Portal:Politics

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Introduction

Politics (from Greek: πολιτικά, translit. Politiká, meaning “affairs of the cities”) refers to a set of activities associated with the governance of a country, or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to members of a group.

It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state. The academic study focusing on just politics, which is therefore more targeted than all Political science, is sometimes referred to as Politology (not to be confused with Politicology).

In modern nation-states, people have formed political parties to represent their ideas. They agree to take the same position on many issues and agree to support the same changes to law and the same leaders.

An election is usually a competition between different parties. Some examples of political parties worldwide are: the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, the Conservative in the United Kingdom, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany and the Indian National Congress in India.

Politics is a multifaceted word. It has a set of fairly specific meanings that are descriptive and nonjudgmental (such as “the art or science of government” and “political principles”), but often does carry a connotation of dishonest malpractice. The word has been used negatively for many years: the British national anthem as published in 1745 calls on God to “Confound their politics”, and the phrase “play politics”, for example, has been in use since at least 1853, when abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared: “We do not play politics; anti-slavery is no half-jest with us.”

A variety of methods are deployed in politics, which include promoting one’s own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries. Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level.

It is very often said that politics is about power. A political system is a framework which defines acceptable political methods within a given society. The history of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato‘s Republic, Aristotle‘s Politics and the works of Confucius.

Selected article

"The Power of Nightmares" title screen

The Power of Nightmares is a BBC documentary film series, written and produced by Adam Curtis. The series consists of three one-hour films, consisting mostly of a montage of archive footage with Curtis’s narration, which were first broadcast in the United Kingdom in late 2004 and have been subsequently aired in multiple countries and shown in several film festivals, including the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. The films compare the rise of the American Neo-Conservative movement and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and noting strong similarities between the two. More controversially, it argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organised force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is in fact a myth perpetrated by politicians in many countries—and particularly American Neo-Conservatives—in an attempt to unite and inspire their people following the failure of earlier, more utopian ideologies. The Power of Nightmares has been praised by film critics in both Britain and the United States. Its message and content have also been the subject of various critiques and criticisms from conservatives and progressives.

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Great presidential puzzle2.jpg
Credit: Artist: James Albert Wales; Lithography: Mayer, Merkel, & Ottmann; Restoration: Jujutacular

An 1880 political cartoon depicts Senator Roscoe Conkling over a “presidential puzzle” consisting of some of the potential Republican nominees as pieces of a newly invented sliding puzzle. Conkling held significant influence over the party during the 1880 Republican National Convention and attempted to use that to nominate Ulysses S. Grant, only to lose out to “dark horse” candidate James A. Garfield.

Selected quote

Gore Vidal

Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.

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David Lewis in September 1944

David Lewis (1909–1981) was a Russian-born Canadian Rhodes Scholar, labour lawyer and social democratic politician. He was national secretary of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation from 1936 to 1950. As the United Steelworkers of America’s legal counsel in Canada, he played a central role in the creation of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1956 and in the New Democratic Party (NDP)’s formation in 1961. In 1962, he was elected as a Member of Parliament. He was the NDP’s leader from 1971 to 1975. After his defeat in the 1974 Canadian election, he retired from politics. He spent his last years as a university professor and a newspaper travel correspondent. In retirement, he was named to the highest level of the Order of Canada for his political service. After a lengthy battle with cancer, he died in 1981.

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