people. While the left-wing parties of the Weimar Republic have advocated free trade as a measure to reduce food prices, there are in the circles of the political left since the globalization of the 1990s often a rejection of recent free trade agreements. It calls for, among other things, that may not be all the goods and services, including educational institutions, public transport services and goods of basic services bought and sold everywhere. Currently, the party to be understood The Left and parts of Alliance 90/The Greens as representative of a more left-wing parliamentary politics in Germany mainly. In the SPD, Willy Brandt coined the term "new center ". The Bremer proposal for a new basic program of the SPD from January 2007 described the SPD nor as "party of solidarity center," the current policy statement ( Hamburg Programme ) speaks of a "left-wing People's Party ".
→ Main article: Extra-Parliamentary Opposition
From time immemorial, left-wing politics was not limited only to parliamentary politics. Among other things, in the 19th century, were left parties and groups over relatively long periods of time excluded from parliaments, were banned or represented as a result of census suffrage in relation to the actual majorities in the population only under-represented in the chamber parliaments. This was particularly the socialist inspired mergers, the revolutionary upheavals striving just in the 19th century, but also to the present day and partly transpose. Accordingly, these groups were actively involved in whatever spot on revolutions, uprisings, revolts and other social (class) struggles over the entire modern period of time, or led to this.
Except Classroom exist today many political groupings with different modes of action force, which relate to left-wing positions. The substantive ideas about what the means by which strives for left-wing politics, are very heterogeneous.